Silly iPod games

On Sunday I had to drive several hours to get home from a friend’s house where I had stayed the weekend. I was a little tired, and the road was not very interesting, so I took up one of my odder incidental pastimes: playing iPod games.

Most of the functional playlists on my iPod are based in one way or another on “play count,” the number of times a song has been played, and now and then I play games with these numbers. I have a list that contains the top 300 songs by play count that have not recently been played (once a song is played, it pops off the list for a month) — I’ll play that list hard and see how far down into the overall play count numbers I can get the list to reach. Or I have lists based on simple strata; songs played 5-10 times, 11-15 times, etc., and I’ll try to push songs from one list to another.

On Sunday I used a favorite band and one of my low-count playlists. I decided it was a tragic state of affairs that songs by this band had been abandoned in the lower levels of my iPod play-count lists, and that I was going to push all of them up toward the next list by giving them one extra play over every other song on the list. So with the list on shuffle (my lists pretty much always are on shuffle) I started at the top, skipped every song that wasn’t the right band, cheered every time I hit the right band and listened to that song striaght through, and then kept skipping until I got lucky again. This silly little game kept me entertained through hundreds of miles and hundreds of songs, skipping and listening, until I finally got home.

Why am I amused by playing weird games with my iPod play-count lists? No idea. Of what significance are the play counts and various statistics of the songs in my music library? None whatsoever. So why am I bothering to write about this?

Here’s the significant bit: when I play games with my iPod, I listen to more music, and listening to music makes me happier. I like music, but it doesn’t always cross my mind to turn some on, wandering around through my day-to-day life. Playing a silly little game, of whatever sort, makes me more likely to actually do this thing that makes my life better, and that’s what I’m interested in right now.

Yesterday I wrote about using goals as tools for making important things happen, and how I want to learn how to use the tool for a wider range of things than I do now. Playing silly little games is another tool, something to add a mental interest to something that could otherwise be dull, to help me actually engage in the kinds of activity that I want to do. The game doesn’t matter for itself; it matters if it tricks me into doing something that I think is important but don’t always get around to, or if it tricks me into pushing farther than I otherwise would.

Have you ever used a silly game to help get you through a task or make it to a goal? I’d love to hear from you if you have; please leave a comment or send me an email. For now, I have a word-count goal for the next seven days, and I need to go add the count for this post to the tally. 593 words — great progress already! Woohoo!

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