Finding Balance | Accidental Scientist

Finding Balance

Name of the game right now?

Finding balance.

Yep, I know, everyone’s on the search for balance, aligning their chi, making sure their karma’s net positive, looking after themselves, etc etc etc. Sure, it’s old hat, it’s cliche and it’s boring. But frankly, that’s what I’m trying to do with my life right now.

I think I’m getting there. On the whole I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in ages. My brain has started working again. If anything, it was running at about 20% capacity for the past year… if not longer. Now? I’m back up to about 70%.

How?

The old chestnuts of exercise and diet are helping a lot in that regard. (Exercise: Lots of walking and cycling, at least 8 hours a week. Diet: lots of greens, oddly, seems to be helping. Limiting my alcohol consumption is helping too. Marianna’s by the Market has a lentil soup and a thing they call “Horta” which is frankly fantastic).

Not on any drugs any more – other than strattera, which seems to help with sleep and my sinuses, and gives my system a bit of a bump – which was surprising.

Lots of supplements – Omega 3, L-Tyrosine, L-Lysine, 5-HTP, and a couple of really good multivitamins, sublingual B12, and B6 before I go to bed.

I’ve nearly eliminated High Fructose Corn Syrup from my life too.

Net effect? I seem to be feeling a lot better than I have in ages. There’s another part of this puzzle though, and that’s just plain old listening to yourself.

I’ve started listening to myself. When I feel tired, I go to sleep. When I feel like staying at home, I stay at home. I always used to listen to the big emergency signals of “I feel restless”, and “I wanna play” – but now I’m listening to the other ones. I don’t stay at a bar until 2am just to close it out any more – I leave when I’m done. (Even then, most of the time all I’m doing is drinking cranberry juice).

All in all, I feel much better now than I have in ages. Are all of these changes necessary? Well, the diet and exercise ones were mandated by my doctor for high cholesterol and high fasting blood sugar, so while I don’t know whether they make a damn bit of difference, they’re getting done anyway. I think that the listening to myself ones are the most important ones right now.

Big changes at work too. I’ve managed teams of people on and off for about 6 years total, and general consensus is that I’m really good at it. But with everything else going on in my life right now, I’ve just been dropping the ball in too many ways. Fortunately, the people I work with are really really ultra cool. They saw this happening, and decided that the best way to deal with it was to lighten my burden (even though I’m already through the worst of it and coming out the other side). So instead of leading a team now (bye bye, Lead Gameplay Programmer!), I’m going to be exercising my mental muscles a bit more, and have become a Principal Gameplay Programmer (hello, Principal Gameplay Programmer!).

Basically, it means that I can stop worrying about intrapersonal dynamics, and start worrying about the technology. Most importantly, it means that I should be able to tailor the amount of multitasking I do to the amount I’ve actually got enough bandwidth for right now.

I’m not 100% sure about this change… in some ways, it bruises my ego… I’ve been on the manager track for a long time now, and I have a lot of my identity tied up in the fact that I was able to steer the careers of the guys on my team, and be someone they could depend on to fight for them when they needed it, and shelter them from randomness.

Although frankly, sheltering from randomness has become more and more difficult since we switched to an “agile development” model at work. I’m still not convinced that this method actually works for software development except on ultra small teams.

Either way, my load’s lighter, and I’m thankful for that. It’ll help me while I’m balancing myself out.

I live in interesting times 🙂

About Simon Cooke

Simon Cooke is a video game developer, ex-freelance journalist, screenwriter, film-maker and all-round good egg in Seattle, WA. The views posted on this blog are his and his alone, and have no relation to anything he's working on, his employer, or anything else and are not an official statement of any kind.
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One Response to Finding Balance

  1. Rajan says:

    *GRIN* Simon, you sound like you’ve matured a lot since the days at Lost Community :-). Just kidding.

    Rajan