Randomness is a powerful fuel for creativity. I quite enjoy the absurd concepts and images that random connections can make. Here it is one image I edited when playing around with this random words generator.
A lot of people that have websites has used Google Analytics to track basic statistics. It's quite easy to implement and you get a lot of data. You know there are a lot of things that you can do with it that you don't know how to do. There are experts that can tell you how to set up a lot of options but, ey, that's a lot of information you are already getting there. I think I can life with this "basic" stuff.
Since I started AlejoLab I have been learning that what I don't know about GA is a lot more than I thought. If you are somehow like me, who have some general technical knowledge about the web and usually work out the problems by searching for references instead of learning how to do the things from the ground, then you will probably do like me. Like 4 months ago I would have say I knew 50% you need to know to get basic statisctics on GA, and how to use 2% of the features to make the most of it. That last part is what you usually that other things about custom dimensions, filters, custom reports, and so on. You know someone is going to need them, but they are probably professionals with very specific needs.
I thought I knew 50% you need to run the basic features and 2% of the total.
After this three months I have been learning a lot of new things about GA, sometimes not very practical things, but the realizations of the features I needed. Now I would say that I know 10% of the basics and 1% of the total.
Here are some of the things I have realized I didn't know about and I should. They may be basic or more advanced. I write them in a, sort of, chronological order.
I guess what happens if you don't plan to learn about something and learn by using it just because it is there. At some point you start to consider to either delegate or learn the basics in a more structured way. As always it depends on your personal goals.
I am sharing with you the steps in the process of rethinking the blog. You may not find very interesting reading what changes I decide to make to my goal, audience and content in my blog. But you can see how to set up a thinking framework and a process to do that.
In this first step it's time to look at the data. Search for it and gather it all together to better see the patterns.
A picture of the past
It's amazing when you have a big long conversation with someone and you cover all these different topics, and at the end, even when the conversation have been so long you feel it has actuallly been productive in its own way.
Today it was, with topics such us;
Since the dawn of time, different events have converged to make you the first person to know about this project. This is related to one of the three areas I am rethinking in my turning point. IT is a project which is already useful, because someone actually asked me to help, and then I saw the light.
The idea have been naturally in my head for a lot of time. I enjoy the meta-processes involved in game development and design.
I like to teach and I have been a lecturer at various conferences and workshops. They keep calling me!
I have also been answering different questions to other developers and recently I was talking about doing some mentorship, or coaching, to a friend and his team.
I have been playing around for years with the idea of making a recopilation of tools for game designers gathering them from my game designer friends.
I bought a cool domain some weeks ago.
And today, it all imploded into a concept and a quick prototype that got me hooked.
I am at a turning point, which I already defined to be spanning through, at least, three areas of my present everyday life and my vision. The blog is one of the things I am rethinking.
I am going to share all the process in a series of posts. Starting with how do I set up a thinking framework:
First, I will describe some data about the blog, which I will analyze and meditate about, driving me to the setting of a new goal for the blog.
In the last weeks I have been meditating almost every weekday for some minutes after breakfast. It helps me to face the day with more perspective, avoiding to do just the first task I stumble upon.
Something I usually do is to count from 1 to 10 while visualizing the numbers. I do this when starting or finishing my meditation session because it helps to stop the noise and get focused.
During today's session the images of the numbers were quite vivid, so when I finished I felt encouraged to make this video which can actually help you to get in focus, or silence your mind, in 1 minute.
Some days counting to ten has taken me several minutes since I get to breath very, very slowly. Another interesting benefit is that the noise coming from your subconscious when doing the exercise tend to be quite revealing. It is like receiving a message which tells you were your energy is going and that you must take some action.
I almost started this post with the words "Today I have been..." and then I realized I am doing it again. I said it in yesterday's post: one of my goals in evolving the blog is to write and publish at a better time of the day. But here I am, just before going to bed, writing the post. So I have written down the things I was going to talk that I have been doing today and I will use them in another moment.
I need to fine tune my habit because I want to keep it until I decide If I don't really need it.
Everything you are used to, once done long enough, starts to seem natural, even though it might no be.
I have been dissecting the situation with the help of my girlfriend/fiancé to find different fronts where I want to take action to improve and keep moving forward. Today we have managed to define at least three courses of action for what seemed a tangled and unique situation, formerly known as "what I do". I think thats three areas are mostly everything, but I cannot be sure yet until I finish making all the questions to see the situation from all the possible angles.
1. Evolve the blog
As I was talking in yesterday's post Turning point. The goal of this blog has been accomplished. I have managed to build the habit. But there are some things that the blog needs in order to keep being useful:
2. Take a solid step towards my vision
That is, to start working more seriously on a project that can be useful and profitable. Since making an income to live from blogging is not my first choice, I have put to rest some plans to market and promote the blog (because I have a small audience) until I define if the new goal of the blog really needs it.
Separating the search of an income stream from the blog is important since I have been slowly believing that I need more readers to be able to turn the blog into a source of income.
I have around 7 projects or topics which I have been talking about in the blog, plus 2 more which I haven't, that are candidates to be explored to help someone needs.
3. Improve time management
I need to make better use of my time, specially when doing personal, everyday house chores. Because I am at home most of the day, the everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning and so on, tend to be around me always and they define my daily schedule more than I have wanted to admit until now.
Because of my inabilty to manage "house chores time" I am also having problems on how to use my "productive time" efficiently. So I am going to use the sames steps I would use to improve a creative or business process to improve the way I face the daily chores:
For example, one of the most time consuming chores is to decide what to cook according to our diet, what we have eaten recently and what ingredients I have available. I haven't succeded in preparing weekly meal plans. Which would be ver useful when doing the grocery list. What we usually use as a reference is what we have bought the last time (specially when buying online) instead of what we have consumed. So, from now on I will be tracking what things we consume each day, instead of trying to figure out what to eat the next week when doing the groceries.
Another thing I have done is to prepare three check lists in a whiteboard with daily, weekly and monthly tasks for personal and house chores.
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon
In the last days I have been asking myself some different questions to review my course of action on AlejoLab and the pursue of my vision. I have been posting everyday for more than two months, and now what? I have built the habit and it proved to be what I needed. Pulling me to develop my ideas, projects or experiments, not just keeping for myself but to share them publicly and explore how I present the things I do.
But now this habit can be useful beyond that. I never planned to have a big audience in this blog (and I don't have it actually). Since it was for me to get used to write publicly in the first place. But now I am also feeling the need of interacting with the people, as I find that I want to do something useful to others while enjoying it myself.
So, I will be facing these questions myself using some drawings, thinker toys, and other tools to help me review my vision on the role of AlejoLab in it. Expect some posts talking about this in the next days and meta-topics, such as the blog itself, goal setting, vision, business. Even when I don't plan to make these kind of topics of the lab. There are already enough generic business and marketing blogs out there!
Indie game designer