How to balance video games and life
Love video games? Me too, but we still have our job, study, and life.
Some of the video games are addictive, not only for the children but also for the adult could keep playing video games until forgot to eat, sleep and even work.
But as a responsible adult, we still need to play our bill, loan, and other expenses.
Even though you are a student, you need time to study.
So do you need to give up your gamer life?
Abandon your video game hobby can be very difficult for you, but the good news is, there got several ways to balance your video game and your real life.
You can keep playing your video games without affecting your career, study or other activities.
I also a gamer myself, I like playing video games, but in reality, I got a job to do, have a career to build.
I cannot put much time to play my games nowadays.
In fact, I already have several months didn’t touch my PS4 because I have few projects need to rush.
I am going giving you some tips to balance your video game life and real life with my own experience and research.
- Thomas Frank
- Set up an environment for studying that only for studying
- Increase the friction involved in getting into a video game
- Simply game after you’re done working for the day
- Play games that work well with your schedule
- Turn your life into a game
- Road Delta
- Avoid Time-Consuming Games
- Skip The Extra Stuff, mission or quest
- Play On Easy Difficulty
- Manage Your play time
- Set Timer
- Only play on weekends
- Deep work, Deep Play
- Create Punishment system
- Just watch other people stream
- Invite your friend or family to play with you
But first, let me show you two video to learn how other people manage the problem.
Here I break down a video created by Thomas Frank, it talking about How to Balance Video Games and Studying.
It comes in handy if you are a study and have no time to play your favorite video games.
As you can probably tell from his backdrop and his entire room, He is also a fan of playing video games.
Just like you and me.
But he also has a complicated relationship with the video games.
He illustrates it on something he calls the “Work/Play” Compulsion Scale.”
Mean that he priorities wanted to find the balances between video games and life.
“As you can see here, it looks like a teeter-totter.
And if I had my priorities in order and acted in the way that I wanted to act on a daily basis.
Then I would work for a certain amount of hours and then play video games for a certain amount of hours.
And I would be nicely placed in the middle. “
In the video, he provided five tips to help you balance between playing video game and study.
Tip 1. Set up an environment for studying that only for studying
There a study was done at the University of Hawaii.
Where researchers wanted to figure out if they could improve students grades by changing their environments.
They did one thing.
They told students to turn their desks around in their dorms toward
one wall and put a sticky note labeled “Study Area” on the lap next to their desk.
The students were instructed to only use this desk for studying and everything else, other activities had to take place somewhere else.
“What do you think happened? In comparison to the control group of students who didn’t do this, the students who did do it had an
average of 1.0 GPA increase. ” Frank said.
From that research, we know that destruction is one of the significant factors affecting your productivities.
If you want to balance it out of your gaming life, separate your workspace and entertainment place.
Tip 2. Increase the friction involved in getting into a video game
“The idea here is to increase the difficulty and the number of steps involved in getting into a distracting activity and basically make doing your work the more attractive option in that case.
One way that you can do this is by actually creating a different account on your computer for work and only installing the programs you need for work on that computer.”
Don’t let yourself easy to access the gaming system, I am talking about Steam account, PS4 or Xbox should be somewhere else, just keep a distance from your workstation.
Tip 3. Simply game after you’re done working for the day
“Use gaming as a reward and this kind of goes back to the concept of high-density fun that I talked about in last week’s video.
Use the anticipation of a long gaming session later on in the day
as a motivator to get your work done more efficiently now.”
Yap, prioritize what important first.
After done all the task you suppose to do, then just go enjoy playing your video games.
This method can avoid any delay for the things you need to do.
Tip 4. Play games that work well with your schedule
On the other hand, playing a few sessions of Smash Brothers with your friends is probably not going to suck up a whole ton of your time. Just be mindful of the real world commitments you have and select your game accordingly. “
Chose those games that are not going to use up too many of your time.
