Grand Theft Auto V is already a hideous time-sink and things are about to get a whole lot worse with the release of GTA V Online. Here are five tips from the Lifehacker archives that will help you to balance your digital crime capers with the rest of your life.
According to numerous polls, the average age of an Australian gamer is somewhere in the region of 30 years old. For many of us, this translates to a sharp spike in day-to-day responsibilities and a lot less time for playing GTA V. It didn't always used to be this way.
Back when we were teenagers, it was possible to waste an entire weekend immersed in a game world with only a few hours sleep (and occasional potty break) to break up the action. Usually, the only consequence to this hardcore escapism was a snide comment from your parents or boyfriend/girlfriend.
As an adult, the potential fallout is significantly more severe, and can include everything from losing your job to getting divorced. If you've sired a squalling, blob-like offspring, you might as well forget the whole thing. (Robbing banks just isn't the same when you have to pause the game to change a nappy.) Indeed, the real-world obstacles are often so insurmountable that people lose the will to game entirely — just ask Kotaku editor Mark Serrels for sobering proof.
However, it is possible to enjoy the delightful carnage of GTA V without throwing your whole life away — you just need to adopt the right strategy. With that in mind, here are a few time management hacks that will help you to play the game in reasonable doses.
If you're anything like us, the main barrier between you and GTA V will be the never-ending slog of work commitments. It seems like there's always "one more thing" that needs doing before you can effectively clock off and enjoy some downtime. One way to combat this is to develop a time budget. In the same way that people manage their finances, this involves mapping out a rigid time-spending budget for various activities. Devote at least two hours a day to "personal commitments" which can include gaming. Chances are, you'll probably get the same amount of work done in the time that's left over.
This might sound odd, but convincing yourself that playing GTA V is of personal importance will help you to make time for it. Otherwise, it will always be a secondary priority that you’ll "eventually get around to". Treat single missions like daily flights you have to catch: give them a set time in advance and say no to anything that would stop you making your 'flight'. This might sound irresponsible but hey, it's only ten minutes out of your day. On the flip-side, you can use the Pomodoro Technique to keep your gaming bouts small and sweet. This is a cyclical system designed to meet deadlines that involves limiting your productivity to 25-minute bursts. The same concept can be just as easily applied to your GTA V sessions.
"People don’t lose jobs for not working unpaid overtime-they lose jobs for not performing well at the most important times," opines career management professional Penelope Trunk. "Your resume is not a list of hours worked; it is a list of big accomplishments." In other words, if you pull off an amazing project at work, nobody is going to care if you clock off on time and head home to enjoy some gaming.
A recent study showed how action-packed video games can help people to make decisions faster and improve their reflexes. They have also been linked to enhanced critical thinking. This in-depth guide explains the various ways that gaming can make you a better person.
HowLongToBeat is a handy webapp that helps you to schedule your gaming sessions. As it name implies, it tells you the average time it takes to complete or 'beat' various video games. According to the app, Grand Theft Auto V will take a minimum of 28 hours to finish while completing all side-missions and miscellaneous tasks will take nearly 70 hours. Armed with this knowledge, you can schedule your gaming sessions accordingly.
How many hours do you game in an average week? Do you have any advice for balancing the hobby with real life commitments? Share you tips in the comments section below.