For my game review site, I review individual bits of a game on a scale of -1 to 2, then add up the result.
-1 means bad.
0 means meh.
1 means good.
2 means brilliant.
When looking over my projects recently, I realized that a) I was spreading myself out too thin, and b) I take on projects that I don’t love and projects that are unprofitable all the time. With a family to feed, this needs to stop.
So, I’ve devised a weighted project analysis matrix. It goes like this: Each project is rated in three categories: Time, Interest, and Profit. The results are weighted: Time is multiplied by three, Interest by two, and Profit by one. The sum of the weighted categories is the score of the project.
Time is rated at the highest weight because everything else is time. Every minute I spend typing a blog post is a minute not spent cuddling my daughter. Every minute I spend cuddling my daughter is a minute not spent earning money to feed her. And so on. In economics, this is called opportunity cost: time spent on one thing cannot be used on another.
The old adage, time is money, is precisely backwards. Money is time. Money is the time you’ve spent making or doing something that others will pay for, converted into a divisible, tradeable substance that represents what your time is worth versus what anyone else’s time is worth.
Thus, all else being equal, a project that requires less time is more valuable than one that requires more, as that project allows you to spend more of your precious time doing things that are important to you.
I could die tomorrow. I could die before I finish this sentence. Good for me, bad for my wife and daughter. I owe them efficient use of my time.
If you don’t love it, it will grind you into the ground.
I already have a job I hate. In order to take on another one, it would have to be worth way more money, or give me way more time (same thing). Moreover, interest is a key factor in determining endurance.
Profit is unique because it is the lowest-rated, yet it has veto power. Basically, if a project rates zero or one on profit potential, it’s not a job, it’s a hobby. This is all well and good — I’m not going to stop my quest to play through Pokémon Y in Japanese just because I’ll never make money off of it. I certainly wont stop spending time with my wife and daughter because it doesn’t earn me cash.
But any project I take on besides my family, friends, and moments of rest for sanity, had better have a rating of at least one in this category, even though it will only add one or two to a score that may well reach to twelve.
Project Sprite: A self-help art book on making 2D game graphics. Time: 1. Interest: 1. Profit: 1. Total Score: 6
Project Therion: A monster training game. Time: -1. Interest: 2. Profit: 2. Total Score: 3
Project Larva: A fighting game. Time: -1. Interest: 0. Profit: 0. Total: -3.
My Day Job: Time:-1. Interest: -1. Profit: 1. Total: -5.
Going Back To School: Time: -1. Interest: 1. Profit: uncertain. Total: Between -2 and 1, inclusive.
Clearly, I should prioritize Project Sprite. Moreover, I should ask myself how to increase the time score on Therion, and how to increase all the scores in Larva.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some writing to do.