Productivity Woes Over Google’s Pac-Man Game

by Haider on May 26, 2010 · 11 comments

in Productivity

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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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pauline May 27, 2010 at 2:16 am

Nice blog post. I am also guilty of spending a few minutes playing Pacman on Google’s website. But I agree with you that Google was not only creative in paying tribute to Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary but that it also afforded all of us a chance to reminisce and also pay tribute to Pac-Man. Cheers!

2 Haider May 27, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Thanks Pauline! :)

We might soon see chapters of “Pac-Man Anonymous” popping up around the world: “My name is Haider, and I played Pac-Man on Google.” :P

It was great listening to the Pac-Man music again, and remembering the times I used to play it as a child. Good times.

3 Manal May 28, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Hi Haider,

I don’t know what to call it … synchronicity may be? I just published a post about productivity that was triggered by the same thing: Pac-Man on Google.

We share the same views. We just express them differently.

The only thing I would partially disagree with is your point about evasion. Sometimes it can be the best thing you do. If you’re stuck and can’t seem to find a way out when dealing with an issue, doing something completely unrelated (or even mindless) might inspire you.
Manal´s last blog ..Are You OK With Being Invisible? My ComLuv Profile

4 Haider May 29, 2010 at 12:05 am

Hi Manal,

I fully agree with your disagreement. :P

I think it’s very healthy to take breaks (i.e. look away) from a challenging problem in order to develop perspective, and potentially find solutions you’d not be able to reach while staring your problem in the face.

The evasion I’m critical of is the idea that if you don’t face your problem, it will somehow go away. That “out of sight, out of mind, out of existence” attitude to life.

Stepping back is very different from running away.

And I see I missed TWO posts on your blog! Heading there now! :D

5 Manal May 29, 2010 at 10:35 am

Thanks for agreeing with my disagreement Haider. :)

I understand what you mean. We have to face the music and deal with certain situations. Escaping in this case compounds the problem.

See you on the other side … my blog that is :D
Manal´s last blog ..Are You OK With Being Invisible? My ComLuv Profile

6 Chris Edgar June 1, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Hi Haider — I like that way of putting it — that productivity is really about having choice around the way you use your time, rather than spending the day running away from thoughts and sensations you’d rather not experience, or giving into any urge that comes up in the moment.

7 Haider June 2, 2010 at 12:04 am

Hi Chris,

Yes. Evasion is the devil. We find liberty (and productivity) through awareness and exercising choice.

Thanks for stopping by, and picking out the most important point out of the article. ;)

8 Dia June 5, 2010 at 2:33 am

Hi Haider,

I found your name in aliventure and as soon I saw your photo, I knew you are from the Gulf countries :) It is always good to interact with people from my own region.

In regards to the tips you offer, thanks a lot for them.
Dia´s last blog ..What should I do with my life? My ComLuv Profile

9 Haider June 5, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Hi Dia,

Tis great to connect with you too! We’re a minority in the personal growth community. :P

Thank you for your feedback, and for reaching out.

10 Farouk Radwan June 7, 2010 at 10:30 am

oh, that’s a very useful post Haider,
never expected that such a little game could result in all of this lost time
i believe you are arab right? am from Egypt, glad to meet another arab blogger:)
Farouk Radwan´s last undefined ..Response cached until Tue 8 @ 8:25 GMT (Refreshes in 23.92 Hours) My ComLuv Profile

11 Haider June 7, 2010 at 11:29 am

Farouk, I was checking your site out yesterday! :D

Yes, I’m Kuwaiti.

Thanks for passing by, and hope to connect more with you on the blogosphere! :D

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