Like other teenagers, I was once victimised by gaming addiction. As years progressed, the addiction only grew stronger. It started out with a Desktop PC and later shifted to smartphones. I still remember playing Road Rash on a trash PC and how years later I ended up playing Call of Duty. When I didn’t have much time for these giants, I started playing RPGs on my smartphone like Clash of Clans, Samurai Siege, DomiNations, Boom Beach and even a few games from the different genre like Subway Surfer, Shadow Fight, Temple Run and the list goes on.
Honestly, I still play a few of them (sometimes). But I’ve managed to cut down all the time I spent …..or wasted? I truly believe if you clicked on this article, you must have at least once in your life faced the gaming addiction. Therefore, I’m going to share how I killed my gaming addiction and how you can too.
There is no fancy technique but a few simple steps. I first thought I’d never stop playing games. In fact, I never really stopped. I still play sometimes but not on the cost of my productivity.
The truth about boosting productivity isn’t compromising on the things you love, but proper allocation of time for everything.
I calculated the time I spent on games. It was pretty too much. I have even spent over 6 hours a day just sitting in front of the screen. When I switched to mobile devices, I believe the time spent while playing was even more as I clicked the game icons more than I clicked my mail or social media.
Games nowadays are nothing less than social media. You can find other players, join alliances, chat and whatnot. This makes it an uphill task to quit.
The simple strategy I used to cut down my gaming hours is-
1) Disable Notifications
Games on our smartphone will send us updates through notifications every now and then. These notifications play a major role in tricking us into playing the game. These may look something like this — “Your troops are ready for battle”, “You have been attacked”, “Your alliance is going for war”, “Your energy has refilled”, etc. These are nothing but click baits.
I disabled every game’s notification in my smartphone’s system settings. Since there were no reminders through notifications, there was an absence of a call to action and I didn’t pick up my phone every now and then to check it. Hence, a few hours were saved.
2) Remove Games From Home Screen
The best thing I did was to remove the games from my home screen. If you unlock the phone and see the luring icon of your favourite game, why not click it right?
But when you unlock your phone and don’t see any game there, in a day or two you’ll notice a drastic reduction in your gaming hours. Just because you won’t see it, you won’t look for them. Ultimately you’ll forget about them, just like I did.
Tip: You can replace the games on your home screen with a more productive alternative. I placed reading apps like Flipboard and Medium right on my home screen. Every time I picked up my phone I clicked on these productive alternatives instead of the games I used to play and the time spent wasn’t wasted but put to good use.
3) Shift games to another device.
Finally, I was strong enough to delete the games from my phone. Earlier, I couldn’t even think about not playing the games but now I was ready to delete them.
But that’s not it. Don’t do it yet. First, bring out a change. Switch your gaming experience. If it’s the smartphone you play on, switch to a tablet or use a software like blue stacks and start playing on your PC/laptop. Why? You must trick your brain. You shouldn’t stop playing immediately but switch the device.
By doing this you are not really deleting the game and it won’t feel like a huge sacrifice. You will know that you are not giving up on the game and you still have it. You can still play it whenever you want. BUT, the trick is that you have to make it difficult for yourself to reach out to it. The more steps you have to take in order to get to the game, the less you will play. You’ll start feeling it’s too much work and that laziness will benefit you (…weird right?).
Either you can keep playing (I still do sometimes) or you can completely delete the games. If you delete them, you will tend to install them again on your smartphone (in case you are not strong enough yet). By keeping it somewhere less accessible, you will simply trick your brain. This works exactly like the time when you keep some old thing you don’t need but are not strong enough to throw it.
Making sacrifices like quitting a fun activity is an uphill task. So, better make gradual changes. Sooner than you know, you’ll be more productive. -CL