I like video games. I’ve been playing them since I was five years old and they are a somewhat constant part of my life. In the last year, though, I have started to cut back on gaming more and more – and it’s not about doing more productive things with my time.
I enjoy playing games in which you can “farm” or “grind” for experience points. I like the game loop, I like improving my characters, and I like that mechanic of getting and completing quests.
Things changed after I re-read The Four Hour Workweek; in the book, Tim Ferriss recommends “following your excitement.” I started thinking about that and wrote down what I did with my time in the last two weeks or so. I noticed that I spent quite some time (up to 2 hours per day) playing games, so I started paying more attention to my internal state when I was playing.
“Am I having fun? Am I excited about it?”
Guess what? Most of the times, I wasn’t.
While I did have fun and exciting moments in some games and sessions, in most cases I was repeating the motions and “killing time” while I could be doing something way more fun or interesting. As a result, I deleted most games, and I’m deliberately replacing the time spent on them with things I’m more excited about, and it’s been a very positive change.
This is a useful filter for any activity. If you’re doing something, try to check your internal state and consider the alternatives. At work, can you do something more engaging? Outside work, can you do something more fun and exciting?