I’ve tried everything… journaling, to do lists, meditation, etc. But nothing triggered my motivation as much as life gamification. If you are having trouble with getting motivated to do stuff, work, study, whatever, you probably also tried these things. Some of them work better than others due to our personality. But if you are like me and none worked well enough, you might want to try what I’m about to talk about.
In fact, I wanted to share a good Youtube video about it, but I can’t figure out its title. For those of you who are thinking “what does this have to do with The Mother Owl topics?”, remember, An Owl’s Journey is the blog where we share everything about the process of having this project. The gamification is helping me to work more on my things, including The Mother Owl. So here we go.
What do you need to gamify your life?
Well, I’m giving you my version of it, but you can definitively adjust or adapt it. Besides willpower, I use:
1x progression bar app or similar
1x calendar (can go digital if it helps)
1x agenda (can also go digital)
How to start
This might sound like a lot of stuff to do, but it really isn’t. You just need to set it up once and it will run smoothly.
If you like me, with thousands of ideas, you need to focus before planning this. Make a list or brainstorm about what is more important and a priority for you. Try to choose no more than four or five goals/habits. For example, I chose my PHD, The Mother Owl and exercise. More about when to add new projects later.
Now you need to set goals and deadlines for whatever things you chose. You will register that somewhere where you can easily have access during the day. I use an app called Progress (not sponsored) once it creates bars that look more like a game progress bar. But you can find alternatives online or even use a spreadsheet. After it you want to create subtasks within those projects as different phases of your main goal. As many as it makes sense. The more you have the more you will feel like you’re progressing.
I even set sub-goals to those big projects. Thus, each subtask is also divided into smaller ones.
Using a phone’s alarm, or even an app like Progress to monitor your deadlines is doable, but I prefer using a physical calendar because it’s always facing me when I work.
How to create the scoring system
Before you start playing you also need create a progression bar called “Level” and set it to 0. This will track your level and also be used to unlock “lazy days”, new projects and rewards.
In my system I unlock a lazy day (a.k.a. a day off) each 10 levels and I can insert a new project in my routine every 15. These are optional of course. For the reward (buying a game, whatever) I set a custom number of levels depending on how important that reward is to me. You need to feel like you deserve it, otherwise it won’t motivate you or you’ll probably are setting the level too low/high for that reward.
Now decide which project is high, medium or low priority/importance. Then attribute a score to each stuff you do daily, each subtask and sub-goal.
Example: my PHD is high priority project for me, so, I give myself 20 points for each study session. Posting here on the site is a medium so it gives me 10 points. Working out is a low so it gives me 5. These are my daily stuff. Not missing a week day of study is a high sub-goal which gives me 50 bonus points. If I end a thesis chapter then it is a high subtask completed, which gives me 100 points (a whole level!). You get the idea. Be fair with how many points you’re awarded by completing a high, medium or low task.
Penalizations and home rules
You also need to penalize yourself if you don’t complete a mandatory task. In my case, I made study sessions and work out sessions mandatory. If I miss one day I add +1 to the level in which I’d get a reward. In other words, if I established 12 to be the level where I would get my new headphones, now I can only get it at the level 13.
You can set how many “home rules” it makes sense to you. For instance, I have Sundays off and made my Saturdays more flexible, where I can trade a study session for other productive task (making music, working on other project, etc) . I also earn rewards based on my projects and how I’m progressing on them (work out shoes if I reach a certain weight, etc). This way, the rewards help my performance in what matters the most.
How to play
Playing is simple. You do what you planned for the day and get points for it. Getting points makes the progression bar of the sub-goal, subtask and project go up. Completing bars helps you leveling up. Leveling up gives you rewards and a sense of progress.
I use an agenda to plan my daily stuff every night. It became a habit from those “to do lists” tactics, and it works for me. The “observation” section of each page helps me registering the points I made that day, That way, if I’m not sure if recorded my points correctly I can go back to check it. But as I said before, both the calendar and agenda are optional.
What it matters is this concept which makes you feel like your life is a RPG. Reach us if you need further help in creating your score systems or rules: