Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

The Addictive Properties of Computer Games, and how we can use them to help us in Real Life.


I just finished playing Settlers 6 for 30 min, when i promised myself id play for only 5 min, to the detriment of my real life.
Nothing too terrible i cant recover from.

But i thought, why when i play is it always just 5 more min.
It doesnt matter the game, Settlers, StarCraft 2, Command and Conquer, Modern Warfare, these are the recent ones i played, and im sure you can name more.
What is it about these virtual games, that give us nothing in real life, but are so fun, we can burn evenings weekends, all our free time, our entire lives on them.

While ive read alot of research, i think for me the only 5 min more, is the fact that you have very clear, simple goals, you think you can accomplish in 5 min.
Than theres another goal, and another goal, untill you beat the level.

REAL LIFE isnt that clear.
What the goals are, we set, and were unsure about them.
They tend to take more than 5 min, and we get no instant gratification for meeting them.

But what if we could change that picture.
What if instead, we set small clear 5 min goals, were clear about why we want them, how they will help us, and what the reward is for their accomplishment.
That can be a self congragulations, water, or any other reward we choose.
But there has to be a reward or we lose focus stop caring, so to prevent by being overwhelmed by big goals, or even small goals, we can break them down into small 5 min goals, and remember to reward ourselves for each.
Its not easy, but i think its another tool to beat our own procrastination.


interesting idea

That's a very interesting comparison.  I discovered some time ago that 5 minute goals were useful for motivating myself when it came to housework.  I would set myself 5 minutes for cleaning up part of the kitchen, then allow myself a 5-10 min break to do whatever I wanted, and then repeat the process.  After about 20 minutes I would often feel sufficiently rewarded by the improvement in the kitchen to do a 10 minute burst, and sometimes even half an hour at a time!

I fully empathise with the issue about gaming and 5 more minutes!  I've currently got a bad habit of playing match3 games late at night, and ending up going to bed far too late!  Back in 1989 (before the world wide web) I played an online text-only multiplayer adventure game called Shades. It was so addictive that at times I would have to unplug the computer and put the cable in another part of the house to force myself to get on with studying for my exams.  I still have fond memories of Shades - that was how I met my beloved husband.

Hypatia is my role-paying name from Shades.


computer games

In 1987, an adventure game called "Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards" was released. Adventure games on the computer were very new (we're talking DOS - this was before Windows came out), and I bought it. I spent the next full week of my life doing nothing but playing Leisure Suit Larry - the first one and two subsequent ones, as I recall. I don't think I got dressed for a week, and barely stood up from the computer. At the end of that week, I realized that I could not safely play adventure games - I become addicted, and lose big chunks of my life. I never played one again to this day.

So that's my experience with it. I later put down alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes for the same reason. I have an addictive personality, and there are some things I simply cannot safely do.

You can read more about Leisure Suit Larry here, if you like:

Monica's picture

Clearly Not Clear

Hi Shmuel!

Right now I can't think of one reward that can motivate me to get up off my backside right this minute. The only thing I'm CLEAR about is that I don't want to move. It may be that only the "Panic Monster" can help me now.

I tottally get what youre saying

Hi Monica,Pro,Hypathia,

Wow im so shocked that you all responded, and that peopole like this post.
Monica I tottally get what youre saying.
The Panic Monster is the only thing moving me i totally get. (from wait but why )
Ive just realised, The Panic Monster can come too late for me.
Like i need to travel between cities to go to my parents friday night meal, theres a last bus from the small town i live in, or the large city im in now.
The panic monster wakes me up 30 min before, becuase im comfortable numb on something else, web surfing, or computer game.
All the sudden in a blind panic, i throw a bag together and run out the door, running like mad to catch the last bus.
Depending on luck i make it, or i dont, or the bus driver closes the door in my face.

I have to emberrasingly call my mom and sister and tell her i wont be coming in because i missed the last bus.
This isnt new for them.
Filing taxes which is multiple steps to different places same deal, only there are financial consequences.

I have come to realise important things have to be planned out first, and things rearranged around them, or the multiple steps i need to do, dont get done.

that is so cool, that youre name comes from that roleplaying game, and that you met youre husband there.
Personally i look at the growth of graphics in computer games, and the ease in quality of life from the 80s when i was a kid, as a yardstick to say life gets better. 
Of course i have to remember to be on track, to make my life better.

ive seen the Leisure suit larry games, and that is so cool you loved them.
Glad to hear you kicked the habit.
But im curious, as someone who has an addictive personality, without going back and using those things,
If you think back, what was addictive about them?
For me, Marijuna, is the feeling of not worrying about anything, and being mellow that is addictive.
Alcohol is being silly, and feeling unrestricted, and living in a town with nothing to do, i think alchohol and getting drunk was really the only entertainment we had, as you had an altered state of cociousness where anything is possible, and youre never emberrased, so you want to go back to that feeling again and again.
Cigaretes always made me want to hurl, so i never got addicted,  but what i liked about them, was it forced you to take a long slow breath (drag) on the cigarette, breathe it in, than slowly exhale it.
Than you felt more calm and relaxed.
I realised for me, Meditation has the same effect, and it is more positive for the body, without the cigarete harmfull chemicals.
But thats me, im curious, if you look back what do you think was the positive "payoff" that kept you addictive?
I read a therapist say, when you know what the payoff is for the bad habit, you know how to kick it.
So thats why im asking, not to make you relapse.
Just so you know Pro, i really appreciate everything youve done with the site.

Thank you so much Everyone :)