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Practice makes perfect: how “speedrunning” could help you improve your performance at work

Work can be a grind at times. You’ve probably had moments when you have beaten your head against a wall when an idea, a project or a function just isn’t working the way you want it to.

My experience with “speedrunning” helps me get around this.

Speedrunning is where you complete a video game as fast as possible, getting from beginning to end in the most optimal way you can while under time pressure. You do whatever you can to complete it as fast as possible and compete with some of the very best in the world.

I’ve been speedrunning video games for around five years now, on and off, focusing mainly on classic horror games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill.

I was inspired to get in to it after watching a week–long charity event called AGDQ (Awesome Games Done Quick). Something about watching some of the best people in the world run their chosen games awoke a passion to try it for myself and I haven’t looked back.

I have held world records and set some great competitive times on games I loved as a child (I can thank my mother for getting me into horror).

It’s never easy, and you may get stuck in a cycle, resetting over and over until it clicks. Eventually, you achieve a new personal best and, with that, the feeling that all the toil was worth it. And then the cycle begins again.

I began to realise, while stuck in one of my ruts on Resident Evil 3, that the skills I learned from speedrunning translated well to the work I do at Yardstick, and that the rewards always shine alongside the journey getting there.

Practise what you need to know… let the rest flow

The art of going fast in a video game is all about practising “strats” (our quick quip term for strategies within a given video game) to tie a run together. You need to find all the difficult tricks and enemy dodges that allow you to save the most time and push through.

The same goes for work. Practise and focus on the most important elements of your job – in my case, my coding and team-leading skills. Take what is important to you in your day-to-day role and make sure you put the time into learning how to do it in the most efficient and effective way possible.

When I say let the rest flow, I mean it! Usually when you practise the hardest parts of a run, all the smaller parts click into place on their own.

Don’t focus on the clock

Deadlines, eh? Established at the start of any project or piece of work, they can seem like a bit of looming dread.

In a speedrun, the clock is your best friend and your enemy at the same time. In a literal race against time it is hard not to look at the clock and start to panic, faltering in the run as you scramble to pick up the pace.

In situations like this, it’s always good to just focus on what is in front of you and let the clock do what it needs to do. If a run is lost, then you reset and go again.

In a project, if you feel like you are coming up against time pressures, give yourself the breathing space to take stock of what you have already achieved and consider what is left. Set realistic goals within the time constraints allotted and ensure you meet them.

Believe in yourself and what you can do… No matter what, the clock is there!

It’s never over, so stick with it

You’re in the last room of the game and you are in the green, you hit the end and behold! A glorious new personal best. You realise that you had what it took to get that far, and all the effort you put in was worth it.

Then you boot the game back up, reset the timer, and go again.

With work, we never really stop. We work on projects, both internal and external. We become frustrated when things don’t go the way we need them to. We show joy when things hit the mark, and then we move on to the next project.

Sometimes we don’t take a moment to realise that we have put in so much effort getting to where we are, and that we have reached the end goal we had set out to achieve.

Now you set a new goal and work towards that. Setting these goals allows us to take each workday as a challenge, not something to shy away from.

Everyone starts somewhere

The art of speedrunning, much like the art of work, doesn’t have to be approached alone.

Allow us to aid you on your way to a new personal best when it comes to growing your business.

Email or call 0115 8965 300.

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