Time management... my eternal foe.

edited April 2011 in General Discussion
The first step is admitting you have a problem. So, here I am. Admitting I have a problem.

This thread is simultaneously a cry for help (mental), a cry for help (actual), and a cry of wanton lament.

When it comes to Obsidian Portal, I have too many things to do and nowhere near enough time to do them:

First, I have been trying to update my Star Wars campaign page to a new, more aesthetically pleasing/easily navigable format. I have made decent progress, mind you. I am almost done updating the "Cast page,":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/star-wars-knights-of-the-old-republic/wikis/cast and then I can move on to the Galaxy Guide, which will house things like planet info, ships, equipment, a timeline, and other such data. Since starting that project, I have run six sessions of the actual game, and I haven't updated the adventure logs for any of them. I have also introduced several new characters (as well as two short-term replacement PCs for a story arc I ran at PAX East), and they aren't up yet, either. All totaled, I am estimating that I have about 50 hours of typing, coding, and photoshopping to do in order to get my KOTOR page up to snuff.

Second, I haven't updated Wyrmshadow in sooooo long! Sure, I have been pretty good with keeping up with my Duskreign Recommends feature (which I just to "took care of,":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/profit-and-peril incidentally), but I have run five more sessions of War is Hell since the most recent one I put in the adventure logs. Plus, I have a huge, HUGE backlog of notes from previous sessions to put up. If Star Wars is going to take me 50 hours to catch up to, Wyrmshadow will take at least twice that long.

Third, of course, I am actively running two campaigns. Actually running the games themselves is the only part of the process I have kept up with, honestly.

Fourth, I have a list two pages long of people who are waiting for me to draw something for them, not to mention my own art projects I would like to delve into. Oh, and add a new map to my Wyrmshadow to-do list, btw.

Finally (I think), I am playing in a campaign run by Rase Cidraen, and I want to do so much for that game. I finally finished "my art for my character,":http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/6615/simoncruzhires.png but I have yet to even get past the sketch phase for another PC, Yonus Fitzsimmons. I have notes for a few more "journal pages,":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/the-dark-queen-of-the-west/wikis/from-the-journal-of-det-simon-cruz-sid but I haven't gotten around to putting them together and posting them yet. I played a session recently and have the discussion logs saved to a Word document, ready to format into first-person perspective so I can post them as my next adventure log for that game.

Every week, I run two more sessions and fall two more behind. I make small, minute progress here and there, while more tasks and inspirations sneak into the fray. I don't even know where to begin, sometimes. I recently got home from work, stared at the Wyrmshadow homepage for half an hour, said "eff it" to myself, and went to bed early, simply because the sheer quantity of stuff I want to achieve (or worse, that I have already told others I *would* achieve) that continues to build and build.

It is kind of like watching someone try to build a huge sandcastle while playing volleyball and deep-sea fishing all at the same time. And the tide is coming in. And he sucks at volleyball. And he gets seasick on fishing boats.

So, I don't know. Why did I bug OP with all this? Because you're here, I guess. Because you're here, and I needed to bug someone. Anyway, thanks for your time.

- Duskreign

P.S. - This post is really long, so don't read it.

P.P.S. - This month's Duskreign Recommended campaign is none other than Gnomes Rule! Alright. April Fools. It's actually "Venture Six's":http://www.obsidianportal.com/profile/VentureSix/ awesome Rogue Trader campaign, "Profit and Peril!":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/profit-and-peril


  • gnunn
    Posts: 423
    Oh boy do I feel you on this one Dusk!

    Maybe it doesn't help, but perhaps you should think of your problem as "good time management" after all, you seem to be putting your focus into the actual sessions you are running instead of the site -which is, after all a nifty extra.

    I struggle with this same situation all the time as well and most of my attempts to mitigate the problem seem to slip through the cracks. My latest half-baked strategy is to shorten my adventure logs to brief summaries broken down by encounter. While this sounds great, as soon as I sit down to write, I find myself getting sucked into an in-depth retelling of the session.

    I think you have a good idea to pick one project to work on at a time, like updating character portraits, or adventure logs... of course, when I do that, I also wind up distracted by other shineys... sigh.
  • PartyPanda
    Posts: 33 edited April 2011
    I feel ya Dusk. I'm only dealing with one campaign and I don't get to update/clean up my OP site as much as I would like! I've tried to get my players more involved (like at least updating the Adventure Log) but that doesn't happen at all.

