Let’s face it: MMORPGs can easily take over your life. They are very addictive. What is not to like? MMORPGs offer a fantasy world where none of the irritations and hassles of real life creep in. There may be politics with other players. There may be slight issues, but those are issues that go away once you turn off your computer-not so with life. For better or worse, MMORPGs provide an alternate reality that many people use to escape from the issues and stresses that they are facing in their real day to day existence.
Your Time is Your Most Precious Possession
They can easily take over gamers’ lives by eating up the most precious resource people have, which is their time. Think of it this way, for every hour you spend doing one thing you have one less hour doing other things. This is the iron law of life economics. Opportunity costs are very real. There are only 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute. For every second that you waste, you cannot borrow, beg or steal that time back as it is gone. At the end of our existence, regardless of how smart, how beautiful, how rich or how healthy you are, you are going to end up dead. That is what we all have in common. This is the reason why time is very important.
Life Balance Dictates Your Life’s Quality
How we spend our personal lives’ time dictate the quality of our lives. Living a life that lacks balance among differing priorities that compete for our time can lead to many problems down the road. If you neglect work time and you do not put in the amount of time needed to do a good job at work, your future income, your career trajectory, your retirement and really your long-term livelihood and sustenance will be seriously affected. The same goes with interpersonal relationships, family and friends. If you do not give them enough time, you see yourself becoming lonely, aimless, unloved and unhappy. The same goes with pastimes like hobbies, sports and MMORPGs. If you do not give yourself enough personal leisure time, you might find yourself overly stressed, overly caught up in the drama of other people’s lives and feeling cheated out of your own personal enjoyment. You need balance for a well-adjusted life.
An Individual-Centered Guide To Life Balance
This guide is specially written to help MMORPG players maintain some semblance of balance in their personal lives. Balance can only be achieved using these rough guidelines. These guidelines are not set in stone because each person is different. What is important to you is different from what is important to another person. We all differ in terms of our values. We all differ at how we look at the world, at how we weigh what is important and what is not important. However, there are certain commonalities and that is what ereviewguide.com builds on regarding life balance and MMORPGs. Feel free to tweak these guidelines so that they fit your particular circumstances. Only you would know what your priorities are so you can then take these guidelines and modify them to meet your particular situation. Only by doing so will this guide be truly effective and produce the desired change in your life.
1. Honest Assessment
Assess your life right now. In a 24-hour period, how many hours of your time go to playing video games? Ask yourself this honest question: Is this the right amount of hours? Many people engage in wishful thinking or are in self-denial. They write down 1 hour, but in reality they are actually playing 4 to 6 hours in a day which is simply too much. Ask yourself honestly if this is the amount of time you are putting into MMORPGs. To keep yourself honest, ask friends or family to tell you if your initial assessment of your time is correct. Nothing brings us down to earth faster and harder than the blunt assessment of people that we respect. Ask people that know you. Are my figures correct for MMORPG gaming? We are not talking about dealing with an addiction or stopping MMORPGs. We are talking about putting MMORPG’s game time in the right balance with your personal life so that you can still live an effective and productive life, but at the same time enjoy playing MMORPGs. It can be done. The question is: Are you willing to do it? The first step is honest assessment. If you cannot honestly assess yourself, ask others to do it. You will get an answer.
2. Reduction Decision
Now that you have had the number of the amount of time that you spend on gaming per day, you now have to decide if this is the right number or if this is too much. To get to the answer, it will take a little bit of painful self-revelation.
Compare Gaming Time with other Important Priorities
What you need to do is to ask yourself how many hours in a day do you spend with people that are important to you and how much of that time that you spend with them are actually meaningful instead of just being in the same room. The same goes with a truthful assessment of how much time in a day you spend working. Of that work time, how much is actually going to work instead of goofing off. Goofing off is answering the phone, making phone calls, chatting on IM, sending and receiving E-mails, spending time on Facebook and other non work-related activities. How much of that time is actually work related? How much of it is essentially focused on the core duties that your employer is paying you to do? When you add the numbers together, a lot of the times you will see that the allocation that you want for your leisure time or that you say you are using for your leisure time is actually larger than it should be.
Time to Decide
Now is the decision time. Are you spending too much time on leisure activities instead of the two key components of your life that really move it forward? These are important relationships like friends and family and duties and responsibilities whether you are a student, an employee or a business owner. Duties and responsibilities put bread on the table. They pave your future. Make sure that you have all these allocations laid out and you then have to ask yourself if the hours you are allocating to these items correct or it is obvious that you are putting too much emphasis on one part of your life and neglecting others. Proper allocation is extremely important.
