I was chatting to SoCalWoWGal who writes a blog of the same name about WoW Life Coaching (and I JUST realised that SoCal is short for South
Carolina California... I think!) because she had been telling people on Twitter about my 10 Days of Pet Battles. Someone replied her tweet and because it had my name in it, I got it as well, and I thought that person was talking to ME!
I replied it saying I would do one, but after writing that, I realised they were actually talking to SoCal. SoCal's blog is full of positive attitudes, something I really like, and here's an excerpt about what she does from her About Me page.
Things that you can expect to find in this blog include:
- Using inspired action to become and epic WoW player
- How a bad day in WoW doesn’t have to ruin your IRL day
- Using Vision Boards to improve your WoW characters
- Take a break, relax, you can get through this horrible LFD/LFR
- Positive Ways to experience WoW gameplay
I thought I would try and give this topic a crack, because I do lead quite a busy life, even though the request wasn't directed at me. I had replied him saying that I would give it a try, before I realised my mistake! Her post will be out on Tuesday, so I look forward to reading it. I'm sure it will be more helpful than mine!
|Oh, Justitia, tell me how to balance real life and WoW!|
One of the things that people, including myself, get into trouble with WoW, is where to find the balance. It is hard for people who have commitments in game, and also have commitments out of game. What usually happens when it reaches breaking point is that one or the other is broken, leading to all sorts of strife. A typical example:
You are the main tank for a raid, but if you don't turn up due to some other commitment, you feel like you have let the team down. Those other 9 people had turned up to raid and put whatever they had on hold and you left them hanging. Raiding becomes more important than movie nights with your mates, dinner with your friends, or putting your kids to bed. Your mates and your wife start kicking up a stink, and you end up having a big fight and threat of divorce if you don't pull your share of the housework and looking after the kids.
A bit extreme perhaps, but you can understand what I am getting to.
How do you turn this around so it's not such a disaster?
Firstly, it's about time management. I have a good look at my schedule, to see what I can fit in and where. I"ll have to use myself as the example.
- I work a 4 day week, starting at 8am and finishing anywhere between 6pm and sometimes 8pm. I work for myself, but within a hospital system, so if I take days off work, I don't get paid. Starting times are not negotiable as operating starts at 8am, so I have to be there from the start, or not be there at all. Days can be split however, so I can work a morning and/or afternoon - afternoons start at 1pm. It does take me 20 mins to 45 mins each way to drive to work, so I'm usually out of the house at 7.
- I have 2 children. My eldest has just started school, which is from 9am till 3pm. My youngest attends Day care 3 of the days that I work, and on my day off, I have my son at home. I have a nanny one day a week.
- Bedtime for the kids is at 8pm. My kids are big softies and I'm a huge softy so I like to lie down with them and cuddle them till they sleep. Because I won't be able to do THAT when they're teenagers!
- My husband works 5 days a week, and runs his own practice half the week and works in a hospital the other half of the week. He is in the middle of organising his finances and starting up his practice so he is very busy at the moment.
- My guild raids from 9pm till 11pm 4 days a week.
- I have a blog which I write about WoW and update it daily.
Firstly, family stuff always comes first for me. My only free time for actual WoW playing is at night time, after the kids go to bed. Have a look at your timetable for family. Everyone should be entitled to their own time every day - perhaps you can find a time which suits you? Kids being in bed is a great time for WoW playing.
|OK son, it's time for bed. Daddy and Mummy have to play WoW now.|
What if your partner doesn't like you spending all your time after kids bedtime on WoW, and wants you to spend it with them? This is where communication comes to play. Think about what is reasonable. Half your free time, should probably be spent with your partner. The other half you can have to yourself. Does that seem fair? This is a negotiation between you and your partner, so I can't tell you what numbers are OK, because that's none of my business.
What about doing your share of the work? You work all day and your partner is at home all day, or vice versa. If you're the one coming home from work, sure you are tired, but your partner having had the kids all day is tired too. Offer to take the kids off their hands, bathe them, put them to bed - doing this as part of your share will buy you points to be able to have time to yourself.
|No, no, no, not that type of Game time!|
How much time can you have to play WoW? Here you need to think about what's important in WoW to you. Is it raiding? Rated BGs? If you solo play, then timetables are not so strict but if you raid, that's where things can get a bit stressful. Communicating with your raid team is the important part here. If part of your negotiations with your partner cut your raiding time down, let them know, and find out if its ok if you raid fewer days or limited days. It's also to do with whether the guild matches your needs - sometimes competitive guilds demand you spend all your days raiding or you lose a raid spot. You have to look at what's your value to this guild? If you were not there, would they instantly replace you and you'd be forgotten the next day? Or would they be willing to have you raid half the time and have another person to raid your spot the other half of the time? The inequality of a relationship between your guild and you is another source of stress. If your guild values you and you value them, then you will come to an agreement. If your guild thinks you can be replaced when you don't meet their demands, then they don't care about YOU per se, just what you can bring to the table. You have to think about what you want from your guild and if they don't match... maybe it's time to find a new guild.
Luckily for me, my guild is very flexible with raiding. We start at 9pm now because I can't make earlier times, even though I've said we should just go back to early start times and I share with Bish - he sleeps early, so he can do the early part of the raid and I can do the later part. There is no kicking people out of raiding because we don't have 100% attendance though of course, regular raiders get priority. And our guild is a mature and friendly guild, which is why it has survived so long.
Blogging is fortunately, something that I can do whilst I am at work. I spend a lot of time during long operating cases looking for things to do and blogging can do that. However, there are other places you can blog. If I caught public transport to and from work, I could do my blogging there. 1 hour commutes a day are long! However, I drive so that's not an option for me. I spend my time whilst driving talking on the phone to relatives so I can keep in touch with everyone.
Where, you may ask do I put my time for exercise, reading, shopping, chores, other hobbies, spending time with hubby, spending times with friends outside WoW?
That's what my weekend days are for. Sunday is Family Fun day, and the kids love to go for train rides so we make that our family outing day. Sometimes we go to the zoo, the aquarium, or into the city for lunch. Reading I can do at work if I'm not blogging, or of course while I'm... ahem. Well. Lots of people read while they're doing their business!
Weekends and Monday are when I do my chores (ie laundry, groceries). I cook on Monday nights for an extended family dinner (my sister and brother in law come for dinner). Tuesday nights are shutdown, so I use those nights to do catching up my bills and accounts. Wednesday nights I get a free dinner from my sister. Luckily for me my hubby likes to cook so the rest of the nights of dinner are sorted. That, and my culinary skills are very average so he would rather cook than consume what I have cooked.
Cleaning? Ok, I cheat. I have a cleaner.
The one thing that does suffer is exercise. I hardly do any. I am lazy though. Saunder was trying to inspire me and I was trying but it is hard and I try to be active when I can but it's not as often as I would like, or rather, it's not as often as I should be as the slug in me is winning at the moment.
Another thing that is perhaps to my advantage is I don't sleep much. 5 hours is enough for me. So I am often up playing WoW till really late (or blogging) to get things done.
So how much WoW do I play in a week? Somewhere between 15-20 hours I think. That doesn't even include blogging....
So, this is how I balance my WoW life. People might look at it and think, girl, you waste a lot of time on your computer game. However, I still have time to fit in work and family and play rather heavily too, and I'm happy with that. I think hubby would like me to play less, but at the moment, he's really busy so he doesn't notice me playing so much. And he has gotten used to my playing habit and is now tolerant of it. Everyone needs their escape.
I wonder, what other people's balances are like? Are you happy with how much you play? What tips can you offer for those who are struggling with their time management? I look forward to hearing what you have to say!