I bet you're wondering what all these things have to do with each other, or maybe you're not. Maybe you're one of the many, like me, who found themselves addicted to one of the many Facebook application games and can't seem to stop playing them.
Okay, I get it, some of you are shaking your head and laughing wondering how in the world a person could get addicted to a simple game that basically comes down to pointing and clicking. Well, it's not much difference than pushing a few buttons on a controller.
What games and why?
Well, I've noticed that "growing" games seem to be quite popular such as Farm Town, Farmville and Fishville. It's not just about the growing thing, it's about the graphics and it's about what you can grow. It's neat to be able to plant seeds for pineapples, blueberries, eggplants, peppers and all kinds of other stuff and it's neat to be able to go back at different points in time and see the progression of the plants. What's also nice is that they aren't real so even those who can't grow anything, not even the simplest plant, can grow something here. It even encourages some planting habits, but then I've always had that desire, just never the ground to do it in and I think that's the same for many others.
Besides planting and farm animals, games like Fishville, let's users grow and take care of a variety of different kinds of fish that many of us would never be able to attempt to take care of because of the expense of the fish and difficulty of the care they require. This let's you do it without the risk of actually killing a real fish.
Sure, in these games fish can die if not feed in the proper amount of time and crops can go to waste if they aren't harvested in the allotted time, in the virtual world of farming, no one will starve if your crops go to waste and the market price of the food doesn't change that I've noticed.
The games may be basic, but there's something else that hasn't been mentioned yet - the social aspect. In playing these games, you're playing with people from all over the globe and have the ability to talk to other people who you wouldn't have met otherwise. It's very similar to the way some of the yahoo chat groups work.
It's easy to get tied to these games because there are regular "commitments" that need to be met. If you play Pirates, you may have a pet that needs regular attention, so you log on, even if it is to "feed" and "pet" your pet. Of course, while you're there, it's easy to just play for awhile. Then, you find yourself going on to the next thing, whether it's poker, farkle, pillow fights or drinks. There's so many to choose from.
Okay, I'm busy enough with my reading, reviewing, blogging, writing and Bucks games that it's hard for anyone to see where I have time to clean, much less play games. And this leads me to my next topic: How to balance a facebook game addiction and still be productive with the rest of your life.
The answer is surprisingly simple: lists.
What!? How can that possibly work?
Well, you don't just make a list of things you know you need to get done, but you make a list of everything you have to do in a day, no matter how small it is, and then cross it off when you've completed your task.
Sounds simple, it is. I started my first list last week Monday and I spent all week testing it out. I have everything on there from taking my pills, to taking a shower, sleep and everything I do in between.
I use WORD so that I can keep track of how many chores stay on the list after I add them and how long it takes me to get to them after I've added them. I then use "Track Changes" to "cross" each item I complete off the list. When I post this blog, I will get to cross one more item off of my "To Do" list. The point of this is that each time I cross something off and see that blue line through it, I want to see what else I can do on my list so I can cross off something else.
You can count how many "items" you've crossed off the list at the end of each day and keep your own set of stats if you choose. Either way you roll it, once you start to make a game out of seeing how much you can get off your list, you won't be able to stop all that easily because you'll be spurred on by that growing sense of accomplishment.
Putting things on black and white like this (especially on a computer where there's no paper mess), your level of productivity becomes apparent. For some it may be an eye opener as to how little they really do each day or shine a light on just how much they really do "do" in a day. Some might find themselves feeling guilty with a need to do more to get things off their lists while others might stare at the list and realize why they feel exhausted all the time now have a desire to slow down a little to catch their breath.
Okay, we've talked about Facebook game addiction and lists, but how do you balance the two? Well, if you're at home and you have time to play on facebook, while your crops are growing, you've got time to wash dishes, do laundry, clean the bathroom or other areas of the house, or anything else you've been meaning to do - and who says you have to clean the whole thing in one day? If you only have time to clean the mirror, clean the mirror, and the toilet the next day and the sink the next, then the shower and the floor the day after that. See, that's the thing about large tasks like cleaning the "bathroom" or "bedroom" - there are many parts of a bathroom or bedroom that need to be cleaned, break them down into smaller tasks so it feels more doable and less daunting. Don't stress yourself out by saying you have to clean the whole room in one day. Of course, once you start, you might want to clean the whole thing, but if you have time to get only one thing done, then choose which is the most important or pressing and get that done first.
Same goes for other larger tasks, break them down into smaller, manageable steps that feel less daunting. So what if it takes you twice as long to finish something bigger, but at least you're working on it as opposed to just leaving it until you've got the time to do the whole thing.
The other bonus this has? It can help you change some of your bad habits into better ones while getting you a cleaner house. If you keep up with things and stop letting them get out of control, your life will be a lot less stressful. That's one of the overall side effects of working from lists.
My list has about 30 things on it so far, but I expect some things will "crop up" later.
What about you? How many items would be on your list for today, and how many of them would you cross off before the day is done?