#MicroblogMondays: The Tetris Effect.

So I’ve been sitting here for the past 15 minutes, staring at the blank screen, trying to figure out something to write beyond the drumbeat of a voice in my head saying I’m so stressed out, I have a billion things to do today, and something’s going to have to go, but none of it CAN go, it all needs to get done!!!!

It’s really hard to do much when that voice is screaming at you all the time.

I used to love Tetris. Still do, though I don’t play it nearly as much as I did when I was younger.

But lately I’ve taken calling my need to be productive every minute of the day “Life Tetris.”

Because I spend almost 90% of my days shifting and juggling blocks of time. Okay, I’m super busy at work and need extra time there today, so one thing needs to go today. Oh, nice, I seem to have an extra hour of time today, so what do I need to catch up on today? Now all the pieces fit together.  Okay. Good.

Jeff went to his office Christmas party in Puerto Vallarta this weekend, and his flight yesterday – the one that connected him though Newark on the way home – was cancelled because of the storm. The first flight he could get on gets him home on Tuesday morning, after a red eye from San Fransisco.

(Irony: we got NO snow this weekend. The dusting that was on our porch at 9pm the night of the storm blew off by the next morning.)

I suppose it’s progress that I didn’t freak the eff out when he called me on Saturday to tell me; I’ve done that before.

But inside my head, Life Tetris all of a sudden got a little crazier; my lines have built up to a little higher than I am comfortable with and the pieces are starting to fall faster.

There was a study done in the 1990s, where participants noted that after playing Tetris for a long time, they started to see the whole world in blocks that might fit together – buildings, cars, cereal boxes, etc. Psychologists called this “The Tetris Effect.”

That’s what my life feels like right now. Every Day, from the moment I wake up, I’m planning my blocks of time out, shifting them around whenever something gets in the way or takes longer than I expected, and moving blocks out whenever it looks like I’ve taken on too much.

I’m living in my head so much that I have to FORCE myself back into my body every few hours. My workouts have become incredibly important to me for that very reason. Not just to reassemble myself, but to remind me with my beating heart and sweat and rhythmic breathing – oh right, I’m ALIVE.

I’m doing the best I can, I know. I remind myself of this daily. I’m doing the best I can.

But mornings like this, where I’m stressed and tired and in my head from the moment I get up… it’s hard to remember.

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9 Responses to #MicroblogMondays: The Tetris Effect.

  1. Anna Gregory says:

    I feel for you, Karen. Good job in not freaking out on Saturday. And good job in sticking to your workout routine. It’s incredibly difficult to slow down in our world and just be…

  2. Katherine A says:

    I love this term: Life Tetris. Yes. It really sums up something I’ve been trying to articulate for awhile and the image of the little pieces falling while scrambling to put them into neat rows is a great one.

    Good for you for managing to not freak out with the change in flight times, that’s a tough situation!

  3. Catwoman73 says:

    Hang in there, Karen. You have so much on your plate- I can’t even imagine how you’re getting by. I have trouble staying calm when my life gets that chaotic, so I can totally relate to that- good job staying calm!

  4. JustHeather says:

    I hope you get a couple of long sticks to remove many of the lines and your life can be a bit less crazy and moving so fast!
    I loved and still love Tetris, but like you haven’t played it in ages. The Tetris Effect is real! LOL

  5. Middle Girl says:

    I never played Tetris but I can see how there may be an ‘effect.’

    Good luck tamping down the stress. Congratulations on maintaining the work-out routine.

  6. Mel says:

    Okay, I did a double take with “office Christmas party in Puerto Vallarta.” Um, that’s a pretty nice job.

    I say this a lot, but more as a verb — “I’m going to Tetris my afternoon, and I can squeeze that in for 5 minutes after car pickup.” Tetris also feels at times like I’m getting stuff done, like I’m clearing boards. But, really, when I play the game itself I’m usually pretty stressed out after a short period of time.

  7. Mali says:

    Tetris was the first computer type game I ever played. I can totally relate, though fortunately these days I don’t have to Tetris time my day together. Not usually. Take a few deep deep breaths when you can.

  8. noemi says:

    I swear I commented on this. Did it end up in your spam folder? Or am I crazy?! (Both highly possible.)

  9. noemi says:

    Hmmm. That last one shower up. Probably means I am crazy… Maybe my phone ate it. That happens to me a lot. :-/ Grrr!

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