Time to Decide: The right amount of time for relationships
If we want a fulfilling personal life, we have to invest in our personal relationships. We have to spend quality time with our parents, our children, our friends and family. We have to spend quality time with neighbors, helping out the community and giving of ourselves. Interpersonal relationships, while they escape monetary value, actually have much mental and spiritual value. They make you feel connected. They make you feel complete. They make you feel that you are part of something that is bigger and higher than yourself.
Living For Ideals
Another key relationship that you should focus on in terms of time allocation is relationship to ideals. People are worth more than what they can do for other people. People are worth more than their talents. People are worth more than the resources they consume. In other words, a key part of a person’s value is their dreams and aspirations. A person without higher goals, higher dreams and things to live for is not living a meaningful life if f there is no higher vision for one’s existence. One is merely surviving when one eats, drinks, go to the bathroom and sleeps. That is mere existence. Living on the other hand is pursuing a dream, aspiring for something, envisioning new worlds, imagining things and working towards them. This is the realm of the mind and the spirit. This is what elevates animals to fully self-actualized human beings. While this may seem philosophical, this is actually very practical because a large part of personal unhappiness comes from neglecting the personal relationship with ideals that people should be nurturing.
Goals and Dreams and Happiness
People without dreams are unhappy. People without something larger than themselves and their families to live for are living what the famous philosopher Thoreau once called “lives of quiet desperation.” Let us face it all of us are going to die. Regardless of our background, regardless of our walk of life, regardless of how much money we have and regardless of what we have experienced, we are all going to die. We are all equal in that respect. However, how we live our lives is very unequal. A person can live a short life but a meaningful one and die with that sense of peace and meaning. Another person can just go on from day to day and continue doing that until they die. Bear in mind that the person who prizes your life the most must be you and there is no better way to give your life value by investing your time in the right things. These are relationship with others, relationship to ideals, fulfilling your duties and responsibilities in a manner that move you ahead and not keep you down. Last but not the last is leisure time, which is time for yourself and time for the things that make you happy or fulfilled or comfortable. Playing MMORPG is definitely in this camp.
Knowing how important these three major groupings are–relationships, duties and leisure, the responsibility of prioritizing your life’s resource allocation falls squarely on your shoulders. Unless you are in prison, nobody else is going to do it for you. You have to prioritize and this means you have to look at the amount of time that you are spending playing video games and MMORPGs and look at the big picture of your life’s time allocation. Is this what you really should be doing? Use these prioritization strategies to help you get on the right path.
Freedom from slavery to what merely feels good
Prioritization strategies really are things that you need to do to keep your time allocations fixed instead of dependent on your moods. You cannot be a slave to what you feel because if you live your life that way, you probably will not be earning the amount of money that you feel you deserve. You are probably not going to be in the relationships that you feel are the most fulfilling and you are definitely not going to be in a situation where you feel that you are living your life based on a higher purpose or a higher calling or a higher meaning. When you are a slave to convenience and comfort, your comfort zone is locked in. It forms a barrier that keeps you from reaching out forward and reaching out past comfort zones is frankly scary. It can also be quite painful and definitely inconvenient, but it needs to be done. This is called sacrifice and it can only be done through discipline. These prioritization strategies all revolve around the concept of self-discipline. We do not expect you to master them in one sitting. It takes a long time to get it just right because each person’s life is different. Tweaks and modifications that work for one person may not work for another. You truly are in control because you control whether you would want to start on this or not. You control how hard you want to implement this. Regardless, you need to do them.
1. Use game time as a reward for doing stuff you do not like
Self-discipline boils down to doing stuff that are not very pleasurable, that are not very convenient and they are not very comfortable, but need to be done regardless. The most common example of this is work. Most people hate working for a living. Interestingly enough, once you take away their jobs, most people then start getting stressed and start feeling depressed. Whether we like to admit it or not, work is part of the equation of our life’s meaning. It has to be there. It does not have to be formal work. It can be volunteer work or it can be other forms of duties and responsibilities. Regardless, work is one form of living for a greater goal. Of course, it is based on selfish motivation because we want to get paid, but it really locks us in to something greater than ourselves, outside of ourselves, being part of an enterprise, being part of an endeavor, being part of a campaign or an institution or an organization. Regardless, work helps to push the self forward and most people find work boring, drudgery or hassle. Turn this to your favor. This is the reality and there is nothing you can do to change that reality, but you can turn that reality to your favor. How?
