Last month, I talked about how difficult it is to balance family time with video game time. The hours I can sink into games shrinks just as much as baby Evalei grows. That begs the question: Why on earth am I trying to achieve 100-percent completion in Grand Theft Auto V?

I’m clearly out of my damn mind. I’m also having a lot of fun tracking down all of Los Santos’ collectibles and secrets. As of this writing, my completion percentage sits at 86.86. Some of my friends who have already reached the hallowed 100-percent mark, vested over 100 hours into the game, on average. My clock is sitting at a low 52 hours. I’m guessing I’ll hit 100 percent at around 65-75 hours.

The disparity in time between my friends’ game and mine comes from my abbreviated approach to world travel and collecting. Everyone should play the game at the pace that feels best to them, but if you’re looking for a quick and effective approach, here are a few tips to help you out.

Finish 60 Story Missions First
I didn't begin my quest for 100 percent until I completed roughly 60 missions in the game. Turns out, this was a wise decision for numerous reasons. For starters, you're going to need a little bit of money to purchase vehicles that make the job easier. On top of this, I wouldn’t attempt any triathlons before all of your characters are maxed out on stamina. Just play the critical path story missions, and you should have no problem getting your characters into tiptop shape. I would also finish all Strangers and Freaks missions that are offered alongside the story missions.

I don’t like using strategy guides to show me where to go next, but for a game of this size, locating 50 tiny scraps of paper would be as difficult as finding one needle hidden in a thousand haystacks. This feat requires help. My guide to most of the collectibles is PowerPyx. His YouTube videos are concise, and do a great job of showing the approach needed to reach some of the items or jumps. I’ve included all of his videos that you’ll need to use. I recommend having a second screen (phone, tablet, or computer) set up to handle this functionality as you play.

Cab It

When I’m looking for spaceship parts and torn letters, I usually take a cab if the distance is greater than 1 mile. I set a waypoint on the location of a desired item, and mash on the A button as soon as I get in the cab to speed up the travel. The cabs are usually pretty good about placing you near the desired location. If the item you are seeking is in the ocean, place the waypoint on the nearest road.

Trevor’s Helicopter
A helicopter can be your best friend if you are trying to fly under bridges or reach a parachute jump up on a cliff. At one point in the story, a helicopter unlocks at the airfield for Trevor. Switch to Trevor to use it when you need elevation.

This may be more of a personal observation, but I have more success hitting stunt jumps straight on during the day. If I’m near a safe house, I’ll hop into bed to spin the clock to morning. Spaceship parts and letters glow at night, which could make them easier to find, but I had no problems locating them under sunlight.

Stunt Jumps
This is where most of my time is currently going. For me, Stunt Jumps are the hardest bonus objective in the game. Thankfully, 100 percent completion only requires that 25 of the 50 be hit successfully. Before you attempt any of them, I recommend purchasing a motorcycle and sports car and decking them out with all of the top upgrades. Bulletproof tires are a must. Pay close attention to your starting point for all jumps. I usually try to keep the pedal to the metal when I hit the ramp. If I overshoot a jump, I’ll trim down the amount of space between my original starting point and the ramp. Using Franklin's ability to slow time helps when trying to hit narrow ramps. The last tip for Stunt Jumps is to have patience. You’ll lose plenty of cars in rivers and you’re going to die on a few landings. Fetching your vehicle out of the impound lot can be a time-consuming nuisance, but if you pay attention to your range and max out your top speed, you'll cut down on the number of unnecessary trips you need to make.

Update: As Game Informer reader Andrew Marcos pointed out in the comments, you can bring up your phone to save before hitting a jump. If you fail in spectacular fashion, loading that save will give you another shot. I'm not too keen on this approach, as it doesn't give an accurate reading on the amount of time you've vested in the game. I know that won't matter too much for many of you, but I think it's a fun stat to follow.

Torn Letters
Tracking down 50 letters and 50 spaceship parts sounds like a pain, but I’m finding it to be a great means of seeing areas of Los Santos that I probably never would have gotten to. With the help of PowerPyx’s guide, I had no problems tracking down all of the letters in a few hours.

Spaceship Parts
If you are using a YouTube guide, you shouldn't have any problems finding all 50 Spaceship Parts. If you are just using a map, listen closely for a humming sound when you near a spaceship part's location. The sound should lead you to it.

Knife Flights
Many people say that the easiest way to complete the eight required Knife Flights is to steal a fighter jet from the airfield. I never did that. I instead purchased the Mallard stuntplane from Elitas Travel. Just go to your in-game web browser and access their website. The Mallard is only $250,000. I found it offered the control needed to navigate tight gaps between buildings, and its speed wasn't a problem at any point.

Use Rockstar’s Social Club
Tracking your progress couldn’t be easier, thanks to Rockstar’s Social Club. View your profile, click the Grand Theft Auto V image in the lower right hand corner of the screen, and then select Checklist under the Career tab. Here, you’ll see a listing of all of the content in the game. The missions with colored bars on their sides must be completed for reach 100 percent. As you can see, Rockstar is being generous with its “100 percent” mark. Many of the side activities don’t even need to be attempted to reach this goal. The site even offers a handy map that shows you what you’ve collected, and what you still need to find. Here’s my profile for reference: Reinak007.