How to Gamify Yourself

Image courtesy: Kyle Turco/TechnologyAdvice


Gamification has slowly staked its claim on business operations. In 2011, Gartner predicted that over 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application in the workplace by the end of 2014. A recent study by IBM claims that the gamification market is expected to be worth $4.17 billion by the end of 2018.


In the workplace, businesses have started implementing digital engagement strategies for a variety of purposes, including sales competition programs and employee training. The reason is clear: well-designed games are extremely engaging and can draw people in for hours at a time. For example, gamers play Angry Birds for an average total of 200 million minutes every day, which is equal to 16 years of gameplay every hour of every day.


These same game elements can be used to increase workplace engagement, but can extend well beyond organizations to make a personal impact. Engagement, incentives, and entertainment are all elements that you can effectively apply to your personal and professional life.


Gamifying the everyday functions of your life can improve your effectiveness in a few simple ways:


    • It incentivizes you to complete tasks you don’t want to do.


    • It helps you organize and approach complicated tasks more effectively.


    • It encourages you to tackle intimidating tasks.



There are already a collection of systems and applications designed to help you improve your life with gamification, and even if one doesn’t quite fit your style, you can create your own gamified life hacks. Here are a few examples:


Gamify your Grunt Work


Similar to gamification in the workplace, you can gamify more mundane aspects of your daily life for increased productivity. Adding game elements to household chores, paperwork, taxes, or other mundane office activities like responding to emails and interacting on social media makes these events more engaging and enjoyable, encouraging you to complete tasks in a timely manner.


With the web-based RPG game Chore Wars, you can turn daily chores into experience points to advance your character. This game also lets you add other people to your group, like members of your household or office. By assigning rewards to individual tasks and chores, you can observe how quickly everyone is leveling up, and accordingly how many chores or tasks they are completing. Similar to Chore Wars, families and offices with more mobile users can download EpicWin, a mobile RPG application that incentivizes daily tasks with feedback mechanisms such as experience points and rewards. Like Chore Wars, this system lets users apply all the things they love about games to monotonous daily tasks.


Beyond existing task gamification systems, users can create their own gamified system for completing grunt work. For example, if you hate having to interact on social media for work purposes, you can turn social media activity into a challenge. Determine how many interactions and updates should be done in a week, and challenge yourself to meet that benchmark before the weekend. If you meet your challenge, you can reward yourself with something that weekend, like a night out or extra dessert. Simply turning these tasks into challenges with rewards can increase engagement with these activities and help you complete assignments in a more timely fashion.


Gamify your Goals


Adding game elements to your goals not only makes it easier to follow through, but also helps you to break down and organize sub tasks more effectively. Most games include a level system that must be completed before you can reach your target. The same is true for goal gamification.


This works especially well for personal work goals beyond any existing gamified challenges in the workplace. For example, maybe your goal as manager of HR is to interview at least 20 qualified candidates for an open position. In this case, your gamified system would include rewards for listing the job offering on multiple forums, contacting applicants and setting up interviews, and following through with full reporting on interview results. Now, your personal work goal is broken down into specific achievable tasks. Additionally, this provides you with a means of reporting progress to supervisors because of the task-log you have in your gamified system.


HabitRPG, a free web-based application, provides you with a resource to track your progress towards goal completion. As you complete constructive tasks and engage in positive habits, your character on HabitRPG is immediately rewarded with experience points or gold. But, if you indulge in bad habits or fail to complete your outlined tasks, your character loses health and potentially loses progress. The community aspect of HabitRPG provides you with accountability to stay on track through a party system, where you can bring in a group of friends to cheer you on and assist in your progress.


Gamify your Growth


Unlike goals, personal growth involves effectively changing a significant area of your life. Goals can be as simple as waking up 30 minutes earlier in the mornings, where growth challenges can be large health improvements, recovering from an injury, earning a college degree, getting a promotion, or a number of other things. These personal growth challenges can be very intimidating. Adding game elements to growth challenges can create a less stressful environment while simultaneously incentivizing you to make measurable progress, and to celebrate each victory.


SuperBetter, an iOS application, was created to help users achieve difficult growth challenges. The application’s creator, Jane McGonigal, used her own system to recover from a bad injury. By adding enjoyable features to a difficult process, she was able to persevere and recover. This application focuses on increasing personal resilience, striving to keep you curious, optimistic, and motivated, no matter what the challenge. Gamified systems like SuperBetter seek to make daunting tasks attainable, adding game elements to growth for increased engagement and enthusiasm. This system can be used as you seek a promotion at work, helping you outline the necessary steps in addition to motivating you when you become discouraged or encounter a setback.


For any of these personalized gamification systems to be effective, there has to be a level of commitment to the system. For example, many of the systems discussed thus far succeed only if you are honest about achievements and setbacks. If you falsely tell a system that you sent 20 emails, to gain experience points, you’re defeating the entire purpose of the game. It’s important to remind yourself what the game is achieving as you seek to win challenges. Personal results are always more important than badges or points.


Have you gamified your life before? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

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