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How do you stay focused?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mikesgames, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. mikesgames

    mikesgames

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    Sometimes when I am working for a reasonable amount of time, I begin to lose focus, and then after a while I have forgotten what I am doing.
    I found a way round that - listen to music.

    I listen to hardstyle, Jumpstyle, Teachno, trance... the list goes on...

    anyway...

    How do you manage to stay focused? and how easy do you find it to stay focused for such as long time?

    -Mike
     
  2. jonbonazza

    jonbonazza

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    When I am working on something important, I usually do everything I can to deter distractions. I do things like turn off my cell phone (or simply ignore it), shut down all other apps running in the background (save email), and honestly, I find it easier to work and stay focused in an office setting than at home.
     
  3. mikesgames

    mikesgames

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    I understand what you mean about the detering distractions. I have my mobile off whenever working. I also close Gmail and Facebook, so that way I dont end up with people talking to me, and distracting me from my work.

    something as simple as the word "hi" on facebook can stop me (and many others) form working for a few hours.
     
  4. Wild-Factor

    Wild-Factor

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    music is good for working. But avoid music with lyric. Brain always listen to words.

    Myself: I tried to be as confortable as I can be. And I wrote anything that came to my mind to forget them, and avoid having thought bothering me.
    Good computer is important too. If it took 2-3 minutes to do some process ( compilation ), there is a good chance that you will lose focus on your current task.
     
  5. Antony-Blackett

    Antony-Blackett

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    Turning off all distraction is sometimes impossible and also impracticle in a team environment which game development often is. In my old job we employed a solution where we had (as childish as it sounds) silent work time after lunch. This went from 2pm - 5pm and in that time you were not allowed to disturb others. It worked pretty well and made everyone a lot more concious of distracting others during the rest of the day.
     
  6. CharlieSamways

    CharlieSamways

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    I dont mind the distractions and Msn pops, I find working easy if I can chat to people at the same time, Taking small few second brakes away from the modeling Scene refreshes my mind, Music is also a big factor for me. Dubstep<3
     
  7. Frank Oz

    Frank Oz

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    I try to stay disorganized.

    If I work on one specific thing for too long, I lose interest, if I lose interest that's it, game over. So I jump almost randomly from one thing to another to keep it fresh and try avoid losing interest for as long as possible, which always happens, the trick is finishing before it does. If a particular thing takes more than one sitting to finish, it's not going to get finished, ever. To an outside party it looks like complete confusion and bad planning. But it's all perfectly laid out to me.
     
  8. CharlieSamways

    CharlieSamways

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    I know exactly what you mean, its how I feel, as soon as i save and leave it, I cant carry on from it. Must be done in one go
     
  9. mikesgames

    mikesgames

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    This forum is another distraction of mine...

    ...as soon as i come on here, I end up posting and reading for about 2 hours :p
     
  10. Acumen

    Acumen

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    I don't avoid music with lyrics ^^ Singing along my favorite tunes is fun and motivating !
    I get myself in the best possible mood I can imagine. Tv running in the back. Listenting to music I can sing along to.

    On a serious note. I have a big reference folder open all the time, to get inspired and randomly browse through. I have the current game state opened, so I see exactly what I'm working on and then it goes back and forth.

    Apart from that, if you lose focus, quit it. You will only have bad work out of that, that you have to redo eventually, and there goes the vicious circle again. If you lose focus more often, maybe you need to do something that is actually fun to you ;)
    Since we're talking about amateur hobby guys here, if you can't focus on the thing you love doing, you might have chosen the wrong hobby :D
     
  11. Meltdown

    Meltdown

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    Hehe, I think Trance is honestly the best music to listen to as usually it has no lyrics and you don't really get emotionally attached to the music. It just flows and you can almost work to the rhythm.

    Otherwise I close my email. If I'm battling to start working on something I give myself a little goal. And say ok today im going to do 2 x 1 hour sessions on this project. Finding a CD that is an hour or so long I play that and listen to it until its over. Usually by then I am into the work and just play another CD.
     
