Dealing with Multiple Pursuits and Interests – The Craving of a Renaissance Soul

One of the things that I like about video games is that it’s a convergence of different disciplines resulting to an entertaining and fascinating creation. Its field of development is something that matches my interests because other than my passion for gaming and programming, I’m also fond of a wide range of interests and I’m always hungry to learn something new. Music, Literature, Asian Culture, Otaku Stuff, Martial Arts, and everything in between are the other things that makes me tick. It’s a lot of fun to have such holistic learning experience, though at times it can get out of hand, and it feels like the twenty-four hours of the day cannot fit in for everything that you want to do. Here, I’ll try to share some approaches that worked for me in order to keep progressing with my pursuits and interests.

Keep a List

If you have a lot of hobbies and tasks, chances are you’ll miss some of them if you don’t organize it into a list. Creating a list reminds you of the pending items that you want to start or continue. It’s also useful for prioritizing which ones you like to try the most. If an item gets stagnant in your list for quite a while, then you might want to reconsider if it’s actually worth keeping in your list. By elimination, you’re removing clutter from your tasks, which will give you more focus on the things that you really like. If you want to go hardcore, you can also set deadlines for each task so that you’re bound to progress for each item, but don’t impose it to the point that you’ll experience burnout. Schedule enough time to recharge and unwind with a different type of activity.
I use the To-Dos feature of HabitRPG. Gamification is motivating for me, so this web app is my weapon of choice. You can try other note-taking apps as well, but if you’re a gamer, especially of Role-playing games, then this productivity tool is for you.

Find Activities That Will Cater More Than One Interest

Zombies Run: A Game That Combines Real-life Running with Zombie Survival Mehcanics Image from http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_content_width/hash/7a/dd/7add9234834237b0b01c0d3bf0ec8002.jpg?itok=H1s8LrDf

With all the stuff that you have to attend to from full-time work to relationships, you have to utilize the time that you have as much as possible, and what better way to do that than to address more than one interest at once. It’s not multitasking but rather choosing the right activity that caters two or more of your interests. Review your list and try to come up with possible combinations that can be formed into one hobby or job.
I’m a bit lucky that a lot of activities are being gamified now so it can address my crave for gaming while doing something productive. A good example would be Rocksmith 2014 which is a rhythm game that features an actual electric guitar as your controller. It has the expected core gameplay of playing songs by following the timing of hovering markers for plucking and strumming the guitar. Beyond that, there are also lessons from basics to advanced concepts for playing the guitar and arcade games that test your skills from controlling your strum volume to playing different scales. These  features are useful that I found some bad habits that I need to correct.

Get Involved in the Community

It’s always fun to meet people who share the same interests with you. It’s also motivating to follow through if you have someone to compare your progress. Just keep it as a healthy competition. You’re there to gain more friends and get motivated, not to pick up some bitter rivalry. Ask for tips from experts of your chosen activity or field. You can also contribute by assisting your colleagues or classmates, especially the newbies in your specific activity. As one of my programming professors taught me, to understand something, teach it to a person. There’s also the possibility that they’ll introduce you to a new hobby that you will enjoy.
For hobbies that let you attend classes, this will be a given thing, unless you want to sit in one corner and just participate to the actual practice, but you’ll miss the opportunity to learn more from other people and get some useful feedback. For other activities, you can join online forums and Q&A sites. Join contests if applicable. It will be a good avenue to hone your craft and find out what you still need to improve.

Having a lot of interests and pursuits gives you a wide range of knowledge and a myriad of skills to take advantage of. Just remember, you’re supposed to be doing these things because you really have fun doing it, and it makes you feel alive. Take it one step at a time and don’t put any unnecessary pressure to yourself. Live the moment and embrace your renaissance soul.  (~^_^)~

Mobile Applications For Keeping Track of Important Stuff

I’ve been using a handful of applications to aid me in my productivity, especially now that I have a home-based job. These are some of the tools that I use to keep track of my stuff from shopping lists to task durations.

Keeping Track of Item Lists (ColorNote)

This compact application works like a virtual sticky note. You can create a plain text document or a checklist. I use the latter more frequently since it’s quite handy for easy-to-setup list which I can cross-out one by one like when I need to shop for some items, check the people who already paid for our movie nights, update accomplished daily tasks, and the list goes on. The notes can come in different colors so you can define your own color-coding scheme in organizing your notes. It also comes with a widget that you can pin in your device’s home screen so you can easily be reminded of the lists that you made.

Google Play: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.socialnmobile.dictapps.notepad.color.note

Keeping Track of Notes (Evernote)

Even though ColorNote can be used for note-taking, there’s a reason why Evernote can be a better choice. It’s most powerful feature is synching your notes between mobile devices, computers, and even web. Thus, maximizing your notes’ accessibility. It also comes with the basic formatting tools like font styles, bullet points, tables, etc. The notes are organized into notebooks so you keep similar or related info intact. You can also add tags for faster searching. I use this app to write some notes when I’m reading a book, when an idea came into my mind that I don’t want to lose track, and when I’m creating some meeting minutes.

Official Website: http://evernote.com/
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.evernote&hl=en
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ph/app/evernote/id281796108?mt=8

Keeping Track of Habits and Tasks (HabitRPG)

One of the best forms of Gamification that I’ve seen so far. As the name suggests, its primary goal is to build some habits that you desire to learn for yourself as well as other tasks that you want to be reminded on, all of it incorporated in RPG mechanics. Basically, you play a character that has different attributes and items. You improve your stats by gaining experience points and buying better equipment. The quests are represented as tasks, which are categorized into three types namely Habits, Dailies, and To-Do’s. In Habits, you can increase the point (if you succeeded to do the habit) rewarding you with coins and experience points or decrease the point, penalizing you with HP deduction. Dailies are repeating tasks that you need to allot to specific days of the week, you’ll get the same rewards as habits and your HP gets deducted for each item that you fail to complete for the current day. Lastly, To-Do’s are just like Dailies except that you have an optional deadline instead of assigning days. With this webapp, I was able to build the habit of drinking 8 glasses of water a day (it’s about time), create a more consistent schedule for working on my side-project, and list the things that I need to do for a particular trip.

Officiial website: https://habitrpg.com

Keeping Track of Work Time and In-Between Breaks (Breaker)

Usually, people tend to expect that they’ll accomplish more by working several hours straight with no break in-between, but actually, it’s quite the opposite. You have to take breaks periodically in order to be more productive. With this, you can use the application called Breaker to schedule work and break times. Save yourself from RSI, eye strains, and other potential harm brought by sitting in from of the computer for long hours. Better yet, do some stretching exercises during your breaks.

Official Website: http://davidevitelaru.com/software/breaker/

Maybe you’re wondering why personal financial budgets were not included here. Well, I already wrote an entire blog post about that, so if you’re interested, you can check it out. 🙂
As much as technology is giving us more forms of entertainment and more avenues for convenience, I highly recommend that we also utilize it to increase our productivity and aid us for self-betterment. Until next time! Wohooo! One new quest completed for my HabitRPG. (~^_^)~