Ruzzle is a popular word game conveniently located in the Apple App store and the Google Play store. The game is a board made up of 16 random letters in a 4×4 grid arrangement. The objective is to connect letters to create as many words as possible, in the best combination, and to confuse me.
Frustration sets in when you realize that your vocabulary is a fraction of the potential words possible and that both a 15 year old and your girlfriend can beat you handily all day. Fortunately, I am secure in my manhood. Worldwide, there are over 30 million players and it is a top 10 ranked game in 145 countries. I didn’t even know there were 145 countries, let alone 145 in which Ruzzle seems to be a national pastime.
The game consists of 3 rounds lasting 2 minutes each. For all you English majors, that’s a total of 12 minutes a game, 6 minutes for each player.
The game has a lot of cool stats to show you just how badly you get whipped by your girlfriend (I didn’t need Ruzzle to know that she was smarter than me in the language arts). Wanting to be as aware as possible at how I was spending my time, I took a peek at my player stats. I had played a total of 218 games over approximately a period of a month. And that was a drastic cutback; it was either that or join Ruzzlers Anonymous. I ran the numbers and here’s what I came up with.
218 games x 6 minutes (I’ll double it later) = 1308 minutes total played in a month.
1308/60 (minutes in an hour) = 21.8 hours played.
What??? I spent 21.8 hours playing Ruzzle in a month? I lost almost a day of my life. I’ll make a killing running support groups. And don’t forget that I had a partner, so together, we spent close to 2 full days (3 if you count waking hours only) playing a game on an iPhone.
You know it wouldn’t be any fun to stop there.
21.8 hours in a month x 12 months = 261.6 hours a year.
I checked http://www.findthedata.org/ and found that I can expect to live (depending on whether I exercise or play Ruzzle) another 30 years. Woohoo!
261.6 hours a year x 30 years = 7,848 hours
According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) data on how we spend our days, we sleep 8.71 hours (really who gets that much?). I’ll round up and use 9 hours, which leaves 15 waking hours a day.
7,848/15 waking hours = 523.2 DAYS playing Ruzzle or almost a year and a half.
For those of you paying attention that means that between my partner and I (usually my girlfriend or my oldest son but sometimes a random stranger in the night… shhhh) we will spend almost 3 years of my remaining life (because my girlfriend is a woman she was allotted an extra 4 years) playing Ruzzle.
I’m not saying don’t play Ruzzle; the games’ developers most likely have hit men and they are an international force. What I’m saying is, be aware of how you are spending your time and whether it brings value to your life and to the people around you. Here’s what it would look like if I spend just half the time I devote to playing Ruzzle in a month, to…well let’s just say something more meaningful.
According to the BLS, my 22 or so minutes a day playing Ruzzle (about half of the time I was playing) would almost double the average amount of time people spend exercising in a day (30 minutes) or on education (28 minutes).
Or I could add my ½ Ruzzle time to the average TV time a day (2.75 hours). That’s really sad but I’m guilty some days.
Or I could spend 22 minutes planning for the next day.
Or I could spend 20 minutes planning for the next day and 2 minutes showing gratitude for everyone I came into contact with that day.
Or I could spend 22 minutes learning a new skill or honing an existing one.
Or I could spend just 20 minutes communicating with another human being vs. a handheld computer and 2 minutes exercising. If you don’t think that’s enough, think again. I just timed myself doing 3 sets of 20 pushups. It took about 2 minutes and that was with a little rest between sets.
Or… well you fill in the blanks.
For some reason, I think this will be a healthy debate in the community.