  12. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    It could help if you have an "office" at home to work in (and would probably make it easier if you had a labtop --- unless you have multiple computers) but the basic idea is you are partitioning, one room to work and another to "play" Its psychological, you have your space where you work and a space where you relax (just like a real job), the only difference is there is no commute (and no guaranteed pay) its important that when you are at "work space" that other people do not bother you, its also important that you have no tv, radio or anything else that might distract you. Its not that bad idea if you are getting mentally exhausted to simply take a break, stretch your legs, maybe go play an xbox for a bit and come back to your work later on.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  13. n0mad

    n0mad

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    I also use music :)
    But I try to chose a music style that perfectly fit with the ambience I'm working on.

    For example, at this precise moment, I'm working on a Tai Chi Chuan character's combo animations.
    So the OST of "House of Flying Daggers" help me embrace the martial art atmosphere.
    When I was working on a space station level, I put some space music.
    Simplistic, but it works wonders.

    Anyway overall, the real focus vector must not be searched in other entities, but in ourselves.
    You can have 3 x 30" screens, a 100 meters square office, free pizzas for monthes and naked women dancing during lunch time... If you can't find the strength in you, the overall work will lack "those precious little details that make the difference" (©).

    Another trick that is working for me too is letting myself some time, when needed, to think about what should be done, why and how. Seems easy written like that, but I found that it was incredibly hard to let myself not work for some minutes, stare at my screen and prepare the next hour of work in my head (without feeling guilty of having lost 5 minutes of raw production).

    edit : oh and yes, of course, the golden rule of limiting my hourly breaks to 10 minutes :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  14. ivanzu

    ivanzu

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    Well i can only get distracted by unity forums,And i hate when msn pop ups and blocks my camera viewport options in 3dsmax.
     
  15. returnString

    returnString

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    I generally find that the best way to stay focused is to avoid keeping certain tabs open in your brows- OOH FACEBOOK NOTIFICATION
     
  16. ColossalDuck

    ColossalDuck

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    Try not to have any distractions around. Disconnect your internet if you need to.
     
  17. phex

    phex

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    Its not that easy to say you have to turn off/on music, disconnect from the internet or do this or that in a specific way.

    For myself, it depends on what i´m doing and if it goes right or if i have some problems. Sometimes i dont want do be disturbed to crack that f***ing problem, if i have a good run i turn on music and let the work flow.

    But turning off social networks, chats and stuff should be the right way .-)
     
  18. ippdev

    ippdev

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    I am a workaholic. Unity has only made that more enjoyable. I prefer Baroque music when coding and Beatles Radio when modeling or when my cockatoo will not leave me alone. She loves to "rock and roll" to The Beatles. Iron Maiden makes her into a parody of an angry bird. She metals out. I will work till I have wrist problems or till I reach an impasse creatively. I then skip over to this forum or one of about five sites and start reading. Generally I then get an urge to go back and add this or that or have solved...possibly..a coding conundrum and then immediately in mid sentence I return to the work. If I have too much of block i fire up a big phatty and its no problem then:)

    BTH
     
  19. tertle

    tertle

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    Work in periods. I never work more than 2hours straight without a break. Keeps you refreshed and focused.

    I listen to whatever music I'm in the mood, no specific genre.
     
  20. Pelajesh

    Pelajesh

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    I totally agree with frank :D
     
  21. MrDude

    MrDude

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    I simply gave up my social life and focus on nothing else. when I go to work and I get distracted, I tend to embrace the distraction as a time to focus on Unity related stuff... When I get home I can put thoughts of real life away and just focus on Unity again...

    The only REAL distraction I have is the intensity of my yawning in the early morning hours and how much that frustrates me as it fills my eyes with water that just don't stop streaming as I wipe it away... How do I deal with THAT distraction? I do face stretching excercises while I stare at the screen... I do that until I get beaten and then go to bed... When I wake up, I can concentrate on unity again until I go to work where I constantly find myself distracted BY thoughts of Unity that make me continue my thoughts about Unity until I can go back home to work in Unity...

    Sorry, what was the question? I got a little distracted there...
     
  22. ColossalDuck

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    @MrDude Wow, that is a great read to start the day :D.
     
