How to break your addiction to Candy Crush and become more productive

(And now for something a little different…)

Candy Crush is a superb distraction for those moments when you feel the need to engage in a bit of procrastination. It can be habit-forming, but if you do it right, it can also make you productive.

When I started playing, I just played a game now and then, mostly at night in front of the TV where I was already indulging in downtime. But the game is designed with all the bells and whistles to get you to keep playing (Sweet! Divine!).

It begins by letting you easily move through challenges thus releasing a dopamine hit to reinforce the pleasure of a win. As that begins to feel too easy, it moves into variable rewards and other techniques to keep you involved.

It’s game design theory at its best! 


playing candy crush photo
Photo by elemenous

I quickly became absorbed, addicted and riddled with guilt as my occasional game escalated to an hour or more a day. I felt guilty for sneaking off to play Candy Crush when I knew I had work to do. I started hiding from family and friends the amount of time I was playing – a sure sign of dependence.

I was no longer getting things done. Candy Crush had become a convenient crutch that was supporting my procrastination habit.

I told myself I was learning because you do learn a certain amount of pattern recognition by playing the game – and that’s good for an artist, right? But it was just my Saboteur talking and trying to get me to play longer instead of getting into the studio to do my work.

Does this sound familiar?

I needed help. I needed a way to change my bad habit of procrastinating to a positive habit of getting things done. So Candy Crush had to go.

How to transition into productivity

If you are breathing and have read anything about productivity or time management, you’ve no doubt heard of the Pomodoro technique. It’s named for a juicy bright red tomato.

The basic idea is that you’re more productive in short 25-minute bursts of focused, concentrated activity with brief relaxation breaks in between. Rest and relaxation (and napping) are important factors in productivity and creativity. We’re more motivated to continue this pattern of work and breaks if the breaks consist of something we consider a reward – like a nice latte and piece of chocolate cake. (Just sayin’.)

Candy Crush can function as your productivity app in the same way as the Pomodoro technique, without having to buy that cute little tomato timer I want so much, and without the calories.

You can take control of your distraction addiction and use Candy Crush to help to keep you moving through the day when you’re procrastinating on what you need to do.

How to use Candy Crush as a productivity app.  

Decide what you’ll spend your 25 minutes on. Start playing Candy Crush. You’ll probably burn through the first 5 lives in no time. Once you do, of course, you’ll have to wait 20-25 minutes for a life to be restored.  During that time work on your chosen task in a focused and conscientious manner. After 25 minutes, reward yourself with a new game of Candy Crush. A reward is important. (We like rewards.)

Rinse and repeat throughout your workday.

You’ll find you can play all day and be more productive than ever without ever having to buy lives. Ben Franklin would like that approach.

In order to make this truly effective, we must consider that some folks are motivated by reward and some are motivated by punishment.

Like snapping a rubber band on your wrist to remind you not to do something.

So, here’s the punishment.

If you don’t use your 25 minutes for working, then you can’t play again until the next day. OUCH!

Full disclosure here. I no longer play Candy Crush since my tablet was too old and it kept freezing. It was just too frustrating to continue. That’s how I really broke my dependence on the game and I admit that I’m not particularly productive. Still, Candy Crush could be a great productivity tool, don’t you think? 

What tricks or techniques do you use to keep you productive?

Tomato Photo by Vladimir Morozov