Trouble Brewing @ Lumosity


I may need some kind of intervention, because I can’t stop playing this game on Lumosity. I’ve been a member there since 2012 and I enjoy the brain training. I can tell you that it has improved my brain, in particular my maths and memory.


So what is Trouble Brewing all about? Making coffee. It is a divided attention time management game. It helps with multi-tasking and in general I was already pretty good at that to begin with considering that was what I did 6 hours a day 4-5 days a week in my last job. But this game has me challenged and pushing myself continually to get to the next level.


To begin with, it is all fun and games and relatively easy because the coffee making machine and the orders are all on the same page.


As you progress, the order screen and the coffee machine screen separate a little. You’ll have a couple of machines on the order screen, then a screen with more machines. Like this –


But when you reach level 9, a terrible happens. You now have one order screen in the middle, and two separate coffee machine screens. Like this –


The order screen


Cafe screen one


Cafe screen two – you can see the coffee level indicator is telling me that cups are nearly full on the other screen. Each level you have to fill more orders but the time does not increase – at least it hasn’t yet. 40 cups in two minutes on level 9.. that is a lot of orders to fill in two minutes!


At the end of the game you get to see your score and your top 5 scores.

As I write this on the 16th of August, I am stuck on level 9. It is my hope that one day soon all the stars will align and the moon will smile on me and I’ll do everything in exactly the right way in order to pass this level and move to level 10.

Update – 05/09/2015


FINALLY!!!!! This is the day the stars aligned and the moon loved me enough to let me complete all 40 orders in 2 minutes. I’m still having trouble believing I finally got past level 9.


Playing this game so much has made me better at the other divided attention *and* memory games because this game uses memory to remember what orders need to be filled. This week I got top scores in Train of Thought and Star Search, plus a memory game where items wash up on a beach and you have to pick ones you have not picked on previous waves. I’m thinking it might be worth focusing in on one particular game for a week at a time and seeing how much I can improve.

Obviously Lumosity have not paid me anything to say this – in fact I have paid them in order to play the games. Nearly two years ago I bought the family plan – it runs out in November, then it is every man for themselves. You can likely find free brain training games on the web, if you look for them. I love the convenience, record keeping, encouragement, and the happy and positive vibe of Lumosity. I’m not sure how much the basic plan costs over there but I know I’ll be signing up for it again.

Over to you –

Do you brain train? :)

exercise, Gaming, Lumosity, time management

The Timer


I am a massive sucker for time management games, the kind you get on your iphone like Diner Dash and Hotel Dash and Wedding Dash. But when it comes to time management in real life, I’m not so good at that. So in 2014 I set myself the goal of becoming better at managing my time.

Last year I had a daily schedule which involved two focused 2 hour sessions – from 10am to midday, and 2pm to 4pm. In some ways this was great but in other ways I found it very limiting. I wanted to set myself a third session in the evening but there were always interruptions in my two hours which sometimes made focusing on a task really difficult..

Sometime in December I stumbled upon a site that mentioned using shorter timed focus sessions. This was actually a pretty revolutionary concept for me and getting annoyed with the limits of 2 x 2 hour sessions, I thought I would give it a try.

There are six basic steps to a short timed session:

1. Choose Your Task

What do you want to achieve today? It could be anything. I’ve set the timer for –

– editing photos
– writing blog posts
– feed reading
– surfing the web
– cleaning and/or decluttering
– household chores
– exercise
– organising the fridge
– cooking
– gaming – especially those addictive can’t walk away from games
– watching the chickens

The last two are especially important to set a timer for, because I can lose hours in a game or just watching the chickens be chickens out there in the yard.

2. Set the timer

I use my mobile phone timer but you can use any kind of timer you like.

I like to set a minimum of 25-55 minutes for most photo editing or writing tasks. You don’t seem to achieve very much in less than 25 minutes at those two tasks. For kitchen or chore tasks I might set 20 minutes with a seated 10 minute break to make a nice round half hour, and then I can catch up on my email in the break.

I am flexible with how long I set the timer for, too. If I have to leave for a appointment in 20 minutes, then a 15 minute timer with 5 minutes of getting ready time means I don’t waste 20 minutes waiting for it to be time to leave.

3. Focus on your task

And ONLY that task. Phones off. Email off. Internet off. TV off. If the doorbell rings, you don’t answer it. I find this freeing in so many ways, especially ignoring the doorbell. I know if it is the package guy because right after the doorbell rings, there is a beep from his scanning the package. That one I’ll get up for. Everyone else can come back another time. No interruptions.

