Severe time optimization anxiety

I’m very curious how many others here have this same experience, where your personal time is pretty limited, and you feel pressure to maximize your free time leading to severe anxiety.

To preface, I have a combination of existential anxiety involving frequent worrying about how effectively I’m using my limited life time, and also a very bad spending habit as a means of stress relief.

The resulting situation is one of, I’ve bought far too many games for myself, and once the “newness” has worn off, oftentimes I’ll have completely lost motivation to go back to it.

Compounding that, I try to listen to podcasts or stream VODs to drown out my distracting thoughts, but that makes story parts of games hard to focus on, so then I’m trying to spend time on the same handful of progression based online games.

I do take anxiety medication, but it doesn’t fully negate this vicious cycle of having lots of media that I feel compelled to spend time with, but simultaneously feeling like I’m wasting that time by doing so.

Does this type of anxiety sound familiar at all?


Yes, that anxiety sounds familiar. Mine doesn’t sound quite as strong as yours, but I definitely feel something similar. I don’t think my coping mechanism is particularly well-thought-out, but I feel somewhat less anxious about this when I’m busy, and so I try to focus on what I’m doing rather than what I could-potentially-maybe be doing or learning or experiencing. The end of the year is hard because there are so many good lists and conversations about books, movies, music, games…

Hang in there. I don’t think I have any profound advice, but maybe it helps to know that you’re definitely not alone in that kind of anxiety.

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Turning off achievement notifications helped me deal with this. It’s one of the reasons I like the Switch so much. There’s no set list or “thing” i’m missing out on that every other person can “judge” me on. I just enjoy the game as much as I want and I’m free to move on.

I’ve also uninstalled a lot of games on the Xbox, PS, and PC. If I get to them great, if not oh well. I’ll just focus on just one or two games at a time.

Lastly, and this can be a hard one, I’ve stopped caring about spoilers. I’m sure some stuff is better going in blind, but I just don’t have the time to see everything ever. I’d rather hear why someone is having fun with a thing.

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Are you me @miscu? I’ve been right there with you, down to the podcasts/story game sitch. I am so focused on optimizing my free time that it often gets in the way of the actual enjoyment. Like recently, my cousin got a PS4 and wants to play Overwatch together. I love Overwatch, and our group is really fun to play with, but lately I’ve been appearing offline to avoid getting invites so I can finish the games I “should” be playing. How messed up is that? I actively avoid having fun with a game because I haven’t played everything on everybody’s GotY list!

Do gaming therapists exist? Because I can definitely use one. :confused:

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Ugh YES and sometimes it ends up leading to decision fatigue where I spend half an hour doing absolutely nothing because I’m so anxious that whatever I decide to do will be the wrong thing, which leads to me hating myself even more for wasting my limited free time just staring at the ps4 home screen or scrolling twitter completely unable to get out of it.