    Of course I am also incredibly busy doing other panda related activities. Sleeping, eating bamboo, sleeping while pieces of bamboo stick out of my mouth, drinking fermented beverages made of bamboo so I can drunken panda ninja battle. Yanno...that sort of thing.

    ~The Party Panda
    Post edited by PartyPanda on
  • RaseCidraen
    Posts: 890

    Ultimately, time management sucks. It's the only thing I've ever run across that submits the following dilemma:

    Me: "I have So many things that I need to do... I know! I will manage my time effectively!"
    Me: *Furiously writes down a list of All-The-Things-I-Have-To-Do, and attempts to prioritize them.*
    Me: *Has grown a six foot beard and aged sixty years before the list is halfway complete, then gets bored and wanders off to play video games after being disgusted by the futility of listing infinity.*

    Ultimately, I try and say to myself: Today I will do X. And that's it. Anything else is bonus points. Sometimes X will be very important. But sometimes, it's nothing important at all. Today, X for me was uploading an image for a character nobody has met in DQOTW. Why? That was my randomly decided X for the day. If I get other things done, superb! Excellent even! If not? Well, I accomplished my goal! One more thing moved off the list.

    For you, though - I advise sending the One and Only Rase Cidraen a list of things that he may be able to help with to beat your KOTOR down to less than 50 hours. My Photoshop-Fu knows bounds, but they are generally upper and lower bounds, and sometimes the upper bound is even X+1, solve for X.

    Sometimes the best thing you can do is to take a break from the obligation. That gives you enough energy (sometimes) to fly back in and crush tasks like nobody's business!

    (Also, you can let me know what you want to do for DQOTW, and I can likely make that job much easier for you :) )
  • Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    Here is the system I devised, which is strikingly similar to what Rase just posted (get outta mah noggin!). It doesn't help with the overall problem, but it should keep me focused on getting SOMEWHERE on these projects.

    I have on my desk in front of me three sheets of paper, numbered 1, 3, and 5. The number represents a points value for every task I write on the list. At the end of every work-day, my goal is to score 5 Task Points (or TP), and on every day off, the goal is 10 TP. On a regular work week, my goal is to achieve 45 points worth of my goals.

    On the 1 point list are tasks that will take relatively little time to achieve, or that require relatively little effort on my part.

    The 3 point list has tasks that need a little more time and attention, and often require me to first accomplish a few 1-point tasks before being able to really focus on them. A typical work day should see me achieve two 1-point tasks and a 3-pointer.

    The 5-point list contains large or long-term goals that will require a lot of time and effort on my part. Usually, they are umbrella goals that incorporate several smaller goals (get A, B, and C done, which makes it possible to do X, Y, and Z). These goals are the most visible ones to achieve. If you see something go up on one of my wikis, it was likely a 5-point task.

    I began populating these lists with goals last night. I am hoping they help me to be able to make a more measured effort to accomplish something substantial here on Obsidian Portal, as well as for my campaigns in general.

    However, one problem this doesn't solve is that for every one or two tasks I accomplish, it seems like I will be adding twice as many to the lists. In running two campaigns, I have created a seemingly perpetual escalation of stuff to do, and the time I have to do them isn't getting any easier.

    Rase, as for slicing off some responsibility and feeding you some, I am definitely considering it. :(

    - Duskreign

    P.S. - PartyPanda.... eeeeeheeheeheeheehee
  • arsheesh
    Posts: 850
    Just read through this thread and I'm shaking my head in agreement. I have been feeling completely overwhelmed with the amount of work that I've bitten off for myself with my own two sites. I like to tell stories but I am a woefully slow writer. Hence, my adventure log write-ups tend to occupy a tremendous amount of my time. In fact, in my Age of Legends campaign, I just recently finally got arround to finishing a write up for an adventure that I had run over a year ago. Since then we've run through at least two major adventures and who knows when I'll find time to write those up. Then, like you mentioned, there is the challenge of reformatting your site. This alone can absorb an ungodly amount of time and energy.

