Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

The Finiteness* of Time

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 24, 2016

When I was in elementary school, summers seemed to last forever. In junior high, there was plenty of time in the afternoon to do just about everything… except maybe all my homework. That perception really does go away as an adult. Things seem to move faster.

As a guy trying to pack in family, game development, writing, and occasionally reading, practicing guitar, and game-playing into his evenings, I can say that time passes by in a blink these days.

One of the challenges of estimating time is that when I’m “in the zone,” time compresses by a factor as much as 4:1. I think that only 15-30 minutes have gone by, and check the clock to realize it’s been over an hour and a half. This makes time estimates difficult later – I think, “Oh, task X only takes 15-30 minutes. I’ve got three hours. I’ll whip that out and do five other tasks just like it tonight.”

Yeah… no. That just ends in frustration. Potentially tears.

I guess I’ve hit that wall a little too often over the last few months. Maybe it’s that attitude from childhood that there’s always plenty of time, and I certainly know that I’m not the most efficient time manager in the world. So I always think there are more hours I can find here and there, and that I can always go faster if I need to. And of course, when you are young enough, the rest of your life seems almost infinite.

But when you are being efficient, you can’t go much faster, and you realize that even if you live to be over a hundred you aren’t going to be able to move a large fraction of the ideas out of your head and into reality, then it’s kind of a stark realization. I’m coming to grips with it a bit more now. It’s a wake-up call to make the most of the time I do have. I still spend a lot of time on activities that are neither important nor all that enjoyable… just sort of idle distractions. So what’s the point?

* I had to look it up – “finiteness” is actually a word. Take THAT, spell-checker! Although “finity” might work, too.

Filed Under: Geek Life - Comments: 7 Comments to Read

  • Tesh said,

    I see playing games as “keeping up my credentials”, as someone pithily phrased it a while back regarding periodically playing WoW. It’s industry research. Of course, it’s not always fun as a result; I’ve been playing through my Steam library to see what I have, and some of them really aren’t all that good.

    So I prune other time sinks. Twitter, Facebook, following political news, that sort of thing. I’ve been getting rid of books I’ll never read, board games I’ll never play, that sort of thing. It not only frees up time but also clears out the “stuff to get to someday” shelf that looms in the back of my mind.

    There’s never enough time, but I can make more than I have.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    That’s something I’ve come to accept, too. I have this deep ingrained habit of feeling like I need to “clean my plate” – I have to play a game or read a book to completion and get my money’s worth. I’ve started telling myself that it’s okay to read like an editor… the first three pages of a short story or the first 2-3 chapters of a novel… and then feel okay about shelving it. Otherwise I’ll never get ahead of things.

    There are exceptions… with RPGs in particular.

  • samsinx said,

    With a newborn on the way (days at this point), the topics of this post are definitely on my mind. Also I can’t imagine having the time and patience with finishing classics like Ultimas 4-7 or the Baldurs Gates series today versus when I played them as a kid.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Hoo boy, yeah. That’s a huge deal in both modern and adult life. It seems that all our other obligations and activities take up all the contiguous chunks of time – some planned, some unplanned – leaving us with “free time” measured in only 10 or 15 minute chunks. Now, if you defragged those chunks you’d probably find yourself with a hefty, useful 3-6 hour block of time which would be more than enough to get stuff done, play the big epic RPG, or something. But with them scattered like that, it’s hard to do. Easier to pop up a casual game or Facebook to ‘fill’ that time.

  • Luke said,

    I find taking Sunday afternoons and reading with no electronics handy really sliws things down 🙂

  • Maklak said,

    Very loosely related, but funny:

  • Mr Horse said,

    That you took the time to verify Finiteness* is not a null pointer bodes well for FK2’s stability.