Content Creation and Load Management

One of the trendiest phrases in NBA jargon is “load management”. This is the practice of forcing healthy players to sit out regular season games as a means of keeping them fresh for the playoffs. Though it’s a touchy subject – as it devalues the NBA season while robbing paying fans of their opportunities to see the best players at times – we’re starting to see the potential benefits in this strategy. Case in point: Kawhi Leonard on the Toronto Raptors this past season.

Coming off the previous season where he only played 9 out of a possible 82 games due to injury, the Toronto Raptors put Kawhi on an aggressive load management program to keep him fresh. Instead of playing all 82 games, he played about 60, while skipping at least one of two games that were scheduled on consecutive days. Kawhi might have been visibly limping by the end of this past season, but he had enough gas in the tank to lead the Raptors to their first ever NBA championship. Though we’ll never know for certain, there’s a chance his body would have broken down prematurely had he played the season in full.

While I am not a superstar basketball player, applying the concept of load management to the way I manage In Third Person may not be a bad idea.

Creating content is a hobby for me first and foremost. Whether it’s a written post, live stream, or  a social media update, I enjoy the process of making something cool with a personal touch. When In Third Person was just a blog, I could write at my own pace and post largely whenever I wanted. Shying away from time-sensitive subjects made it even easier for me to produce at a pace I was comfortable with.

Adding streaming to the equation fundamentally changed my workflow. Being in front of a live camera adds a timing obligation that wasn’t present with writing. Then I started putting in the work to promote the stream through social media. On top of all that, there’s all the work behind the scenes to make the stream function. Streaming can be a massive time sink, and I’m intentionally only doing it a few days a week to prevent it from completely consuming me.

Then somewhere along the way, posting on the site became a daily occurrence. Never planned for that to be a thing, nor has it actually helped me get closer to my personal goals. However, a stretch of having a lot to say combined with using the blog to promote the stream has created this phenomenon.

All told, In Third Person has grown to essentially become a 24/7 gig. I’m in a rhythm where I’m basically working on something for the site, the stream, or social media during every last iota of free time I have. With the power to create on the phone, the temptation to never stop creating is really high. It’s a joy to create, but creating at the rate that I am is simply unsustainable. I will physically and emotionally burn out if I don’t take steps to reign it in.

Even when I went away on vacation, I still had provisions in place to allow me to continue creating abroad. I bought new games to play, and I had access to wifi at our AirBNB homes. I thought that during moments of downtime, I could play a bit here and write a bit there. However, with our itinerary being so jam-packed with to-do items, all of that fell by the wayside.

In the grand scheme of things, it was for the best. Without any sense of obligation to In Third Person hanging over me, I lived my best life in London and Paris. It helped that I put in the sweat equity to have posts run daily while I was gone, but it probably would have been fine had I let things go entirely for two weeks. Truthfully, posting daily hasn’t really moved the needle for me in a meaningful way anyway.

The combination of being away from a while and watching a well-rested Kawhi Leonard served as a reminder that my time and my energy are finite. I may have the energy today to create all of this stuff, but I know I can’t keep this up forever. While I don’t foresee me taking a long hiatus or anything like that, I do plan on taking a step back, reviewing all of the things I do to make In Third Person tick, and paring my workload down to a healthier level. I’ll have to think about these further, but here are just a few things I’ll be thinking about when I start ramping down:

  • Posting every day. While I’ve been on a hot streak with a lot to say, I don’t want to push myself to write for the sake of filling a time slot. It’s a ton of work and I don’t really benefit from it in any way other than getting content out of my queue faster. I aim to ease myself out of this cycle eventually, though I still have a few gaming-related bits to write regarding my trip!
  • Pre-stream promotional posts on the blog. With the persistent widget at the top of the page and with me promoting on social media, this might be overkill.
  • The amount of effort I put into creating social media posts. I post once-or-twice a day, but I get carried away preparing more than I need. More elaborate videos can take upwards of an hour to edit a one-minute video! It’s great that I have a backlog of posts ready to go, but do I really need this many ready? Even when I’m posting twice a day, that’s 14 posts. Meanwhile, I’m sitting on a queue of 100+. I should be more selective and just take what I really want to use.
    • Also, do I really need more than one post a day? And are they really worth the amount of effort that it can take to put some of those together?
  • Streaming game selection. I’ve felt a tremendous pressure in the past to try and stream every single game I buy. With Crash Team Racing: Nitro Refueled, Reigns: Game of Thrones, Contra Anniversary Collection, Downwell, and Moonlighter in my queue, while adding Samurai Shodown and Super Mario Maker 2 later this week, there’s no way I can squeeze all of these games on there within a reasonable timeframe.
    • Furthermore, is the stream the place where I really want to do that type of expansive game coverage? As I’ve gotten more familiar with the medium, I don’t necessarily know if that particular approach going to be a viable path for me based on my goals. Instead, I’m thinking on focusing more on a handful of games that are more conducive to creating an environment where we can all hang out and enjoy each other’s company.
  • Redistribution of time. Even though I want to pare this beast back, there are still a number of projects I want to get off the ground. How can I restructure my approach to create more time for me to try my hand at a few ideas that have been sitting on the back burner for years?
  • Continuing to find ways of making all of this work fun for me, regardless of how much or how little I make.

Not sure what championship run I’m saving myself for exactly. But if it means I can do this for longer without growing to resent it, then I’m all for toning down my output a bit.

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