Development Log Week 88

A lost week comes to an end: I was confined to bed on doctor's orders and therefore couldn't get any work done on PU or anything else. Hence, this development log will be very different from our usual ones.

I want to talk a little bit about "indie health". The term indie is blatantly over- and misused, so let me clarify real quick what I mean by it in the context of this post: I'm strictly referring to game developers like myself. That is, you are self-employed, working from home, without any external investors, publishers or other stakeholders. It also includes that you do at least a bit of everything beyond pure development yourself, so things like marketing, support, community management, finance, business development…you name it.

When this definition of indie matches your profile, you will most likely be familiar with the overwhelming feeling that there is always something to do, that there's a constantly growing, never shrinking list of items you need to take care of. And while on paper you might be your own boss who sets their own deadlines, the truth is that you are always out of time. Any additional task added to the list that you didn't expect - like a technical problem, a bug that takes a lot longer to fix or trouble in your community - quickly causes a feeling of anxiety, especially when it has to be taken care of immediately and therefore postpones everything else in your backlog even further.

I don't know about you, but that's more or less the state I am in constantly. Even more so since we started the Prosperous Universe project. And in this state, the onset of a cold - it usually starts with a nasty prickle at the back of the throat for me - is just another one of these "unexpected issues" I mentioned above. It's nothing I can fix, I don't have time to deal with it, so like a reflex, I push it back and ignore it. Many people do this, not only self-employed ones. But it's dangerous and harmful. Not only to yourself, but also to the people around you.

This time around, I started to get a cold three weeks ago and, as usual, ignored it as much as I could. I just kept on working and merely granted myself a few hours of nap time. I got a bit better, but only for the cold to linger around for yet another week, making me feel weak and tired and thereby rendering me less effective in my work. After the second week of this, I went on a hiking trip with family and when I got back home that Saturday night, I just crashed. Even just sitting upright for the duration of a meal was exhausting. First thing Monday morning I went to see a doctor. The diagnosis: Probably two consecutive viral infections with a bacterial one on top of the second one. Because I never recovered from the initial cold - it wasn't more or less than that - I got hit by a proper flu and made a lovely breeding ground for bacteria.

End of story: More than a week completely out of service and feeling miserable, plus two weeks before that feeling tired and spreading germs to anyone around me.

What I'm trying to get at is this: If you feel you're getting sick, don't wait for it to become worse. Don't ignore it, don't just sit it out. Accept the fact that your personal health has to take precedence over anything else on your to-do list.

Obviously, symptoms and treatments differ. But in cases of the "common cold" like mine, go straight to bed, do not turn on Netflix, do not pick up a book, definitely do not sit in front of a computer. Just get into something comfy and sleep it out. When you don't feel better after two days or if you think it might be something else or something worse than a cold, definitely go see a doctor.

Once the worst is over, don't jump straight back into work, but take a few days off. I know it is super hard to do, I know it can be incredibly boring and frustrating "to do nothing", but it's definitely better than ending up sick for three weeks or more. And keep in mind: Not actually recovering from a cold or flu can have severe consequences once infections start to affect inner organs. So don't take it lightly!

Try to learn from my mistake…I hope I can :-)

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