Whew, my life got really busy around 4 months ago! I started an MSc in Software Engineering, I took on some additional responsibilities at work and I've been having to prepare new content for some programming classes I volunteer to teach.
Where does game design fit into all of this? In short: It doesn't really.
There's been so many posts and podcasts about this already but how does one make time for game design and development?
If you're passionate about something you'll find a way to do it, but that doesn't mean you get to do it all the time. We have our own responsibilities and maybe you only get to dedicate one afternoon per week or maybe one hour per week.
I find it is useful to have explicitly allocated time for design (and development).
Tabletop games don't mix much with my professional life, my volunteering or any of my other hobbies. They're almost all tech-related and I can sometimes do one while doing the other.
Game design doesn't fit with the rest, so I have a time slot every week dedicated to game design.
The other thing that keeps slipping is writing these posts. I have to ask myself what I really enjoy doing. I prefer making something more than writing about it, so, blog-post writing got put on hold until I had a little bit more time.
In my opinion, whatever the choices you make, if you make them consciously, you won't regret them because you made a weighted decision.
Only having a single time slot dedicated to game design caused delayed my new prototype so I won't get to bring it to my playtest group this week (might not even be able to attend!). That's fine because I had assignments to do and I needed to prepare for the classes next week.
It's up to you to decide how to organise your own time, but make sure it doesn't happen by accident. Tim Urban's talk "Inside the mind of a master procrastinator" paints a good picture on the subject:
How do you organise your time?