There’s a ton of stuff to do every day and it never seems to end. That’s why we call it work. But science has been looking into the psychology of games to find ways to keep doing productive activities and have fun while doing it. The result has been a boom in gamification apps meant to help people get on top of their tasks lists. But how do they work?
There are several theories about why games motivate us and they may all be correct in different degrees depending on the person. For some, gaming is a pleasurable activity all on its own. Achieving success in a game releases enough dopamine to make the player want to repeat the activity. People who are natural gamers might find that just casting tasks into the concept of a game makes it enjoyable, just like Mary Poppins said many years ago.
But there are other factors that make people play games. Some want the social status of being the best in a particular area, or at the very least doing better than our coworkers. Sales teams have used this for decades with quota tracking and commission payments for top earners.
Another theory is games naturally break up large tasks into smaller ones The object of most games is to win but what winning is and how it is accomplished can be broken down into small tasks. Games make us focus on the small decisions that lead to a big win later. Even a simple to-do list is a form of a game. Can you get everything crossed off in one day, or not?
You don’t have to be a game programmer to take advantage of gamifying your life. There are a lot of apps out there that can help you take control of your tasks and still feel good doing it. Here are some suitable ones for people running their own business.
A simple form of gamification is To-Doist. To-Doist is a to-do list application that rewards you with points every time you complete a task. As you gain points over time, your score goes up and you reach new levels in the scoring system. However, if you fail to complete tasks in a timely way you lose points. A graph keeps track of your productivity over time so you can see how you’ve done. If you just want a taste of gamification (and a darn-good to-do list app), check it out.
If you want something more complex, you can check out Habitica. Habitica is a habit RPG game. You assign point values to your tasks and add them to a list. When you check off the tasks you get the points. Get enough points and you level up. Fail to complete your tasks and you lose levels.
But unlike To-Doist, you can organize your tasks into different domains, take on recommended tasks from lists, and it has multiplayer capabilities so you can track your status compared to other people.
If you want a well-rounded app that covers all aspects of life, then Lifebloom is the suite of apps you need to totally gamify your life. It does task management, sleep tracking, nutrition tracking, and much more. It’s a powerful life tracking improvement tool if you’re willing to put in the work to set it up.
Try these games out to get a taste of how gamification can help you improve your small business workflow or just your life in general. Maybe they will give you some hints to help you improve your boring tasks lists.
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