What’s Your “Pigeon of Discontent”? Please Say!

Each week this year, I’m posting a video about some Pigeon of Discontent that a reader has raised in the comments. Because, as much as we try to find the Bluebird of Happiness, we’re also plagued by the Pigeons of Discontent.

These aren’t the major happiness challenges that we face, but rather, those little nagging problems that settle into roost.

I’m constantly surprised by what a big happiness boost I can get from small changes. As Samuel Johnson wrote, “It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible.” Tackling small nuisances has a big influence on my day.

What Pigeon of Discontent is messing with you lately? Please post your suggestions below, as fodder for possible future videos. If you’d like to see previous Pigeon videos, you can find them here.

  • Nela

    My pigeon of discontent is not being able to get up early enough in the morning to not haver to rush like mad. I keep hitting the snooze button… Stupid, but driving me crazy as I seem to be unable to change this.

    • gretchenrubin

      The snooze button! An instrument of torture masquerading as a convenience.

      • Nela

        True! 

  • Nela

    My pigeon of discontent is not being able to get up early enough in the morning to not haver to rush like mad. I keep hitting the snooze button… Stupid, but driving me crazy as I seem to be unable to change this.

    • gretchenrubin

      The snooze button! An instrument of torture masquerading as a convenience.

      • Nela

        True! 

  • Lisha

    Magazines!

    This can’t be just me, but I find it very difficult to recycle my magazines. I feel that I have purchased these, therefore I should keep them… They end up being piled around the house, with no specific location, and I always think “I loved that one article, so I might come back to it.”  then I never do! My husband has literally stored five years of national Geographic magazines in my pantry! I’m a sucker for Yoga Journal… but why? 
    Tell me I am not alone! :)

    • gretchenrubin

      I give to a friend, or leave mine in my gym. I know that a lot of other people will get the chance to read them that way, so it’s easy to let go.
      I REALLY believe in not keeping a magazine for more than two months, tops. But I know some people love to keep them.

  • Lisha

    Magazines!

    This can’t be just me, but I find it very difficult to recycle my magazines. I feel that I have purchased these, therefore I should keep them… They end up being piled around the house, with no specific location, and I always think “I loved that one article, so I might come back to it.”  then I never do! My husband has literally stored five years of national Geographic magazines in my pantry! I’m a sucker for Yoga Journal… but why? 
    Tell me I am not alone! :)

    • gretchenrubin

      I give to a friend, or leave mine in my gym. I know that a lot of other people will get the chance to read them that way, so it’s easy to let go.
      I REALLY believe in not keeping a magazine for more than two months, tops. But I know some people love to keep them.

  • Marissa

    How can I stop being so jealous of my friends?

    It feels as if my friends are more social than I am, and living more glamorously. However, I am pretty content with my own life, and do not want for much more than I have. But I continually feel strong feelings of jealousy towards my friends.

    • Jade

      Me too! Hope we get a post on that!

      • parvati_radha

         Can’t it be that being jealous is a sign that unconsciously you are NOT completely content with your life. In my case, when I feel jealous, the reason is always very telling: I am, e.g., jealous of people with huge families, because I only have two children and, though I am rationally convinced that we cannot have more, I still would love to have a third one… Jealousy helped me to recognise the issue.

        If this applies to you, too, the problem is not stopping to be jealous, but rather focusing on what you can improve in your life (for instance, taking part to more social events).

    • Stephen Gaudet

      Hey Marissa,  if you are content with your own life, I bet deep down your friends are envious of you.  In my experience, people who claim to live life to the fullest and like to tell the world about it, generally are looking to fill an empty void of some kind.  Be happy for yourself…sounds like you’ve accomplished a great deal with your life!

  • Marissa

    How can I stop being so jealous of my friends?

    It feels as if my friends are more social than I am, and living more glamorously. However, I am pretty content with my own life, and do not want for much more than I have. But I continually feel strong feelings of jealousy towards my friends.

  • parvati_radha

    Not being able to communicate properly with my husband. I know, this is not just a small pigeon…  I also know that we speak different “love languages” (thanks to your link!) and I tried hard to learn his (i.e., gifts and acts of service) and to satisfy my quest for emotional communication (quality time, words, touch) through my friends and my religious community. But I keep on missing having this kind of connection with him…

    • Billie

      Your comment reminded me that I resent the fact that for 60 years, My husband has told me, “I don’t have time”.  It has seemed pretty lonely.

