Gamification of productivity

Productivity is an area where gamification applies for both work and home. The old saying, if you need something done ask a busy person, often is very true. I find that when you have a lot on, that you have to be more focussed on execution and you power through heaps of work. When your time table is much more free, even mundane tasks may take a long time.

I often gamify the process, by setting mini-goals before a specific break point with a reward attached. I would normally have the reward anyway without giving it the meaning. So for example writing a blog three times per week for close to 4 years in a row has been a major productivity achievement. Anyone that writes on a regular basis knows it is not always as straight forward as sitting down in front of the computer and just writing. You do need something to write about, inspiration of sorts. Anyway, each blog is a mini-goal, ideally my aim is to have it out before 9:30 am UK time, so it is a timed quest. A cup of coffee and some downtime is the reward for the achieved and published or scheduled post.

When people ask me about gamifying productivity, my first question is who sets the goals? Typically when someone else sets goals for you, the level of connection is lower than when you set them for yourself. So ideally set your own goals and then match achievable rewards to them, include some time challenges and if I truly have to be focused I turn off all distractions. I usually see my focus productivity time, the same as a meeting with an important person, you wouldn’t check email or take phone calls or answer to social media those times. So you should equally not do it in your productivity quest time.

I like one hour blocks. It works for me in terms of concentration and getting a meaningful chunk of work done. If I have less time, I see what can I get done in this timeframe without causing time pressure on other events that day. For me managing productivity is all about your own motivation. Getting started often gets you over the hump of not feeling all that up for it. Blogging three times per week has taught me that at least. Just getting started is half the battle.

The key to productivity management is build in periods of focused, breaks or downtime away from your work tools and mini-rewards, which don’t require extra effort to bring in.

People also often ask me for high tech tools to help them with productivity. My high tech tools for my work productivity are pen and paper list, mobile phone clock and whatever work tool I need to perform the task. Other people like the pomodoro technique with shorter bursts of work time counted by a kitchen timer or other timer for that matter. Scratching things off a to do list can be very satisfactory, I like mini-rewards like coffee breaks or reading a book chapter or playing a game until the lives are up (only short casual game lives). In our company we have Trello boards for projects and completion of tasks results in slaying monsters with For larger organisations, it can be live tracking on tools like MyObjectives which give an immediate overview where all teams and individuals are in their goal progress and where support may be required.

How do you gamify your productivity?

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