    I don't know that I have any advice to offer other than what you and Rase have already proposed. Except to say that as for myself, I've just had to get used to the idea of narrowing the scope of my expectations. There is so much that I want to do with (a) my AoL site, (b) fleshing out the campaign world discussed in that site, and (c) developing my current campaigns, that if I focus on what is _NOT_ getting done I will be constantly feeling anxious and scattered. On the other hand, if I focus only on one task at a time, little by little things will get done. If I further evaluate the current state of progress in my site, setting, campaign with where things initially began (rather than where I would like them to be), then I feel that progress has definitely been made. So in one sense, contentment does depend to a large extent upon the perspective you take.

    On another note, great job on your artwork Dusk! Glad to see one of us finally finished something from the the WIP thread.

  • gnunn
    Posts: 423 edited April 2011
    One thing I set in place for myself this past weekend was to develop page templates. I took the code from a completed OP "section":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/the-westerlands/wikis/factions page, and set another up for a sub-page (a couple factions in this case "1":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/the-westerlands/wikis/bloodfists & "2":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/the-westerlands/wikis/order-of-the-spiral-horn) and plugged each set of code into Evernote. The beauty of sticking it in Evernote is that I was able to gray out all the extra code that doesn't change from page to page and highlight any particularly important elements in red. My hope is that this format will help page updates feel less daunting.

    Of course, once I finished the two sub-pages, I realized that the "adventures" button needs to change. I'm trying to figure out how to make that more universal, so I don't have to create a bajillion specialized nav buttons. I'm thinking of just titling it, "back" but what if someone gets to the page from an embedded link? "top of section" is too long... grrr...

    Oh, also I have decided to use Hero Machine for all of my faction symbols (moving forward). They just made a major UI update that seems to have greatly stabilized the tool and allows for much greater customization by greatly expanding the caps on the various transform tools. I find that the end results are effective and much quicker than editing stuff in Gimp or the like.
    Post edited by gnunn on
  • arsheesh
    Posts: 850
    Those templates are looking pretty fly Gnunn! I really like that you are creating symbols for each of your factions. I've been toying with doing the same thing for each of the civilizations in my world but then that would just add to my to do list.
  • DarkMagus
    Posts: 425
    I agree with Arsheesh. Those pages look great! I wish I had half the talent for prettying up my page that you guys do!
  • arsheesh
    Posts: 850
    I don't know about that DM, your new Gaming Music site looks really slick! For that matter I like the look of all of your sites, including the One shot Zombie Apocalypse; the banner just captures the spirit of the game.
  • Chriseagle5782152
    Posts: 2
    I guess before I throw my two bits in, the main two questions are
    1) How much, if any, "secret" information are within the notes ?
    2) Are there any players in your groups capable of the coding and plugging the information in themselves.

    I ran into a similar problem some time ago when I was attempting to run two campains. And the solution for me was to "contract" the work out to my players. For each of my campains I assigned a co-DM, someone that would be able to role-play thier character as though they didn't know everything that they as players knew.

    After the selection of the co-Dm I would take volunteers, generally on a rotating basis, to write up the session notes. Pretty much everything that happened during the session, with as much detail as they could manage. And then assign them some bonus XP for the effort. From there the Co-Dm would handle the Notes of a more secretive nature, with the understanding that he would also get some token amount of XP for the effort.

    Of course this system doesn't have to work off of XP, some DM's that I know are sticklers for the entire group having the same amount of XP across the board. Certainly I am not one of those DM's, And I'm not meaning to knock them, the way they play works for them. But the "reward" for this time and effort should be something that the players feel adequetly re-imberses them for thier effort. could be you choose to apply in game currency, or some form of story reward. Honestly you know your group best, so you should be able to come up with something that catch's thier interest without making them overtly more powerful then thier buddies that choose not to participate. For me the XP rewards worked well because I also awarded Xp awards for various other tasks that players not proficient in coding and whatnot could participate in to not fall behind. Such as cleaning off the battle map while I study the next encounter, or drawing the next encounter on the map so on and so forth. Hope this helps, or at least doesn't hurt.
  • DarkMagus
    Posts: 425
    Thanks Arsheesh, however OP user "Dethstryke":http://www.obsidianportal.com/profile/Dethstryke is the one who came up with the format for Gaming Music, all I am responsible for is the graphics on the main page and the banner. I agree about the zombie apocalypse banner, I was trying to pull the reader in from the real world into this spin off fake world.
  • VentureSix
    Posts: 30 edited April 2011
    Agreed with all! I have a digital checklist that I keep on my iphone/ipad that details out what needs to be done prior to the next session. I just work on these not in any particular order, but based on how much free time I have. Few minutes? Sure, flesh out some NPCs. 30 minutes or so? Work on some encounters and maps. Hour or more (ha!)? Work on overall flow. Wife going shopping and I sit in a comfy chair in the mall waiting for her? I can get everything done then! :)

