The Importance of Taking a Break

To put it bluntly the game industry has been known to break people.  To be fair, this isn’t the only industry that does this but seeing how this is where I’ll end up going then I’ll be talking about this one.  Part of the reason this industry breaks people is simply the sheer amount of work it actually takes to make a game.  It’s not uncommon that at the start of the game you are working normal work days but then towards then end, like the last 3-4 months, you end up working 10-14+ hour days.  Even if you don’t find the volume of work exhausting, it definitely has an impact on having friends outside the workplace or your family.  None of this can really be avoided if you’re serious about working in the game industry but there is one fairly consistent mistake that I see people make while they’re working:  Not taking a break.

Most of the time people become so convinced that they don’t have time to do anything other than work that they just out right refuse to stop what they’re doing.  Truth is though, by continuing to work when you’re exhausted you are most likely just going to make more mistakes that will create more work for yourself later.   For instance, while I’m programming usually I will just get into a place where I just want to keep programming.  After doing this for hours I’ll start to run into problems, and I’ll want to keep going to fix those problems.  I’ll sometimes do this for an hour or more until finally I decide that I just need to walk away from it for a moment.  At this point I just do whatever I want OTHER than work on anything: read a book, play a game, watch a movie, go for a walk (general motion is REALLY helpful), whatever.  Just by doing other things I can let my brain just clear out all the crap that builds up while I’m working.  By the time I’m done relaxing, most of the time I will come back and be able to solve whatever my issue was in less than 10 minutes even though previously it had stumped me for more than an hour.  Overall, taking a break actually makes you more productive because you will actually make fewer mistakes by the time you get back.  So no matter how busy you think you are, the importance of taking a break simply can’t be overstated.