    • Culturecounsel

      I have found that understanding why he functions the way he does helps to engage my partner. His family of origin (parents and siblings) and work environment seem to define these lovely men of hours. They also do have those Blank Box times when they have no thoughts on their mind and have nothing to say. As I got to know myself better, I was also able to view his resistance to communicate a little more objectively and would engage him on topics that were of interest to him. Once he starts, then I would slot in my “have to share” pieces of information also. Do check out the Dance of Intimacy by Harriet Lerner. She deals with a lot of family dynamics and why people function or communicate the way they do. I found the case profiles very useful in working with my spouse and parents. They are very different to me.

      • parvati_radha

         thank you culturecounsel. I will read the book.

  • parvati_radha

    Not being able to communicate properly with my husband. I know, this is not just a small pigeon…  I also know that we speak different “love languages” (thanks to your link!) and I tried hard to learn his (i.e., gifts and acts of service) and to satisfy my quest for emotional communication (quality time, words, touch) through my friends and my religious community. But I keep on missing having this kind of connection with him…

  • Scooze W

    My goal is a frugal, more decluttered life. But I can’t stop shopping! We have a new house and making it ‘just so’ is an irresistible temptation.

    • L Litterer

      Try reading Lighten Up by Peter Walsh!  It is about exactly this issue and I found it tremedously helpful.

  • Kat

    One of my pigeons is rude people. Unfortunately I am not evolved enough to let this stuff slide. When I hold the door for someone and they ignore me without saying thank you. When someone walks in front of me or cuts me in line, it makes me feel invisible. What am I, a potted plant?

    A more frequent example is people on cell phones. Why, oh why, must I be subjected to your private conversations about NOTHING important?? Really, can’t it wait until you are not in public? The worst is when I’m subjected to it and can’t escape – such as on a plane or in the waiting room of a doctor’s office. I am SO close to speaking up, but this is so common, it’s not even considered rude anymore. Then it makes me feel like a cantankerous old woman. (Although I’m not old, just not young.) What to do?

    • Mary Thomson

      I am really curious about the cell phone issue…  I agree, that is very frustrating!  :-|

    • nightnurse

      I feel the same way about these things as you Kat and keep finding it so frustrating! I’m not old and just not young either. Not sure what to do?

  • Cameron Michaels

    I have several “pigeons” in my life, and have found that a course I’ve taken in NVC (Non-Violent Communication or Compassionate Communication) has helped tremendously.  Not only did it save my relationship, but it has deepened our awareness of each other, and respect as well.  Little did I know that I was responsible for a lot more than I was aware off!  The book is by Marshall Rosenberg, and there are groups popping up around the country … google it if you think it might be helpful for you.

  • Ethan

    Drivers that yield incorrectly at T junctions.

    This one seems to be getting increasingly worse where I live.  Drivers on the main road are yielding to drivers on the side road at T junctions.  Since this violates standard yielding rules, both drivers are confused and end up waiting longer than they normally would have had the overly-“courteous” driver not yielded.  People, follow the rules of the road!

  • Maria

    I asked someone to forgive me for past mistakes and that person never wanted to forgive me. Those were mistakes I would have forgiven. I don´t recall not having forgiven someone that has asked me to forgive him(her).

    • Suzanneu2

      Maria it is sad when people won’t forgive. They forget that Jesus said in the L-rd’s Prayer “Forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us….”   The person who withholds forgiveness is not a true friend. G-d forgives us the instant we ask Him. Go forward knowing that He forgave and He will deal with that person.  

  • Billie

    I miss the sound of gratitude words..  Please, thank you, excuse me, etc.  Common curtesy-
    When two people are passing through a door, when one holds it just a bit longer for the other person.  It is my belief that this leaves both parties feeling just a little bit better.

  • Ellen

    Housework seems futile.  I can clean, sort laundry, de-clutter etc., but within a short period of time my family of five has taken over and it’s a mess again.  I try chores, asking gently, and doing it myself rather than asking for a gold star.  In the end, I am discouraged and give up.  Not good!

