A Taskmaster's Tools: Productivity and Pokémon

By Edacosis. Art by Rocket Grunt.
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Maybe you're like a previous incarnation of myself—a worthless Trainer. I know the feeling. I'd spend my days at the Game Corner, plunking down my coins in the slot machines until, inevitably, my Coin Case ran dry. Afterward, I would try to numb the gaping void in my soul by planting and watering berries across the region. Boy, those Qualot plants would flourish, but ultimately, I remained stagnant, and my ambitions of becoming "Best Pokémon Trainer: No Doubt About It" seemed to be fading.

Eventually, I told myself to get it together. No more RageCandyBars for all three meals of the day—only two. I looked myself in the mirror and said "Hey, slugger. Give it all you've got." Since that watershed moment, I've become one of the most productive—nay, the most productive Trainer of all time, hands down and case closed. With the assistance of my Pokémon (they'd be cast in more of a supporting role than a starring role; people say I look like a young Tom Cruise) coupled with their use of various handy items, it would be an understatement to call me Pokémon Trainer, version 2.0. Read on to find out how you, too, can "command the troops," so to speak.

Air Balloon:

I'm about to say something controversial, but I think that it will spur some healthy debate: latex is a highly underutilized material. Case in point is the Air Balloon item. For too long this extraordinary device has been inappropriately used by neurotic, seismophobic "Trainers." Pretty pathetic. I mean, having Pokémon dodge a seemingly spontaneous 8.2 magnitude quake has got its upsides, but it's also a trite application of an otherwise versatile little tool. Think of the world that opens up when you've got Pokémon floating about in high places. That Super Repel you've been eyeballing atop that inconveniently placed ledge? It's yours. Just tie the Air Balloon around one of your Pokémon's torsos (careful, the yarn is pretty low-grade stuff) and let the retrieval begin. You've got latex technology, so you might as well use it. I would recommend attaching the Air Balloon to a Pokémon you aren't particularly emotionally attached to, as without proper precautions, your now-floating Pokémon may soon become a new resident of the cosmos.

Always bring a Pokémon with an attacking move (me, I use a pretty nifty Elekid with Thunder Shock) to try to pop the Air Balloon before your Pokémon ascends to the mesosphere. I recommend using either Lunatone or Solrock for your Air Balloon fetching fun, as if they end up in space from your balloon-based antics, they will at least feel at home at their destination. You can't say the same for your space bound Electrike ("it has got ZERO weaknesses now," you said), who probably does not appreciate the oxygen-deprived nature of the solar system. Compassion is key.


Your Pokémon, though dutiful, may grow tired upon carrying out its assigned task. Don't worry, this is probably normal. The cure for a Pokémon's unwarranted drowsiness requires minimal effort on your part; if you know your way around an aerosol can, you're set. Simply pull out your Mart-brand Awakening, give it a forceful shake (not too forceful, Hercules!), and spray it directly onto your snoozing pal, preferably in the eyes.

If your Pokémon wakes up, then you know it's working; otherwise, you might have accidentally used some other topical spray like Paralyze Heal, in which case your Pokémon's eyes will have become less numb. It's a win-win nonetheless, but always check to make sure that you don't have your topical sprays mixed up, unlabeled though they may be. Anyway, assuming you used an Awakening, your Pokémon will rise within seconds and forget about its various biological needs, resuming its unfinished business. Cutting down bushes has never been so seamless. FAIR WARNING: Awakening may cause disease.


You know, stationery can be pretty interesting. Whether it is coming across the Wingull-themed "Harbor Mail" or the Wailmer-themed "Wave Mail" for the first time, it seems as though papery excitement is never out of reach. But mailing things? I guess that's where the thrill comes to a screeching halt. Sending letters is a drag, to say the least. A productive Trainer has no business wasting time at the post office, whose shameless promotion of frivolities like "stamps" is enough to cause an ulcer.

In reality, using your Pokémon as a makeshift postal service would probably suffice. Resourcefulness is key. It doesn't matter what species you're using to get the job done, either; some would opt for the traditional route of Pidgey or Pidove, but there's nothing stopping you from trying to balance your envelope atop, say, a Voltorb. Sure, it hasn't got limbs. Does that really matter? Holding items is one of those all-important "intrinsic Pokémon responsibilities," of which mail attachment is included. Watch the hilarity ensue as your spherical buddy drops your letter numerous times, after which it Selfdestructs in frustration. That's one for the scrapbook! Also, for those of you who like to deliver mail via Arbok, take caution: venom stains envelopes easily! No one likes stained envelopes.

Passho Berry:

It's a shame, but your average Trainer cannot afford a respectable boat. These Preschooler Trainers do not pay well after battles, and frankly, it's upsetting. I've written several angry letters to the parents of these Preschoolers explaining the whole "big battles = big payouts" principle, but no one seems to be receptive. No one has any moral fiber.

Well, anyway, there are always Pokémon available for my maritime travel needs, but would I rather be traveling by yacht? Sure. Here's why: there are always plagues of swimmers looking to push around the "chump" who is cruising the sea on a Finneon, e.g., an upstanding individual like myself. It wouldn't happen if I had a boat! So the problem arises when I've got to engage in combat atop the waves, and let me tell you, my Camerupt doesn't like this. I toss it out into the water, and, lo and behold, it starts floundering around. It's splashing up a frenzy. The volcanoes on its humps are shutting down, which is never good. Meanwhile, this swimmer's Horsea is brewing up a mean Water Gun that's really giving my team a run for my money. In short, the situation is a mess.

