12 Time Management Games And Why People Love Them
Updated December 24, 2018
Reviewer Tiffany Howard, LPC, LCADC
Have you ever been around when people are playing time management games? And, have you ever wondered why they get so much joy from doing what appears to be mundane work like clicking on crops to harvest or buildings to collect rent? You might ask, why is this considered fun? The truth is that these games fulfill some basic human needs and satisfy certain desires in a way that's easy, safe, and enjoyable. Here's why they're so appealing, along with a list of some of the most popular time management games.
What Is A Time Management Game?
A time management game can be an online or video game, or it can be a casual game you play with others in person. In the game, you have certain objectives to meet, but time and resources are limited. What's more, you have to meet the objectives in a specific order.
Video And Online Time Management Games
The most popular of these games are online time management games. They're video games that may be played on a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer. You are immersed in an alternate world as you interact with the images that play on your screen.
You start out with a simple objective that you can typically complete very quickly by clicking on your screen a few times according to the directions given. When you complete each task, you get some type of reward, and the next task is revealed.
Online time management games usually have many levels that are increasingly difficult to complete. Many of the free online management games require you to request help from other people who play the game, giving it a social aspect as well.
Offline Time Management Games
There are time management games that can be played without an electronic device, too. These games are similar to the online games in that there are specific objectives to meet with limited time and resources. These offline games are often used in companies for team-building and increasing motivation.
What's The Appeal Of These Games?
No matter what kind of time management games you're playing, the simple fact is that you're just doing one job after another, and rather boring jobs at that. So, why do people enjoy them so much? Why do they do them voluntarily? It's because the games offer them a variety of rewards and pleasures.
Achievement is a human need that's very often difficult to meet. To achieve something notable in life, you usually have to work hard over the course of months or even years. Even if you do your best, circumstances may prevent you from accomplishing what you want to accomplish.
The beauty of time management games for many people is that they give a clear path to achievement. They show you right away what you need to do, and it's very easy to figure out how to make that happen. You can develop your strategy and build your speed each time you play because this is not a one-shot effort. If you don't meet your goal this time, you can always come back to it later on.
Most time management games are fairly noncompetitive. However, some of the online games allow you to compete with other players. Even if they don't allow for it, you can always claim bragging rights if you have better results than a friend or relative who plays.
If you're playing a time management game through a social media platform, it gives you something to talk about and interact in other ways about with your friends or social contacts. The game may have a chat room or fan page where you can interact with other players about the game.
Teamwork is a big part of time management games both online and offline. In the online games, you ask other players for virtual objects. You may also ask them to do "neighborly" tasks like watering your crops or collecting rent. This teamwork helps both of you and builds a kind of community of players.
When you're placed in the virtual world of online time management, you get to enjoy the thrill of discovery. Some of these games are well-researched and cover different cultures and historical periods. You not only discover things you never knew before about the real world, but you also discover objects, tricks, or unwritten rules in the virtual world of the game.
Many of these games allow for some degree of customization. You may get to decorate your virtual restaurant, choose to clothe for your character to wear or select among other types of options. This helps you feel like you're expressing who you are through your choices.
Perhaps the biggest reason people play time management games is that the games allow them to escape from their real lives. When life is frustrating, irritating, or boring, you can enter the world of an online time management game and feel okay again. The game tells you exactly what you need to do, and when you do it, you're invariably rewarded. The rest of the world seems to fade away as you focus intently on your screen.
Time management video games give you a false sense of productivity. You have something to do, and you get it done. Not only that, but you get it done quickly and with limited resources. If that happened in the real world, you would be proud, and rightly so. Yet, the fact that you haven't accomplished anything substantial by playing the game doesn't stop you from getting that feeling.
Can You Learn Anything Real from Time Management Games?
Free time management games, as it turns out, feel very satisfying and enjoyable. You get the feeling that you're getting better at managing your time and resources, and you are, at least in the world of the game. The question is, do those improvements transfer to real life situations?
You'll probably never run a farm or a city. You may never be a server or cook in a busy restaurant. So, what could you possibly learn from practicing it in time management games online?
Games have been shown effective in teaching occupational skills like teamwork and problem-solving. For example, one project studied groups of engineering students who learned positive teamwork skills by playing a casual game that involved building weight-resistant structures with spaghetti and sewing thread.
