So, you’re staying in your mom’s basement playing No Man’s Sky for the past six months and think you can become a pro-gamer. Chances are, this is probably something shouldn’t be telling your dad you’re trying to pursue right now. This isn’t to say that becoming a pro-gamer isn’t a realistic goal and that you can’t make a great living at it, but it really doesn’t help in the bragging rights department when you haven’t actually put in the work to make your ambitions come true.
The reality is that you can become a pro gamer—anyone can. That’s the beauty of gaming, after all, because all of the pro-gamers on the circuit today are just like you. These are average, run-of-the-mill people who developed the right skills and talent to help them win.
And you can be a winner, too. Here’s how:
1. Narrow down the game
There are hundreds of games out there and you’ve got to narrow down the one you’re going to master. You can’t go at this devoting an hour to playing this one and that one. You’ve ultimately got to narrow it down to that one game that you’re going to get really, really good at. It’s hard to do, because you enjoy gaming and, let’s face it, they’re all fun! But, when you decide to go pro, it’s time to get serious about the one you’re going to master.
This is fairly obvious, but practice does make perfect, you know. But, practice also takes time, so you really need to dedicate yourself to developing the skill it takes to be a pro. No more Saturday nights down at Norkie’s pub on Third Street – you’ve got work to do. You also have to be able to compete, no matter how you’re feeling, or if you’re tired or under the weather. They’re not going to reschedule a competition based upon your health, you know. So practice, practice, practice, even under a variety of conditions (like being sick, hungover, etc.) to prepare for gaming under any circumstance.
3. Balance your time
Becoming a pro-gamer takes time, and in the meantime, you’ve got to support yourself by paying your bills and meeting other life obligations. In other words, don’t quit or neglect the day job you have just because of all the gaming benefits you expect to come. Right now, you need that job and it requires discipline to know just when to concentrate solely on your future gaming career. You need to keep this in perspective, so when you’re at work, concentrate on work. But during the time you’ve scheduled for practicing your gaming, tune out the world to practice your craft. Turn off the phone, radio, or any other distractions and totally devote that time to this sport.
4. Know what’s staying hot
You’ve got to use some common sense here and stay on top of the games that aren’t just hot this month, but also know and anticipate the ones that will stay hot. Some of this is marketing 101, fads come and go, and the gaming industry is no different. You’ve got to be able to distinguish the games that are the latest on the bandwagon and which games are going to be the surefire classics for months and years to come. There is no point in devoting hours and hours mastering a game that is only going to die out in popularity and relevance in a month or two later.
If you’re going to be a pro-gamer, you need to know the circuit and the competition, so get to know it early on. Attend the competitions, read the gaming magazines, and really get to know these guys. When there’s a guy who’s on fire, don’t envy his success, rather watch for the attributes that got them there in the fist place. The value here is that you not only get to know who you’ll possibly be facing, but by moving in these circles, you’ll develop the attitude it takes to win.
At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.
Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.
One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.
When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.
So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.
Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day
This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.
Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.
When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.
Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity
One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.
Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.
An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.
When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.
Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day
Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.
We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.
By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.
Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment
While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.
I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.
You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.
Con #1: We Move a Lot Less
When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.
Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.
Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.
Con #2: Less Human Interaction
One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.
Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.
Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.
This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.
While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.
Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment
Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.
This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.
For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.
Con #4: Unique Distractions
Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.
For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.
To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.
Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.
We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.