Reward Yourself For Doing a Good Job
Use your MMORPG leisure time and game time as a reward for doing a good job at work. It is not just doing work, not just clearing out your to-do list, but doing a good job. What is the meaning of a good job? It is putting value, putting your soul, your spirit and your highest aspirations into your work. If you do that, not only does it feel good because you have a reward coming in terms of MMORPG games, but also you may be laying the foundation for a pay raise in the future. You may be laying the foundation for skills set that will allow you to get a higher paying job in the future. Regardless, by using the privilege of doing something enjoyable as a trade off for doing something that is unpleasant, you are disciplining yourself. You are slowly breaking down your comfort zone, so that you are going to be able to resist the temptation of doing what comes easy of cutting corners and instead doing things by the book. This is very important. You can structure the reward in one of two ways. You can use the game time reward as an addition to the time you already allocated to playing MMORPGs or you can start your daily life time budge to leisure activities at zero and then when you finish tasks and you finish them well, you can then add to the credits for your leisure time. Regardless of how you do it, just start on it. You will feel much better and do not expect to perfect it the first day, week or even year you do this. You just need to constantly do it. Self-discipline is its own reward because you will see this pay off in other aspects of your life. If you invest in your relationships, you would see it becoming more fulfilling and more rewarding. If you invest in your work or responsibilities, you could possibly see financial gains in the future. Do not neglect this strategy.
2. Segregate game time
If you feel that you really lose control the moment you click that World of Warcraft icon and you just lock in to the wonderful world of MMORPGs, then this strategy is probably going to work better for you than the first strategy. Impose strict segregation of your time. What this means is if you are going to play a game, give yourself only up until certain hour of the day when you can start to play the game. After that, knock yourself out. We suggest if you work during the day to allocate game time after your evening meals. Eight o’clock or seven o’clock would be good and you knock yourself out playing the game. Keep in mind that even though you segregated your game time, you can still eat up hours of your other life priorities by losing sleep. The human body needs X number of hours of sleep. The number varies from person to person. Regardless, all people need to sleep. If you rob yourself of sleep time, your body is going to come back at you and demand that sleep time back. That is going to cut into your work hours and cut into your quality time with your friends and family. Keep that in mind. However, the more you practice MMORPG gaming segregation, the better you will get at it and the better you should be able to manage your game time.
3. Give yourself game time credits for doing things ahead of time
Human beings are learning machines. The more we do things, the better we get at them. The more we do things, the faster we are able to do them. That is just one of the key things that separate human beings from animals. Of course, this ability varies from person to person. Some people are slow learners. There is really not much difference in terms of effectiveness and efficiency from when they start doing a chore to where they are now, but regardless there is some change. Others are dramatically different. They are much faster and much more efficient now than before. Regardless, use this to your advantage. If you are putting in time for relationships and putting in time for work, and you see dramatic improvements in how you handle them, reward yourself. This acts as an incentive for you to be more effective with all aspects of your life. This pushes you to milk as much value from all aspects of your life. Of course, spending time with loved ones cannot certainly be made more efficient or maximized. This is one aspect of a person’s life where truly the more the better. For all other aspects of a person’s life whether it is learning things at work, learning things for school, doing things for your employment, these can definitely be made more efficient and more effective. When you do and it is sustainable, it adds value, it did not cut any corners and it is high quality, treat yourself to some game time credits.
4. Focus on your allotted game time
Let us face it, sometimes other aspects of your life cannot really be cut up any less. There is just no wiggle room left and you are just left with 1 hour to play Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Warcraft or any other hot MMORPG title. Do not despair. You can still stick to your priorities by focusing on your game. This means that you set up a counter or a clock that give yourself 1 hour or 2 hours, whatever you are budgeted time is for MMORPGs. Within that time, study how you play the game. Are there any activities that make you feel really good? How much time did they take? Are there activities in the game that you feel you are just wasting time? How much time did they take? Write these down and then come up with a strategic plan where you are doing mostly the stuff that you like doing at the least amount of time possible and you are eliminating things that you do not like doing. Do not expect to master this the first time you try it, but just keep honing it and keep polishing. You will soon find out you are playing MMORPGs in a very self-disciplined and focused way. This strategy helps you to milk as much personal enjoyment from MMORPGs without sacrificing too much precious time. It can be done. It is an off set, but it can be done. It just takes constant experimentation and constant tweaking, but it can be done. The pay off is a more effective and productive life.
The Bottom Line: How To Balance MMORPG and Life
We do not have that much time left on this earth. Time is truly our most important possession. That is why it is important to live our lives mindful of how precious our time is. This means living effective value-driven lives. Relationships both to other people and to causes as well as relationship to ideals and aspirations require the most of our time. We hope that this guide helps you to establish the level of self-discipline that you need to maintain semblance of control over the priorities that compete for our time. Only through self-discipline and focus can be truly gain control of our time and by extension of our lives.
Thanks for reading our MMORPG resources, if you want to start reading from the beginning of our mmorpg series visit the following link: Part 1: Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games Consumer Guide