    Oh, and Duskreign? Many many thanks for the honor of being your April recommended campaign. It's my birthday in a few days, so a pretty awesome gift!! :D
    Post edited by VentureSix on
  • gaaran
    Posts: 740
    Gnunn, I'm really digging the new look, it's stylish and minimalist, and there's something to be said for that. For my page, I just couldn't come up with a design that I liked that was simple. Don't get my wrong, I like the look of the page, but designing it and testing it in different browsers, and updating... it's a little overwhelming. And to top that off... I'm considering another design change. Please, someone talk me out of it!
  • RaseCidraen
    Posts: 890
    Gaaran, I think that we should take your new design idea and expand on it! I think what we need to do is have animated graphics for *everything*. Give it a bit of sparkle. Not too ostentatious, mind. Just animated gif buttons that have a slow light pan across them. And then we could have different sets of pages for things! I think that would work marvelously. Yes. And then we can integrate some sort of VOIP conference system by which you can Talk-To-Type for entering code! And then we can teach it how to perform excellent code by itself, and then accidentally make it self aware...

    Oh crap, Gaaran - we're about to invent Skynet!

    ...so did that work for talking you out of it? :P
  • gnunn
    Posts: 423

    This will probably do the opposite of help you with your time management challenges, but one thing I did, which I felt really helped my redesign was to pick a unified color palette. In my case, it was pretty simplistic, I ended up going with a burgundy-ish red, gray, black and white. I also decided that I wanted all my pages to evoke book pages, and specifically, the start of a chapter, which has a picture at the top.

    Taking a look at your layout, I think you could potentially tighten things up if you adjusted the brown colors in your parchment background, the card catalog navbar and your header to match. I think this might help tie the whole page together more without breaking the very cool library/archive aesthetic you have going. Again, I am doing the opposite of helping.
  • gaaran
    Posts: 740
    Lol, damn yous guys to heck....!

    That's a pretty great idea Gnunn, but as you know then I have to update the code on every single page... However, you bring up a pretty good point, and I shall have to look into it...


    Rase, if the end result is Skynet, then yes, you HAVE helped talk me out of it... :P
  • RaseCidraen
    Posts: 890
    Wait... so we can't use Obsidian Portal to create Skynet? *Stops typing in the latest Campaign he was creating - "Definitely not a Skynet Campaign - Nope! Look somewhere else for Skynet..."*
  • gaaran
    Posts: 740
    Just wanted to say thanks for the inspiration to organize my to do list for my page and gaming stuff. I'm in between games, but my campaign setting is incomplete, so i'm trying to buckle down and work on it. Just so much to do (and so far i've been able to resist the redesign, because i don't need to do that :P). My first new real update is for the "Old Gods":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/melekar/wikis/religion and I thought it looked pretty slick (much better than the old version).
  • twiggyleaf
    Posts: 2,004
    Nice Work, Gaaran! The page is excellent. I like the way the history "contains" Melekar and the graphics and deity descriptions look great!

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

  • Dyluth
    Posts: 92 edited April 2011
    Well there's nothing I can say that hasn't already been said here. Dusk you've been a great GM and a much more active member of this community than I could ever hope to be. Your tips and advice to fellow GM's and players have been simply invaluable for a long time now. I too can relate to your dilemma. I had made many MANY pledges at the years beginning for much needed upgrades to Dawn of Darkness, but time too (or at least a shortage there of) has prevented me from doing anything more than make simple adventure log updates, and this is just ONE campaign that I run monthly, not the two you juggle every other week.

    All I can say is keep calm... and game on!!
    Post edited by Dyluth on
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