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4 Ways That Gamification Can Change Your Life

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4 Ways That Gamification Can Change Your Life

One commonality that binds us all is our endless pursuit of happiness. What “happy” means to one person surely differs from that of another. There is no single path to being happy and the road to a more fulfilling and joyous life is different for each and every person on the planet.

So what do video games have to do with happiness? Well, the truth is, it is what goes into creating the video games – the methods and techniques that hook users – that can be applied to real-world experiences that can dramatically impact your lifestyle and levels of happiness.

Welcome to the world of lifestyle gamification.

Yu-kai Chou is a gamification expert and the author of Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards. Chou claims that “many students who neglect school and get in trouble all the time aren’t like that because they are dumb or dislike learning – they just don’t see the purpose of learning the subjects that are taught in class.” This very same logic can spread beyond the classroom and has no age limit.

Video games are much more than just stunning visuals and quality voice over work. Psychological traits possessed by all people are taken into account when creating video games. By touching on the eight core drives of gamification, Chou is able to brilliantly explain his theory of Octalysis, an in-depth framework that describes the different motivators humans share that can be influenced by gamification.

By applying gamification techniques and tweaking the approach taken to achieving certain goals and aspirations, people can find the focus that has slipped from their grasp.

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The power of gamification and your diet

Gamification can change the way you eat. By doing so, it can change the way you feel and ultimately, how you live.

Games are addicting for a reason. Games like Angry Birds and Temple Run leave players feeling like they must continue to get to the next level or break their previous high score. This comes at the risk of going to bed later than they had planned or putting off doing homework until the last minute.

Applying similar gamification techniques to your diet can be engaging enough for you to stay on track. Trying to stick to a strict regimen can be a daunting experience if you are looking to lose weight or eat healthily. The Paleo App is a great example of using gaming techniques to train folks to change habits for the better.

How does the Paleo App use gamification with its users? Being able to track your progress is a great start. This is where technology comes in handy. In the past, it would have been seen as strange and even discouraging for you to walk around with a notebook to track the intake of all food and beverage. Now that everyone is constantly buried in their phones, those close by will never suspect that one is cataloging their lunch – a concept that might be embarrassing to those starting off on their quest to weight loss.

Paleo also makes it so users receive rewards for small milestones. This breaks down larger goals into manageable steps that are less overwhelming and way more achievable – especially for those who are starting off and are more vulnerable when it comes to becoming derailed.

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The work life

SAP is a German multinational software corporation that is worth billions. They serve customers in almost every country on the planet and employ over 70,000 employees. While they had already found tremendous success, they were struggling to engage their community.

Laure Cetin, SAP’s community manager, decided to implement some gamification strategies into the SAP Community Network (SCN) to see if boosting participation and engagement would be possible.

Cetin said that by “using gamification and particularly the concept of missions (a series of actions needed to receive a badge and points), we wanted to encourage members to log in regularly, provide feedback, contribute quality content regularly and be recognized as topic experts and influencers.”

Just one short month after applying some of these strategies, community feedback had spike by nearly 100% and the overall action within the company’s social network had risen an astonishing 400%. Cetin’s intuition was right, and SCN grew to the point where it is receiving millions of hits per month.

Gamify your exercise routine

Like maintaining a healthy diet, many people struggle with staying on course when it comes to exercise.

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According to a survey conducted by Nielsen, the most common New Year’s resolution in 2015 was staying fit and healthy. People binge throughout the holiday season knowing that just around the corner comes a clean slate, a fresh new start where they will eat less and exercise more. Sure, the gym might be packed throughout the month of January, but it will clear out quickly as the days go by.

People have a very hard time staying motivated without seeing results quickly. But now there are many apps out there that reward users on their journey to getting in shape.

The Telegraph reported on Zombies, Run – a top-selling fitness game available. By putting runners into the shoes of people escaping Zombies, they feel more connected to their workout and are more likely to run more frequently. Instead of running on a treadmill listening to music, you are dropped into a chaotic, Hollywood-like film that will whip you into shape. When the zombies get close, you have to run like mad – interval training at its finest!

Adrian Hon, the creator of Zombies, Run, told The Telegraph that “a lot of people find exercise to be boring and repetitive, even with music. [Our app] can make running more exciting by putting you into a fictional world where you running really matters – so on a rainy Sunday morning, you’ll still be motivated to get up and run.”

Ability to learn new things

Back in the day, learning something complex like a new language was a formidable task. While learning a new tongue still takes an incredible amount of time, dedication, and perseverance, the process – when married with gamification techniques – can be a lot more fun for the users.

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Duolingo is the perfect example of gamified language learning and is now helping teach new languages to over 100 million people. Not only does Duolingo help make learning a new language fun, but it is helping translate the Web in the process.

According to Yu-kai Chou, the gamification of language learning is more effective with Duolingo because “as students learn a language, they earn skill points when lessons are completed or web content is translated. Lessons associated with a skill are successively completed when a given number of translations are completed. Since web content is inherently more interesting than “made up” sentences, the translation assignments are more engaging.”

Final thoughts

Gamification can be applied to numerous areas, meeting personal needs or addressing problems at the workplace. One thing about gamification that is certain is that it is complex. It is no magical cure-all that can be applied haphazardly and it isn’t something that will make overnight changes. To properly apply the methods and techniques to your own life or your business, it’s best to do as much research as possible and contact an expert that can help you achieve the most from gamification.

With technology that is constantly improving and the rapid growth of the Internet of Things, it is certain that gamification isn’t going anywhere. Learning as much as possible about this new field sooner than later can set you up for a better, more fulfilling life.

Featured photo credit: Gamification e via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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Are You Addicted to Productivity?

“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

This is my mantra:

I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

Addiction to Productivity is Real

Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

  • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
  • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
  • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
  • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
  • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
  • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
  • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

1. Set Limits

Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

2. Create a Not-to-Do List

Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

3. Be Vulnerable

By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

5. Don’t Be a Copycat

Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

6. Say Yes to Less

Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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  • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
  • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
  • Establish realistic goals.
  • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
  • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
  • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

8. Simplify

Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

9. Learn How to Relax

“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

  • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
  • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
  • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
  • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
  • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
  • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
  • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
  • Visit a massage therapist.
  • Just breathe.

“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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