hey guys. I finally solved this problem, for myself at least, and the vast lifechanging life changes that have changed my life have been lifechanging.
Now I still get distracted here and there, but no exaggeration, I'm on track to reach a milestone in my project that was originally projected for around october/november, and I think I will reach this milestone before I go to bed tonight. I only discovered this different way of working a few weeks ago.
it's very simple, so it might not help some of you, unless you have severe issues with organization and distraction, but it's made a big difference for me, so just wanted to share.
The first is organization. Wait wait....I get it. when you're disorganized, you're disorganized, there's just no way around it. everything is always a mess, and no matter what you try from sticky notes, to wall charts always fails, because you don't stick with it, you forget about it, and half the time, it's so annoying trying to be organized, you just get distracted from that too. And in actuality, you just kindof feel like you're going through the motions anyway...
The solution? Software. Find a piece of software that lets you organize. I've been using Assembla.com. there's a small fee($9/month) for using their project planner (which is an Agile Planner), but there are plenty of free ones out there, it's just this one comes with an SVN for managing source code, and bug and feature tracking, and I wanted that as well.
what's important tho, is that the software you choose let you EASILY move stuff around, add stuff, delete it, and most importantly, break it into smaller bits, for instance:
at first I just put in the 3 major parts of the first major project milestone, the 2d engine, the procedural stuff, and the editor specific stuff, then under those I added all the things that needed doing. it turned out to be much less than I was always panicking about.
but that's when the magic started happening...when I started programming, and suddenly I'd realize something else that I had forgotten I needed to do, or discovered a bug that I'd need to fix later, instead of just getting crazy overwhelmed and entering distraction zone, I'd just add it to the list of things to do in the appropriate spot. I can't emphasize enough how much this changed everything for me. first, my project just seemed to shrink overnight, instead of a million things to do, I realized it really wasn't that much. but more importantly, it was literally lifechanging. I'm just happier in general now. may seem silly, but I guess all those random worries about the project. when it just seemed like there were too many glitches to keep track of, or features I'd periodically remember...it was all weighing on me at all times, even when I didn't realize it was in the back of my mind. I can think more clearly, and I can even hang with GladOS and Mileena from time to time without feeling guilty, like I'm wasting time when I should be laying the next brick for the Tower of Babel. so...let's review, planning SOFTWARE, not paper, if you have problems with organization, paper will get lost, it will get messy, and if you need to add some steps in between two others, it will be messier. Make sure it lets you edit and divide things with little or no effort, and make sure it feels natural.
And second, minor, simple, BUT ESSENTIAL!!! I unplugged the internet. I always heard, if you get distracted, eliminate the distractions...but all my distractions were right here at my pc?!!?
so I unplug the internet from the back of my PC. it's kindof a pain to go down there and plug it in everytime you want to be distracted, but more importantly, it showed me just how quickly and out of the blue I get distracted...I mean...no exaggeration. it was like this:
ok...hmmm...so, it crashes here at this code...we have
selectedbones->animation==... and then BLAM right there in midthought, I see my browser opened up, with the CHECK YOUR CONNECTION message. I swear, I didn't even make a conscious decision to open it. but now, instead of just realizing I got distracted somewhere 45 minutes into lurking in scirra chat, looking at pony pictures, and reading random blogs, I immediately had a decision to make. Do I connect the internet in order to proceed with this compulsive madness? or do I continue my work? now instead of a helpless thing being distracted without knowing it, it's like a popup window
[quote:1ej1ghp9]Distraction Firewall has prevented Firefox from using your internet connection
and I have a choice in the matter.
these two simple steps have taken about a year off my project. and they've been consistently working almost a month now, where pretty much every time I sit down to work, I get something done in one or two nights that would have taken me weeks to complete before...
hope this helps someone, and if not....at least writing it was a nice distraction...