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10 Reasons Why People Who Play Sudoku Everyday Are More Focused At Work

10 Reasons Why People Who Play Sudoku Everyday Are More Focused At Work

“Numbers maniac.” “Puzzle fiend.” “Sudoku junkie.” Anyone who regularly completes Sudoku puzzles at work has heard at least one of these taunts from peers who simply don’t understand the burning desire to fill boxes with numbers at least once a day. Well, it turns out that Sudoku bullies are missing out on the serious benefits this simple logic game provides. The next time a co-worker leans over and laughs at your well-worn Sudoku books, you can tell them all about these outstanding reasons Sudoku makes you better.

1. They Get Quick Breaks Throughout the Day

Though they don’t quite look it, those tiny boxes filled with numbers provide an outstanding opportunity to escape. It is well-established that the brain needs disruptions from monotonous work every hour or so, and a Sudoku puzzle provides a small, stimulating break anywhere, anytime. In contrast, those who don’t play Sudoku may engage in less wholesome habits, like smoking or eating, during their rest periods, which may contribute to poor physical and mental health.

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2. They Gain Self-Reliance and Self-Confidence

More than one person can work on a single Sudoku — but more often than not, it’s a one-player game. As a result, frequent Sudoku players must learn to trust their own skills, gaining confidence in their abilities to think quickly, logically, and decisively without reassurance from others.

3. They Filter Out Distraction

Like a basketball player on the free throw line or a surgeon in the emergency operating room, a Sudoku player is a master of ignoring commotion and focusing on the task in front of them. Because Sudoku is an inherently mental puzzle, players are unable to complete even a single quadrant when their attention is torn to other issues. Thus, it doesn’t take long for a Sudoku player to learn dedicated concentration.

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4. They Meditate on Numbers

It isn’t a stretch to say that math doesn’t come easily to most people. Still, regardless of their academic background, most Sudoku players have a self-taught math skill due to their frequent exposure to the numbers of the puzzle. Math is useful across disciplines; even content creators need math to calculate the worth of views, clicks, shares, and more on social websites to make online marketing more potent. Therefore, Sudoku is akin to remedial math — wrapped in an engaging puzzle form.

5. They Practice Structure and Organization

A single Sudoku is rigidly organized, with small squares making up larger squares to form a unified box. Moreover, to complete the game, players must place numbers in order. The entire puzzle is based upon structure, and often spending so much time in a strictly planned environment allows Sudoku lovers to organize their real worlds, too.

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6. They Silence Nagging Thoughts

During times of trouble (or just times of boredom) a person can be tormented with repetitive thoughts, like a catchy song playing on repeat or phrases of self-doubt. Fortunately, those who play Sudoku are able to banish such thoughts faster by focusing on a puzzle, according to a study from Western Washington University.

7. They Build Memory With Logic

Among aging adults, Alzheimer’s disease is a terrifying concern, but Sudoku lovers have nothing to fear. A study from University of California, Berkeley, found that Sudoku (as well as a number of other brain-stimulating games) could help thwart the development of mental disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia when they are played consistently over a lifetime.

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8. They Make Quick Decisions

In business, dallying over a decision is a recipe for failure, even if the right choice is made in the end. The modern world is fast-paced — which is ideal for decisive, clear-thinking Sudoku players. Hesitation is never rewarded in the game of Sudoku, so players must practice quick, resolute problem-solving which they can apply in the real world.

9. They Continue to Make Quick Decisions

Then again, a Sudoku player’s first instinct in the puzzle is rarely correct; still, a wrong answer is never a reason to give up. Sudoku lovers are nothing but dogged at locating mistakes and correcting them quickly, which gives them a further edge in the business world.

10. They Feel Accomplished

Fulfillment isn’t always about career or relationship success — sometimes it comes from the knowledge of a puzzle well-done. Completing one or more Sudoku puzzles every day leads to a sense of accomplishment and a persistent feeling of happiness that makes for a satisfied person more willing to engage in work and play.

Featured photo credit: rlmccutchan via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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The power of habit

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to make a reminder works for you

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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