A friend of mine was taking down his Christmas decorations over the weekend, and shared on Facebook a picture of the very tight storage space that was available to store the many storage bins. I commented on the picture, joking that it looked like he would be playing quite the game of Tetris.
I’m probably dating myself with the reference to the low tech video game from the 1980’s in which players try to pack randomly shaped puzzle pieces which fall from the top of the game area as tightly as possible. It’s all about flipping, turning, and guiding pieces into holes of the same shape in the puzzle.
The Facebook interaction coincidentally was not my first time I thought about the 30 year old video game this week.
When I first saw my son in the morning, I asked him what time we were going to the gym to lift weights. We settled on 2:30, which worked perfectly because my wife and I were going to leave the house at 4:00pm to go watch our neighbor’s daughter play hockey at a nearby ice rink. At 2:20, I heard the bathroom door close, and the shower turn on.
I knew there was no way we would be leaving for the gym at 2:30.
When my son emerged from the bathroom and came downstairs at 2:45, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my coat and shoes on jingling my car keys in my hand. Sensing my impatience, he started moving a little faster. On the way to the gym we had a little discussion about time management.
I told him that each morning I think about all the things that I want to accomplish for the day, how long they will take, and assemble my day just like a game of Tetris. If something takes longer than I had anticipated, or somehow I get thrown off course, it ruins my entire Tetris board and unless I can somehow recover the time there is likely some task that will not get done. In this case, we would have to figure out a way to shorten our workout, or we would be late to the hockey game, or just wouldn’t go at all.
Time management isn’t the only way that I apply the Tetris methodology to life.
Money management is another area in which good Tetris skills can come in handy. You take your income, and pack the costs of your necessities inside the resources you have available. You have some control over the size of your puzzle pieces. The thermostat can be turned down, a less expensive car could be purchased, or you may decide to splurge a little bit on cable. As long as you can assemble the puzzle pieces successfully on the game board to get to move to the next level.
The games my son plays are much more modern and high tech, but he’s seen Tetris, and therefore was able to understand the concepts I was trying to convey to him. Once in the weight room, my son suggested we do supersets. Supersets are when you alternate between two exercises that work opposing or completely different muscles with no rest in between the sets. This increased the intensity, but greatly decreased the time to complete our workout. Because my son helped reshape our puzzle piece, we were able to get home, and off to the hockey game on time.
On to the next level.