Tuesday, 6 March 2018

What has been happening to me over the past 3 weeks

In early 2017, I was listening to a podcast, Cortex. In it they discussed time tracking. I thought that might be a useful thing for me to try. Why? Well sometimes I get heavily addicted to certain things, video games for example, and dump hours upon hours into them, and wanted to know exactly how many hours I was dumping in. I'd just finished one such binge playing Starbound. Sadly, as I'd finished, I don't have the data.

Since I sit in front of my computer all day I thought I'd simply download a program that tracks what I do and for how long I do it. I figured the program would tell me I play on the computer for 16 hours a day. I downloaded a program called ManicTime.

In the end it turns out I spend closer to 14 hours a day in front of the computer. However, sadly, since I never got a strong addiction to any video game outside of Starbound, in 2017, I had none of the data I was looking for.

There was, however, some useful data. For 2 weeks in February I got into Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII or RTK13. Despite that for both of these weeks google chrome remained my most used app. Another 2 week span in March saw me play the latest Nobunaga's Ambition, but even at the most it only ever tied for Discord as my 2nd most used app. One week in May saw me use Euro Truck Simulator 2 for more than Chrome, and American truck Simulator for more than Discord the following week. RTK13 came back in September to just about tie with Chrome for a week. The largest spike in this time, however, was Minecraft, which took a massive lead over Chrome, but only for a one week period, as, demands of my time in CMHoC (the online political simulation I play) called me away from mining and crafting. Since then my video game time has been quite limited.


On the 15th of February, I started playing Hearts of Iron 4.

This is 3 weeks ago.

I wanted to compare the last 3 weeks of data to 3 week chunks preceding it.

Before we go forward note the following.

Chrome, or Google Chrome, is my browser of choice. It is what I use to watch internet videos, post on reddit, make blogposts, and anything else "on the internet" I wish to do. Discord is a chat app, that allows me to chat in the various chat rooms I am in; the one I spend the most time in is the CMHoC discord server which I help run as Speaker (IE Community Manager) of CMHoC. MS Paint, or Paint, is the program I use to make maps; its simple, free, and does everything I need it to; to it I've added Office (spreadsheet) and Notepad, two other tools I use often for making maps and other data crunching. Lastly, among my top 5 programs, there are always two others. One is simply windows explorer; thats what gets recorded when you open a windows folder to look for files, and the other is whatever game I happen to be playing. For the purposes of this, I am separating the game(s) I am addicted to from the game(s) I play regularly. I am adding every game I play, added up, that make the top 10 apps used in a day.

Here are the results:

Something hit me like a ton of bricks while making this.

Times when I'm addicted to a video game I cut my sleep, as well as cutting everything else. It is also quite easy and clear to see when and where addiction is occurring, and that is a useful tool that I can use.

The original plan was for me to make a post explaining to people "hey I'm sorry I've been so absent, here is what happened, here is when it will end naturally" but it turns out that taking drastic action is not only easy but simple. I can actually change my life for the better here with a clear step:

If I've played the same game for more than 6 hours, two days in a row, I apply my "cap". The cap means I can not play the game for more than 6 hours on any day.

This will impact only a small number of days, and only in the middle of an addiction binge, but, it will stop the problems that are seen when a number of days in a row fall to an addicting video game. It will allow me to do the things I need to do and will be healthy for me mentally.

In short: this ends now, as, since I'm capping the time I'm spending playing video games, I will have the time needed to do the things I should actually be doing.

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