Every gamer is familiar with the struggle between the need to win the next round and the pressure to finish an assignment that’s nearly due. No prizes for guessing which instinct wins mostly! In a perfect world, there would be no need to justify your passion, no need to balance and prioritize work and play, and no struggles with deadlines and productivity. However, we live in reality. It’s extremely tough to balance studies, work, friends, and family, but proper planning will ensure that you make the most of things. So, instead of wondering ‘how do I do my homework,’ here are 5 tips that can help any video game aficionado balance their studies and play.
Get Your Priorities Straight
At any reasonable level, we all know that video games would rank lower than studies, family, and friends, so prioritizing things properly would make our own lives easier. Then you need to assess how much time you can afford to give to gaming without disrupting other important stuff. Once that is done, you can handle your tasks accordingly. Nevertheless, it makes sense to put your game console on the backburner during exams or when your grades have really hit rock bottom.
Eat the Frog First
Borrowing from Mark Twain, Brian Tracy has rightly advised that the most urgent, important (and maybe unpleasant) tasks should be the ones which we need to get out of the way first. This means that if you have an assignment or a test to prepare for, make that your top priority. This way the pressure caused by the approaching deadline will get eased, and you will have better control over the rest of your day and activities.
Use Time Blocks
If you know how to manage your time, you can have your cake and eat it too. You can use the concept of time blocks to boost your productivity and avoid burnout. The 50-10-50-30 rule and the Pomodoro Technique are pretty effective in this regard. Both methods can help you study for a significant amount of time (i.e., 25 or 50 minutes of intensive work) followed by a short break (5 to 30 minutes). You can use the latter slot to play a quick round to refresh your mind. Also, set a timer on your mobile to move swiftly from one time block to another.
If you want to optimize your time and output, you should be selective about the games you play. There are those that can be played in short bursts and there are the longer and more elaborate ones, which need not just hours but days. That’s why it is a good idea to stick to the likes of Overwatch and Rocket League for now and keep more time-consuming ones like Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire and Assassin’s Creed for summer breaks. Also, the games that you can pause, save, and quit are the best type to combine with your studies. You can always resume playing anyways.
The Marshmallow test implies that giving in to our impulses quickly has short-term gains, but the consequences are mostly negative in the long run. No doubt, video games are fun, relaxing, and therapeutic but don’t use them as a means to escape the reality and your responsibilities. Also, don’t give in to procrastination while delaying something less pleasant but much more important than another round in your favourite game. Instead, use an intense session as a reward after a productive study hour.
Whether we like it or not, we exist in a world where priorities, productivity, outcomes ultimately matter. It is much easier to dedicate our time to more pleasant things instead of doing what we are obliged. Thus, it is urgent to balance gaming with work now and then.