Gaming less is working. Ish.

As I previously mentioned I may try, I’m foregoing playing games on my phone this month in favour of trying to get more productive feats accomplished. I’m currently just over a week into it. My thoughts, in no particular order:

It was initially easier than I thought
My usual daily game, Marvel PuzzleQuest, is one which rewards frequent playing. Each day you play and win a match is added to a timeline that you progress along, getting freebies as you go, and of course you supposedly advance in any tournaments you’re playing, which puts you in a position to get better prizes than if you didn’t play as often. So I’m pretty used to starting, maybe even playing, at least one quick round en route to my showering first thing, just out of habit.
That inclination remained in the first handful of days, not surprisingly, but it was pretty easy to just remind myself that nope, I’m not doing that now, and to do something else instead.

Swapping gaming for productivity doesn’t always work
As in the above situation, whereas I’d normally call up the game and take out a couple of bad dudes and get my daily credit in short order, being actively productive instead doesn’t always work as a direct trade. Whipping up a haiku spontaneously isn’t as quick a process as tapping an icon to load a game, of course, so I couldn’t simply do one instead of the other, at least in the first waking minutes of the day. There have been a few times that I’ve thrown together a haiku, but as often I just remind myself that gaming isn’t happening right now and put the phone away, maybe to noodle on a haiku in the shower.
More often, though, I do find myself bouncing around on the phone in order to offset what was normally the intent do play a game: Check email for a bit, or until it runs out. Check Facebook (remind myself to hurry up and ditch it) for a bit. Check Twitter for a bit.
Look at my home screen. Check email…
And there again: I’m not being more productive as a direct result of not gaming, but the not gaming part of that equation is at least being held up in every moment thus far, and I am being more productive through the day, just not necessarily at very time I’d be playing a game.

I’ve gotten out of the gaming habit faster than I thought I would
Those several days of reminding myself that gaming isn’t happening right off the bat is definitely having an effect. For a few days now, it’s already been more a mental exercise of getting up, informing myself (as opposed to reminding myself as a response to being about to load up a game) that I’m not gaming, and immediately getting into mulling over a haiku instead.
I’m not hankering for gaming, I’m not jonesing for it (as I honestly thought I may be), I’m seemingly already out of the pull of gaming on the phone. I still catch myself being about to do it, but that’s more habit than actively wanting to. It’s largely been me heading from the car to the train, heading through the train station, waiting for the train, standing on the train because there are no seats, walking from the station to work, etc… all me being en route and/or it being a time where I’m not easily able to read.
It’s also made me realize that I clearly think it’s okay to distract myself on the phone while I’m walking but not to read a (physical) book while I’m walking, which is something I’ll have to explore a bit.
But I’m happy to say that in each and every case, I avoided gaming. I still also didn’t get anything productive done, but perhaps that’ll come with more time.

I don’t know if/how long I want to keep this up
Which isn’t to say I miss gaming, per se (although it’s definitely fun, and evidently not nearly as addictive as I thought it was), but in those lulls mentioned above when there’s a gap of nothing happening, having the option to fire up a game is nice.
Having said that, if I do get to a point where I’m being more productive/creative in those same lulls–forget reading during them, what about just working on a new character idea, or hammering through whatever hangups are keeping me from finishing those numerous game projects, or…–then I may just not go back to gaming on the phone. Or at least not nearly as much as I used to.
I seem on really good track to be able to get through this month without gaming on the phone. What may happen beyond that will depend on what I can get my mind onto instead during the many game-worthy lulls I have throughout my day. And that remains to be seen.