Friday, March 1, 2019

How to Find the Time to Stream on Twitch

There's one concern that Twitch streamers have in common with every other profession on the planet, and that's a lack of time. Aside from any monetary challenges (which, if you read my entry about Starting Your Twitch Channel With NO MONEY, you will no longer be worried about), there just aren't enough hours in the day for you to think about streaming right now. This applies to people looking to get into Twitch, as well as existing streamers who don't go live as often as they'd like. It might take too long to research the technology required to stream, or be too complicated to set things up. You might not see where you can carve out a few extra hours each day or week to produce the actual stream, not to mention design logos and graphics.

You might have some big work project looming on the horizon, or some important personal engagement causing you anxiety. Maybe you have an exam to study for, a broken leg, a cold, a splinter, or an eyelash stuck in your eye. Once THAT is dealt with, THEN you can start thinking about streaming! If you really want to be a Twitch streamer but are letting other things get in the way of streaming, know this:

It's not because of your job. It's not because of school or your parents. It's definitely not because of Twitch. It's not even because of any other outside party or circumstance.

YOU are 100% responsible for your time.

Nathan Drake is a go-getter. Be like Nathan Drake.
Accepting this is a crucial part of building a Twitch channel. You have to be completely self-sufficient. There are no bosses or coworkers to blame things on. The universe doesn't care if you fail, it's up to YOU to care if you fail. And more importantly, it's up to you to make sure that failure is not an option. Now, if you don't really care about streaming on Twitch and you're fine with going the rest of your life without doing it, then great! I'm not sure why you're reading this blog, but I hope you find it entertaining and I wish you the best of luck in all your other endeavors. But if streaming on Twitch is important to you, if you think about doing it every day, you take notes about which streamers you like best, plan what your stream will look like and what your community will be called, but you still haven't found enough time to do it, here's the magic formula: you need to make it an absolute priority.


If something is an absolute priority, no trivial outside force can get in its way. It simply has to happen. Did you ever notice that at the end of a weekend you sometimes feel like nothing got done, like you can't even look back and know what you did in the past 48 hours? And yet, even if you "don't have time" during the week, you're capable of doing more during your off-work hours than you think. When something's important and can't be rescheduled to a weekend, you still find time to go to the bank, mail a package, organize your finances, or see a loved one appear in a play, even if that same simple task might take you an entire "lazy Sunday" to complete.

This is why I'm hammering so hard about responsibility. In order to find the time to stream on Twitch, you must first accept responsibility for everything that happens to you. You need to understand that things are going to happen, whether you can control them or not. They may not be fair, you might have to work harder than your neighbor, but no amount of excuses or procrastination will make you a Twitch streamer. Not even setting up graphics or equipment in preparation for streaming. The only thing that will make you a Twitch streamer is STREAMING ON TWITCH. 

Don't have time? OBJECTION!

Unfortunately, your biology is programmed against you. Humans always naturally find balance in things, even where there is no standard against which to measure. This is because of a concept known as the 'Hedonic Treadmill.' It essentially states that humans will always arrive at the same happiness to unhappiness ratio, no matter how much money, hardship, time, or other factors they might have going on. In other words: our programming is such that, if we allow ourselves to put things off until later, we will NEVER do them. We all have this gene in us, to put something off and confuse our slothful inaction for prudence or patience. But whenever you feel this idea buzzing around your brain, you need to squash it IMMEDIATELY. If you're putting off your goals until "a more opportune time," you are may as well have already quit.

So in the hierarchy of your day, make streaming as important as eating. Yes, I'm serious. I'm guessing you don't go an entire day without eating. You may always be busy, but you always find time to do it. Why should streaming be any different? Yes, it takes more time, but if it's truly in your blood, if it's a lifelong goal, I'm sure you can find an extra hour somewhere. Don't let anything get in your way.


I can attribute every piece of success I've had on Twitch to a single phrase I thought up on a whim. I had registered my Twitch channel, but hadn't been posting content on it. I wasn't ready to dive into streaming, but knew I wanted to do it eventually. When I looked at my schedule, I couldn't see enough free time per day to carve out a Twitch lifestyle. I felt content to keep telling myself that soon, it would be the perfect day to start putting myself out there. But then I took a step back, and this thought bubbled to the top of my head:

You'll never have more time than you do right now.

