A healthy balance between leisure and productivity can be hard to find. We all enjoy escaping to virtual worlds now and then, but how much gaming is too much? At what moment does it become unhealthy?
Your ideal gaming-life balance depends on what you do for a living, how much spare time you have, and the extent of your passion for playtime. There are seven general rules that you should keep in mind, all of which will contribute to finding the perfect equilibrium. Read on to find the best ways to make the most out of your gaming habit.
Use your time wisely. A regular schedule of daily activities will allow you to focus on the bigger picture instead of constantly thinking about what to do and when to do it. When you don’t have a proper schedule, it gets a lot harder to manage your time well.
For example, if you know that a game you’re looking forward to is going to be released in the near future, pin the date and plan your playtime as early as possible. Two to three hours per day is considered a healthy amount, but it all depends on the rest of your schedule.
If gaming is a part of your profession, a couple of hours might not be sufficient. Careers in games journalism and esports will have a higher average of gaming time, so it all depends on whether you play games for fun or use them to earn some sort of income.
Losing yourself in a game is a fairly common pitfall. The hours can disappear quite easily as you play, and before you know it, a quick session can turn into a lengthy binge. Be aware of this and set time limits to counter the temptation to keep playing. If you need an alarm, use one, but keeping an eye on the time works for most people.
Look out for time-sinks
The temptations of gaming are all around us, from F2P mobile games to highly accessible sports betting platforms. These tools of entertainment are available all day, every day, and you want to avoid the games that make you ‘grind’ for the sake of it.
Choose carefully when you’re selecting games that require a significant time investment, such as MMOs, for instance. Most F2P MMOs ‘bloat’ their content on purpose and should be avoided at all costs. They are designed to make you play for extended periods of time, and just one of these grind-heavy games is enough for most people.
Play social games
Want to combine social interaction with your gaming? Play multiplayer and cooperative games to enjoy digital escapism with your friends and family. The best social games have matchmaking features, so you can even team up with strangers when you’re alone.
Playing a game with friends is always more fun than playing on your own unless you’re the type of person who only enjoys single-player games. In such cases, a schedule that has separate times for gaming and socializing will be most effective. As you can see, there are a lot of nuances involved in finding the right balance.
Avoid lack of sleep
No matter how tempting it is, don’t pull all-nighters. It’s easy to forget how important a regular sleep cycle is, and one night of non-stop gaming is enough to break your sleep pattern completely.
You shouldn’t play into the early hours of the morning either, but again, it all depends on how internal gaming is to your way of living. When in doubt, try to get at least six hours of sleep every night. That’s the minimum for optimal health, and any less will lead to exhaustion and poor productivity levels.
Diversify your interests
There are so many novel experiences out in the world, and you should always be willing to put down the controller and explore new fields of interest.
If you feel like you should be doing something more productive, don’t ignore that little voice inside your head. Go out and try new things, spend time in the real world with the people you care about, and pursue novel experiences with an open mind. This can be hard when there’s a new game coming out every day, but those games aren’t going anywhere.
The most important lesson of all is to have fun. Don’t feel guilty about the time you dedicate to gaming. As long as you plan well and stick to your schedule, there’s absolutely no reason why you should feel bad about doing something you enjoy.
Now that gaming is a mainstream form of entertainment, it’s become a lot more acceptable from a social standpoint. It’s less about the fact that you play games and more about how much you play. You’ll know when you’ve been playing too much, so don’t let it get to a stage where you struggle to change bad habits.
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