According to Global Workplace Analytics, approximately 4.7 million employees in the USA (3.4% of the workforce) work from home at least half the week. Of course, this number has been increasing rapidly over the past few years, especially in light of recent events where we witnessed the global pandemic drive millions of people indoors and lock them down into their homes. Yet, despite the large-scale disruption, the business world chugged along, and people were still required to fulfill their work duties remotely, or at least do their best they could given the circumstances.
In light of all this, the number of individuals working remotely has grown by over 400% compared to 2010, and if you find yourself to be one of those people making up that statistic, you may be looking for new ways to keep yourself focused and on the task at hand. After all, it’s very easy to get distracted and lose motivation when you’re at home since nobody is around to keep tabs on you.
Rather than offering you the stereotypical remote working productivity “hacks,” we’re here instead to discuss three games that can help you focus and improve your overall output when working from home. Interestingly, one body of research revealed that playing games boosted work productivity by up to 20% – and when you consider the stress-relieving benefits of gaming, it turns out that it’s pretty much a no-brainer when it comes to increasing productivity.
The card game Solitaire, or Patience (as referred to in some parts of the world), is estimated to have come into existence in the late 1700’s in Northern Europe. Since then, it has gone on to become one of the most popular single-player games in history, partly for its apparent simplicity, but anyone who has played the game before will be quick to remind you that it is anything but.
As it turns out, there are hundreds of variations of the game, and which one you are familiar with is likely dependent on which form of the game is popular in your country, or more likely, which one your grandparents played (let’s be honest, all grandparents know how to play Solitaire). The objective of the game is to arrange a shuffled deck of cards into four stacks (one for each suit) in ascending order from Ace to King; however, a player may only make a limited amount of permitted movements. When transferring a card to a column, for example, it must be one rank below and the opposite color.
Due to its complexity and need for intense focus, Solitaire can be a great way to occupy your mind and reset yourself away from the pressures of your job. However, rather than learning how to set the game up alone, playing Solitaire online is highly recommended. Solitaired.com, for example, offers over 500 free different versions of the game, including Spider Solitaire, Freecell Solitaire, and others . You can learn the different rules at your leisure and even get helpful hints if you need them.
While many people see crosswords as an excellent way to pass the time on a chilled Sunday afternoon, researchers have discovered that doing crossword puzzles daily can benefit your life in various ways, including increasing your memory, concentration, and focus. Thus, if you ever feel as though you are becoming overwhelmed with your work, it pays to take a break and recalibrate your brain with your favorite word game.
Sitting down with a cup of coffee and devoting your full attention to a crossword puzzle is a great way to disconnect and unwind, especially if you play with a physical pen and paper (limiting screen time). In addition to this, crosswords are known to help improve vocabulary and increase your general knowledge base; they can even help alleviate Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends a daily dose of crossword puzzles to keep the brain active and sharp.
Sudoku is one of the most popular “brain games” around, and similar to crosswords, it has been claimed that completing a few Sudoku puzzles each day can help stave off Alzheimer’s and protect the brain from decline.
The good news is that there are a ton of free sudoku puzzles around these days. Whether in newspapers, magazines, online, or on your smartphone, getting your hands on Sudoku puzzles should be simple – the hard part is solving them! So how does the game work? Well, Sudoku is a number game played on a grid of 9 x 9 spaces/squares.
Some of the squares will already be filled with numbers, while others will remain blank. Your goal is to think rationally about how to fill the empty boxes inside the grid with the missing numbers from each row/column without repeating any digits. This is intended to encourage you to think in a methodical manner and to use your problem-solving abilities. Because there can’t be any duplication of numbers 1-9 within each square, the only way to complete the puzzle is to utilize a process of elimination by establishing whether other numbers are already contained within each square (or row or column).
As you will quickly discover, the Sudoku rules are simple, but the game is eternally diverse, with millions of potential number combinations and a broad range of difficulty levels. As you progress and gain experience with the game, the complexity of the puzzles will rise, which is great for keeping you focused and engaged.
With these three games, you will be able to disconnect from your work duties for a brief moment while boosting your focus and calibrating your mind onto the task at hand. After all, we all need a break from time to time. Playing a game such as Solitaire, Sudoku, or a Crossword is an excellent way to improve your cognitive function while boosting important skills such as vocabulary recall, problem-solving, and simple arithmetic – so what are you waiting for?