I’ve started to see Gamification mentioned more and more recently. Maybe it’s one of those things that when you notice something you start noticing it more, or maybe it’s becoming more popular! Whatever the reason I’d not really heard what it was so I thought I’d take a deeper look into what it was and how it relates to productivity.
What Is Gamification?
Gamification is where you take elements of game playing, typically point scoring or a general sense of competition, and you apply them to another aspect of life – in this case productivity. There’s a very comprehensive guide to gamification on Wikipedia if you’d like to look at the ideas behind it in more depth.
Essentially, gamification allows you to reward yourself for good behaviour, provides more motivation and helps to to progress or improve on certain tasks that you may be struggling with. Think of it like trying to “Level Up” in a computer game, which I’m sure you’ve all played in some shape or form before!
How Does Gamification Apply To Productivity?
There are many ways of “Gamifying” your life and it especially applies to aspects of your life that you don’t like doing. This could be anything from general chores (cleaning, taking the rubbish out, doing the ironing etc.), getting up on time, or driving sensibly to life goals such as losing weight, sky diving or swimming with dolphins – the possibilities are almost endless.
In order to apply gamification to your productivity you need to identify the following tasks:
- Your “Dread Tasks” – Tasks that you never do
- Your “Meh Tasks” – Tasks that you’ll do but only after being pushed
- Your “Hmm Tasks” – Tasks that you’ll do but they don’t give you a sense of satisfaction
- Your “Yeay Tasks” – Tasks that you’ll do because you enjoy them
- Your “If Only Tasks” – Tasks that are something you aspire to achieve someday
The idea behind gamification is to track all of your tasks and to assign “Points” to each task depending on its perceived difficulty level. Difficulty can be based on the fact that it’s physically difficult for you to do like exercising at a higher level, or it could be based on the fact that it’s motivationally difficult for you to do the task.
How Does Gamification Work?
I’ve written in the past about how checking items off a to-do list can make you feel rewarded and gives a some sort of “rush” that makes you want to achieve more. This is all down to the release of dopamine which helps you reap the rewards of your efforts when you complete tasks.
Keeping track of your efforts, and accruing points also helps you to want to achieve more. A lot of the time, all we need is a little kick in the backside to get us going and the tracking associated with gamification helps us to start to achieve the momentum we need to keep up with finishing tasks.
How To Use Gamification
There are several ways of tracking you tasks and their “game scores”. These range from a piece of paper, a simple spreadsheet or a gamification app.
For paper-based solutions, make a list of all of your regular tasks in order of difficulty (or most to least enthusiasm). You can then assign a point score to each task, for example the tasks you find the easiest and have no problems doing would score a “1”, the tasks you hate doing and need a real push could score a “10”.
Each time you complete a task you score the number of points associated with that task. Over time, you accrue these points and they can be used to build towards rewards.
You can set yourself different rewards for different points levels – sort of like a loyalty card for being productive. What you achieve is completely up to you but it should be something that you want to earn, or feel that you need to work to earn. Some examples could be:
- Score 30 points and you’re allowed popcorn next time you’re at the cinema
- Score 10 points and you’re allowed to stay up an hour later one night
- Score 100 points and you get to have a weekend away or buy that new tablet you’ve been hankering after.
I know these are a bit arbitrary but I think you get the general idea. The rewards you choose need to be rewards set for you, unless you’re running a game like HabitRPG listed below where you use your points to level up your computer character!
How To Track Gamification Scores
There are many ways to track your progress using gamification. I’ll be providing a paper-based one on Wednesday but to tide you over and get you started here are some apps that you can use – and unless specified they’re free:
Android Gamification Apps
- HabitFlow – Habit tracker
- Zen Habit
- HabitBull – Habit Tracker (In App Purchases)
- Rewire – Habit & Goal Tracker (In App Purchases)
- Habit Streak
- Goal Tracker & Habit List
- Coach.Me (Purchase extra services) – You can read my review here
- HabitRPG In App Purchases
iPhone Gamification Apps
- Way Of life – Ultimate Habit Maker and Breaker (In App Purchase)
- Habits 2 Goals: The Habit Factor ® Lite (Premium Version Available)
- Productive – Habit Tracker – Daily Routine & reminders for goals and chores (Upgrade to available)
- Strides: Habit & S.M.A.R.T goals tracker (Premium and iPad Version Available)
- Habit List – Create Good Habits, Break Bad Ones, Build a Better You (£2.99)
- CARROT To-Do – Talking Task List (£2.29)
- Coach.Me – Productivity Coach for every goal
iPad Gamification Apps
- Simple Habits HD – Daily Habit Tracker (also available for iPhone)
- Habit Tracking
- Easy Habits – Daily Motivation and Habit Tracker (iPhone version available)
- Goals On Track ($68 per year for personal use)
- Life Tick Free for personal use although it’s limited to 4 goals
- IRunURun Free for personal use although it’s limited to 7 goals
- Milestone Planner $6.75/month for “professional” edition
- Joe’s Goals
- MindBloom Life Game
- Goalscape Price depending on platform – cloud, Windows and Mac available
- 42 Goals
- Bee Minder : Light a Fire Under Your Own Butt Some charges may apply if you pledge money for failed tasks
- Habitica ties in with HabitRPG apps
You can also get my free paper-based gamification tracker below
Over To You
Do you think gamification will work for you as a productivity tool? Tell us why it will or won’t in the comments. And, if you have any suggestions for apps or resources that might help people track their gamified tasks that I’ve missed please let me know in the comments or drop me a line through the contact form