Now that the Halo: Reach beta has come to a close, I have decided to give up video games for the next three to six months. This is a productivity decision as well as a personal challenge. I am by no means addicted to video games, but they are a time-sink.
Besides, there are other things that I would also like to invest my time in, such as: reading (recreationally and for study), writing (opinion blogs and creatively), writing computer software. These endeavors are very enjoyable to me, but they also have a work element. When I spend my day working with no enjoyment, I tend to want to find enjoyment with no work when I finally come home. Thus, I’ll sit and play video games, telling myself that it is the best use of those few hours before I have to go to bed and do it all over again tomorrow. I convince myself that I can use the weekend to work on those other activities. When the weekend rolls around, though, there are always the chores that went undone throughout the week to catch up on, and the other recreational activities, so that I never get to those projects.
And so I stagnate creatively and intellectually, though it is a stagnation that entertains me.
What does it mean to give up video games? Well, I am being realistic about this. Games that are electronic substitutes for board games are still allowed when played with other people–Leah and I will still continue to play Carcassonne. Also, World of Warcraft is essentially a more convenient form of a role-playing game, so that is still okay. Just kidding. The same is true for electronic versions of other stimulating activities. I will still do picross on my DS before bed when I can and I have a sudoku game on my Zune. Plus, in a social setting, firing up the Wii or playing split-screen Halo is allowed, because that is time spent socializing that wouldn’t be spent on other activities anyway.
For the next three to six months I will invest my free time in more productive endeavors. I am not only going to continue to run, I am going to improve. I will write as often as possible, including blogs like this, my poetry, and some more ambitious endeavors like further developing Geek-Dot-Fail. I am going to continue my study of physics and mathematics, beginning with finishing “Six Not-So-Easy Pieces” and my real analysis text. I am going to program, a simple, extendable physics engine and a multiplayer sabacc game (irony!). And finally, I am going to start reading recreationally again; the plan is to read a bunch of Star Wars books, but also to go to the library and just find a good book and when I’m done, find another one as often as necessary.
I hope to substitute these productive activities for the unproductive one and actually accomplish something before summer’s end.