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I Quit Video Games & Started Reading Books Instead

I realized I was spending almost 20 hours a week gaming. I quit video games and started reading instead. Here’s how.
by Vanessa Gibbs | Mar 8 2024

2,000 hours. 83 days. 12 weeks. Three months. That’s how long I’ve spent playing Dota in total.

I was horrified when I learned those numbers. I knew I played a lot of video games, but I didn’t realize how a few hours each evening could add up to three months of my life on a single video game.

I always say I wanted to do more personal development and work on my soft skills for work, but I never find the time.
Well, 2,000 hours is a lot of time.

With all those hours I could have studied 10 languages to B1 level, learned a programming language or two, or read over 100 books. Instead of doing something meaningful, I wasted it playing mind-numbing video games that I don’t even really enjoy.

And I know I’m not alone. Research shows 18% of US gamers play for three to six hours a week and 6% play for more than 24 hours a week. Gaming disorder — when you might be addicted to video games — affects more than 3% of the world’s population.

It’s not just video games, either. So many of us waste hours of our lives on mental junk food. If it’s not gaming, it’s Netflix or TikTok, right?

Swapping Video Games for Nonfiction Books

For 2024, I decided to quit video games and do something productive with my time. In my quest to make up for all the time I’d lost, I found the Blinkist app. It gave me the opportunity to learn from as many nonfiction books as I could in less time.

Blinkist is an app that pulls out the key ideas from nonfiction books and shares them in bite-sized explainers. It takes about 15 minutes to read or listen to each explainer.

“When we started most apps were for social media or gaming. We wanted to do something different and build an app that would add genuine value to someone’s life.”
–Holger Seim, CEO of Blinkist

I worked out that if I spent 2,000 hours on Blinkist — instead of on Dota — I could get through 8,000 explainers!

Blinkist’s library has 6,500 titles across 27 categories like entrepreneurship, psychology, and personal development. So with the time I would have normally spent gaming, I started learning about everything from starting your own business to becoming a better public speaker.

Here’s how the app works and how I’m using it to finally have something to show for my free time.

Learn Something New in Just 15 Minutes

When I realized I’d wasted 2,000 hours, I didn’t want to waste a single minute more. Blinkist maximizes my time. It gives you the most important insights from a book in a 15-minute chunk.

That doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but trust me, those bite-sized explainers are jam-packed with interesting information. You get actionable advice, real-life examples, and key concepts explained quickly and simply.

And everything is done in such an entertaining way that I’m still enjoying my free time while doing something useful with it.

Blinkist shares key insights from nonfiction books in 15 minutes.

An Ever-Growing Library of Nonfiction Titles

There are 6,500 titles in the Blinkist library and the team is always adding more. Each month, they add 70 new titles, including everything from the New York Times bestsellers to the latest trending titles.

And the topics are varied, too. You’ll find titles on psychology, mindfulness, nutrition, marketing, parenting, and productivity.

I read Atomic Habits to help me build the habit of reaching for Blinkist over the game controller, Dopamine Detox to learn how to stop overstimulating my brain with quick hits of dopamine like gaming, and Rich Dad, Poor Dad as that book has been on my to-read list for years.

Transform Dead Time and Learn On the Go

Once I started making the most of my time, I became obsessed. That’s when I started listening to Blinkist’s explainers.

These audio explainers are like short knowledge-packed podcasts you’re guaranteed to learn something from.

I listened to Blinkist explainers during my commute, while walking the dog, and when running errands — turning all of that dead time into extra learning time.


Thousands of (Ex-)Gamers Are Turning to Blinkist to Maximize Their Time

I’m not the only one using Blinkist to turn free time into productive time. The app has 28 million users from around the world and they’ve given Blinkist 94,000 5-star ratings.

Here’s what they have got to say:

“Feel like I’ve learned so much in the many Blinks I’ve read and most importantly, being an app on your phone, makes it easy to replace that mindless bored scrolling on social media with reading about interesting topics.”
– 5-star review.
“People wonder why I’m so knowledgeable…it’s because I listen to Blinks all the time! You can gather all the main concepts from loads of different books by amazing authors very quickly and easily”
– 5-star review.

One of the World’s Best Apps for Personal Development

When I quit gaming, I didn’t want to swap one mindless activity for another. Luckily, Blinkist is backed by some pretty impressive names proving it’s a trusted source for learning.

The app has won awards from the United Nations and Google, it’s been featured in the New York Times and Forbes, and Apple named it a top 20 app for lifelong learning. See what I mean? That’s quite the resume.

Want to have something to show for your free time? Download the Blinkist app to get started learning from the world’s best nonfiction books.

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