Posts Tagged ‘planning’

Monthly Reflection #1 – Starting Anew

Written by Zainab Al-Ansari on . Posted in Blog, Reflections

Every last Thursday of the current month I publish a report reflecting on the previous month. These reflections exist to demonstrate my progress, share my experiences and help transfer what I learn to others.

The Past Month

Woah, where to start.. This has been a very crazy and hectic month. Well, I guess I’ll begin by explaining why I’m restarting Z’s Laboratories.

On 8th March, 2018 I resigned from my job, and despite how much I liked my colleagues and working there my health was deteriorating rapidly due to stress and my already battered body couldn’t take the hit. But since IT jobs in Bahrain (I worked as a web developer) are generally very stressful, and I had enough cash to last a year + was confident in my small project and business management skills, I decided it’s time to give Z’s Laboratories another shot.

11th March was my last day at work, and on 12th March I started working on setting up a business.

My main focus for the month was to write a simple and feasible business plan for my first year of operations, setup my work processes, establish a new routine and get started!.

Throughout March, I accomplished the following:

  • Planning my work/life routine and applying the new habit.
  • Planning the gaming and game dev events I will participate in.
  • Writing my 1st year plan using the Clean Canvas business pattern, and setting a clear vision for Z’s Laboratories.
  • Building a small HTML5 game called Hooman is Yum!, and publishing it on Kongregate, essentially establishing my 1st income stream.
  • Putting Hooman is Yum!’s source code up for sale on Scirra store, which became my 2nd income stream.
  • Participating in Unreal Bahrain’s Bahrain Comic Con booth and showcasing 4 of my games.
  • Setting up an accounting system for Z’s Laboratories.
  • Signing a contract with myself to better manage the business and finances while holding myself accountable.
  • Preparing an excel sheet to track my work hours, tasks and leaves.
  • Setting up a YouTube channel for Z’s Laboratories and uploading the 1st video.
  • Updating my portfolio, website’s content and layout to match my vision for Z’s Laboratories.

I’ve set my work hours to be from 8AM to 2PM, Sunday to Thursday while having 45 paid leave days that I can take anytime of the year. This is both to maintain a steady productive workflow while having a stress-free and balanced life style. I go to bed around 9PM and eat my meals at the same times everyday to keep my biological clock ticking like a real clock.

My current routine looks roughly like this:

Time/Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
6AM-8AM Morning Ritual* Morning Ritual Morning Ritual Morning Ritual Morning Ritual Morning Ritual Morning Ritual
8AM-2PM Work Work Work Work Work Free Free
2PM-4PM Family Time & Lunch Family Time & Lunch Family Time & Lunch Family Time & Lunch Family Time & Lunch Lunch Lunch
4PM-5PM Study/Practice*** Study/Practice Study/Practice Study/Practice Study/Practice Free Free
5PM-6.30PM Free Free Free Free Free Free Free
6.30PM-7.30PM Preparing & Having Dinner Preparing & Having Dinner Preparing & Having Dinner Preparing & Having Dinner Preparing & Having Dinner Preparing & Having Dinner Preparing & Having Dinner
7.30PM-9PM Night Ritual** Night Ritual Night Ritual Night Ritual Night Ritual Night Ritual Night Ritual

You may have noticed that I’m treating myself as my own employee. This may sound strange, but I did this for 2 main reasons:

  1. I have a very real tendency to overwork myself to death and self destruct while neglecting everything and everyone around me, so by setting strict boundaries I make sure to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
  2. It makes managing and planning the business easier, while giving me stability in my personal life.

This setup isn’t for everyone, but it’s working extremely well for me and I look forward to each new day.

* My morning ritual consists of exercise, shower, breakfast and dressing for work
** In my night ritual I turn off all electronics, dim all lights, meditate, reflect and get ready for bed
*** For this year I'm studying Japanese

What’s Next

The type of games I decided to specialize in as Z’s Laboratories is 3D stylized Open-World games for Nintendo Switch, that have a positive effect on the players’ real lives, either by teaching them a real world skill, exposing them to different view points and getting them to reflect or by making their day a bit better.

To prepare myself for this path, next month’s main focus will be to build-up my game dev skills by making a small game that helps players de-stress after work. I will aim to publish it on both Steam and mobile app stores for iPads and Android tablets, since that combination roughly matches the Switch’s hardware.

I plan on making all assets for my games by myself as part of my business model and put them for sale on asset stores, hence establishing small passive income streams while building games.

This is going to be a very exciting year for me and hopefully I’ll be able to at least break even, that will let me continue for another year without getting a “real” job.

 

This ends this month’s report. Your comments and feedback would be greatly appreciated, so do comment below. 🙂

Weekly Reflection #1 – Building the Foundation

Written by Zainab Al-Ansari on . Posted in Blog, Reflections

Every Saturday I publish a report reflecting on the previous week. These reflections exist to demonstrate my progress, share my experiences and help transfer what I learn to others.

 

The Past Week

This week’s goal was to build my business’ foundation by updating my website, listing down and understanding my current skill set, researching the relevant markets and planning my future goals and next steps to take. You see, what I wish to achieve this work year (September 2014 – July 2015) is to answer two main questions:

1 – Can I make a “livable” income entirely online using my skills and interests?

2 – Is this life-and-work style the right one for me?

I’ve decided the best way to go about this, is for at least the first 6 months to only use skills I already have to build products. Right now what am confident of using is my development (mobile apps, games, websites), 3D modeling and writing skills. I researched online markets and possible way of monetizing my skills, and decided to make a game for my first project with a focus on innovative gameplay, since my art skills are lacking. I have already begun working on a concept and built a prototype last month, and will continue exploring possibilities with it.

The main problem I had this week is procrastination. Although I completed my tasks for the week, I did end up wasting hours and this is a problem I must solve now if I want to accomplish my goals.

 

Analyzing Problems

The main two reasons why it took me so much will power to start, was because:

1. I was tired and lacked sleep. I use an alarm to get up 7am everyday, but due to fluctuating sleep time I ended up sleeping too little.

2. I didn’t have a strict schedule.

 

What’s Next

I have a neat little trick up my sleeve for fixing my sleep while waking up on time without an alarm, which I’ve been using for years, and silly me didn’t use it last week. Interested in knowing what it is? Well, just tell your sub-you to wake you up!.

o.o

I know it sounds crazy, but try it. When you go to sleep and after laying down a few minutes and you start to doze off, make an effort to scream inside your head WAKE UP AT 7AM! Or whatever time you want to wake up in. It helps to visualize the words and numbers, I also find it particularly useful to imagine my sub-conscious as her own person while giving me the thumbs up that she’ll wake me, and it works like a charm!*

*DISCLAIMER: This technique isn’t perfect, the time you actually wake up will differ from your target depending on when you sleep. Especially because no matter what, the brain will wake you up only when you’ve slept enough, and this tends to be in blocks of 1.5hrs.

So, what I’ll try to accomplish next week is figuring out the main mechanic of the game I’ll be building. I’ll also try out a stricter schedule, working from 8am till 3pm with a lunch break, and avoiding the alarm as much as possible.

I hope you enjoyed this reflection (and don’t think of me as crazy…). I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below 🙂

Cheers!

 

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