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Gaming or Coding? Getting back on track

patferraggi profile image Patricio Ferraggi ・5 min read

If you are interested in reading this article in Spanish, check out my blog The Developer's Dungeon

Maybe you noticed something weird in the last few days, no new article from Patricio?

The starting point

Well, as you know a few weeks ago I wrote an article on using the quarantine to improve yourself, in case you want to read it you can do it here. Back then I was on fire, I had everything planned, I was meditating every morning, exercise every morning, coding every day (apart from the 8 hours of job coding), reading, and writing multiple articles a week. But then I made a few mistakes...

The background

Although I was an avid gamer when I was younger since, I started coding a few years back I have been gaming less and less, in reality, what happens is that I think writing and learning about software is more fun than gaming, a pretty controversial fact I am sure. That is not to say I don't game at all, I generally play around 3 games a year, last year it was Read Dead Redemption 2 and God of war with a little here and there from Kingdom Come: Deliverance. But this year, there was no game on sight for me, at least not until Cyberpunk 2077 gets released in September.

What happened?

I have been living in Belgium for two years now, having little connections here has made very easy for me to focus on what is more important for me:

  • Improving as a developer
  • Being a good husband
  • Writing open source
  • Creating tutorials
  • Writing blog posts
  • Getting in shape
  • Learning philosophy
  • Building a side hustle

But this weekend, I was talking with some friends from back home and they told me that if I would buy a game we could play it online, like the old days. I was tempted, I had not played anything with them in years, and I missed some rest time, so I bought Divinity: Original Sin 2.
I was instantly hooked, felt like the old days again, I went from not playing a single game to playing straight for 12 hours, going to sleep, waking up and continue playing, reading builds on my spare time and watching tutorials, no exercise, no healthy food, no meditation, no weekly planning. I know these things are not related to each other but when I stopped following one it was very hard to keep doing the others.
All my planning and productivity went to the toilet, at first I felt guilty, but then I realized two things:

  • What is done, is done, there is no point in blaming yourself, but you can learn from it
  • I was making very good progress with everything else, I deserved some gaming to chill from time to time, with some moderation of course

I also knew a key fact about getting back on track:

All you need is to gain momentum

Momentum is key, I knew that all I needed to get back on the horse was to go back to planning, just do my regular routine for a few days and then I would just continue as I always did. It is also much easier to convince yourself when you are only planning a few days ahead, so I said to myself. Okay, let's just try to do it till Monday.

So, what's the plan?

Starting small

One key goal for me on this matter was learning from it. Instead of focusing strictly on coding related stuff, I wanna give myself a break from time to time so in the future, I don't stress over not accomplishing my goals and just relax as a regular part of my routine. So I planned my calendar:

Calendar

Notice how the first 2 days of the week there is nothing? I was hard on gaming, not doing exercise or even writing down my progress. But today, Wednesday I decided that was not how I wanted to spend my time, I love gaming and I am gonna keep doing it, but I will also do other stuff I enjoy.
I planned a few things for my week, like continue learning Functional Programming and Category Theory, do Pair Programming with a friend and write a few articles. If you have seen my original article on planning you will know that the week seems pretty empty according to my usual standards, well I don't wanna push myself too hard, for now, I wanna continue gaming from to time, so I didn't plan extra stuff, I left quite a few empty spaces for spending time with my wife or gaming with some friends.

But the key thing was to start again doing stuff, I know this sounds obvious but in reality, is all you need to do, slowly but surely start doing stuff again, some exercise here and there, one article, one line of code at a time, until you get back up.

Lebuff

So today, I woke up, I changed and I did exercise(includes meditation), I worked during the day and now you see me here writing this blog post. If I have some time left after doing this (writing both in Spanish and English takes quite a lot of time), I am gonna read a few pages from a new book on Stoicism I received today and then I will continue leveling up that summoner and enjoying some old fashion turn-based RPG.

What now?

In the upcoming weeks, I am planning on slowly start to increase the number of actions I take to achieve my goals, but always remembering that it is not a race, I am doing this because I want to, and from time to time I deserve to relax following some other passions.

Every morning I will try to remind myself that I am a human being, I have passions and needs, but with the best of my abilities I will try to control my emotions and dispositions, I will try to think things through and take action. If I fail, I will learn from it without feeling guilty, If I succeed I will reward myself.

Hopefully, in a few days, I will have the necessary momentum and you will get a new article from me talking about Functional Programming 😄.

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