    • https://www.ThereIsNoShameInMyGame.Blogspot.com Lela

      me 2 Ellen….I find that cleaning just sucks the life out of me but I know there is something that I am supposed to learn from my feelings towards it…PLUS…my partner is a neat freak and I can see his face when things are messy but with 4 kids which includes a 1 yr old that picks up everything and drops things everywhere (incl food), it becomes an all day event that is exhausting. But there is something to learn but I dont know what it is. The one thing that I do know is that I want to hire help when my income allows me to do so.

      • Suzanneu2

        You have a right to have “house rules”. You are the parent. Toddlers should only eat when seated in a high chair.  I would have been more lenient about this but my husband was adamant. NO kids eating anywhere but the kitchen and toddlers had to be in their high chair. I must say…it did save me a lot of clean up.  OH and having a dog is good. Dogs clean up the crumbs the kids make.  :-D

    • Suzanneu2

      Keep plugging away at it, Ellen.  For one thing, if you don’t keep plugging away at it, the clutter will overwhelm you and your house will look like the home of a hoarder!  When my kids were growing up there was a book by “The Slob Sisters” which was hilariously funny and that helped me keep going.  I tried various things which all worked to a degree. One was setting the oven timer for “5 minutes” for a 5-minute clean-up by EVERYBODY before bed-time. Then the kids got a bed-time snack. (They seemed to like dashing to and fro cleaning up.)  Another thing that worked was taking 1 bedroom per month and cleaning it. Literally I raked out the stuff from under my son’s bed. Anything that was broken or had missing parts got thrown out. When he moved out to go to college, the rug around his bed looked brand new.  His room was so bad that he had to dive from the door onto his bed. By  the time he was a senior in high school I had given up trying to clean his room. As messy as his room was,at the other end of the spectrum,  he was just that clean and tidy about his military work; so something I did rubbed off.  My eldest daughter takes 1 room per month and “housecleans” it. She has a 10-room house with a lot of woodwork. She said that this has been workable for her.  Here’s a link for The Slob Sisters–Side-tracked HOme Executives, from Pigeon to Paradise  http://www.amazon.com/Sidetracked-Home-Executives-TM-Paradise/dp/0446677671/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338989419&sr=1-2

    • http://www.facebook.com/Twinels Sharon Walton

      I too have felt this way… in addition to the slob sisters check out flylady.net. she is amazing. My mother never taught me routines or even what was really involved in keeping a whole home. It wasn’t the cleanest home but, it was never the wreck mine has been. The routines and tips from flylady work and she is fun and funny too. Good luck. Your not alone. Plus check out youtube for videos on home organization tips . I have found many helpful things on there as well. Many Blessings

      • seahag56

        FlyLady is awesome! Just doing a little bit when you can makes a big difference.

  • Moreskinnydays

    My pigeon is the endless number of password that I must access regularly. Between passwords for personal and work, i.e., employment as in some form of industry especially as a means of earning one’s livelihood, I may need to access 50 different sites in a single day. All the sites have different requirements for password length and content so using the same password is out of the question. Some access requires changing the password daily, some never require a change. Because cookies, history, or cache can be cleared at any time, saving the passwords when page prompts me to is never a solution. I find myself continually resetting passwords for some sites and abandoning others. e.g., shutterfly altogether. Any obvious way of saving these is a serous breech of security.

    • Noelle

      I have a similar issue at work , although not as bad as yours. What I have found to work is an app called Keeper that uses military grade encryption to hold all your passwords. You can organize it by folders- I use one for Finances, websites, taxes, etc. Hope that helps!

  • Dorothee

    My pigeon of  discontent: Adopting moods from others easily

    Especially when I’m struggling for a positive view on things, I get easily annoyed by my loved ones displaying their bad mood in facial expression or in what they say. Mostly I (unwillingly) adopt that mood, although I’m aware of what’s happening.

  • Culturecounsel

    My pigeon of discontent is sadly one of conflict; be myself or conform. I have embarked on a process of self awareness and have finally comfortable being myself.  However, my new job requires that I revert to my people pleasing conformist mode of behaviour. I am afraid that i will lose myself in the process. I have worked too hard to come this far and am unable to strike a healthy balance. I also find that knowing yourself makes you feel less conditioned by expectations and relationships. I fear that I will lose the relationships if I continue to persist in the process of self realisation. Lucky, so far it’s been going well.. except for work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1057507297 Denise Casamento Musser

    My pigeon of discontent is the opposite of the “envy” one just posted about.  I am very happy with my marriage,  home, family,  new career choice and excited about changing my life in middle age.  

