Thursday 27 October 2016

Publishing Advice #15: Green and Red Zones

There is quite a lot written about Green and Red zones. Some people will add a Yellow, Blue or Purple zones. There are available long psychological articles and books on the subject. I really, do not want to go there. However, I'd like to write about this from the perspective of a board game designer/publisher using quite a lot simplifications. This article will not be a scientific analysis but more my personal view.  Anyway, awareness on the subject is crucial. It will help to maintain our stamina, to work in a peaceful, joyful and efficient way. Otherwise, we can start hating our hobby, passion and finish with a breakdown.

Green Zone

Personally, I need a safe, comfy place and freedom to be creative. This kind of environment where I know I don't have tight schedules, I don't need to rush anything, the place where I don't have to do anything now gives me peace of mind. I know that nothing will happen bad if something will have to wait! The place where I can rest when I need it. It helps me to enjoy what I am doing and very helpful in avoiding mistakes as well.

However, it is worth pointing out that staying in Green Zone all the time will stop our growth. We want to go forward, learn new things and be better in what we are doing!

Red Zone

Sometimes I go to Red Zone when I want to learn/try something new, or I need to speed up with some work or just do something I don't feel particularly strong in, or scary, or I need to take the risk. A little step away from my comfort zone. And I quite like it when it's my choice to do so. I know it will be good for me! But I don't like it at all when I'm forced to go there because of the circumstances!

Generally, Red Zone mobilises our body, brain and mind to work intensively. So I'm fully aware that Red Zone can be very fruitful for me if under control or devastating if I would stay there for too long. I have done both! And definitely, I don't recommend the second one!

In Red Zone for a short time

A great example for entering Red Zone for a short period can be working with a Chinese manufacturer. Instead of working with people from your country you decided to take the risk. New people with a different way of thinking, behaving, different moral standards, misunderstanding possibilities, connecting with people with various English level, etc. can be risky and stressful. A lot of mistakes can occur, but in the end, it might be a great experience; you can learn a lot about other people from other nations and their culture and help to make things better. You can find out how to do business with them. All this can benefit you in various ways!

In Red Zone for a long time

Now imagine you had a successful campaign on the Kickstarter. You choose to manufacture the board game with the help of deceptive company from China. A lot of unkept promises lead you to many problems: you are waiting for your games from the manufacturer way too long, you can't keep your schedule, backers get annoyed, and you feel the breath of the cataclysm that might be waiting for you! The fact you don't have funds to print the game in another place don't help at all. A situation stays like that for many, many months. The pressure and stress start working against you instead of being helpful. Instead of gaining new experience you are very close to reaching a breakdown point. Walking on the edge is nothing good.

The person in this situation should do everything to leave the Red Zone ASAP before the whole situation destroys his life. Of course, this is a simplified example.

Expand your Green Zone

That is an exciting bit! Yes, by entering Red Zone couple times, in future it can become your Green Zone. The tough stuff will change into something familiar, and it won't be any more hard or stressful. Once you expanded your Green Zone, you can move on, take new challenges, and expand your comfy area again!

Expanding Green Zone

You work together with a Chinese manufacturer on a regular basis, for instance, after two years this ground became your safe Green Zone. It's not any more challenging for you as it was before. It is easy and natural now. You know so many things about those people than you knew a few years ago. The stuff which was causing so many problems before is gone!

How do you guys control your time in Red Zone? When do you know it's time to slow down or back away? Did you ever experience breakdown because of staying in Red Zone too long? Or did you ever expand your Green Zone?