The Busy DM Dad
It has been a long time since I have written about things closer to reality as of late. A lot of that stems from the fact that my son has been learning so much, so fast. It would literally flood this blog with so much non-Dungeons and Dragons content that I would probably need to start thinking about rebranding. All jokes aside, I have been experiencing quite the load increase as of late, and thus have been working on ways to try and fit everything in. I figured I might share a few things that I have learned from my experiences, and maybe it might help others, or at the very least help re-center my mind.
Just a little background, for those who might be new to the blog, or don't know me socially. I am a very active person and dabble in many hobbies, I am also a dad, and that means that I am constantly stretched too thin. I write for the blog and for my D&D campaign, I am a podcast host, I manage the DM’s Table web site and all of its IP’s and future IP’s, as well as spinning many other plates at once. Currently, I am in the middle of launching a Patreon and Designing a T-Shirt to help support Roll with Advantage. This means I need to find time for my family, my friends, and all of this other stuff in each week. So how do I do it? Well, that there is the million dollar question.
Time Boxing You Life, Be Careful…
I heavily utilize a version of a concept that I have come to know as “time boxing.” Time boxing is the concept of marking out specific sections of your day for specific events, goals, or things you want to accomplish. In a corporate environment, you would use this as a way to let people know that you are available or unavailable for meetings or carve out time during work dedicated to tackling important tasks. This is a very large portion of my routine and is probably the most dangerous one to over utilize. What makes time boxing so dangerous when used outside of work is that people don’t normally schedule their social lives as tight as one might at work. This can make others, feel as if time with them is less important than the next time slot. I have learned that it is important to be flexible with time boxing. So instead of calling it “time boxing” let's call it a routine. If you can find a groove in your day to day, you will be more productive. For me, that means from the time I get home until about 8 pm I am focused on my family and my social life. After 8 pm is my blogging, writing, reading, and management time with a little bit of time for TV. This works great because it gives me a dedicated time for the things I want and need to accomplish.
Repetition will Make Speed
Being consistent is key. I learned this the hard way with this blog. Once upon a time, I had a nice one month backlog, in case I needed some flexibility in my schedule from writing. Well, I squandered that and got lazy early on, and I lost that backlog. This wouldn’t be as big of a deal except for the fact that we were then launching Roll with Advantage and with that came a major increase in workload. So from then on out, I have made sure that I stay consistent with my writing, my publishing, and my researching. This has helped breed speed and higher quality content. Staying consistent and practicing your craft continuously will make sure that you are able to shrink your time boxes slowly. Thus giving you more time to spend with your family, friends, and/or things like video games or other hobbies.
Focus on Efficiency
I have set aside a little bit of time here and there completely dedicated to becoming more efficient. This means researching new ways to post, advertise, answer questions and comments, and all of the other things that I do in my creative process that is not efficient. The difference between this concept and the previous one is Efficiency v. Proficiency. I feel it is very important to criticize and continuously improve your efficiency because it can be stacked with proficiency. The relationship between Efficiency and Proficiency is fairly simple. You can be one of the following
Have great quality items that takes you forever to make
Have a poor quality item that can you produce in fast iterations
Have great quality items that can be produced quickly
Most people want to shoot for the optimized third option, and focus is key here. I would highly suggest reading Deep Work by Cal Newport. This book has some very good general concepts on how to stay focused and get the most out of your time box. Focus means better efficiency and this obviously reduces your time needed doing a particular task. What better to utilize your precious time than to dedicate all of your focus on your objective in that window of opportunity.
These are just a few things I utilize in my day to day, to manage the plethora of tasks that consume my life. As always, thank you so much for stopping in and reading. Feel free to comment, I love to read constructive feedback and love discussing topics like these. Check back in next week to see what else I have on my mind or decide to analyze. Remember to follow The DM’s Table on Facebook or on Twitter @dmstable for updates and to let me know what is on your mind, or what you might want to read about. Also, go check out Roll with Advantage! It is a Dungeons and Dragons podcast that releases every Monday by 5 pm Eastern Time. We play, laugh, and have a good time playing a game we all love. Thank you for reading and if you enjoy these articles feel free to donate, using the button below, to the website to help keep it up and running!
― The DM