Tech Lolz: How Can I Restrain Myself When I Have No Willpower?

I am pretty sure that I am not the only one who sometimes lacks the willpower to pull myself from something I enjoy in order to do something else that I don't necessarily enjoy as much but I should be doing anyway. Like work! :) Let's take as an example our high school or college years. How many other things you would have done instead of studying for that stupid exam tomorrow? I'm sure that you would rather clean the room, take out the trash, buy tomatoes from the market and what not. So, how can technology help you in this matter? Let's find out in today's Tech Lolz episode from a user who wanted to restrain himself from playing too much Starcraft.

I can restrain myself!!!

Who am I trying to fool? No, I cannot. I lack the willpower. Every time I am into a book, a game or a TV series, I do it until exhaustion kicks in. To hell with everything else! I know that this is a bad example. But I am an adult and I can do whatever I want since I will be the one suffering the consequences of my choices. :)

Playing South Park Stick of Truth until the story ended or doing marathons of watching TV series are "normal" activities you will find me doing late into the night. But why are we talking about this?

Well, the user Dr. Dork started this discussion: How Can I Restrict Myself To Playing Starcraft 2 between the Hours of 10pm and 1 am?" and asked the following:

"I have a lot of work to do and my life is falling apart because of this incredibly fun game. I'm on the verge of throwing my copy into the lake I live on to avoid fully transforming into a twelve year old, but I don't want to stop playing altogether. I'd rather restrict myself to only playing in the evenings, but I don't have the discipline to do that. Is there any software or native Windows 7 utilities I can use to restrict myself to only playing starcraft 2 between 10pm and 1am?"


Well, it's called Parental Control but I am pretty sure that you were not the target audience when Microsoft developers initially thought of this concept. It's really hard to restrain yourself from something you enjoy doing and time flies when you're having fun. But, you reach a certain age where you just can't handle staying awake all night and then going to work. It's just too exhausting. So what do you do then?

The user akira hit us with the Hammer of Truth:

"by sheer will. either that or deinstall .
nothing else will help. if you do not have the will, you will bypass your own "restrictions" anyway if you do not have the will. if you realize that you do not have the will, deinstall the game. use an os not capable of playing the game.
if you have the will, just set the time of your mobile phone to ring at a certain time and then shutdown the machine."

It is kind of true. There is no technology out there yet that cannot be overwritten by our enthusiastic alter-ego - the one that truly enjoys playing video games or watching too much anime. :)

And I believe that torben-gundtofte-bruun agrees with me on this one:

"There's no software solution for lack of self-discipline. Any software you set up to block you is just as easily uninstalled."

Even though you ask a friend to set it up and not give you the password no matter what, I am sure that safe mode and some Revo Uninstaller would do the trick.

Parental Controls Or, Better Said: "Nice Try Technology!"

It's clear that Parental Control works only on people who are not experienced enough to override it. Like 5 year-olds. I, however, just don't find it efficient enough to restrict computer users with some computing knowledge.

The user nhinkle comes up with the idea anyway:

"Have you considered restricting yourself with the built-in parental controls? Windows 7 Parental Controls allow you to specify which games are allowed during which hours. I feel a bit silly suggesting parental controls to an adult, but that may do the trick.
You could set up a "get stuff done" user account and a "play time" user account. Remove all links to games from the "get stuff done" account, and then use parental controls or net user to restrict your "play" account to only be able to log in during certain hours. You could additionally use the parental controls to prevent the "get stuff done" account from playing any games at all, and you can disable whatever other programs you want that might be a distraction, like IM clients, other games, twitter apps, etc.
Now, does somebody have a way for me to stop distracting myself on this forum? ;)"

Now, as mentioned, I still do not find this reliable. OK, it stops the game for you at the time indicated. And if you are a decent human being you would stop playing and go to bed. But if you are not, which is in most cases, you would just enter the password and change the Parental Control settings and just play some more. I don't think this is going to work for "adults".

No Game No Life

Fortunately, konstantin has a better idea:

"All that applications won't work until you really wish to stop playing. And if you wish, you don't need them. Best way to stop playing - to find more interesting things. Like friends in RL, girl/boy-friend. Start some project (e.g create map). Start learning something.
PS: i know that sc2 is really fun game, and i playing it myself like 20 hours per week :)"

Well Konstantine, you have definitely not been paying attention. The whole point of gaming is to avoid doing that stuff that includes other people while you still keep your fun-o-meter to a high level.

Getting a girl/boy-friend would imply me having to get up from the computer, take a shower, prep up and then go out in the world and try not calling people stupid when some of them are just asking for it. I just don't see how that is fun at all. :)

But that's just me. I'm sure the Parental Control stuff will help you guys. We have lots of guides on our website. Just search for the words parental control on our website and you will find plenty of stuff to read.


The answer to today's problem is easy: if you are lacking the willpower, there is no cure for you. Except your conscience! Yup, that small bastard will totally get the best of you. So never mind the Parental Controls (unless you are really desperate), nevermind the will power, conscience will always get you where you need to be. It is the reason why I am at my desk, writing this article instead of watching "Gilmore Girls".