4. Timer Goes Off! Take a short break

If this was a seated writing or computer related task, save what you were working on before you turn off the timer. I’ve lost 55 minutes of writing thanks to a lightning storm before.

This step is *absolutely critical* – I cannot express to you the importance of taking the break the moment that timer rings. . I also recommend getting out of the room you were working in. You are giving your mind a chance to fly free and getting the blood flowing to your limbs again if the task was a seated one.

5. Take a longer break

You’ll find focused timer tasks can be quite tiring mentally. If you kept going for 4-6 hours at a time, not only will you get tired mentally but you’ll find it harder to focus.

6. Plan a reward

You’ve put in the effort so you deserve a reward once you’ve done at least 2 rounds of timed sessions then your break in a row. Your reward could be anything. Mine tend to range from playing a game to a snack to watching a tv show..

Group associated tasks together –

If I gave you 3 tasks that involved three different rooms, and you had to spend some of your focus time moving from room to room to room and back again, you’d find quite a bit of your time spent in moving about.

If you moved those 3 tasks into the same room, you’d save yourself a lot of time.

But only do one task at a time

You’d save even more time if you focused on just one task at a time.

The same goes for almost any task – it is quicker to do one task over and over than to switch from task to task. I find this especially true with things like image editing, writing, taking screenshots for my Breaking Bad episodes.

You can break tasks apart

I might break some tasks down into two separate timed sessions – for example – with the photo editing –

First session = 55 minutes of going through the photo folders, picking out images I want to edit and saving them into one folder

When the buzzer goes for the break, I get up and make a drink or have a quick walk around – my mind by this time has probably already moved onto how I want to edit those photos I have picked,

Second session = 55 minutes focused on image editing.

And even within this session I may break this down further. EG cropping all the images *then* making all the images the size I want *then* using tools to enhance the focus or colour *then* saving them all.

Because I have broken the two tasks into separate sessions, I find I get a lot more done.

About Snoskred, blogging tips, life lessons, Snoskred hearts, time management

Time Management – Tuesday Think Tank

Time goes by – so quickly. Many of us are disorganised people who get distracted by shiny things and lose a couple of hours seemingly in the blink of an eye. Combine that with the ability to access the internet and you can lose half a day just surfing around, reading blogs and looking at photographs. Recently I decided it was time to take my time into my own hands. I asked myself how can I combat this? I did all the hard work, and now I’m going to tell you what has worked for me.

The Daily Planner –


I spoke about the daily planner before, but this is the number one thing which has changed my life. I treat it like the old Microsoft slogan – Where do you want to go today? I write down all the things I would like to get done during my day onto the daily planner. I give them a priority – A, B or C. When I have finished that task, I put big ticks on either side of it. There is something so satisfying to me about finishing a task and ticking it off my list.

Oops, I Ran Out Of Time –


Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day. I was putting these long to do lists in front of myself and not getting everything done by the end of the day. Sometimes a task takes a LOT longer than you expected. For example, installing wordpress plugins – I thought it would take 1 hour. It took 5 hours.

Permission Granted –


One of the most discouraging things about setting yourself goals and tasks is not achieving them. It is one reason people simply give up and quit. There were a few days when I beat myself up about not finishing everything on the list. I almost wanted to quit because of it. In the end, I had to give myself permission to draw an arrow through any of the items on my to-do list and then add it to tomorrow’s to do list. As long as I have done my best each day I’m happy.

The Number One Rule –


You will want to write this one down. “Do It Now”.

It sounds simple but it is not so simple to achieve this in reality. You have to treat it like a religion. You have to chant it like a mantra. You have to change your thinking from “I can do that later” to “I’ll do it now”.

Everything Has A Home –


As I wrote in my Snoskred Is Getting Organised article, I don’t put things back where they belong. One of the reasons I had trouble with this was – things did not have a specific home. My new office is a lot more organised. I have a set of drawers with labels on them so that I know where things live. I also have a lot more bookshelf space for my aromatherapy oils, for my incense, for my cosmetics and lip balms.

Keep It Bare –


On my desk, there are only essential work related things now. I used to have a lot of personal items on my desk. I’m finding new homes for them because I recognise I could often zone out while looking at them. That is because I am attracted to shiny, sparkly things. If I see something shiny and sparkly it can make all rational thought vanish from my mind. That’s a good thing – and ok in the right place. The right place for that is NOT my work desk. ;)

Handle It Once –

When you have something in your hand and you are considering putting it down, make sure you put it into the place it is going to live for good. I was one of those people who would put things down and not be able to find them again. Having a home for everything, and being disciplined about putting things back can fix this.

