So I discovered something a little zany while playing one of my favourite time wasters. I think I’ve come up with a way to map out when your brain is at it’s best, just by playing games. Yep, I am saying that you can play games on your cell phone to figure out when you’re at your smartest.
Wordament is one of my favourite game apps, one of the ones I play almost daily and have on and off for a long while now. If you’re not familiar with the game, it’s basically Boggle. You look at a grid of random letters and find words by joining up adjacent letters. If you’re curious to play it check your fav app store, it’s out on both iOS and Android.
Now I don’t think you need to play Wordament for this to work, it’s just my personal pick.
One of the main things I like about Wordament is that I can pick it up and play a round in under three minutes, and while sometimes that one round turns into three or four, overall I like that it’s simple enough that I don’t get sucked into playing for longer.
It’s a good distraction without being too distracting. I pick it up and play when I have a few minutes to kill, when I’ve hit a wall and am stumped as to what I should do next, when the kids have been pushing my buttons and I need to cool my jets before I start spouting obscenities at them, and at the end of the day when I’m winding down for bedtime. Two minutes of flicking my fingers over the iPad, finding words with one half of my brain, while the other part of my mind percolates over whatever is nagging me at the time.
But, here’s where it gets interesting…
Playing it frequently at various hours throughout the day I discovered something. Wordament is actually a great tool to chart out when I am dull-eyed and dim-witted vs when my brain is bright, alert, and ready to work.
Playing it at various times throughout the day, I began to notice patterns. I consistently score better at certain times of the day. First thing in the morning I am useless, while at 11 o’clock at night I’m brilliant, I’m up and down throughout the day with a noticeable slump each afternoon around 3 or 4 pm.
It’s actually a bit eerie how I can play the game, feel like I am playing fast and at my best and at times find only 30 words, while at other times I score easily double that. Often both playthroughs feel the same, it’s only my end score that betrays the actual state of my brain.
This got me thinking about a book review my husband wrote a few years back. While I didn’t read the book I did read his review on Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Session Prep. Among other things, the book suggests mapping your creative energy to discover what times of day you are at your most creative and then once you have that part figured out schedule your tasks around your personal highs and lows. It’s an interesting concept, one that hubby and I discussed a bit while he was reading the book.
So basically, putting all of this together I came up with a way to use Wordament to gauge how awake my brain is. If I kick butt and score in the 90% percentile compared to all the other folks currently playing the game, that’s a good sign that I’m fit to coherently string words together. However, if I play a game, feel like I just did awesomely, but actually only get half of what I normally score, it’s time to walk away from the tech and go do something mindless, like fold laundry.
I started charting my plays and found definite daily patterns. So, I’m now using that info to help schedule out my daily routine. For example, now, instead of trying to rush and get that last bit of work done at the end of the day, at 3pm I step away from the computer, I tidy up, prep for the kids coming home, maybe get some snacks ready, because, o.m.g. every day at 3pm my brain is mush. I have charts that prove it. It’s science!
If you need a little more in the way of directions, here’s the step by step. Pick out a game you enjoy playing on your phone or tablet. You’re looking for a game that engages your brain and has a scoring system. I think to get a clear pattern you need to be playing the same game each time. Print out this free chart that I’ve created, and then log your plays at various times of day over the next few weeks. Mark down your score each time you play, and then look for patterns. Are there certain times of day when you always score high, or certain times of day when you always score low? Chart out those high points as times when, ideally, you’d like to be doing something that utilizes your brain, and conversely block out those low points for mindless physical tasks.
If you do try it out, please report back and let me know in the comments below how it works for you.
What do you folks think? Constructive use of gaming down time? Brilliant way to map when your brain is in GO mode? Or looney toons waste of time? Will you try it? Or try something similar with your favourite brainy game?