Opinion: The $200 work hour

Editor’s note: The following blog was written by a NordicGameBits.com Opinion-blogger. The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the individual writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of NordicGameBits or the other writers and authors of the community. 

Currently my self assigned title on this blog includes workaholic and while I do enjoy working I have wanted to restructure my life to work less ever since reading The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss a few years ago.

When working on a project it is incredibly easy to spend hours on end on minor details such as performance improving code or making some graphics perfect. While doing so can be immensely gratifying, more often than not it is a sidetrack with minimal impact on the overall project.

To help me prioritize I have therefore decided to treat the 24 hours work week as a hard limit. If something is not completed inside a week it will have to wait. Similarly I will be keeping tight track of hours spent working on all parts of the project. It is easy to consider your own hours as free, but this is time that could have been better spent with friends and family, reading a book, or watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

To this end, I added a Key Performance Indicators section, in the right bar on the blog, where I will continually update you all on the progress.

According to Google there are 52.18 weeks in a year. With my goal of working 24 hours a week or 1252 hours a year this results in an effective hourly salary of $199.64 or $200 with a bit of rounding if I am to reach my goal of an effective salary of $250,000 annually.

Assigning a fixed value to an hour once again helps with prioritization. If what I am currently doing in an hour does not result in $200 worth of revenue, now or later, it is simply not worth working on.

Already at this point this has direct impacts on the overall project:

  • Simple games I will focus on simple puzzle games & quick play experiences ensuring that my investment is minimal if a game fails.
  • Advertisement I will focus on building games monetized with advertisement as the content quality and complexity of free to play / paid games likewise represent too high a risk of failure.
  • Unified brand I will build the games under a unified brand, allowing me to share marketing expenses among multiple games.
  • Outsourcing Personally I can make due with my skills in programming, game design, and marketing but areas such as art and music is outside my competencies. Rather than trying to make due, and spend hours with my own skills, I will rely on stock or outsourcing to accomplish these tasks.

I am sure more will appear as the project progresses and expect to return and update this list as they become clear.

Read the first Opinion article by Christ Benjaminsen.

Read more of Chris’s posts on: blog.chrisbenjaminsen.com

Chris is a want to be indie developer living and working in San Francisco and making games in his spare time.

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