The theme for the past month or two for me has been re-centering. Returning to a dormant writing habit here, reading books more frequently, and taking time to think. In doing so, certain habits I’ve unconsciously formed have begun to fade away from automaticity, and fade into a stark reality.

In this case, I’ve noticed a few daily routines that, when I step back to think about them, leave me wondering why I bother with them. Most glaring are the small handful of mobile so-called games which beg for daily attention. Words With Friends is a never-ending pull of attention, with one game simply blurring into the next. Every iteration strives to pull you in more: collect some coins here, use them to buy power ups, and hey, use these to see if you played the best word you possibly could. I’ve reached a point now where I pull it up maybe once a week, and it’s all I can do to rush through my turns in the five or so games I have going right now. This made me realize, it’s not a game; it’s a chore.

Next two among them are two games I downloaded originally for use as an occasional speech therapy tool: 4 pics 1 word (for reasoning) and Letter Soup (for visual skills and word retrieval). Neither is actually any good for treatment, but somehow I found myself playing them daily, and have for some time now. Each has daily “challenges”, neither of which is really challenging at all, but both of which happily toss an ad your way upon completion of them. This began to gnaw at me, as I realized the only one who benefits from the daily game play are the makers of these so-called games.

The more I think about it, the more I’ve realized that I’ve inadvertently fallen into the trap, albeit not quite as profoundly, of the cultivated and routine-based “play” from the likes of FarmVille. I barely engage with anything, finding it instead to be something mindless that takes a few minutes, but hey, I get a few coins or win a few hints. I’m definitely no more interesting a person for the time spent using these apps, and I’m definitely guilty of occasionally taking a peek at one of them while procrastinating.

I think it’s high time I replace those, and remind myself if I’m going to procrastinate, I might as well do something a bit more worth my while.