My New Daily Routine or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Gaming Again

These past two months or so have been an absolute revelation for me in terms of how much time I’ve been able to spend gaming. It sounds like one of those clickbait ads, but with one simple change to my daily routine I’ve exponentially increased the time I have for gaming. The tl;dr is that I’ve started waking up at 7am, but if you want to know more about how specifically this change has impacted my life then read on.

Like most people I’ve found my free time dwindle more and more as I’ve gotten older. Between work, maintaining healthy relationships with family and friends, and daily household chores most of the day is frittered away on just these bare essentials. The few remaining hours in the day are usually broken into small chunks – 20 minutes here, 5 there, a whole hour if you’re lucky. I’m not the kind of person that likes to cram something meaningful into these brief, hurried moments so usually I use the opportunity to read some news (whether that’s general world news or gaming/film news), or check my socials.

As somebody who led a pretty sheltered childhood it came as something of a shock to me in my early twenties when I suddenly realised that time was a scarce commodity for grown ups. “This can’t be right”, I thought. So I went off and spent the next few years reading a load of personal development type books with titles like The Four Hour Method to Becoming a Billionaire Sociopath. I tried pretty much every magic pill method being pitched (crazy sleeping patterns, eating habits, nootropics – the list goes on) and as it turns out none of it really works.

I’m not saying that all of the information was bad and that some of it hasn’t had a positive impact on my life, but after all the reading and experimenting I’m still pretty much where I was a decade ago.

One piece of ‘advice’ that’s thrown around all to often in these sorts of communities is that you don’t need a university education to succeeded in life. While this isn’t necessarily wrong, I personally think it’s a silly thing to actively discourage people from getting further education if they have the opportunity and the means (lets be honest, a lot of this rhetoric comes from alt-right circles who like to bemoan the ‘woke agenda’ of university education). With no other career opportunities just magically opening up because of my new found knowledge on how to socially manipulate people I figured I may as well take my chance on going back to university.

Well, having completed the latter half of my degree during the midst of a global pandemic I graduated earlier this year and was swiftly thrown back into full time work in the hospitality industry. Ouch. I had continued working part time during my degree, but the time I was able to spend studying various topics for my essays was an absolute boon. I love learning, whether it’s about games, literature, history, films, politics, whatever, and those four years back in education were a glimpse at a dream existence for me.

When I returned to working in the exact job I had hoped to escape by going to university in the first place it hit me like a tonne of bricks. Suddenly I had no time at all to do any of the things I loved. I knew I needed to do something, anything to just reclaim a bit of the day for myself.

As anybody who has worked in hospitality knows, the random shift patterns absolutely ravage any semblance of a set sleep schedule. My whole adult life I’ve basically gotten into and out of bed at whatever time I feel like – that usually ends up being sometime from 12-2am, and then waking up between about 9 and 11 depending on what shifts I’m scheduled on. After a run of late morning wake-ups this summer something suddenly broke inside of me in early-October and I decided that I was just going to start waking up at 7am every morning.

New World had launched a couple of weeks prior and I had managed to play for only a handful of hours despite really enjoying my limited time in the game. This just didn’t seem right – especially for somebody who writes about MMO’s. Then I started waking up at 7am. I’d tried waking up early before but this time I made a crucial change: instead of waking up and immediately beginning my usual routine of showering and getting ready for work I instead splashed a bit of water in my eyes, made a coffee and sat straight at my computer. No boring daily necessities, just wake up and get straight to doing something fun.

So my daily morning routine is now exactly this:

  • Phone alarm goes off in another room, forcing me to get out of bed to switch it off
  • Wipe the metaphorical cobwebs away in the bathroom
  • Go downstairs to make a coffee and get my breakfast out of the fridge (I always have overnight oats made the night before (recipe at bottom of the page))
  • Sit at the computer and check the rapture hasn’t come while I drink my coffee and eat my breakfast
  • Fire up a game sometime between 7:30-7:45am

I can then usually get in a good couple of hours gaming before the day really begins and I have to start adulting. At first I thought there would be no way I could maintain waking up so early long-term, but in actual fact if anything I feel less tired. Sure it’s been scientifically proven that having a set sleep-time is more beneficial than not, but I think more than anything it’s the great feeling that comes from having just a little bit of the day carved off for yourself without any of life’s other distractions. Knowing that I’ve been able to have that bit of fun before the day begins in earnest makes the rest of my day more productive and I even find myself able now to get an hour of gaming in most evenings as well.

The first two weeks I did this I plugged away 30 hours each week in New World. Some people might still call those rookie numbers but its a big improvement on the 5 or less hours a week that I had been managing and one which I’m pretty happy with as somebody who likes to maintain a balanced lifestyle.

This was a rather long post and one which didn’t really have much to do specifically with MMO’s, but I wanted to give some background information on how I came to find a solution that worked for me specifically. Everyone’s commitments are different, but I imagine there are a lot of other people out there who are wrestling with how to fit their hobbies into their own routines. By their nature MMO’s are a big time commitment and they’re best played when you’re able to put aside an uninterrupted period of time where you can find other people to do the game’s content with. It can sometimes take a long time to figure out how to make that time, but for myself at least, it wasn’t the impossibility that for many years I believed in to be.

Super Easy Vegan Overnight Oats Recipe:

  1. Use a fork to mash a small banana (or half a large one) into a bowl. I use one of these.
  2. Add 3/4 cup of rolled oats, 3/4 cup of almond (or other) milk, a heaped teaspoon of crunchy no added sugar peanut butter (buy a big tub of the good stuff rather than a small jar of the cheap stuff), and a pinch of salt if desired.
  3. Mash it all together with the fork you used to mash the banana. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

A healthy, filling, inexpensive breakfast that takes 5 minutes to prepare in the evening and involves no messing around in the morning.

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