The solution, of course, is horticulture. More specifically, berries.

Before I throw my Camerupt out into the water now, I give it Passho Berries. Apparently they act as a sort of water repellant. They're really magical. Once the digestion of the berry begins, my Camerupt is raring to go, possibly. It still hates battling in the water, but hey, I've got places to go, things to see, and SecretPotions to collect. I can't have "Swimmer♀ Wendy" keep blocking my path with her watery antics.

I'm a berry man now.

Rocky Helmet:

It is unfortunate, but the "Trainer-on-the-go" will often find large rocks impeding one's path. There's nothing worse than trying to find a conveniently-placed ladder leading to a lower level in an abandoned cave, only to see a trail-blocking hunk of granite smugly staring you in the face, taunting you with its immobility. Now, this thing will discourage the run-of-the-mill weary traveler (e.g., your garden variety Hiker Anthony, who cares only of idle phone conversations and his Geodude, apparently) but for the productive Trainer like you, blasting this rock into smithereens is clearly the only option for success. After all, you've got to find that fabled "TM80," a CD-ROM with a limited distribution of one copy. Think about it: this is software you just can't pass up. Its dirt-stained jewel case beckons you.

So, naturally, you've got to turn to Pokémon, many of whom are distinguished rock smashers. The debris that scatters after splitting a rock, can, to put it bluntly, cause severe head trauma. You really don't want to be around for the hellscape that ensues after a Machoke punches cleanly through a nine foot tall boulder, okay? The solution, obviously, is a Rocky Helmet, whose use as a defensive "don't-touch-me-please" item in battle is surely nice, but not as nice as watching boulder shrapnel simply bounce off of your Pokémon's headgear after clearing out a troublesome slab of limestone. Simply put, if you want your Pokémon to do your dirty work but are also tired of your Pokémon getting debilitating lacerations on their scalps, then Rocky Helmet is the item for you.

Smooth Rock:

You know, as I always say, "a sandstorm is only worth summoning if you can keep it around for a while. Otherwise, what are you doing, wasting your time?"

An explanation: sandstorms are highly undervalued in the realm of productivity. It's an all too familiar story: Lass Dana calls you to talk about her Psyduck. Naturally, as a pro Trainer, you're doing something important and time-intensive like buying Escape Ropes, so you start wondering when she'd quit it already. She begins to get to the part in her usual spiel about some "cool" wild Pokémon she saw the other day, and suddenly you've just about hit the wall with her vapid anecdote.

Had a nice, lengthy sandstorm been swirling in your vicinity, you wouldn't have even been aware that your phone was ringing. In the utter confusion of a sandstorm, nuisances such as fielding phone calls will become a thing of the past.

You should have used Smooth Rock.

Get a Pokémon that can summon a sandstorm, toss it a Smooth Rock, and watch as you're engulfed by an hour-long, distraction-repelling weather event. People around you will run away in fear of respiratory infections. Personally, I prefer Pineco for the job, because watching something that came from a gymnosperm ravage the surrounding landscape is fairly awe-inspiring.

With annoying distractions like other people out of the way, you can continue on with your important Trainer work. I, for one, like to devote my time slathering honey on tree bark, as I am a bee enthusiast. Watching those Combees flock in droves to my honey? Yeah, it's my life's work, and I'm not going to let others impede that. My personal Smooth Rock slogan is "get isolated and get smooth with your very own sandstorm."

Never-Melt Ice:

Traveling around the world and raising Pokémon... it's an experience that can't be beat. What is frustrating about it, though, is not having access to a refrigerator. So, great, I've got a team of six monsters to do my bidding, but buying perishable foods for later consumption is more or less out of the question. Commence sighing. Keep in mind, though, that these are the sacrifices that a future Elite Four Champion must make. In addition, the notion of keeping beverages cold is a dubious proposition at best. You may now be thinking, "I guess this whole Pokémon thing just isn't worth it." Relax. Give your Pokémon a Never-Melt Ice and... oh, what's this? Suddenly, you've got a portable cooling system. I bet you didn't think of that. And unlike your home refrigerator, Pokémon are sentient, so that's a nice perk.

This Never-Melt Ice, as it is aptly called, won't get watery when you least expect it. It doesn't make any sense, but I don't question these things if the end result is cold Fresh Water™, Lemonade™ or Soda Pop™—some of my vending machine favorites! There is the slight problem of the Never-Melt Ice being cold to touch. It's probably colder than regular ice, actually. I'm not sure. Don't quote that. If you give it to a non-Ice-type, it might react strangely. I guess pain is involved. That is the price of refrigeration, however. My Cacturne kept getting some sort of "frostbite" nonsense (that was the medical jargon that the woman at the Pokémon Center told me about) after I made it my refrigerator. The solution is simple, though: stock up on some Ice Heals! Whenever your Pokémon gets too iced up, whip an Ice Heal out, spray it around liberally and let the thawing commence. The process is a bit like maintaining your car: you get a routine oil change occasionally and pump up your tires once in a while, and you're good to go.


Look, it's not that hard, really. Being a productive Trainer is just a matter of getting into a certain rhythm. It's the kind of rhythm you feel when you get into a good game of chess, you know? You've got your pawns, and you direct them accordingly to the situation at hand. That's all there is to it.

I've been talking a lot about items to use on your Pokémon in this article. There is one, though, that, if you've read and absorbed this article, would be fit for you, the Trainer. If you didn't read the article, however, don't read on, because this next part isn't for you! Once you feel like you've got a real nice command over your Pokémon, pull out a King's Rock and don it on your head.

You're pretty much royalty now.

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