Just look at those fun little icons many of us windows office workers have come to love. I know the Spider Solitaire and Minesweeper icons are kinda tough looking, but they are tough in a "fun" way. That's why the sucker punch they gave me was so unexpected. I mean they are just a nice little games to give me a break when my brain is a little tired or when I need a break before starting the next project. How could it turn out like this?
I noticed this after winning a quick game of FreeCell...
And this after the computer beat me in a friendly game of Chess Titans...
No seriously go back and look at those screen shots. I've played 172 games of FreeCell and 118 games of Chess Titans. When I saw that it seemed like a lot so I started doing the math.
- FreeCell - 172 Games @ 5 minutes a game = 860 minutes
- Chess Titans - 118 Games @ 10 minutes a game = 1,180 minutes
- Spider Solitaire - 40 Games @ 7 minutes a game = 280 minutes
- Solitaire - 16 Games @ 3 minutes a game = 48 minutes
- Minesweeper - 30 Games @ 5 minutes a game = 150 minutes
- Mahjong Titans - 7 Games @ 10 minutes a game = 70 minutes
TOTAL: 2,588 minutes (43 Hours and 8 Minutes)
Seriously I have been playing these stupid games for over 43 hours? I just got this computer less than two years ago. The worst part is that these aren't the only games I have played while at the office. I have played games on my iPhone (Angry Birds anyone?) and a few games on addictinggames.com. I don't have a great way to estimate time spent on these, but it is probably just as much if not more than the time I spent on the built in Windows games. So that puts my time playing stupid pointless games during work hours at somewhere over 86 hours in less than 22 months. That works out to about an hour a week.
Now an hour a week may not seem like much to you, but is this really how I wanted to spend those 86 hours? I can think of quite a few better things to do with that time like taking a bunch of 10-15 minute naps or sending my wife a love note. What benefit did I gain with that time. It's not a great shared experience that I can talk to someone else about. Basically it was time filler. The point is instead of being purposeful I chose to waste 86 hours of my life.
Drip Drip Style Time Vampires Add Up
The thing about little distractions like this is they don't hit you at one time they are just 5 minutes there or 10 minutes here, nothing serious. But when you add them up they make a difference. If this was the only drip drip type time vampire in my life it wouldn't be a big deal, but it's not. I guarantee you have quite time vampires in your life as well. How much time do you spend looking for lost items or working extra to pay for unnecessary late fees?
A really big one for me is not planning out my day like I should. I spend a bunch of time trying to decide what to do next and this is often where other time vampires like these games slip in. And probably more important than the time I spend making decisions is the amount of secondary things I work on instead of primary things. Which leads to my next point.
Don't Get Lost in the Details
It's time to step back real quick and look at the big picture. Little time wasters and bad habits that lead to lost time here and there can really add up, but they may not be your first priority right now. Big time wasters like TV shows you don't really even enjoy and projects that don't need to be done can add up even quicker than these small items.
You want to be careful that you don't turn into a ultra efficient worker that never falls for these stupid little time wasters, but misses the big picture.
Spend some time reading biographies of rich and famous people and you will be amazed at how many of them are not satisfied with their success. How can this be? They are successful beyond most people's wildest dreams. It happens because they lose sight of the big picture. They chase success, money or fame and really crush it, but they lose balance in their lives and find that they can't achieve enough to fill the voids in the other areas of their life. Only when they step back and rebuilding the negleted areas of their life do they find peace.
Why I Wrote This
I wrote this to remind myself of two things. First the little things add up and second taking the time to step back and look at the big picture is one of the best ways to use my time.
On a more serious note, do you know how hard it is to get your FreeCell winning percentage from 89% to 90% when you have played 172 games. Oh and please don't make fun of my Chess winning percentages.