Tim's Blog

Things I've tried to combat my game addiction

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This is the kind of post I would have shared on Twitter if I still used it. I hope that my advice, while subjective, may be of use to whoever's reading this.

About a year ago I knew I had a problem with not just the amount of time I spent playing video games, but also the adverse impact it was having on my social life and my stress levels. Often I'd find myself ducking out of invites to socialise with friends in person because I didn't want to miss out on a session with my gaming friends (a group of people I rarely see, if at all, in person.) What's more, regularly I'd find myself more frustrated after playing than had I not played at all. Aren't video games supposed to be enjoyable?

The following are a few things I tried that have worked well:

Stop playing the games you find most addictive but don't stop playing all games altogether.

For me this was FIFA 20, which I stopped playing in October 2019, having previously played 16-19. More recently I stopped playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. In both instances, the source of my addiction came from the feeling that I'd be missing out if I didn't join my friends online (FOMO), but I ultimately realised my friends would have played without me anyway. It's important that you uninstall the game and in doing so are reminded why you had to stop playing it (as there will be times you're tempted to reinstall it.) Not playing these games didn't necessarily mean I had stop playing video games altogether; I found many enjoyable single player games to play in their stead.

Install a plug timer to prevent you playing past a certain time.

This strategy worked really well because I could no longer play late into the evening and consequently my sleep improved. Having a physical timer on the power outlet also means that to even change the settings you need to remove the plug, which is a huge inconvenience if you're in a game. Hopefully, in going to do this, you're once again reminded why it's there in the first place.

Find distractions.

Something I've written about here before; I wouldn't have been able to spend less time playing games had I not found other things to fill that time with. This year I've already read more books than I had in the previous three.

I’m Tim White, a Software Developer from Bournemouth, UK. When not thinking about my latest project I like to cook, run & read.