I’m going to let you on a secret. Playing computer games can actually improve your productivity. Well-earned rest breaks are a key component of a healthy work-day, and by choosing downtime activities that enhance your work, your productivity will skyrocket. My top tip? Play The Sims 4.
Ok, so I know games like The Sims 4 are notorious time-sucks but bear with me here. First up, and it’s an obvious one, time your playing. A good half-hour or an hour of gaming is a great way to rest, you aren’t spending longer than you would be watching an episode of your fave TV show, but you’ve immersed yourself in something that isn’t your work.
The Sims 4 is a life simulation game. You create a Sim, which could look just like you or be totally different. You then guide them through their life, buying and decorating houses, getting a job, making friends and getting married. New expansions mean your Sim can move to the City, vacation in the jungle, and fill their house with adorable pets. Your Sim could also turn into a vampire, have a skeleton servant and converse with the Grim Reaper, so it’s not all realistic, but then for some of us owning a beautiful 3 storey home with views overlooking the bay is a pipe dream, so what’s a little vampire sparring compared to that?
The point is that in order to succeed at The Sims, you have to plan. Time management is really important. Especially if you’ve achieved a big house, even going to the toilet can take an hour in the game (minutes tend to pass more like seconds, and there are ultra-speed modes). Your Sim will get hungry, lonely and bored. You have to fulfil all these needs in order to get good promotions, as well as completing job-specific tasks, like levelling up skills or making friends. This teaches you about work-life balance. If you can achieve a good balance for your Sim, there is no reason why you can’t do the same for your own life.
Before I start playing, I review where I got to with life goals, job promotions and relationships and plan what my Sim should focus on that day. I carefully allot time for socialising and learning skills, while sticking to the framework the game gives me for the Sim’s working hours and checking on the Sim’s hygiene and hunger levels. This is exactly the same as how I manage my own day. Have I left enough time for a nutritious lunch while still doing all my writing tasks? Can I go out today, or do I need to stay in and learn something new? Am I lonely, and need to be around people, or could I burrow down in the office and clear my to-do list?
Humans don’t come with a handy green plumbob above their head, that goes red when something is wrong. I have to learn to listen to my own needs. But by paying attention to what my body needs and cross-referencing that with my work goals, both daily and lifetime, I can get things done. Many players of The Sims 4 have said how nice it is to feel in control of someone’s life, in a way they might not manage with their own. I took that further and decided to apply the structure of The Sims to my own life, in order to gain control. Just remember to set a timer before playing, The Sims 4 is very addictive once you start!