Thursday Thought: 2 Strategies to Stay Productive and Play Pokemon Go

This past weekend, I finally broke down and downloaded Pokemon Go. After a few days of play -- you know, just to see what the hype is all about -- I’ve identified and tested two great ways to stay productive while playing this kinda-addicting, augmented reality-enhanced game.

1. Gamify Your Workout

This one might seem obvious, because Pokemon Go encourages you to walk around outside from the outset, but on a weekend walk in my neighborhood, the PokeStops -- you know, the giant blue hubs dispensing free in-game goodies -- were placed almost perfectly for a simulated obstacle course.

Mini tangent: In 2012, I went all in on obstacle racing with my friend Diana (“Deej”). While our husbands were deployed together in Afghanistan, we spent the year focusing on our personal fitness by training for and completing 14 obstacle races – everything from fun runs to Spartan Races and even a “destination” Tough Mudder in Las vegas. I’ve always hated running, but the allure and fun of facing 20+ obstacles was enough to get me to complete 11- to 13-mile courses on race day – which of course also inspired me to incorporate cardio and some high-impact exercise as part of my regular training.

Back to my weekend walk. It occurred to me that the little jolt of adrenaline I got when my phone buzzed, indicating a Pokemon was close enough to try to capture, felt almost like the thrill of seeing a new obstacle to conquer.

What if…

  • I stopped walking while playing Pokemon Go, and instead ran to PokeStops and wild Pokemon?
  • I did a bodyweight exercise (squats, push-ups, burpees, wall squats) while capturing a Pokemon, visiting a PokeStop, or waiting for the game to reopen and log back in?

2. Use Pokemon Go to Increase Urgency

I’m a huge fan of leveraging Parkinson’s Law by artificially dialing up my own urgency. So on Monday morning, when I popped out of bed wanting to go for a “Pokemon walk” instead of my regular weekday exercise routine, I made a little deal with myself: You get one hour.

It’s amazing what a little urgency will do for your pace. My “Pokemon walk” became a “Pokemon jog-and-stop, and I covered far more ground than I normally would -- all in the name of a little digital game.

Closing Thought: If you choose to play Pokemon Go, why not use your sessions as an opportunity to practice core productivity principles, or significantly improve your personal fitness?

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