How to Balance Video Games and Studying – College Info Geek

How to Balance Video Games and Studying – College Info Geek

September 19, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


As you can probably tell from my backdrop
and my entire room, I am a fan of playing video games, but I have a pretty complicated
relationship with video games and I can illustrate that on something I like to call the “Work/Play
Compulsion Scale”. As you can see here, it looks like a teeter
totter and if I had my priorities in order and acted in the way that I wanted to act
on a daily basis, then I would work for a certain amount of hours and then play video
games for a certain amount of hours and I would be nicely placed in the middle.
Unfortunately I find myself slanted over onto the work side and my work tends to bleed into
the time that I would want to be gaming. However, this video isn’t about my particular problem
with video gaming, it’s about the problems for the people on the other side of that teeter
totter. The people who find that video games start seeping into their work time. The time
that they should be studying or getting homework done.
If you find yourself in that area and video games are a major distraction to getting your
work done, then this video is for you and I’ve got five tips to help you start pulling
yourself more into that middle area. Tip number one and I think this is probably
the most important tip in the entire video which is why it’s going first. It’s to simply
set up an environment for studying that is only for studying. If you saw my video that
summarized Marty Lobdell’s Study Less Study Smart lecture, you’ll know that I talked about
how environmental cues and the context of the situation we’re in, actually largely defines
our behavior. One detail from the lecture that I didn’t
talk about in that video was a study done at the University of Hawaii – which actually
looks like this – where researchers wanted to figure out if they could improve students�
grades by changing their environments. They did one simple thing. They told students to
turn their desks around in their dorms toward one wall and put a sticky note labeled “Study
Area” on the lap next to their desk. The students were instructed to only use this
desk for studying and everything else, other activities had to take place somewhere else.
What do you think happened? In comparison to the control group of students who didn’t
do this, the students who did do it, had an average of 1.0 GPA increase. The action item
here for you should be pretty clear, find an area that is different from your gaming
area and do your studying there. For instance, the temptation to game out here?
Not that big. Likewise the temptation to play games in the library or a coffee shop is probably
going to be a lot less than the temptation to play games in your living room or at your
computer that has Steam installed. Tip number two is to increase the friction
involved into getting into a video game. The idea here is to increase the difficulty and
the amount of steps involved into getting into a distracting activity and basically
make doing your work the more attractive option in that case. One way that you can do this
is by actually creating a different account on your computer for work and only installing
the programs you need for work on that computer. You can also set up extensions like Stay Focused
or programs like Focal Filter to reduce the amount of distracting web browsing you do
as well. My third tip is to simply game after you’re
done working for the day. Use gaming as a reward and this kind of goes back to the concept
of high-density fun that I talked about in last week’s video. Use the anticipation of
a long gaming session later on in the day as a motivator to get your work done more
efficiently now. Tip number four is to play games that work
well with your schedule. If you’re really busy and you have a lot of studying to do,
then it might not be the best idea to get invested in a 120 hour JRPG or a super long
WoW raid. On the other hand playing a few sessions of Smash Brothers with your friends
is probably not going to suck up a whole ton of your time. Just be mindful of the real
world commitments you have and select your game accordingly.
Tip number five is my favorite tip because it’s actually fun and it’s to simply turn
your life into a game. You can actually reduce the compulsion to play lots of video games
if your life feels like a game itself. The best way to do this is to simply set goals
that are specific and that you’re actually stoked to achieve. I do this on a page on
my website called “My Impossible List” which you can find linked down in the description
actually. Basically I break my entire life down into
different sections and set goals for each one. Every time I achieve a goal, I cross
it off, but I also iterate on that goal and make something a little bit harder, so I’m
essentially leveling up in every category. You can also use tools like Fitocracy or HabitRPG
to actually track your habits and gain real stats and actually kind of play a real game
while improving your life at the same time. Hopefully you’ll find these five tips useful
enough to take gaming from an unproductive distraction to a healthy habit. If you find
that your own gaming habits are still really hard to break though, there’s actually some
online communities that I’d suggest you check out. Over on Reddit, there’s one called r/stopgaming
as well as r/nowow. There’s also a site called quitlol.com, which is specifically for people
who play League of Legends, but I think it has some useful information.
I’d also like to give a quick shout out to both some of the members in the College Info
Geek HabitRPG guild and some people over at the r/getstudying Reddit. They both helped
me flesh out the ideas for this video and I’ll link to both of them in the companion
blog post. That’s it for this video, if you’ve got any additional suggestions or experiences
of your own for making gaming less of a distracting habit, then let me know down in the comments.
Otherwise, I will see you in the next one. Hey there and thanks for watching my video
on balancing gaming and your studies. If you want to get more videos every single week
on being an awesome college student, then click that big red subscribe button right
there. Also, if you want to get a free 100+ page book on getting awesome grades, click
the picture of the book right there and I’ll send you a copy.
You can also get a summary and links to any resources I mentioned in the video by going
to the companion blog post right there and if you missed last week’s video, there’s a
clip of it playing. Lastly if you have any ideas for new videos or just want to connect,
I’m on Twitter @TomFrankly or you can leave a comment on this video. Thanks.