  23. Taigo

    Taigo

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    Yeah, just make sure what you are getting worth what you are giving up.

    As for myself i tend to use some balance, when i can´t think anymore and need to calm down i use to listen Futurepop/Darkwave songs but if i do it too much i tend to get sad. Once im just too sad to work i try to pick some Punk rock song and when i do that too much i might need to calm down again. And at last when i think all is lost "Let it be"

    It also depends on the task i have to accomplish, music just works if it´s modelling, textures or some repetitive task, when it comes to something i need to think like code i really need silence.
     
  24. CrazyLikeAFox

    CrazyLikeAFox

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    Since everyone started talking about music, I felt it was apt to recommend Soma FM. I enjoy Tags Tripp,Secret Agent and Mission Control when I'm working.
     
  25. MrDude

    MrDude

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    I went to my cousin's birthday party on Sunday. First time I saw my family in over a year... I sat there watching them... and watching them... open my mouth... close it again... watch them... wish I could code on my iPad... watch them some more... drink some soda... watch them... lean ever so slightly towards my car to go get my iPad.... notice my wife's glaring look... sit down... watch them... watch them... drink more soda... watch them... thank them for a lovely afternoon then come home and sit behind the iMac where Unity is still open...

    Neither my Mac or my Unity is ever shut down... That's just the way it is... What can I say?


    On the topic of music, my all time favourite song at the moment is Crazy...
    My wife loves it when I sing along to the piece where it goes "Does that make me craaaaaazy? Pooooosiblyyyy"
    I love the part where I sing the piece that goes "I think you're craaaaazyyyy... just liiiike meee" :)

    Why am I telling you all of this...?!
     
  26. fivearchers

    fivearchers

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    The op's question assumes that we actually manage to stay focused!!
     
  27. Frank Oz

    Frank Oz

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    Can I buy some pot from you?
     
  28. RichBosworth

    RichBosworth

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    I've always had problems with my focus... I could only work for 10 minutes max before getting distracted and even in those 10 minutes I was not fully focussed anyway. I was quite desperate, as I had exams coming up, so I started looking for other methods to increase my focus that didn't entirely rely on myself. I found something called brainwave entrainment, and eventually found TransparentCorp's product NeuroProgrammer. Using just audio entrainment, I saw a good increase in my ability to focus for long periods of time, even on things that I didn't enjoy at all (like Chemistry). I then invested about £200 in their products, including the Light Sound Synergizer, which allows for Photic entrainment as well as Audio entrainment. I saw an even greater increase in my ability to focus and a massive increase in my grades.
    By being able to work smarter, I could spend less time on achieving the same work. In terms of Unity, it really helped me to focus on working out some of the more complex issues involved, and I am grateful for this.

    I don't know if it's the Placebo Effect working here (and I doubt that somewhat, as there has been quite a bit of scientific research into this area (although some of the studies are lacking in some areas of proper scientific methodology)), but it works for me! I can put quite a bit of getting into my Uni Course down to using NP3.

    I'd really recommend those having trouble with focussing (sleeping and any other matter of things) to use this :) Let's just say that I love it almost as much as I love Unity! And I'm NOT affiliated with the company :p

    (for anybody interested here: http://www.transparentcorp.com)
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
  29. Frank Oz

    Frank Oz

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    If you invested $200 in their company, you ARE affiliated with it. :p Anyway, you might wanna change the link to just their domain and not an exe, We don't know where it's been.
     
  30. KyleStaves

    KyleStaves

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    I normally have old movies I've already seen playing (or music if I'm not in the mood) on my TV while I work - helps me stay tasked. As far as staying tasked on a project when I don't feel like working on it - if it's client work I just remind myself what an hour of slacking off and not getting anything done costs me. Or how annoyed the girlfriend gets if I have to work into the evening because I woke up late and took a two hour lunch. If it's my own work and I'm not passionate about it, I tend to just put it on the boiler plate for a while and hope inspiration comes in the form of a new interesting design idea - if I'm not passionate about my own work I don't expect anyone else will be when I release it.

