New Time Spending Habits, Part 3

This is the final part of my Trading Money for Convenience follow-up series. You can go back to Part 1 or Part 2 if you’ve missed them.

My objective was to “try something different and see how that goes” by stepping away from video games for 3 months. I held firm on the first month and a half, but then relented a bit during the holiday season as a pseudo reward for completing a difficult certification. Is the experiment a failure?

I think not.

So much has changed since I first began the experiment of focused time management. I’ve finished and started new projects at work, read a ton of great books, and have tried all sorts of ways to wisely use my time. Going back and reading my old posts has really helped me understand my perspective and unknowns across each milestone.

It’s About Incentives

In the final month of my experiment, I found that a small amount of video game time made for a great incentive. I have been focusing on spending my mornings (and sometimes afternoons) doing physical therapy, water rowing, and other efforts to improve my physical health. This investment unlocks time for gaming at night. This model has been surprisingly consistent and I’ve noticed some fairly dramatic changes in the way I feel and move.

Further inspiration came from a work challenge to do “Bears” that involve a fair bit of cardio and strength activities to score points as a team. My Dad has been my accountability partner through an app and our text conversations, which is a nice way to keep in touch and meet some of my other goals.

I’m currently down close to 20 pounds and am vastly more able to do serious amounts of exercise. It’s really weird to experience that, truth be told, as I do not find much joy in exercise. However, there is truth to the saying that sustained periods of activity can bring a feeling of joy.

What I’ve Learned

Here’s what I’m taking away from this experience:

  • Some parts of life, such as gaming, are better used as an incentive for desired behavior than as something to completely discard.
  • Mind tricks work on me, even when I know I’m using them. 🙂
  • Setting up firm boundaries and sticking to them is hard and requires accountability partners.
  • Structure is an immensely powerful tool for increasing consistency.
  • Being thoughtful about time investments is the key to change.