Tip 5. Turn your life into a game
“You can actually reduce the compulsion to play lots of video games if your life feels like a game itself.
The best way to do this is to set goals that are specific and that you’re actually stoked to achieve. “
Make yourself a list, just like the game character has its own quests.
Write down what things you are going to do, do the task, then mark a check beside it.
Just like you finish a quest in the video games.
If you find that your own gaming habits are still really hard to break through, there are actually some online communities that can help you
Frank state over on Reddit, there’s one called r/stop gaming and r/wow.
There’s also a site called quitlol.com, which is precisely for people who play League of Legends.
These are the tips provide from Frank.
Now let’s move on to another video which created by Road Delta, it also talking about the Balance between video games and studying.
He has similar approach method but yet still different tactic to practice
“Video gaming can be a source of a lot of fun but can also be a source of frustration and procrastination as we get older.
Video game time is replaced by studying and working and playing games becomes more like a distraction.”
But he believes there’s a way to keep gaming and still be productive that can make you appreciate gaming even more and it.
“Starts by embracing that Gaming is a waste of time what did you so if we consider all activities that do not produce any results a waste of time all entertainment including video games fall
into that category.
As we strive to achieve more with our time, we might attempt to eliminate all distractions like uninstalling all games deleting steam and banning gaming from existence.”
But, it not a final solution, after a little bit of then need for distraction kicks in, and you will start playing a game no matter what.
So his point is you are not necessary to cut off your playing games to have a healthy routine.
“My point is that entertainment is a part of a healthy routine and gaming must be earned to feel enjoyable and guilt-free.”
In the video, he uses one of the methods from a self-development book called “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”
The Author Stephen Covey divides activities into a matrix with four different quadrants.
The Activities can be either:
important or not important; urgent and non-urgent.
Self-development activities like reading and just exercising, in general, will go to a quadrant – because it’s something that it’s important and not urgent
On the other hand, excessive video gaming goes to quadrant 4 which is not important and not urgent.
“Now turning gaming into rewards, it moves it from quadrant 4 to quadrant 2 since we are exercising restraint and discipline.
So now let’s look at the methods to make this shift possible.
Before you start. Gaming is important to define for how long you want to gain.”
In the Parkinson’s law, it basically says that the time it takes to complete a task will expand to fit the available time
Meaning that if you don’t have any predefined time to game you will gain for longer than you should.
So if you want o play a game, received it to few hour, sometimes too much of something can spoil its taste.
Road Delta received himself to one to two hours maximum at a time.
The primary goal here is finding the balance between enjoying the game and not feeling guilty.
During the week this approach.
It will make you enjoy the gaming more because there is a sense of urgency you earn your video game time.
In the other tip, he has two ways to create that mechanism to stop from you when you are supposed to stop play game at the moment.
One is Alarm clock or Timer, another one is accountability.
you can choose to use your phone timer or a kitchen alarm.
“It has more of an impact when it goes off place it next to
you or for maximum effect place it somewhere where you must leave your gaming area to turn it off.”
The other one is accountability
Having someone who reminds you that when you are playing too much.
But here is the catch, don’t rely on your gamer friend when you are in a multiplayer game or online game.
“And here is where productivity tools come in handy most used is definitely the Pomodoro Technique where you work for 25 minutes and then rest for five and repeats until you are on the road .”
He suggests use productivity apps like Habitica make you more productivity.
Habitica is a free habit-building and productivity app that treats your real life as a game.
With in-game rewards and punishments to motivate you and an active social network to inspire you, Habitica can help you achieve your goals to become healthy, hard-working, and happy.
These are the solid tips given by Frank and Road Delta.
So now here are my tips for helping you play video games without affecting your quality life.
1. Avoid Time-Consuming Games
Choose what video game should you play is one of the critical factors for affecting your lifestyle balance.
I normally choose Video games with story/campaign.
Online multiplayer game or MMORPG are going to be an endless journey, so I tend to avoid these type of games.
