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Mastering The Maze – What Pac-Man Can Teach Us About Time Efficiency

Written by: Claudia Romero, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Claudia Romero

We’ve all heard the saying “time is money” – and whilst that may not be entirely true (that’s a debate for another day), in the world of business, management, and leadership time is an important and precious commodity. Effective time management can make the difference between success and a missed opportunity. Mastering better time management can make a huge impact on your team, your business, and your own career. Some important lessons about making the most of your time, focus and energy can come from an unexpected source – classic arcade games. Specifically, Pac-Man.

Person finding way out of the maze

But what can the maze-bound, power-pellet-munching, eponymous hero teaches us?


Keep your eyes on the prize


Pac-Man is laser-focused on his quest – navigating the maze whilst dodging a quartet of tenacious ghosts. Focus and determination are essential skills to develop – especially in a world filled with digital distractions. Our phones are a portal to procrastination, with endless diversions competing for our attention. Want to master time efficiency? Start by focusing on the important tasks and using your time and energy to realise your goals. Don’t let the ghosts (distractions) get you!


Adapt to get ahead


The longer Pac-Man stays in the maze, the faster things around him move. A great analogy for today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving business environment – although maybe not a very reassuring one. And just like our bright yellow hero, we need to pivot to avoid pitfalls. Adaptability is essential – very few paths to success are linear or without diversions. It’s the dynamic strategist, who’s unafraid of change and willing to rethink their plans, reroute their journey and embrace new ideas and opportunities who’s the most likely to succeed. Adapting quickly, combined with efficient use of your time is a simple – but powerful – recipe for success.


Plan ahead and keep moving forward


Pac-Man’s consumption of power pellets can temporarily give him extra powers, allowing him to turn the tables on his phantom foes. And whilst astute time management which centres on strategic planning and careful allocation of resources won’t give you the power to eat ghosts, it can give you a powerful boost. Delineating high-impact tasks, engineering a hierarchical framework, and dedicating uninterrupted time blocks to tackle tasks constructively all feed into heightened productivity.


Take the risk – Embrace the failure


To borrow a phrase that was popular back in the eighties, Pac-Man “ain’t afraid of no ghosts” – this fearless attitude reflects the audacity and tenacity that many successful entrepreneurs and leaders possess. Pac-Man continually faces his fears, operating outside his comfort zone in his quest for success. And when he fails and gets eaten by the ghosts, he pops back up to tackle the challenge all over again. It’s an approach we should all embrace. Stepping out of our comfort zone, pushing past our fear of failure, and embracing it when it happens not only builds resilience, but we can learn from the experience. In the arcade game, when we lose, we learn and so next time we enter the maze we adapt our approach based on our previous experience.


Keep the energy up


What keeps Pac-Man going round and round the maze? Power pellets. In the real world, it’s rest and relaxation that refresh, revive, and revitalise us, providing the boost we need to keep pushing forward professionally. Time away from your desk/laptop/office is an essential part of an efficient working life – successful people take time out to recharge. Setting aside time for activities that feed the soul, like wellness practices and meaningful connections, revitalizes the mind and boosts the mental abilities needed for ongoing creativity and strength. This doesn’t just apply to leaders – making sure your team make time for themselves and takes their correct holiday allocations will not only help you create a more productive team, but it will help them feel valued and respected. Remember, no one gets extra points for working extra hours – the only prize you get for ignoring your work/life balance is burnout.


So, what have we learned from Pac-Man? The need to lead purposefully, adapt, manage wisely, take smart risks, and care for yourself. Like the game’s maze, leadership is complex, and we can never quite be sure what’s around the corner, but the better we plan and prepare the greater the chance of success. These are lessons that we can not only apply to ourselves with great results but encourage our team to adopt, helping them achieve their true potential and ensure that their well-being is front and centre.


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Claudia Romero Brainz Magazine
 

Claudia Romero, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Claudia is a highly skilled consultant with a Business Management background who specializes in productivity, business resilience, and time efficiency. She understands the challenges faced by senior executives, entrepreneurs, and business owners who have to balance their careers, relationships, and personal needs. She has a non-traditional approach to productivity that has been praised for its simplicity and effectiveness in overcoming overwhelm and burnout, helping leaders increase team productivity, achieve consistent growth and increased profits. As a captivating speaker, Claudia delivers top-quality masterclasses on achieving success in all aspects of work and life.

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