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It’s no surprise that I play video games as an escape the the everyday life I live. As a grad student, my choices are limited since well–I have a job to pay for video games but I can’t play video games because I have a job.

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This is a picture of myself and my dissertation. I’m the one missing a head.

I decided to return back to Skyrim and the world of Tamriel. The good thing about RPGs like this is that the world is epic and large–there’s always so much to do that it feels like you’re playing 5 games for the price of one–

and therein lies the problem.

I love the game, but there’s a strange feeling I get when I play this game. It’s like the idea that…well, there’s more I should be doing.

This feeling doesn’t come up as a guilt response because of gaming but more that I am overwhelming my character and it mirrors the level of being overwhelmed in my everyday life. This is a sample of the possible quests that you can have at any given time:

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This is a lot like my to-do list.

Damn my dragonborn has a lot on her plate. I mean be an assassin, be a thief, a warrior and a college mage dean essentially all while trying to save the world. I don’t have as pressing matters in my life–but in order to do things I’ve started to make my to-do list more fun I’ve tried turni it into a game, a la the app “Quest.”

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My real to-do list.

While my list isn’t as dramatic as say, return the golden flagon to Devin–but still this game aspect to my every day helps me along, it helps me feel more productive and it makes me feel like I’m making progress–leveling up of sorts. I get intangible rewards of leveling up but a sense of accomplishment by checking something off my list.

The trouble is that I jump into games and gaming to take a break from the everyday frantic energy of my life, but when my games are doing the same? It’s…it’s a cycle.

I’ve been meaning to break out of it by getting things done, but being productive, by trying to avoid the list altogether. However, in trying to undo the list, I’ve made my list longer.

Can anyone offer some suggestions on productivity and how to be a better adult? I need an adult to show me how to be an adult.

While I’m waiting for the answer, I’m off to…kill some dragons.

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