A lifehack and how gaming influences (my) life

The internet giant Tencent in China just recently started to restrict gaming for people under 18 for their flagship game and possibly the biggest mobile sensation ever. Sounds crazy – might actually help a bit.

Semi related, I came across this super interesting article. This piece of writing touches a lot subjects: basic income, unemployment, the technogolical revolution whose advantages make  ‘work’ for some people possibly (or very likely) obsolete, as well as the fact that video games increase happiness. Yes!

And while I do not game to have a sense of purpose or ‘to work’, this struck a bit of a chord, even though for me it is more escapism and relaxation. Personally I never, not even once regret playing.

Before we jump into more of this almost philosophical matter – here is a practical tip, and I will circle back to why I give this tip later on.

I have the same 24 hours that everyone else on earth has in their day. Every now and then someone is amazed by the amount of gaming/work/writing/reading/things I do during my day. And while I can’t say it would work for everyone, it certainly seems to do the trick for me. I am a fan of routines and most importantly I always try to optimize the flow of information that comes at me and rigorously minimize whatever doesn’t interest me, doesn’t affect me or most importantly doesn’t make me happy.

Obviously there are things on a daily basis that are not super enjoyable or have to be done, so do them and do them to the best of your ability, these things are going to save you some time and brain- or willpower (which apparantly is limited).

So I don’t watch TV for example – it’s a waste of time. If you put me in front of a working TV however and I have time I will watch stuff possibly until the end of time. I watch TV shows I enjoy and movies however and pick music videos I like. I also have no interest whatsoever in Football (of the Soccer variety) in watching/following/playing it (and for a lot of other sports too, unless it is a friend playing and needs me cheering or to be there). So I just blend that out – completely. When someone talks about that, I do let them talk and declutter my head. I don’t go to clubs – it’s not for me, I don’t need to pretend to have fun there, I can just not go.

Now for the helpful tip. As I am also not consuming or reading any ‘news’ (honestly, the real ‘important’ stuff someone will tell me eventually and I do watch some satirical news though: John Oliver and for the German speakers a shout out to Extra 3 and Quer) I decluttered where I am getting stuff to read that interests me to a great degree and here is how:

Mainly this stupidly nifty program/app/genius called Pocket. On the back of this program ideas for blog posts develope and I do a lot of learning, entertainment and research with this. Pocket works on pretty much every device and in pretty much every browser. I read something I like – boom! saved to Pocket. I get a idea from an article – boom! saved to Pocket. I want to reference something later or read an article again? – boom! Saved to Pocket. I need something funny, interesting to read on the porcelain throne? – boom! Open Pocket! It’s clean, it saves me time and willpower is almost always available and almost anywhere. I can’t imagine the internet without it. The cherry on top is, that there is exclusively stuff that I am interested in, because I pick that.

Something similar I do employ for books with BookBub (I read on the Kindle mainly) coupled with goodreads, Amazon and friend’s recommendations.

Pick and choose and drop the rest. Get it out of your head. Declutter and say goodbye once you are done but enjoy the moment and keep track and improve. Anyway, you probably get what I mean.

As a kid playing games on a console on the PC happened pretty late. Maybe from age 12 onwards or so. After getting a SNES for Christmas (and boy, oh boy does the SNES Classic tempt me and it also comes in the clearly superior European design, but it’s not necessary as I do have a raspberry pi) my dad would always try to get me out of the house after like 1 to 2 hours of playtime. So I tried to optimize my time in front of the screen with getting up early, making breakfast fo the parental generation and turning the coffee machine on, to wrap myself in a blanket after getting dressed and play until they wake up and after breakfast (and after I cleaned the breakfast table) until lunch to then head out to play in the woods or meet up with friends for activities like playing hide and seek, building forts in the woods, Magic the Gathering or playing with He-Man or Smurf figurines (this depended on the male to female ratio).

So early on, I got imprinted that video games are a reward and that I need to get shit done. This stuck with me to this day and will hopefully stay this way. I do all my shit (cleaning, eating, cooking, sort through emails/communication and blogging you name it) then sit down and with my mind at ease to enjoy the gaming time to the fullest extent. TV shows or podcasts depending on their importance/requirements of attention can be used as background or side activity while getting shit done.

I love my Xbox One S! I am amazed by the graphics, the huge catalog of games available and the ease of use and even enjoy multiplayer/online games now. It’s something I have never experienced before, apart from LAN-parties featuring Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament. It’s amazing and a fairly cheap hobby, taken the enjoynment and time spent with the system into account.

Maybe it is the music, that I gave a bit more space in my life and more of a blast on the bicycle or maybe other factors too, but playing games pretty intensively again – has changed me. For the better. I am more creative, I relax better, I dream better and there is always something to look forward to or a world to immerse myself in, if the day was rough. For that reason I shun ‘realistic’ shooters set in World War One or Two. I like some twist or double-jump on the real world.

With that being said, I will never be a hardcore gamer nor am I aspiring to be one. I don’t care if I don’t finish a game 100% or with all achievements – it’s not work. Nor would I try to compete properly in Titanfall 2 or Destiny (I started to play this weekend and it is the right time for me, the game is cheaper, fully balanced with add-ons and I can just have fun without pressure).

During the time I had no console here in Shanghai, I sometimes played with a friend on his cracked Xbox 360 to finish all sorts of co-op games, then my girlfriend’s brother gave us his Playstation 3 for a couple of weeks I just bashed through games for the story and to finish them and see what I might have missed.

Getting the Xbox One S I was so amazed and wanted to take everything in and slowly and I didn’t progress in a lot of games at first. I wanted to experience all the little corners and secrets in games and just everything and it was overwhelming. Now I am more used to everything and not that overwhelmed anymore and gaming is super natural again. It’s a fantastic hobby.

Now after typing this out, after work, after having bought groceries, made a salad and eating it while listening to H3H3 and a cat documentary I am off to pet the cat and game a little. I love being productive 😉

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