How to Get More Things Done With Game Motivation

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Although it’s culturally taboo to play games during work, you can get more done by weaving gaming into your daily tasks. This productivity strategy is known as gamification, and it works by turning complex projects or tasks into quests or challenges. It also provides rewards along the way, motivating you to work through your list one step at a time.

1. Set Goals

Proper goal setting is a powerful tool that can make the difference between success and failure. It’s important to set a game plan that is broken down into easily achievable daily goals. For example, if your goal is to get to the top of the leaderboards in a multiplayer game, break it down into smaller goals such as playing x number of games per day or improving your game IQ.

These small goals will help motivate you to achieve your long term goal. They will also give you a sense of accomplishment and progress that may have been lacking if you simply jumped into a game without first setting a plan for yourself. The following goal-setting games are a great place to start.

2. Reward Yourself

Most people have activities that they enjoy doing but rarely do because of work, school, or chores. Once you reach a milestone or finish a task, reward yourself with something that you really want to do. That could be taking the weekend off, or even just a day without any responsibilities. It could also be taking a break to read the salacious confessions section of Cosmo magazine, or finally upcycling that old coffee table you’ve been meaning to get around to.

Many computer gamers use gaming as their primary reward system, and this is a problem because it distracts you from working on important tasks. Instead, try using game as a tool to help you reach your goals, and then use real-world rewards for when you need motivation.

3. Gamify Your Work

Adding a competitive element to your work can make even the most boring tasks feel like a productive adventure. Gamification applies game-like elements to non-game activities, such as task management, by using techniques like points, badges, and leaderboards.

Think about what makes unblocked games or board games fun—it’s often the friendly competition and the reward for finishing the game. Applying this same concept to work is a great way to increase productivity and employee engagement.

Rewards can be in the form of public recognition, monetary bonuses, gift cards, company swag, and more. It’s important to note that the main purpose of gamification is to boost productivity, so make sure your program is designed with that goal in mind. Otherwise, it could detract from employee morale rather than encourage it.

4. Set Benchmarks

A good benchmark should provide a representative approximation of real-world gameplay. A canned benchmark that only runs through a cutscene or an overly-demanding sequence doesn’t help gamers who are trying to troubleshoot their hardware.

It should also be repeatable. If a game has an unreasonably long wait for the benchmark to begin or for the player to navigate menu screens between benchmark runs, that isn’t helpful either.

Also, a benchmark should not include any unnecessary features that would lower the scores, like keeping background applications open. Closing these applications can significantly lower CPU scores. Finally, it shouldn’t take more than about two minutes for a benchmark to run. This is not a huge ask of a developer, but it’s still a good rule to follow.

5. Give Yourself a Reward

Incorporate everyday “mini-games” into your daily routine, such as checking off items on a checklist, which releases the same dopamine reward as winning a game. Taking a walk outside in nature, people-watching at your local park or library, or watching a favorite TV show or movie can also be great rewards that don’t cost anything.

If you do have money to spend on a reward, consider placing anywhere from $1, $5, $10, and so on into a jar when you meet your goals. When you open the jar, draw out your prize and enjoy your accomplishment!

Getting more things done is all about motivation. Gamification helps us form new habits by creating a system of rewards and motivators that make them easier to stick with.

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