Author's note. This article is just as applicable to myself as anyone else. I too am very guilty about letting things slide in order to play my top MUD, but I try to keep these points in mind, and hopefully they can help you too.
It can be so easy to sit down at the computer, or stretch out on the bed with the laptop and get immersed in our favourite roleplaying game. Cleaning can wait, laundry will be done tomorrow, youc an eat in half an hour. We become the kings and queens of procrastination. But as we get older, or find some sort of reality, we understand that school, family, work has to balance. Sixteen hours in front of our text MUD of choice just isn't acceptable, so we have to find some sort of balance.
Just one more spar, one more step up the combat rankings, just ten more percent, just another thousand gold, just one more scroll to edit. We've all succumbed to these methods of self-convincing at one time or another, but if it's just too hard to tear yourself away it can be seriously detrimental to not just your general hygeine, but your health and your life in general. I was up late bashing to dragon, or killing a rock ogre in Tasur'ke is not a good enough excuse for a late submission on a term paper. Ashtan was raiding, I couldn't QQ, is not something your boss will accept when you turn up late.
In the end our games are just that, games. Not a single one of us is obligated to stay on at a detriment to our real lives. If you struggle with finding a balance perhaps set yourself a time limitation. You might well miss events or raids, that is just tough, give someone else a change to perform. If you need to let your friends know of the new schedule do so, don't be guilted into staying longer. Perhaps ask them to email you logs of fun things you missed, perhaps drop some in game responsibilities, so your new, limited availability isn't filled soley with message catchup and administrative work. Organise your gaming time more judiciously, so that you get some fun, but have room for your real life too.
So, for easy digestion:
+ Set yourself strict limits, a timer with a loud alarm, for bedtime, for dinnertime, fr a walk in the park.
+ Let your roleplay or combat crew know of your new restrictions, they can be a bit more understanding and help bully you into logging off when the time comes.
+ Cut down the text responsibilities, make room for more fun, less work in your shorter gameplay allotment.
+ Get real goals and things done first, perhaps use your best MUD as a reward for achievement. Got an A, buy some credits!
In the end, if you lose your job, home, drop out of school, how are you going to play and will you even want to after a gaming addiction gets out of hand and ruins your life?
Ensure that there isn't a different sort of cost associated with your free to play games.