    My issue is that from time to time people are either intimidated by me, my success and drive or they are somehow jealous. That jealousy/comparativeness pops up as mean things that people say or do, in little ways and odd times at social occasions.

     I try very hard to be a good friend to others and not even talk much about what my life has been like, and to focus on others, offering support and friendship.  

    But I think many people automatically compare themselves to me (especially when they come to my home) and over time sometimes become jealous, snippy and competitive, which tears away at the friendship.  I have not always been able to find friends who are secure in themselves and simply able to enjoy what I have to offer in a friendship. My pigeon of discontent is dealing with other people’s jealousies, insecurities and therefore, inconsistencies when it comes to friendship.

    • parvati_radha

       Maybe it might help if you could share also what does not satisfy you completely, even small things, like a minor disagreement with a family member, or an health issue. People would think you are “human” too and might feel closer to you.

    • Suzanneu2

      I read something years ago about friendship that was very good. The article said that the average person only ever has less than 1/2 dozen true friends over a lifetime–ie people who are genuinely happy for your success and who willingly share your sorrows; who can be honest in a kind way with you and who can take it when you are truthful with them. The article also said that people come and go and you can pick up where you left off with a true friend even if you two haven’t seen one another for years.  I have found that this is true. 

      It sounds to me like you are doing the right thing.  People will disappoint you unless you really understand that not everybody is at the place in life where they can reciprocate in the way you would like.  Keep doing the right thing anyway.  :-)  

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1057507297 Denise Casamento Musser

        Thank you.  So true about those with whom you can pick up right where you left off.  Thanks for the tips.

  • Night Kitchen Queen

    I think one good way to banish the “Envy” pigeon (at least it’s been helpful to yours truly) is to remember that you’re comparing your inside (what you know about yourself, your situation, and your life) to the other person’s outside (what their situation and life *appear* to be). One never knows all the ins and outs of another person.

  • JellyBean

    My pigeon: How can I feel right about focusing on my happiness when we get so much negative “guilting” from the environmental movement? We’re destroying the planet but take time out to enjoy a treat which makes you feel better? All I have to do is take a walk outside to notice invasive plants and pollution. And inside if I think of having a bubble bath I’m worried about using too much hot water.  :-( 

    • Stephen Gaudet

      Understood JellyBean.  But I’ll take a planet fighting for it’s life filled with happy people, over one filled with sad ones.  Just understand that things aren’t going to change overnight, and probably not even in the next couple of generations, so do what you can as an individual and enjoy life along the way.  You didn’t break the planet, it’s not your fault. 

    • Suzanneu2

      Do the best you can. Do what you can. Don’t worry about the rest. The world will be here for a long time yet. The tree-huggers don’t read the Bible or they would know that, but then if they knew that, they would lose their platform and their high-paying jobs that allow them to look down their noses at the rest of us while they drive air-conditioned SUV’s and ride around in their own jet planes.  ;-)

    • butterflydreaming

      When out on a walk, instead of focusing on the invasive plants & pollution, take in the municipal plantings of trees and flowerbeds (if your neighborhood is so lucky). The environmental movement encourages the greening of our cities, to which you contribute as a taxpayer, so you are contributing to more tree-lined streets. You might live somewhere where volunteers have marked the street drains with “this drains to the bay/ocean/creek”. This is a happy thing, because it means that some people cared to use their free time to raise awareness. Like you, they saw the pollution and are trying to make a difference.
      You can still have your bubble bath! Just don’t leave the water flowing down the overflow until your toes shrivel. You are doing that anyway, because you are aware of your water bill, right? A shower instead of a bath can be a false economy, because a 15-20 minute shower uses about as much water as will fill a tub for a bath! If you are deliberate in your water use (like turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth), you do sometimes need to get a lot of water going through your home’s pipes to keep them flowing well. Baths are wonderful in a freshly cleaned tub. When you drain the bathwater, you’ll be rinsing the tub cleaner & dirt the rest of the way through the pipes, out to the mains.
      By the way, many cities give tours of the water treatment plant that are free. It can be eye opening!

  • SFC17

    My Pigeon of Discontent is my anger and frustration with people who break rules and get away with it.

