Life and Management

I Live Life Like I Play Videogames.

How playing Stardew Valley may help me get my life together.

Photo by João Ferrão on Unsplash

I was getting my coffee and putting on a load of laundry when it hit me.

I treat my life like it’s a videogame.

More specifically, I treat my downtime like I treat my work life.

I organise it.

I’ve been playing a lot of Stardew Valley recently. In this game, there are 4 seasons in a year, and at the beginning of each of them, a new stage of the game comes to the front. We are talking about new crops, different kinds of fish, different peoples birthdays.

If you’re following so far, you can tell that this game is already quite similar to real life.

At the beginning of each season, I write down the things I want to accomplish. Some of these things are general, and some are season specific.

These accomplishments are anything from the type of plants I want, to the people I want to focus on befriending.

Some of you have figured out where I am going here.

What I learned about myself.

It wasn’t until the end of this month that I realised exactly what I was doing.

I was compiling a list of things I want to get done in a season, but in real life.

The thing is… I’m much more specific about what I want in-game than I am in my daily life. The goal of four big things I want to get done was nothing compared to what I was able to accomplish with my 50+ tasks in Stardew.

Granted, some of those things on my list are smaller than others, but there are still items on there that take days, if not a whole season, to accomplish.

I usually write them all down so that I don’t forget what I want to get done as I play through the month.

I never spend my time worrying about what I need to get done next because the list is there to choose from.

I’m not concerned about whether I reach my goals because there is always next year or next season.

It was then that I realised. I should be planning my month a bit less like an aspirational goal planner and more like an intricate to-do list.

What I am going to do about it.

I want to run an experiment. Just for April, maybe May if it goes well. Before April hits, I will write down every task I can think of that I want to get done in the month. Then I’m going to subdivide it into categories based on task size.

Now I already keep track of daily jobs that I have to do, such as dishes, bed making, yoga and the like, but I don’t have a list of one-off jobs that I want to get done.

I’m going to make a place in my Todoist for misc. household jobs. This is the place where I’m going to put down those jobs that have been on my mind for a while, but I never seem to remember when I’m looking for a job to do.

If I can train myself to start using this list, it might save me 10–15 minutes every day that I spend wondering what I should do next.

What could go wrong?

  1. I’m an overachiever. That means that if I make this list and it happens to be a bit too ambitious, I may be shooting myself in the foot.
  2. I may overwhelm myself. April is a busy month for writers in general, and since I’m finishing up my degree, this list of smaller jobs might be more stressful than it's worth.
  3. I might forget about it entirely. I’m going to be really honest. I keep a list of things that I have to do every day because habits aren’t really a thing that I’m good at. I will forget to do yoga if it’s not written down. Despite doing it every day this year, that’s just the kind of person I am. If I forget to use this list, it’ll be a tragic ending to the experiment.

What could go right?

  1. If I remember to use the list, I could get all of the little jobs around my house done in a month. That’s a big improvement from the several months it usually takes for me to forget and then to remember a task.
  2. No matter how long I make my to-do list in Stardew, I somehow always manage to get all of the tasks done well before the end of the month. If this happens in real life, that gives me a few days to enjoy the fruits of my labour before figuring out the next things on my list.
  3. I can make room for more impactful change in my life. If I finally remember to wipe down that dead spider from my wall, it could make way for meaningful change. Like organising the pantry so that it actually works for me instead of pushing it off because I’ve got other jobs, I need to do first.

There are lots of things that annoy me about my apartment.

Most of the annoying things are changeable and changeable quickly.

A lot of these jobs will be five-minute tasks. Five-minute tasks are easy to ignore, but they might also be easy to tackle.

I’m hoping this experiment will help me relax in life like I can relax when playing Stardew. Without worry that I’m forgetting something or going to miss something important.

I used to think that micro-planning would stress me out. It turns out forgetting the things that I want to do stresses me out too.

So I guess let’s see what stresses me out even more?

Author, writer and general young unprofessional!

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