I’ve been trying to give up my PS4 Pro for some time now as even if I do have my gaming habit semi under control I simply do not have enough time and any time that I do give it is desperately needed somewhere else in my life. I feel as though I am at a point in time where if I can really focus then I can make some genuine progress and get myself to a place where I am able to do something special for me, my family and hopefully for others.
I spent a night with the console, games, and accessories that I had for it because I knew that if I didn’t do it right then and there then I would struggle to do it another time, I wiped it down, took all of the pictures and then carefully packed it all away, its currently at my feet under the desk however I will move it into a more secluded part of our apartment until they sell next week.
One of the reasons that I am able to do this is because of following some of the suggestions in James Clear’s book Atomic Habits such as putting the console away after a gaming session which does wonders to stop you wanting to play as often when you realize that you have to unpack and connect up the console every time and something that I tried myself based on a technique that was originally used for studying in Spain called the Pomodoro Technique which was created or made popular by Francesco Cirillo, the later had the greater effect.
The Pomodoro technique, if I recall correctly, was originally designed to stop studying fatigue and to allow students to study for longer, I used my own version of it on my gaming habit as a useful interrupt tool and I found that by playing for 30 minutes at a time and setting an alarm for a five-minute break it would stop me getting into the addiction zone and also allowed me to get up and change my focus. Because you can technically play all day in chunks if you want to its much easier from a willpower standpoint as its not like turning the computer off and facing reality all in one go, its simply a small eyeball break, gaming began to lose its grip on me and I could get things done whilst playing some of my favorite games, I even completed the new Resident Evil 2 remake in this fashion and it finally allowed me to fully quit and sell my equipment.
The original technique is slightly different and also involves planning out time blocks and taking extended rests after each 4th-time block, it also uses twenty five minutes of work/study and then a five minutes break. Check it out in detail here.
Interestingly I was able to get Alice my eldest who is currently four and loves playing on my tablet involved and if she took the small breaks she also wouldn’t become addicted and would sometimes wander off and do other things and not come back to the tablet but before I had to ban her using it because she would play as long as the battery would last and have terrible moods and tantrums either because of playing or if the tablet was taken away.
I originally planned to train her with a cute egg timer so that she could do this herself however both of my children recently caught colds and because I was also ill I let her play without the timer and eventually she showed signs of addiction again so I will wait until she is older before trying again.
You could use this for Netflix, Facebook, gaming or any other habit that involves consistent amounts of engagement time. I have been playing with the idea of creating a small system that looks at all kinds of addictions and focuses on interrupting the behavior before quitting strategies and interventions are applied. If you’re interested in working on this with me please let me know. Otherwise again I can’t recommend James Clear’s book enough, atomic habits.