Until now I still haven’t tried to play World of Warcraft.
I am that kind of gamer which is attached to storytelling. I will put story as my first priority for choosing which game I should buy.
Here the thing, what is the ideal gameplay length for a campaign mode?
This is very objective, but in my opinion, 25 to 80 hours of gameplay length is my ideal length, it short enough to keep thing interesting, long enough to cover the topic.
You can go to gamelengths.com to check the average gameplay time.
Another reason to chose video games to have campaign mode is it has an ending.
So when you finish a game, it is time to stop playing for a while and get back to reality.
Here is my list of games I played which is worth your time.
1. Last of us (PS4)
2. GTA V
4. Wolfenstein: The New Order
5. Metro 2033 and Metro Last light (I recommended the Redux version)
I know there got a lot of great games out there can compete with the list, but these are my pick which is good for you when you are in busy time but want to enjoy playing games.
2. Skip The Extra Stuff, mission or quest
Yap, don’t play tennis in you GTA V, let go for some heist.
Some mission in the game can be skipped, you only focus on the primary objective.
Developer tends to create a lot of side quest just to make the game have more feature or gameplay time.
3. Play On Easy Difficulty
Don’t make it hard, set your game in easy mode if it was available, by this way you not only can finish the game in short time but also less frustration.
4. Manage Your play time
This is already a noticeable tip, but the problem is how do you do.
First is schedule you play time, bring out sticky or your computer calendar, write down when you are going to play your video games and how long.
Post it on the wall that you can see all the time, or set an alarm clock on your calendar.
It subconsciously making playing the video game is part of your scheduled task among other activities, so you have more organize toward fun time and working time.
Setting how long you play also make you know when it was going to stop and move on to other activities.
5. Set Timer
If you feel uncomfortable with setting a schedule for yourself, you can use another method like set a timer before you play a game.
Like me, I often use my mobile phone to set a timer with 2 hours long before I click the DualShock start button.
So I do not worry if I very into the game world, the alarm will alert me when the time comes.
6. Only play on weekends
Remember when I was younger, my parent set a rule, we only can play the video game on weekends or holiday, the other day computer just uses for homework or research.
When older or grow up, of cause nobody can tell you how to do with your life.
But the “Only play on weekends” rule can be helpful sometimes if you are an addictive gamer.
Because there only 2 days of weekends in a week, so you can focus on important things on the other 5 weekdays.
And I am sure while on holiday, we are going to spend a lot of time on the bed.
this is the win-win situation, you get your life balance and get more things done during the weekdays.
7. Deep work, Deep Play
I read a book called “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport.
It is about the importance of keep focus on the important task when we now live in the distracted world.
When you were working on something, and to get the best result in your work, you need to eliminate all of the things that distract you, for example checking email, social media, notification and so on.
Same goes for playing a game, you want to use your time wisely to get the best gaming experience.
8. Create Punishment system
Create a punishment system for yourself.
Sometimes people need to be punished so that they can remember the pain.
Her how it works.
limit yourself only can play games at the particular hour per day, like giving yourself a quota limit.
Once you break the rule, you need be punished, either pay money into your “Punishment Jay.”
For example, I set myself only can play video games for three hours per day, if I play overtime, I need to donate a hundred buck to the “Punishment Jay.”
9. Just watch other people stream
Yap, kind of the weird method of “enjoy” your game.
But sometimes it has its advantages.
You don’t have to invest in the gaming system or computer hardware.
Just go to twitch.tv or youtube.com to watch your favorite steamer play the games you prefer.
It kind of like you like football, but instead, you pay to watch other playing.
10. Invite your friend or family to play with you
Share the joy with your family and friend.
First, you both can enjoy the fun, and secondly, you can keep reminding each other when its time for going to stop playing.
Although I was already given a lot of tips for you to balance your gaming life and real life, I know not all of them are suitable for you.
So chose the best method for yourself.
If you have any other tip, you can share it down on the comment below.