Welcome to our guide on how to play video games in moderation. Continue reading or use the table of contents.
Life is too short, you should do things you enjoy, right? For me, that meant blowing off my work, and completely wrecking my sleep schedule. Why?
All because I wanted to play one more game, climb one more rank, waste one more hour.
The thing is, gaming is fun.
It’s a way to escape stress in your life, however, at some point you need to ask yourself… “Is this really worth it?”
After coming close to losing my job, I tried to find something, anything, to stop my compulsive impulse to close my work, and open up League Of Legends.
Believe it or not, being addicted to gaming is a real issue. The World Health Organization officially declared gaming addiction as a mental disorder in 2019.
Through this article, I want to share some of my tips to help others find the time to focus on more important things in life – such as your job, your family, and making new memories – while still playing some games on the side.
What Is Gaming Addiction?
The first thing to do is see if you’re actually addicted to gaming, right? I mean, an hour of gaming a day is far from addicted.
To give you some insight into my addiction, I used to play games for 15 hours a day, on top of my full-time job. How I managed that I have no idea. Just imagine if I spent that time on something productive!
Some common signs that you or a loved one is addicted to gaming include:
- Compulsive/Obsessive Behaviour – As with most addictions, when you aren’t playing games, you may start seeing some red flags such as restlessness, irritability, and aggressive behavior.
- Lack of sleep/signs of exhaustion – If you are addicted to gaming, you’ll know exactly how this plays out. It’s 12 in the morning when you see your cyber-friend from another country come online. So, instead of getting a good nights sleep, you decide to pull an all-night with them. Who cares if you have work or school in the morning, right?
- Lack Of Interest In Other Activities – I struggled with this one first-hand. Working for myself, I always wanted to develop new skills. Be it programming or learning how to improve at my job. But, for some reason – I could never find the time. The problem was, whenever I was doing non-essential work, all I wanted to do was load up my favourite game and play until the early hours of the morning.
Now that we have a general idea of what it looks like to be a gaming addict, it’s time for you to figure out a strategy to help you break the cycle.
It’s time to focus on the things that really matter to you and take back your life.
Related: Video Game Addiction Test for Gamers
Tips to Play Video Games in Moderation
I’ve tried all of the strategies and advanced tactics to quit gaming. The problem is, you will never stop something unless you want it. Which means having the desire and willpower to stick to it.
Also, just like any other addiction, don’t expect to go cold turkey from day one.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t try cold turkey, a lot of our members have found great success with it. However, that strategy might not be for everyone, which is why it’s best to experiment and see what works for you.
Just remember to take it slow, make sure each day gets progressively better, and you can’t fail.
Step One: Identify What You Are Losing By Playing Games
Until we take a step back, it’s difficult to see what’s being taken away from our lives when we’re gaming. Think about it, is your girlfriend always complaining that you are never talking to them? What about work, do you blow important tasks that could lead to a raise just so you can play an hour or ten of games?
Life really is short. The only difference between the rich and the poor is how we capitalize on each hour, minute, and second. I want you to put thought into what beneficial activities could replace the hours you spend on games, and where those activities could take you in life.
Related: 60+ Activity Ideas to Replace Gaming
Step Two: Think of Something You Really Want to Work Towards
Are you tired of struggling financially? Do you want that new car, perhaps even your first car? Or are you trying to study a new programming language to help you land that huge promotion at work?
All of these things require time. The time that is being taken up by all those hours in front of your console or computer. That’s why in this step, I want you to think about that one goal in life that you really want, and start working for it. Make a timeline of when you want to achieve that goal and a strategy of how you plan to go about it.
Try picturing your life after completing that goal. From there, try working backwards to where you are now and reverse engineer that life you’re dreaming about. Break it up into small, manageable steps and you might realise you’re closer to achieving it than you think.
Step Three: Schedule Your Day For Balance
As fun as it is to play games all night, it really messes with you more than you know.
Did you know that no matter how long you sleep for, you can only recover one hour of sleep a night?
That means if you pull one all-nighter and lose 8 hours of sleep, for the next week you will be unable to work efficiently on your goals. That means you are putting your work at risk, your exams at risk, and even your relationships.
Moderation vs. Cold Turkey
For me, quitting cold turkey was too difficult. What I did instead was to learn how to play video games in moderation.
I would delete my games completely each Monday, and reinstall them on Friday evening for a weekend gaming session. This way they did not interfere with my work, which led to me being where I am today.
Find what works for you. It does not have to be perfect, and there will be slip-ups, but even cutting down 2-hours a day will put you so much further ahead in life than where you are at right now.
And if you are unable to play video games in moderation, you may want to try a complete 90-day detox instead.
Written by Thomas English