Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Balancing my WoW and Real Life time

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.
Phew!  That looks a lot busier than I thought it would!  So, how to prioritise?



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!


20 comments:

  1. This was a great post, Navi. Every time I take a step back to count my playtime I feel really guilty and consider that I may have an addiction. :/

    This said, I'm a stay at home mom and happen to have time between chores to play and read and blog. I also take time when the kids are in bed, when my husband is home--since we both play together

    In our defense, we don't watch tv, and I'd love for people who "judge" my playtime to count how much time they spend in front of the television. I also figure that when I'm playing, I'm also being social, not just being a spectator. ;)

    This post of yours though also reminds me that I probably don't spend enough time with my kids, or family. Maybe a post-it on the fridge. Or a to-do list with timeslots for Wow specifically might help keep me on track...

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    1. Thanks Anou! Remember, it's not an addiction if YOU control it... right? That's what I tell myself LOL!
      Just because you are a stay at home mum doesn't mean you aren't busy as! I find it so much harder being at home than being at work because there is so much to do! I too don't watch much TV, so my TV time is WoW time, so I get grouchy at those who tell me I am wasting my time.

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  2. Excellent post! Balancing is always a struggle, especially when there's just SO MUCH to do in the game these days. I guess I'm about to start trying to balance raiding with everything else now that my lil one is going to bed a bit more reliably so thanks for reminding me to keep everything in perspective.
    (ps. Your raiding times DO sound perfect. Are you suuure you don't need another druid? :P )

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    1. Thanks Ang! I know you know the whole family/work/wow thing well, and I hope that your balance is working out. I should ask you to post about it so I can see what I can do to improve too.
      And I would LOOOOVE to have you over! :) except we don't have a spot yet... if I could find some tanks it could work!

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  3. Damn I am going to link this to my RTMT from today!

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    1. Your RTMT was very good and was very inspiring to this post today!

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  4. After reading this I was tired. I could not keep up with you for one day! Luckily I knew nothing of games when my daughter was growing up and if my husband is here I log out at 8:00 because I like him, lol, and want to get to talk since he REFUSES to try WoW.

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    1. It's not that tiring, really! I wonder what you would have been like had wow been around when your daughter was young. You guys could have been playing together LMAO!

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  5. Excellent post! I really enjoyed how you took real life examples to show how you manage your time. Plus I love all the pics that you took the time to find and put in the post. FYI I put a link to this post at the bottom of the page where I posted my thoughts on the subject. Here is a link for you and your readers http://www.socalwowgal.com/?p=596

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    1. Thank you Alice! Your post was really good, I hope that people who read it can get a good grip on their lives and make a good balance. Thank you for the link and also for the link love :)

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  6. So busy! I couldn't cope with half of your schedule. Navi = Superwoman!

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    1. I wish I had more time! I have so many things I would like to do in WoW, esp right now!

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  7. Great post Nav. Sometimes you never realise how much you juggle until you sit down and put it in writing. :)

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    1. Thanks Cym. I would like to hear how you divide your time one day too :)

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  8. Great post, just what I have been going through in my house. I get home from work at 5pm and eat dinner and spend time with the family until my wife puts the baby down at 8pm. After that I usually play until 10pm. My wife told me the other day that she is tired of going to bed alone, so there goes my WoW time. I am still trying to work out when I can fit my play time in. My off days are during the week so that may be my only time. At least for now. Compromise...

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    1. As long as you come to an agreement its ok. Remember it goes both ways - you cant work all day, come home and do all the chores and then lose your wind down time. Half is a good start, but more is obviously ok if you are willing! Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment /bow

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  9. As a So Cal girl myself I want to let you know that So Cal is short for Southern California. :)

    I've been thinking a lot lately about how I would be able to juggle everything when I finally have kids and I am just sitting here thinking that everyone who does has to be some kind of superhero.

    Thank you for the lovely tips Navi, I am positive they will come in handy.

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    1. I hope you find the right balance. Thats very Pandarian isn't it! Lucky your partner loves to play too.

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  10. Talking about RL ... I have only just managed to catch up on my blog reading after being away most of last week, and hence only just got to this post. *Sigh*. While I certainly sympathise with the exercise - I mean only two years ago you couldn't have paid me to get up early and go out for exercise, let alone a run.

    You need to work out what is important, then you need to schedule that until it becomes a habit. Whatever it is - schedule time for the family, to cook, to spend time with the significant other, to play, to exercise. Treat your entire life like a work day where if you don't plan for a meeting it won't happen. Things you can double dip on in terms of multi-tasking - like your blogging at work, are bonuses. You need to keep doing those things until they are ingrained, even if that takes time, effort and is painful. Don't quit just becuase it isn't easy to begin with.

    But to me, and feel free to ignore me, playing the game is more important than blogging about the game. (As noticed by my lack of posts lately). I know that you like to post daily, and you always put time into your posts with images and screenshots. So if I split the available time that I have between playing and blogging the blogging gets second place every time. Are you placing too much pressure on yourself by wanting to post daily? I pretty much guarentee that none (OK, I can't say that, very few) of your loyal readers will desert you for not posting here and here :)

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    1. Hey Saund :) Sometimes I really feel like I want to dump everything else and just play wow and blog. But of course you can't do that...
      Blogging and playing are both relaxing for me, and I enjoy both. I just post daily because some days I have 3 posts I want to write and some I have nothing, so if I space it out then I feel better. And schedule posting is great for those times.
      About the exercise thing I'm trying to find something the kids can kinda join in... but we'll see how that goes :)

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