    Right now I'm working on a flash game for a client and, to be honest, I'd much rather be working in Unity. However, I have not done much flash work in general so the opportunity to get paid honing in a new marketable skill alone gets my ambition going pretty easily (it's a relatively interesting project from a programming standpoint too).
     
  31. RonnyRulz

    RonnyRulz

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    what is wrong with people today?

    I absolutely love working with 100% focus on what I am doing. It's hard to find peace and quiet in our immature western society. Everyone constantly wants to blast music, tv, multi-task, or...wtf? facebook?

    I was going to agree with MrDude as the first post is what I would say, but then I noticed he is a bit obsessive in an unhealthy (anti-social) way. I have no problem becoming motivated as I've been on a single project for over a year and don't plan to stop until it's finished.

    1) Work as long as you want, as long as you can. The moment I want to take a break, I do. Refreshed, I end up back at work.
    2) Avoid playing addictive browser games or going to forums. (I fail at this.) These literally make 8+ hours of my life disappear without realizing it.
    3) Enjoy Peace Quiet-- even if not while working, at least some time in your day you need to be quiet. I am really disgusted by other's inability to enjoy peace. My stereo broke in my car and I never want it fixed bc if it was, I'd never get to enjoy the silence ever again.
    4) I am obsessive about my project. Yet... any time I am with others, I don't think about my project, I actually enjoy life and am very social.

    But most of all... I don't understand facebook or msn. I haven't had MSN, Yahoo, or AIM up in years. Facebook and Myspace disappeared the moment I was no longer single. Honestly, I have no idea why people waste their time on facebook, or need so much social contact. I blame undeveloped marriages and low self-esteem to be honest. I am a VERY social person and ppl love me but I don't feel a need to talk to people online. Maybe because I've had sooo much social interaction and high social praise for the majority of my life, I am beyond satisfied with it and not only don't need it at a "normal" level anymore, but don't even want it. My wife is plenty for me, and my two best friends are enough beyond that. I truly don't care what my cousins or friend's friend's uncle's cousin status update is. I find all of that just idiotic. I further relationships that have REAL value and are void of fake conversation and the laughable "Hey sup? Sup. How r u? good u? good. cool. yea cool."

    Especially when you are highly specialized in a complex skill set (Programming, Graphics, Gaming, Design, etc.) most people tend to zone out because their level of knowledge in these skills is so low they can't stand to even listen, let alone care. So really, everything I'm passionate about, everyone I know and have interpersonal relationships with know next to nothing about this stuff, and they could care less. I've learned long ago to be at peace with myself, and that the majority of people in western society seem to have a lot of problems with their inability to even exist in silence, let alone enjoy it. And that finding someone with the same intelligence level as me is rare, but even among those I know and appreciate, the chance they share the SAME interests is next to impossible. Sometimes I really wish I didn't think at a higher level than normal or had more common interests such as beer, trucks, and "the game". Of course, I always slap myself realizing that being conscious and aware of reality is much better than the common lie "ignorance is bliss". I'm never depressed at the fact, but instead accepting of it: the more you grow, the less you understand others.

    Every year I learn and grow significantly, but according to psychological research, most people actually stop moral development at the age of 12+, so the average person has a very narrow mind and shallow view of the world. It makes for a very lonely world where you have to find peace in solitude and silence.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
  32. RonnyRulz

    RonnyRulz

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    Just for clarification-- I am not saying that listening to music or watching TV while working makes you incompetent. Quite the opposite! I do these things from time to time so I can understand how they help people focus. I was more referring to the fact if you get in your car and drive, you will see over 40% of people on their cellphones, unable to let go of their emotional/technical crutches, and that often people who cannot handle silence or quiet are actually afraid of their own minds (I have worked with a lot of emotionally disturbed people, and this is ALWAYS the case, they are scared to death of silence, as then they'd have to confront their own mind).

    So I am NOT attacking ANYONE in this forum. Merely making the observation and venting the frustration that western society is breeding these children and young people who might become emotionally and socially retarded without their cell phones, facebook, and how researchers and scholars actually believe it's a big enough problem to coin the phrase "Off the Grid".

