Time is a finite resource. I think we all know that.
And knowing that can sometimes put us under a lot of pressure.
Especially when you’re balancing tasks between development and marketing.
So the question I’m posing today is this.
“How much time do you really have?”
Time is relative
Depending on your frame of reference, time will pass differently based on how you interpret it.
So when people say they never have enough time, what does that really mean if we keep the latter statement in mind?
I think framing the question this way is important.
Doing so not just allows us to better interpret our sense of time but understand how it’s allocated.
This is very important because understanding how we allocate time lies the answer to our question.
However, the answer isn’t as black and white as we would like it to be.
Shoot for 50/50
I always recommend that studios dedicate as much as 50% of their time to marketing. 25% at the bare minimum.
Don’t get me wrong, there are going to be moments or periods of time when you will need to shift resources dramatically between development and marketing.
But you don’t want that shift to happen regularly or always heavily weighted on one side.
Here’s a way of thinking about it.
Taxes are a certain thing in life
Some tax accountants (at least here in the US) may suggest the goal for filing your individual taxes isn’t about getting a refund check or owing to the government money.
It’s about maximizing your income so it can be predictable and put you in greater control of your income.
So what does this have to do with time and indie game marketing?
If the focus of what you’re doing is heavily allocated to only one aspect of your project, other areas can or will lack control and sustained progress.
Let’s go back to the tax analogy again for a moment.
If you get a big tax refund check, it may mean you had more of your income withheld, which means you had less you could use.
On the flip side, if you owe taxes, you maximized your income prior to filing. However, if you didn’t save that money you put yourself in a bad situation.
Either scenario has its benefits, but also drawbacks.
And they are ultimately determined by what you decided to allocate for withholding.
This is similar to how you may allocate your time to either marketing or development in the following scenarios.
The “Refund Scenario”
If you reduce the time you spend on marketing and focus more on development, later on, you may have more time to focus on marketing.
In this scenario, you may have limited the amount of awareness and opportunities you could have had, but still likely to have created some awareness.
I would say most studios fall into this bucket.
The “Owing Scenario”
This scenario usually consists of studios devoting all resources to development. (Obviously, it’s hard to devote all resources to marketing if there is no progress or content to share).
When this happens, however, studios end up “being in debt” by missing out on various awareness opportunities and will require substantial effort and resources to gain traction.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of studios that fall into this bucket. As you can imagine, it creates large obstacles to overcome.
The “Split Maximized Scenario”
This scenario is where studios allocate resources as close to 50% as possible on marketing.
Again, I’m not suggesting there will be a complete balance. Nothing is ever completely balanced.
This model helps ensure you maximize your development and marketing.
When following this model to increase awareness opportunities and have consistent development progress, something interesting can happen.
If you strive to achieve this model, you’ll be forced to lead with an open, solution-focused mindset.
Because you’ll always be looking for ways or solutions to market more if your goal is to spend 50% of resources or time on marketing.
Unfortunately, most people may find this nearly impossible because of a pain point we’re all too familiar with.
How can that much time be allocated to marketing if you’re always busy with development?
First, looking at things this way creates a limited mindset. This isn’t helpful if you’re trying to find solutions to problems.
And finding time for marketing is always one of them.
However, it’s not about the time you don’t have, it’s about prioritizing the time you do have.
It’s not to say other projects or tasks aren’t important. They are.
But when projects and tasks aren’t prioritized correctly, they can seem like everything has the same priority.
That’s when you or others on your team become “busy”.
Or worse, they don’t realize the negative impact their prioritization of things has until it’s too late (ie the “Owing Scenario”).
Stop being “busy”
Being “busy” is when a lot is going on…but feels like little progress is being made.
We have all experienced this in some capacity or another.
The simplest answer to why this happens is because we’re not prioritizing the most important or impactful work.
This can often be a challenge for people to determine, especially if everything seemingly has the same importance.
So, what needs to happen is to determine what’s going to be the most impactful and effective tasks that will reach your goal, starting from the highest level down to the lowest.
This is basically a plan that clearly identifies the objectives needed to reach your game’s goals.
If objectives and goals aren’t defined, then it makes it even more challenging to know what your doing is effective and efficient.
When the path towards efficiency and creating impact is at stake, so is the amount of time you have.
Situations are relative
I know I’m painting broad strokes here, as every situation is different.
I’m also not ignoring the fact that decisions you make to allocate your own or your team’s time can be challenging.
Let’s not forget the pressure we put ourselves under either when we’re trying to prevent burnout by allocating time to be healthy both mentally and physically.
While I know and understand that situations are relative, I feel that too often we fall into the trap of thinking in a limited mindset and not a solution-focused one when it comes to time.
There are lots of reasons for this, but it’s still important to think about how you can improve and envision what those results will look like.
As you move forward and learn, those learnings will be affirmations that will reinforce a positive mindset and make more impactful decisions.
Through this process, you’ll continue to be more efficient and likely discover solutions to problems in ways you may not have thought of before.
As you become more efficient, don’t just look at how what you’re doing applies to specific tasks, but how it can apply to other areas of your entire project.
Taking this approach, while keeping an open mind and having a plan is what will ultimately give you more time.
Everyone has the same amount of time.
Everyone’s situation is going to be different.
But regardless of what you have going on in your life or at work, what matters is how you effectively use and allocate your time, not how much of it you have.
Doing so produces results at a better rate which will contribute to your goals, and even lead to becoming more fulfilled.
And when this happens how you interpret it will change.
Because when you realize how finite of a resource it really is, you’ll only take actions that are most important and impactful.
Now…how are you going to start using your time?