Why Don’t I Spend More Time Coding?

A little over 3 weeks ago I started a new game dev project codenamed Dungeon Explorer. I wanted a smaller project that pushed my knowledge of Unity and allowed me to feel comfortable with my coding skills. So I downloaded Unity 2019.2 and quickly blocked out the user interface, and committed my code to a private GitHub repo. And then I didn’t touch it for 4 days. Sigh. I resolved to do better and managed to code for a few days in a row and then stopped again. I needed to find a better way.

I researched how to get motivated and discovered that it’s not about motivation, it’s about discipline. The answer to why I haven’t spent more time coding was a simple one – I did not push myself, I simply waited for inspiration.

Finding Discipline In A Challenge

Now I knew what to do, I needed to cultivate discipline in my coding. I struggled with implementing changes to my schedule, mainly because I did not want to get up at 0515 to code. Yet, I did exactly that and created a nightly routine that included setting up my coffee, making lunch for the next day, and a few other things. These simple tasks saved me roughly 15 minutes every morning, which meant I coded longer in the morning. However, I still did not code every day. I was not disciplined enough.

Around this same time, my wife had completed roughly 20ish days of her daily sketch journal (check out her Instagram). She made time everyday to work on a sketch and post it. I needed something like that for my code. I found my solution in the 100 Days of Code challenge.

The rules of the challenge were simple, code a minimum of 1 hour every day for the next 100 days, and tweet your progress with the #100DaysOfCode hashtag. I did some more research and hemmed and hawed for a few days before tweeting my public commitment to the challenge on August 23.

Publicly Committing to 100 Days of Code

Woot! Since I kept the Dungeon Explorer repo private I couldn’t point to that. Luckily the challenge creator thought people in my situation and provided repo I could fork to create my own daily log. Every day for the past week I recorded my commits and updates to my log, pushed it to GitHub, and tweeted about it.

To date, my greatest success came last night. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and felt like emotional crap all day, every little thing irritated me. I did not code before work, and when I got home I did not code either. I almost ditched the whole day, except one little thing – yesterday was my 7th day of the challenge. I was damned if I would “take a break” so early in this challenge. At 9 o’clock last night I sat down to code for an hour and I wasn’t sure if I could even go that long. At a few minutes past 11 o’clock I finally made myself stop because I needed to go to bed. That is success! And discipline!

Questing and Time Tracking

For the past 8 days I have coded every day, putting in roughly 2-ish hours every day, and I feel good about it. Since my wife and I limited our game dev to 160 hours each for Dungeon Explorer we have logged our time. I increased my coding hours every week so far, and even this week (which ends tomorrow) might have 1.5x more coding time than last week. Woot!

Visual Time Keeping
Week #DatesCoding Hours
2019-W32 7-10 Aug 2019 4.12 hours
2019-W3311-17 Aug 20195.66 hours
2019-W3418-24 Aug 20199.66 hours (started challenge)
2019-W3525-31 Aug 201911.93 hours (1 day left in week)

Life’s An Adventure, Go Questing!

Dream It: I wish I could build a small game to help me learn Unity.
Do It: I created Dungeon Explorer with the purpose to build and deploy a game in 160 hours.

Dream It: I wish I could spend more time coding every day.
Do It: I researched and found I needed discipline in my life, and my wife inspired me to do more. I challenged myself to write 100 Days of Code.

Now in the final days of the month I can see and feel positive changes. I stopped dreaming and started doing.

What’s your dream? What are you doing to make it real?

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