Have you ever needed to finish an important task (homework, job search, etc.) and you could not get yourself to do it? Everyone procrastinates. I admit, I’m guilty of doing it EVERYDAY. We tell ourselves a lot of things.
I”ll do it later. I can’t focus right now.
I don’t feel like doing it today. I’m sure I will be more motivated to do it tomorrow.
I know I can do it next
What usually ends up happening? You procrastinate even more. Days turns into months then into your new year’s resolution. I challenge you to design a
system game around what you need to get accomplished today. What am I talking about? I mean design and build a reward schedule to motivate yourself. Often times we know what we need to get done, but we decide to put it off because we are not motivated at that present moment. Rewards help us stay motivated to get tasks done today. How do you go about doing it? If you’re interested in learning more about gamification I recommend reading For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business.
Build a reward schedule. In other words, what rewards will motivate you to get the task done? It can be anything from spending X amount of dollars on shopping to playing video games for an hour or two.
- Fixed Interval (red lines) – Y amount of time has passed. You get a reward.
- Fixed Ratio (blue dots)- You have done X amount of problems, applications, etc.. This variable is independent from Y (fixed interval). In other words, if you complete X before Y has elapsed then you get a reward.
- Variable – Flip a coin at every hour spent doing YOUR ACTIVITY. If both flips are heads/tails. You get a reward. There’s no reward if one lands on heads and the other flip lands on tails. There’s a surprise element to this and our brains love surprises1!
- Streak Bonus – You have
studiedYOUR ACTIVITY everyday for a week straight. Reward yourself!
Does Pavlov ring a bell?
Record what you have done. I recommend keeping track of your time spent on YOUR ACTIVITY and entering it in an Excel spreadsheet (or on paper it’s your choice!). This allows you to see if the game you designed has succeeded or failed.
- Remove and replace things that don’t work for you.
- Add new things that you think will make your game better and iterate from the beginning until you find a system that works for you.
Let me know what games you have implemented to make your life more productive. Please leave comments below!
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_evaluation_theory [↩]