Those weren't time management games, but it makes sense that if you can learn from other games, you should be able to learn from online time management games the same way. You get practice setting goals, working towards completion, and using your time and resources as efficiently as possible.
You're also rewarded all along the way, just as behavioral psychologists have been suggesting since the time of B.F. Skinner and before. Newer research suggests that businesses that give frequent rewards motivate their employees to do their jobs more competently. So, can time management games help you be more successful? Maybe, maybe not.
12 Time Management Games Online
The slim possibility that free online time management games will make you more successful at your job is not a good enough reason to quit your job and focus on playing these games, of course. However, playing them occasionally on your off-time may teach you a little something and give you a little free enjoyment along the way.
Here is a dozen of the best time management games online:
- Diner Dash
The explosion of free time management games all started with a little game called Diner Dash. In Diner Dash, you take center stage as a waitress named Flo who bustles around a virtual dinner, serving customers to collect cash. When you do it right, you get to advance to another level that's even more hectic. Since the original 2004 Diner Dash game came out, several sequels have followed.
- House Flip
Houses Flip with Chip and Jo is a simulation game that has a time management element. Based on a house-flipping show, this game gives you plenty of opportunities to customize as you complete the tasks that get you closer to listing your renovated virtual house for sale.
Elvenar is a time management game that draws on fantasy themes for its landscapes, characters, and tasks. You're building a magical city for elves and humans, crafting the items you need for use or decoration.
- Delicious Emily
Delicious Games has an interesting series in their Emily games. Emily is a woman, a mom, a cook, and a blogger. You help her navigate her very busy life and create a healthy, happy home.
- Adelanto Trilogy
Set in the streets of Spain and the jungles of South America, Adelanto Trilogy is a time management game that starts with a quest to find and save a lost expedition. The game is set in the historical period when explorers were busy exploring new lands. In the game, you deal with everything from cave people to dinosaurs to scheming villains.
- Big Farm
In Good Games' Big Farm, you sow crops and harvest them. You also care for animals and maintain the farm. It may sound dull, but balancing time, resources and strategy can keep you occupied for hours.
- Sally's Spa
Sally's Spa is a time management simulation for running a spa business. You have to provide spa services efficiently, collect payments, and reinvest in the business to get your rewards and level up.
Tasty is time management at its best for younger audiences and those new to time management games. Along with tasks and rewards, this game has an interesting storyline and a hidden object game thrown in. You're working to build a virtual business as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- My Life Story
For those thinking about graduating high school and starting a career, My Life Story lets you try on different career paths as you work toward success. Even if you're settled into your chosen walk of life, this game is appealing, because it lets you explore what might have been. You're working with limited time and resources to succeed and move out of your parents' house all over again.
- Roads Of Rome
A fantasy/historical time management game, the Roads of Rome series motivates you to create and employ successful strategies to fix the roads and restore the settlements to restore the Roman Empire. With 43 levels of play, you'll eat up a lot of time before you get to the conclusion.
Happyville falls under the city-building subgenre of free time management games. You're mayor of Happyville, and it's your job to make the right decisions to keep all your citizens happy without running out of vital resources.
- Business Simulation
This is a bare-bones business simulator game with that crucial time management flair. You choose from many businesses and make decisions to help it grow and prosper.
Are Time Management Games Addictive?
If you ever read reviews on time management games, you see reviewers using the phrase "highly addictive" to describe their favorite games. As if the goal of playing video games is to suffer from an addiction.
While many in the scientific community have theorized and researched the supposed addictive qualities of online video games for the small number of gamers who may be addicted, not all agree. In fact, one study concluded that the reasons people spent an excessive amount of time playing video games had more to do with their problems with time management in the real world, as well as feeling a need to escape the difficulties of their lives.
What Should I Do If I Can't Break Away from My Game?
If you can't drag yourself away from the time management game you're playing, you may have a problem you need to address. It may be that there are addictive qualities in the game for you. If so, you may need to go into therapy and a support group just as you would with any other addiction.
Or, it may simply be that you're desperate to escape your life that you stay in this virtual world where no real harm can come to you. If this is the case, your best route to getting back to life is to work on relationships and overcome any mental health problems that are holding you back.
In either case, a therapist can help you get away from your game long enough to have a fully satisfying like. You can talk to a licensed counselor at BetterHelp.com for convenient, affordable online therapy. You'll be matched to a counselor who can help you deal with your excessive gaming and build a life you can enjoy.