    When I watch shows which suggest taking time to "unplug" or the benefits of getting "off the grid" sometimes, or people who can't seem to put down their cellphones, I really don't understand. For me, I don't even want to be on the grid. My cellphone rarely rings, and I prefer it that way. If it did ring constantly, I'd actually put it on silence forever and buy a second cellphone for emergency calls.

    There is absolutely NO REASON society needs to pretend to be so busy. The people who pretend to be so important, busy, or "fast paced" are actually quite the opposite. They are like the prom queen who claims she never has any time, yet the only thing she does all day is sleep and wait for her date, where she takes 4 hours to apply her makeup, and this makes her somehow "always busy".
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
  33. ChaosWWW

    ChaosWWW

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    I find many of the posts in this thread very interesting. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has problems with this occasionally.

    I think the most important thing is to build momentum and to not get distracted. Someone, I think it was FrankOz (apologies if it wasn't you) said that working on multiple things at once helps a lot and I agree with that. I find that I think the idea for a project that I am working on is really cool and imagine what the final product might be like, but have to really drag myself to start actually working on the smaller elements that will make up that whole. This is especially apparent if I am working on one thing for a long time, I just lose interest and procrastinate. I am starting to realize I prefer working on multiple things bit by bit over doing one thing for a week and saying I am completely done with it. For example, today already I worked on two different models and am seriously considering working on a texture for a third one later today. The only real downside to this is that it can be a bit depressing when you have multiple things in a state of incompletion and nothing is truly complete until you are done with the whole project, but to be honest I don't know if I'd prefer making one fully complete thing or having several semi-complete things. So those are some ways I get over the initial hump getting started, but how how I stay focused when actually working is to minimize distractions and listen to some music, preferably something really intense and exciting (well, when I'm modeling, when I'm scripting I pretty much have no choice but to turn all music off or I can't concentrate). However, I'd say the most important thing is to not get distracted by anything too heavily, as even thinking about another subject for too long can make me lose interest in what I am doing and stop.

    However, contrary to what some people said in this thread, I don't think the Unity forums is a negative distraction, as oftentimes it is a motivator for me. When I see something cool someone else has done, I say to myself "yeah, I can do something just as cool as that!!" and get motivated to start working on stuff again.
     
  34. Game Audio

    Game Audio

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    Aderall... jk ;)

    Take regular breaks... not the lazy kind, go for a 5 minute walk or do a few pushups. Activate the parts that are going to sleep!
     
  35. drewradley

    drewradley

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    Staying focused is easy. In fact nothing can be easier! I have a simple technique that is so obvious and easy that when I tell you it, you'll be like "wow! that's so simple and obvious! Now I will never have difficulty focusing on the task at hand." My little technique will help you all become the best video game designers in the world. All you have to do is...

    Hey cool! Iron Man 2 is on Epix! Awesome. I know what I'm watching later.

    Oh, sorry, what was I saying?
     
  36. ChaosWWW

    ChaosWWW

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    Lol, stop reminding me of me :p .
     
  37. online|offworld

    online|offworld

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  38. MrDude

    MrDude

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    Heyyyy!

    erm... I ...erm... planned it that way... yes... that's it. It was intentional :p
    You don't understand Facebook? For undeveloped marriages? My obsession has driven my wife to Facebook to compensate for me not being around... oh... i.c... :p

    Pot! Pot! Get your pot right here! Special price for Unity devs. Get your pot right here!

    I need sleep...
     
  39. santo

    santo

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    I lack of concentration on things where i lack interest (quite normal, i think), so, for me, the answer is The Pomodoro Technique (no! SADLY, it's not an italian sauce recipe ;D)
    A continuous concentration it's simply not possible (if not for geniuses, this is what i heard :D)
     
  40. mr. wrong

    mr. wrong

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    When I need focus, there are a few trivial things I need to do first.

