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When play becomes work
Making work like play can bring about an unintended opposite effect
They say, when work becomes play, you’ll never work another day in your life. That’s always been how I tried to do it. No matter which job, it had to be fun in some way. That’s a major reason why I indie hack, because building new things is so fun. Trying to make work like play makes it easy.
But lately, I’m also realising over time, making work like play can bring about an opposite effect too:
When play becomes work, you’ll never play another day in your life.
It’s like what they say about how it can be fun to do knitting but once your livelihood—your very survivial—depends on it, the fun bit gets killed. Certain hobbies are better off staying as hobbies.
Sometimes I wonder that a lot for my indie making.
I enjoy the building aspect of indie making. The selling and making a business part, a lot less enjoyable. Would I be better off and happier having a main job and making projects on the side? But I can hardly imagine having any bandwidth or time after a demanding 9-5, toddler care, and still have any energy left in the evenings or weekends to build for fun. I can’t imagine never building anything ever.
So even if being self-employed is the means towards being able to enjoy building, play becomes work problem persists. It creeps up on you. Sometimes I wonder if I had lost the ability to play and have fun for myself. Everything “fun” is also intimately tied up with making it profitable.
Was it when my consulting revenue dried up and survival became an issue?
Was it when I became a new dad and felt that I needed to provide more?
Was it when I got serious on Twitter and got influenced by all the successful indie folks?
Or it could be that life just got waaay busier in the past 3 years and I simply lost touch with my ability to play. It’s easy to lost yourself in work, and parenthood.
Do I want my son to not remember seeing me play ever?
Do I want to just be that kind of father who protected and provided for everyone else other than himself?
Do I want my wife to see me not smile that kind of smile whenever I have fun with abandon?
When was the last time you played in a way that gave you deep joy?
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