I love gaming. Specifically, I love MMO’s and simulation games like World of Warcraft, The Sims, Minecraft, etc. It gives me a thrill whenever I hit a new achieve in these games or get a new piece of gear or pet or mount and I celebrate and then suddenly the day is gone and I have gotten nothing done in real life.
I’ve been trying to make a concerted effort to get shit done before playing for hours on end but it, also, got me thinking about why I enjoy doing mundane crap in games but not real life. I will fish, cook, craft, gather, and grind for hours, days, years (WoW I’m looking at you) but taking ten minutes to sweep the floor so the robot can vacuum it up? Too much effort. But it isn’t. It’s incredibly less effort than the energy I have put in to games over the past (nearly) four decades. And yet, it still feels like more effort. Why? Because my brain is a liar and other bad names.
The satisfying list of achievements in games is an instant reminder of all the hard work I put into it. There are no achieves you can pull up for real life and that’s where I get tripped up. When I finish a task in game I get a small reminder that I can look at, share, and feel proud of (for better or worse) for as long as that virtual realm exists. My brain is hard wired now to look for that feeling of accomplishment and seems to know that IRL there is no such thing and therefore puts less importance on doing chores, exercising, and eating right than catching the 500th fish in Final Fantasy. Let’s face it, humans love showing off. Games make that easy to do, life not so much.
What’s the solution? Here’s what no one wants to say out loud: There isn’t a solution. It all depends on an individuals determination and no one way of working is going to fix that. We need to find our own achieves in life and for some that means journal tracking, some may like using a white board, and others may use an app to track what they’ve accomplished in a day. What matters, is that you tell your brain to shut up and get stuff done regardless of whether or not your brain believes there is a reward involved.
I’m still struggling with this every day. Every day I wake up with the best of intentions and half way through I’m needing to remind myself of why I can’t just stop and why I need to continue to adult. For now, I’ve been rewarding myself with play time once I complete a chore or task and it’s working somewhat. I know how hard it is to have a full time job and then need to come home and have another full time job there, but that’s life. So until I win the lottery the daily grind will continue. And I need to accept that.
And with all that said, it is now time for me to get more chores done. On to adventure!