Gamification may sound more like something you do for fun, not work. At best, it may seem like what you’d call playing video games for a living. However, you can gamify your workday to help you work smarter, not harder. And yes, it can help make your job and even regular chores seem a little more fun.
What is gamification?
Gamification is simply the process of turning non-game activities into a game. For instance, teachers may turn learning into trivia games for kids to win prizes. Or, an employer may encourage increased productivity by providing weekly rewards or recognition.
The purpose is to motivate people to do more by turning regular tasks into games. The theory come as a result of watching how people feel and behave while playing various types of games, including video games. The desire to win or at least do well serves as motivation to make them work hard. The best part is they tend to work smarter to reach the end goal versus just working harder and longer.
While many studies exist, one common issue exists: there isn’t a single concrete gamification method. What works for one person may not work for another. The key is finding the right game design elements to increase an individual’s productivity. However, gamification does work when done correctly.
Why it works
Turning common activities, such as work and education, into games isn’t exactly new, but the term “gamification” didn’t exist until around 2010. Naturally, this has led to scientific studies on whether gamification is truly effective and why it works. Regarding education, experts state that the results are inconclusive, yet so far, studies are promising that a motivation-based strategy does help improve how a person learns.
So you can gamify the way you learn, but what does this mean for your workday? Many companies have already implemented gamification strategies, and the results are mind-blowing. Employees are more eager to participate, perform better in training sessions, and they are overall more productive and happy.
Why does gamification work? There are two main reasons: people want to enjoy what they’re doing and want to feel recognized for what they do. Genesis Associates performed a study that showcases this perfectly. Eighty-five percent of employees felt more motivated as a result of incentives. Seventy-three percent stated the work environment was either good or very good when incentives were involved. The business studied increased profits by $104,000 per week as a result.
The lesson: employees love incentives. How can you give incentives? Turn it into a game. And yes, you can do this yourself even if your employer doesn’t offer it. Of course, you can also do it if you’re a freelancer or work from home.
Positive rewards trigger the release of dopamine. Getting rewarded makes you feel happier as the dopamine is released. You’re then motivated to get rewarded again. This leads to more productivity and a happier mood while working toward the reward.
How to gamify your day
Gamification works, but what if you don’t have an employer to implement it for you? Thanks to various apps and websites, you can participate in various gamification platforms. Some allow you to compete with others, while some let you simply compete with yourself. Once again, gamification works differently for everyone, so use methods that work best for you.
Some great apps and sites to use to gamify your workday include:
- RedCritter – Show off your accomplishments by creating a profile. Earn points to buy rewards, link to RedCritter-compatible apps to gain accomplishments, and much more. It works great as a resume and a game.
- Habitica – This one works great for work and personal projects. Use the free app to gamify your workday and life. Get rewarded, play with others, and track your goals and to-dos.
- Epic Win – This iOS app rewards you by letting you “battle” against your tasks. Win to earn rewards and level up, just like a video game.
- Forest – This incredibly simple app for Android and iOS motivates you to stay focused by growing virtual and real trees. For anyone who’s constantly checking their phone versus working, this app is for you. If you do anything on your phone during the growth period, the tree dies (the virtual one, not a real one). Stay focused on your tasks and leave your phone alone to successfully grow your own forest. Plus, real trees are planted on your behalf.
- Fortune City – Hate the accounting part of your job or just managing finances in general? Gamify it. Build and manage a city just by managing the financial aspects of your job or personal life. You can use it to reward yourself as you earn money from clients or save up versus splurging.
- SuperBetter – Play on the app or website for free. Gain achievements by completing custom tasks. While it’s built for college students, it can work for most anyone.
Of course, you can set up your own game system. Create a rewards list with each reward costing a certain amount of points. Set your daily to-do list and assign each task a point value. You’ll earn rewards based on the tasks you complete. Save up all week or get immediate smaller rewards.
Have fun as you gamify your workday and watch how much more you accomplish!