From the monthly archives:

May 2010

Google's Pac-Man Game: Hero or Villain?

Google's Pac-Man Game: Hero or Villain?

Mashable, one of the top blogs for social media and Web 2.0 news, recently announced that Google’s Pac-Man game cost the world 4.8 MILLION hours of lost productivity! If you didn’t manage to catch the Pac-Man game, it was introduced on Google’s homepage on the day of Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary.

The startling number was computed by RescueTime, who shared some other interesting numbers about Google’s jab at global productivity.

While RescueTime is sobbing over all those wasted hours and dollars, I am quietly admiring Google’s creativity and – you guessed it – playing Pac-Man.

It’s not because I don’t care about productivity or that I’m too addicted to video games to admit the damage Google has caused.

It’s because I don’t believe that:

  • Productivity is measured by time
  • Recreational activities compromise productivity (on the contrary, they help boost productivity, when used properly)

We do not become more or less productive based solely on the number of hours we spend tapping away at a keyboard. The more time we spend working, the more our need for recreational activities grows.

It’s healthy to break focused chunks of work time with short, playful breaks, where our minds aren’t engaged in serious tasks.

Pac-Man is a great way to enjoy such breaks. It’s simple, fun and risk-free, where you get to enjoy the excitement that comes with being chased by ghosts and trying to make split-second decisions, without suffering any real-world damages.

To make recreational activities work for you and not against you, please bear the following guidelines in mind:

  1. Choose how long you well spend doing focused work (you might find 25 to 30 minutes to be a healthy option)
  2. Choose when to spend time on a recreational activity, and how much time you will spend on it (5 minutes is good when taking a short break between sessions of focused work)
  3. Never use recreational activities as a method of evasion: trying to avoid thinking about an issue, or working on a task. Even if you do get to enjoy the activity, it is compromising your overall well-being
  4. Make sure your expectations for a day’s work are realistic, so you don’t feel guilty about not getting enough work done (which you will most likely blame on the time you spent playing)

Now that I managed to write a blog post, I will celebrate this accomplishment with a quick game of Pac-Man! :D

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