    Examples:
    -People who smoke in non-smoking areas.
    -People who take bikes on public transit during rush hour (against the rules) and get the bikes stuck in turnstiles (http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/crime/article/1218388–owner-of-stuck-bike-tells-his-side-of-the-story)

    This also includes the breaking of the social contract, such as people talking at the movies (or worse, live shows!).

    You may not like the rule, but it’s a rule for a reason! (If it’s a bad or useless rule, petition to get it changed, but obey the rule!)

  • http://twitter.com/Kadeka28 Kathy

    I am the ultimate procrastinator and the most mentally productive person I know. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I will do  and how  things out to be; but for the life of me why don’t I burn that energy being physically active. For Instance I will say to myself I’m going to the gym straight after work I may even take my gym things with me in the car, but after work I am exhausted from all the thinking about working out. I think this is the pigeon of Over-thinking everything until I’m too weary. How can I open the window and let this exhausted pigeon fly away?

  • Wendy Koscierzynski

    Pigeon Suggestion:  Sometimes I may say or do something in a group setting, family get together, dinner out with colleagues, that I wished I hadn’t done or said.  It often times puts me in a funk for the rest of the get together.  It may not be something you need to apologize for, just something I am not happy about.  How do I re-capture my zeal quickly or soon before the get together is over with?  I have been finding that I leave such things not feeling happy after the encounter or not feeling like I was my best self.

  • Minivanmama

    One of my biggest “pigeons of discontent” is people who are engrossed in a technological gadget (phone, e-reader, tablet, laptop, etc.) while in a social situation. Is it really necessary to answer phone calls, text messages or e-mails while at dinner with friends? Does a person have to Google every topic that is discussed to find out more and share? What happened to manners and enjoying the company of others?!

  • Madeline

    Mine is dealing with my insanely negative mother in law. She finds a way to make almost every statement negative or uses an aggressive tone when speaking. About once year we have a big blow out about it and the rest of the year I try to bite my tongue. It is so frustrating and, even worse, disappointing. I would love to invite her over more and go on family vacations with her, but I would go insane.

  • dkg

    Always wondering/worrying whether I am “living up to my potential”.

  • http://twitter.com/holamarco Marco Moreno

    First off, thanks for sharing all this wonderful life changing advice with everyone. Those attuned to listen are grateful. This leads to my question. Over the past 4-5 years I have gone a huge transformation mentally and physically. I began listening to self help and motivational books, changed my diet, quit drinking, lost a considerable amount of weight and truly feel like I have woken up to life. I thank my Dad for starting his own journey and having a major influence on stating mine. So here is my issue. I am married and my wife is supportive of all of this change but usually categorizes this as extreme behavior. She says I’m black or white and feels like she can’t change like I have or maybe has no intentions of doing it. My question is how can you motivate your spouse to start seeing things in a different light without becoming a nuisance? Again, thanks and I look forward to your book.

  • Jackie

    I’m with you here! Common courtesy and kind words are all so lost. Why can’t people stop and realize it’s just spoken words (that don’t cost anything) and that they can leave others and themselves with a feeling of goodness and a touch of godliness!

  • Linda

    People who walk through a door without looking back to see if anyone is behind them – allowing ing the door close on the next incoming person. My remedy is to never do this and it makes me feel better – others always thank me and when someone else does hold the door for me I smile and thank them.

    • goodie

      Oh I totally agree. It’s such a simple thing to do for someone.

  • Heather Powers

    I am saddened that people don’t bother to respond to communication either a yes or a no “I’m not interested”. It’s a common courtesy that’s faded away with our “busy” lifestyles.

    • Kate

      I just realized that I postpone responses for as long as I can for sort of that reason. The reason? I often WANT to say yes, but with work, family obligations, the occasional evening school meeting or church meeting, volunteer work, parental taxi duty, etc., I’m afraid of overfilling my schedule, particularly because I’m a low-energy introvert. Maybe other people never respond at all for the same reason?

