In 2023, we began to see a new surge of gamers taking the stage; with pandemic precautions in place, many individuals took to the sticks to pass the time or connect with friends from a distance. Whether you’re new to the hobby or a seasoned professional, you might have come across criticism of your gaming habits against your ability to be productive. However, it’s been proven that gaming can actually support productive habits and help you check every item off your to-do list. We’re going to dive into the relationship between video games and productivity, discussing the “how” behind mastering the perfect balance of work and play.
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Gaming and Working: The New Normal
To some degree, most Americans are gamers. While some prefer a console, others game straight from their mobile device. Regardless of the method, research has shown that three-quarters of all American households have at least one gamer present. In fact, a recent survey found that roughly 83 percent of respondents admitted to playing video games while at work or school.
The details are in the data, and from numbers alone, we know that gaming is here to stay. Instead of trying to fight against it, employers should be searching for opportunities to create flexible schedules that allow space for extra-curricular activities—especially those that might even improve one’s ability to succeed.
Gaming and Group Productivity
We already know that video games promote the improvement of hand-eye coordination and problem-solving; the first-player shooter and battle royale matches are a clear indication of that. However, less explored is the link between video games and productivity, especially in the context of teamwork and collaboration.
In addition to the benefits of individual gameplay, studies have found that even just 45 minutes of group gameplay between work teams led to a 20 percent increase in productivity. The success of these teams weren’t necessarily rooted in how well they played the game, but rather the communication and relationships that were established in the process. If you want to improve your group collaboration, consider opportunities for gaming; while it may feel like fun, the experience is actively building the skills required to complete work-oriented tasks.
Balancing a Schedule with Gaming
For the solo gamer, taking a break throughout the day to level up can be a necessary release. In order to balance these two elements of your day, you’ll need to improve your time management skills. The popular time management method from Francisco Cirilo called the “Pomodoro technique” is rooted in the idea that productivity is increased when workloads are broken into focused chunks of time, alternating between work and break time. That means, if you plan it right and practice with consistency, taking the game to game between your work “blocks” could actually improve the overall quality of what you produce.
To help improve your time management approach, here are some key tips to keep in mind:
- Remove Timewasters: There’s a difference between a break and a time-waster. Try to identify areas where you might be just
- Set Limits to “Off” Time: Maintain a strict schedule when you’re working on different tasks. If you’re going to game mid-day, set a 30-minute timer to help keep yourself on track.
- Establish Small Goals: Instead of only looking forward to the end result, take time to develop smaller, meaningful goals you can check-off throughout the day. Not only will this help you maintain focus, but you’ll be able to frequently celebrate small wins.
- Prioritize Your Tasks: Complete your work in order of importance; if you need to shift these priorities throughout the day, adjust your list accordingly.
- Avoid Multitasking: The “Pomodoro” method is all about doing one thing at a time, and that’s for good reason! Most individuals are only wired to focus on one task and adding extra noise to that process can hinder productivity.
- Ask the Experts: Don’t be afraid to refine your approach or continue learning from outside sources on how to improve your time management. Everyone’s approach will be slightly different, and it’s important to do what works best for you.
The Pitfall of Procrastination
While we certainly recommend gaming throughout the day, a word of caution is required: don’t use gaming as a means of procrastinating work you don’t want to do. The longer you put off accomplishing these tasks, the harder it will be to finish them—or produce quality work. If you notice that you’re only gaming to avoid getting work done, then it might be time to reevaluate the schedule you’ve set up for yourself.
In contrast, if you’re working on a project and feel creatively “stuck,” playing a game or two can be the perfect activity to shift your mindset before returning back to the task. In this case, you’re not avoiding the work, but rather using the break to overcome a barrier. “Forcing ourselves to ‘be creative’ is pointless,” shared designer, Adam J. Kurtz. “It’s not a manual skill that you either do or don’t, but a series of emotional and mental tasks that sometimes just don’t come together.” If you’re not emotionally in the right place to accomplish your work, a quick break to release tension and reframe your thinking is a smart solution.
Turn Your Hobby into Career
If you’re working your 9 AM – 5 PM job and still thinking about gaming 24/7, it might be time to consider the possibility of turning your passion into a full-time career. If you’re serious about becoming a streamer, you’ll want to take these tips from Valkia, top Overwatch streamer, into account as you build your game plan:
- Pick a Game Speciality: Often, the most popular streamers have a flagship game they plan to help build a community and recognition.
- Have a Back-Up Plan: Don’t quit your job on day one; make sure you have back-up sources of income and have a contingency plan if the streaming doesn’t work out.
- Be Dedicated: Streaming is fun, but it isn’t easy! You’ll likely face a series of ups and downs, just as you would in any other career journey.
- Promote Your Stream: Full-time streamers need to be full-time marketers. Promote your work and get to know your followers, using their support, as you build your online community.
- Purchase the Right Equipment: A good microphone and green screen can make all the difference. Research different tools and purchase the setup that’s right for your space and needs.
Whether you’re gaming for fun, for productivity or for a career, taking a break to hop online is a perfect way to improve your daily routines. If you’re a leader in an organization or educator, keep in mind your employees would likely appreciate a little extra game-time throughout the day to help them bring their best selves to work and school.