Do you want to be a Twitch streamer more than anything?
Then make it important as eating.
One of the things I've always been proud of is my ability to notice patterns and track trends. To look at the broad strokes of something over time and understand what needs to be fixed or improved in order to speed up its growth trajectory. And instead of looking at stats for social videos or production efficiency like I do for my career, I looked inwards. I looked at the trends of my life so far, and where it looked like my life was going. I wasn't making bad money or unhappy at my job, in fact I loved my work. But I knew I wanted to stream on Twitch. And if I looked forward, I didn't see any point in the future where I wasn't going through the same rinse-and-repeat cycle of waiting for the weekend, but then feeling so tired and demotivated Saturday and Sunday that nothing would get done.

More importantly I looked backwards, and considered a strange effect that used to come over me while I was in school: When I had a week to complete a project I'd always wait until the final night to start working, but I'd always get it done by the next day and be proud of the result. Why was I was able to summon this Herculean boost in motivation, to suddenly see through the fog for a short 6-10 hour span before falling right back into my "work for the weekend" stupor? Because my apathy turned into an active threat. Doing nothing at that point would hurt me just as much as making the wrong decision, because the clock was going to run out either way. This would usually get me motivated to shut up and work. But what happens when there's no set deadline? In that case, the motivation never comes. Someone could easily go 50 years, still thinking each and every day that they'll be able to start tomorrow.

Let me pose a question to you: What if a time traveler came back from 2 years in the future and said that you'll eventually become successful on Twitch, but only if you work your ass off RIGHT NOW to make that future a reality? Would you do it? I sure as hell would, and I did. (Start working I mean, not meet a time traveler.) I decided that the only way to truly find the time to work on my dream was NOT to quit my job, or wait until I hit the lottery, or hold off until an upcoming three day weekend, in order to start streaming. I had to accept that life would NEVER get easier.


If you catch yourself thinking you don't have
enough time, take a second to reassess.
There's always time.
Even to this day, I go through the same ritual when I think something will help my Twitch channel, but lament the fact that I don't have enough time to do it. I take a breath, tell myself, "You'll never have more time than you do right now," and somehow I find the time to get it done. It really works. The mantra isn't about whether you had it easier at work last week, but they just dropped this big project in your lap today. If it was so easy for you last week, why didn't you start your Twitch channel back then? Remember the Hedonic Treadmill: you will ALWAYS think you don't have enough time. Just get out there. Cut something wasteful from your off-work hours: absentmindedly watching Netflix, browsing Facebook, or going out to the store to get today's food but not tomorrow's. If you truly can't see something to remove from your schedule (which I doubt), then there are several perfectly good hours at night you're likely just wasting away. I sleep for four hours a night not by hitting the biological lottery (I'm the heaviest sleeper you'll ever meet), but because I care about Twitch streaming like I care about breathing. Go stock up on coffee, energy drinks and ramen noodles. You don't even have to stay up a crazy amount- if you shave your 8 hours of sleep down to 6, you'll likely feel just as tired as you always do in the morning- no more, no less. But you will have carved out two magical hours each night with which you can craft your dream. That's almost 60 potential hours of Twitch streaming per month- more than enough to build something great.

There are no excuses. You can do this. I guarantee you have enough time, you just aren't using it effectively. If Twitch is truly a priority for you, then treat it like one! Don't aspire to quit your job, or wait until you have 'more time,' just get out there and put in the work. I live my life every night like I have an assignment due the next day, and Twitch is the homework I'm furiously cramming to get done on time. I'm busier than I've ever been in my life, but I'm also happier in my work than I've ever been, because I'm living my dream. What I do is rewarding because it took a lot of hardship to get the reward. Technically it still takes hardship, but I'm past the hump where it feels like I'm doing any work at all. You need to get there, and that requires breaking through your own mental barrier.

How do you find the time to stream on Twitch? You don't have to find it. The time is already there, and it's been there all along. Are you willing to take the responsibility to reach out and grab it?

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