Devotion –

You might choose to devote 5-10 minutes at the end of the day making sure everything is where it lives, or you can choose to “do it now”. I prefer to do it now and devote that 5 minutes at the end of the day to a quick clean of my desk.

Recognise Daily Tasks –


There are some things I need to do every day. I like to tick them off a daily check list. At the old house there was a week where I was on a roll and got those things done every single day. Since moving here I have got out of the habit a little bit. It annoys me – especially getting out of the habit of replying to the comments daily. So I am putting this back on my to do list and I will be re-creating the list as I have more daily tasks now.

Plan –

Sephy wrote about Google Calendar for his Tuesday Think Tank. Right now I’m a little annoyed at Google but this calendar may be the best thing since sliced bread for me. Perhaps I might look for a version which has nothing to do with Google at all, just because I do not want to become too reliant on them. In the meantime, I am planning my blog with Google Calendar. Planning is a choice you can make, if you want to.

What do you mean, plan?

Here was the plan for last week.

Sun Sep 30 – Weekly Wrap Up
Mon Oct 1 – Emily’s Questions
Tue Oct 2 – Think Tank – HTML
Wed Oct 3 – Hump Day Hmmm
Thu Oct 4 – CD Review – Madonna Confessions
Fri Oct 5 – Out Of Your Niche – Thomas
Sat Oct 6 – Australians Let Us All Waste Water
Sun Oct 7 – Weekly Wrap UP

6 out of 7 ended up exactly as I planned them. I wrote all the articles, this means I have an extra article left over which I can re-schedule.

Why Plan?

  1. You can pre-write your blog posts when you’re having a writing “fit”.
  2. You know where you’re going, it’s the “Where do you want to go today” extended version.
  3. You won’t have a day where you don’t know what to write about if you have planned a topic in advance.

Why Pre-Write?

The simple fact is, there are times when you are in the mood for writing and the words come out fast and lovely. There are times when you are NOT in the mood for writing at all. The Search Engines are more “loyal” (they come back more often) to sites that post new content frequently. That is one reason I have the “Thought For Today” post. It’s not just because I take good photos and like looking for relevant quotes. There is method to my madness.

WordPress Will Change My Life –

The major reason I have switched to WordPress is the “publish in advance” feature. I can go in and write a months worth of “thought for today” posts in one sitting (this will take me an hour or so) and set them to automatically publish at the same time each day – and then forget it. That is an excellent use of my time. ;)

Try It Out With NaBloPoMo –

November is National Blog Posting Month. You can sign up for NaBloPoMo which is a month of posting every day – but rather than going into it without a plan, sit down and think how you are going to post every day for 30 days. Use a paper calendar or Google Calendar and plan your month of November well in advance. Try planning your blog and see if it works for you.

Spontaneous People –

Some people prefer not to plan. That is also a valid choice. When it comes to blogging it may be the wrong choice. Your readers are looking for –

  • reliability
  • good content
  • positivity
  • ideas
  • something unique

The best way you can give that to them is to have a plan. If your plan is positive where will you fit in a negative, spur of the moment post that loses you readers? You can’t. We have ALL done that. We have ALL posted something and regretted it later. You can choose to stop doing it. ;)

Further Reading –

Thoughts On Making Positive Changes – Can You Do It?
Snoskred is Getting Organised – Are You?
Email Zen: Clear Out Your Inbox

Previously in the Tuesday Think Tank
21st August: RSS
14 Reasons Readers Unsubscribe From Your Blog
Tuesday Think Tank: All About RSS

28th August: Blog Templates
Blog Design – Open Your Eyes.
Demystifying Blogger Template Editing

4th September: Nofollow
Spam, Spiders And Do Follow, Oh My!
Say No! to Nofollow

11th September: Site Meters
Do NOT Rely On Your Site Meter.
Track Your Visitors with Google Analytics

18th September: Technorati
Technorati – Sending Out An SOS
The Ups (and Downs) of Technorati

25th September: Google Reader
Google Reader Can Make Your Life Easier – Here’s How.
Improving your Google Reader Experience

2nd October: HTML
Basic HTML for Bloggers.
Some HTML Tips & Tricks

Over To You –

What are your thoughts on time management?
If you liked this article, don’t forget to give it a stumble. ;)

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