  • Mj

    We are in a shared household (we the parents // son, wife, 2 DGS) and share the kitchen. My pigeon of discontent continues to poop all over that kitchen as though there is “staff” to clean it up. A sink is NOT a place “to store dirty dishes” but TO CLEAN THINGS (there is a dishwasher). A countertop is NOT “to put things on that you’re going to use [sometime]” but to have space TO USE THINGS. That same pigeon will spill or drop or spatter and never (and I do mean “never”) clean up. That pigeon is in her 30s and has stated that she enjoys being spiteful. Perhaps it’s time for that pigeon to find a new nest…

  • Sue

    My Pigeon is people who claim they “can’t…” They claim they can’ write so they don’t bother putting a thoughtful note in your birthday card – just sign their name. They nver know what to buy you so they just give you a gift card. They don’t know what to bring to a party so they just buy something barely edible (and suspect) at the supermarket. Seriously, you should know your friends and family well enough to come up with at least a few thoughtful lines in a card, purchase something other than a gift card that they will like and have a small repetoire of homemade recipes to contribute to gatherings. I work full time and have a very full life, but I still put a great deal of thought into all of the above and am pretty disappointed when people don’t put themselves out when I’m on the receiving end. Actually, to be honest is is not all about me. I hate to see people give these lackluster “gifts” to anyone. But if you at least make an effort, it is far more appreciated than simply giving up. Besides, all of these things are like exercise. It may be hard in the beginning, but by continuing to work those (writing, shopping, cooking) muscles, you get better at it and it is far more satisfying for everyone.

  • Happenings

    Fresh out of college. Not knowing what career path I should take.

  • ld

    My pigeon of discontent, and I see in the Happiness Project that this bothers you too, is that I’m scared to drive! Please help!

    • gretchenrubin

      Ah, it’s nice to hear from another fearful driver. This is an entire section in “Happier at Home.” I decided to tackle it, finally!

      • ld

        I look forward to reading all about it on Sep 4th (assuming your publication date is the same in the UK)! Good luck with the launch, I can’t wait to buy my copy.

  • Sunshine

    I find it difficult to “live in the moment,” which often robs me of happiness. I am often so busy thinking of my never ending to do list, or stressing about my lack of personal free time, that I don’t enjoy events and activities that SHOULD be fun. I have been trying to make a conscious effort to silence my inner voice, but I’d love to hear others’ ideas.

  • s_ifat

    i find it hard to eat healthy only because of all the preperations…. i can eat a chocolate bar in 30 sec and be done with it, or i can take the time, cut the salad and make the nutritious meal. it is such a time consuming activity…if only someone would cook for me….

  • Amy Smith

    My pigeon of discontent is dealing with conflict in the workplace. I’ve learned that in any professional environment, you are going to have to work with and get along with difficult people. What I still struggle with is how to not let the little things bother me, bounce back, and build a positive environment at work.

  • OurGalFriday

    I want to learn how to lower my expectations without failing to be true to my heart’s desires. In plainer English, I enjoy doing things for others (such as planning a special way to celebrate a milestone anniversary with my husband), and I want the same consideration from them without actually giving them a menu of “what I want,” so that it feels like I’m behaving like a spoiled princess who demands homage. Examples: I am a working mom, and I have two best friends who are moms — one a stay-at-home mom of three kids and one a homeschooling mom of four kids. Neither sends me a Valentine, although I send them Valentines, nor do they usually remember to call me on my birthday. (They will remember a day or so later, though.) I knew girls in junior high who would write their birthday on the chalk board for several days leading up to the big day, and I didn’t think much of them and don’t want to be like them — but I hate feeling forgotten. Similarly, my husband and I just celebrated a milestone anniversary, and we talked in advance about how it was a big one, I mentioned my yearning to go to a b&b together to him, I went out and got a replica of the top tier of our wedding cake, and he didn’t forget, but he treated it like any other anniversary. I could just go through life not doing special things for others, but that seems sad and cynical. How can I stop letting myself get so disappointed?

  • Katie H.

    My pigeon of discontent: Feeling frustrated at the end of the day because I did not accomplish as much as I set out to do.

  • Stephen Gaudet

    I feel your pain adora :-)  I’m a 40 year old family man…and could never seem to find the time to play either.  What I do know is book 2 nights a week to be my “game time”….and for me, it’s when my wife and kids are gone to bed.  It usually means I play for about an hour, and it’s at a time of the day when I wouldn’t normally be “cleaning, exercising, cooking, reading. decorating, learning French… ”
    so I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing anything and just enjoy my time with it.  You set time in your life to do other stuff…gotta do the same for video games also.