Friday, February 21, 2014

Productivity games for busy days

I just wrapped up a busy week copy editing the Internet for Sneezy and also finished up a fairly huge book I proofed for Dopey. My computer attempted to sabotage the whole thing and ruin my life by blipping itself off intermittently every two minutes to three hours (once destroying the current version of my 840-page PDF), but I managed to muddle through with the help of Dex and M.H. and Dropbox and file backups and a laptop and a wireless keyboard/mouse. If I’d had to work on a laptop keyboard and a trackpad for the past two days, it really would have ruined my life.

When I get really busy like this, my brain starts trying to escape by turning work into a game. What else can it do? I mean, I could just take actual breaks and weekends and things like that to keep my sanity, but then, blip, there go my deadlines and my livelihood.

Here are some of my favorite games:
  • Never clean the shower. Divide the shower up into seven zones (e.g., back wall, side wall, front wall, door 1, door 2, horizontal surfaces, floor). Every day, while showering, wipe down one zone with a vinegar solution and a sponge. Object: See how long this allows you to put off actually cleaning the shower. (If you don't even have time to shower every day, you automatically lose.)
  • Cook food for your family. This is a good game when you’re responsible for a family that needs food as well as money. Divide every hour into three parts. The first 35 minutes of the hour (8 to 8:35, say) sit in your chair and work with a laserlike focus. The next 20 minutes of the hour (8:35 to 8:55) go down to the kitchen and do some sort of food preparation. You can put things in the oven, but only if the timer won't go off during your work time. If you run out of cooking tasks, you're allowed to clean. The last five minutes of the hour, you can do anything you want. Object: See how many times you can go through this cycle before breaking (record: 10).
  • Housework cardio. Work for 25 minutes and then get out of your chair and run around as fast as you can picking up any laundry or clutter in your path for five minutes. Object: Get your house into a state that would not mortify you if someone came to the door. Extra points if you can get your heart rate up.
  • Intermittent Scrabble. A good game to play when you’ve just won housework cardio. Every 10 pages edited earns you one turn in one game of Facebook Scrabble. No excessive thinking about your play; if it takes more than a few minutes, you have to edit 10 more pages before you can try again. Object: Win all the Scrabble games. Finish the book.

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