    1. I decide that it's time to work. 2. I take a deep breath. 3. I just dump all the thoughts I had in my mind (well most). 4. Then I imagine aligning my mind with my body so that the two work in perfect unison. This sounds kind of lame, but surprisingly seems to work. 5. Then I start working and I start to carefully load my brain with issues, carefully choosing only the relevant ones.

    the whole process takes like two minutes or so, and for me, the most important and only step which is somewhat difficult is number one. Rest of the process is a bit like deleting temporary files in the browser.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  41. c-Row

    c-Row

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    When I was working on my laptop rather than my desktop, I usually got more work done in my "productive spot". If you have the chance, find yourself a well-lit, comfortable place that isn't anywhere near your desk and work there for a while, away from all your gadgets and other stuff that tries to drag your attention away from the task you want to focus on.

    I would suggest the women's dressing room at the local strip club, but that might just be as distracting. :D
     
  42. Caliber-Mengsk

    Caliber-Mengsk

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    @first post


    Simple... I don't. XD Sounds stupid eh? Well.... it is. XD I don't keep focus very well on starting work on something, but when I do start working on something, I'll generally work the whole day without stopping (sometimes even skipping a meal because I don't notice the time), and then sometimes the next day as well... then I loose focus, but the hours I do put in I think I go pretty quickly.

    Though, when I do start something, I have a playlist on Jamendo.com that I loop that's mostly instrumental or death metal to where I can't understand what they are saying, so I don't sing along. It's like 2 hours long of a loop so I don't get bored with the songs, and ever growing from when I listen to the radio stations on jamendo. Good site for different styles of music. (I also have a jpop playlist... don't judge :p)
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  43. janpec

    janpec

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    I am almost on the same as you Caliber Mengsk.
    I should get some medal for staying with current project so long. Medal of dedication for game development amateurs.
     
  44. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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    I stay focused by... *oooh something shiny!*

    ...


    What?
     
  45. SimonAlkemade

    SimonAlkemade

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    I get distracted easily. What works best for me is dividing the work in smaller steps/parts/chunks. If I have one thing on my list thats not going to work for me actually it's cutting everything to smaller pieces. Until I have parts so small I can finnish them one by one. But since I can sometimes just be lazy too this doesn't always apply.

    What also helps is constantly switching between something that is fun to make and something that is boring. Then when your working on something boring you always have something fun in sight. And when you're working on something fun you'll probably complete that quickly anyway. What I am trying to say here is that you shouldn't have a lot of the more boring tasks lined up after each other.
     
  46. n0mad

    n0mad

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    Absolutely, that works really good for me too.
    Plus, it ensures that there will be some "serious fun" in your game, as the type of feeling you put in your work will be how the game feel in the end, just like in any production :)
     
  47. Artimese

    Artimese

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Posts:
    794
    Yes, to give in example of what Frank said....

    Theres times given where I spent 3 hours in 3ds max modeling a character, or level designing and its nerve wrecking to be in there for that long, by then I would usually switch back to unity, perhapes fix some bugs or add stuff that unity can do without the need for 3ds max, or use photoshop to edit textures or whatever the case is. Later on I would open up max and finish what i started, import to unity, spend another hour or so fixing it up, adding this and that, then going back to 3ds max.

    I just realized its a vicious cycle! I usually work on big projects, but heres another tip for you. If you're like me and do tend to work on big projects, set 1 or 2 days aside to make a whole new game, 2d perhapes, or just something really simple. You'll be surprised on how much FUN you'll have. And sometimes that simple game becomes a real success and may lead to other things.

    Good luck with the focusing thing, god knows i definitely need it :p
     
  48. Drum998

    Drum998

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Posts:
    22
    When working I listen to Mozart to stay focussed.

    There's a school of thought that says that Mozart himself suffered from something akin to ADHD and that the music he wrote was a coping mechanism for him. I certainly /feel/ more focussed and productive with a bit of Mozart on in the background...
     
  49. RichBosworth

    RichBosworth

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    Posts:
    325
    The technology I mentioned earlier takes the effects of Mozart (after all, it's not as if it's the music causing the relaxed/focused effect, but something deeper about the tones used etc) and uses various techniques to enhance them and amplify their effects. It's pretty amazing stuff, and, as far as I can tell, works fantastically!
     
  50. CandyScribble

    CandyScribble

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Posts:
    8
    i dont mind noises or anything like that, it just gets distracting for me when i have to get up for some reason and when i come back sometimes i forget what im going to do :)
     
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