4 Productivity Lessons From A Matching Game | Laura Earnest

4 Productivity Lessons From A Matching Game

There are productivity lessons everywhere, if you just look. Here are four lessons I learned from a video game my daughter got me into, “We Bare Bears Match 3 Repairs.”

I like matching games, and when my daughter started playing this one (based on one of her favorite cartoons), I peeked over her shoulder. What makes this game different from most is that there is no time pressure – a round is governed by the number of moves that you make. Make less than “par”, you win the round. Otherwise you need to try over. It’s fun, and it made me think about the general rules I was applying to select my moves…and all can be applied to productivity.

Immediate Step Toward Goal

Because you have a limited amount of moves, you need to make sure that your next move will bring some benefit. Whether it is clearing a set of boxes, or setting you up for a power move, each move needs to be evaluated to see if it is a step toward the goal.

In productivity, this is the same as making sure that what you are doing is moving you toward your goals. If it doesn’t fit, why are you doing it?

Determine the Objective

Each level of the game has a clear objective (no pun intended). You are asked to collect a certain type of icon, blast through boxes, or set something free. The objective, however, is not always obvious unless you study the screen. A quick glance can set you in the wrong direction.

In productivity, we have to take a bit of time and make sure we understand what we are trying to achieve. Otherwise our tasks may send us in the wrong direction.

Thinking Is OK

In this game, as I said earlier, it is not determined by time, but rather by number of moves. This gives you the ability to think through your moves…in fact, it is necessary if you are going to win the level.

In productivity, we need to be reminded that no matter how fast life is throwing things at us, we can take our time and think about our next steps. We don’t have to be in react mode all the time.

Imperfection is OK

One of the features of this games is that once you have won a level, you can’t go back to re-do it and get a better score. Done is done, and you move on.

For those of us cursed with perfectionist tendencies, doing things to make them better can be a serious productivity killer. Meet the objectives and move on.


While playing a video game is not a productive activity (and I am very thankful for the application limits on my phone — see “Finally, an App That Keeps Me Focused”), I can still take the strategies to help make me more productive.

Action Item

Look for a productivity lesson in something unexpected this week. If you want, email it to me (laura@lauraearnest.com) and I’ll put together a roundup post.

Photo by Diego Passadori on Unsplash

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