How to Gamify Your Life: An Experiment – Part 1


Just like social media and tablet devices, gamification is very hyped in the media these days. With the advent of Foursquare, Fitocracy, and Farmville, gamification has become a big deal for any company looking to increase loyalty amongst its customers; if customers have fun interacting with your company, engagement (and sales) are bound to go up.

If companies can use gamification to make customers more engaged with their company and products, might gamification be a practical solution for individuals looking to feel more motivated and be more engaged with life? That’s the question I seek to answer in this series. What follows is a log I kept as I set up and conducted this lifestyle experiment.

I have no quantifiable metrics for success or failure. I will simply keep my eye on this one question: “Am I enjoying life more as a result of gamification?” I understand that this is very subjective, but outside of the world of online analytics, companies often measure customer engagement in the same way through surveys and focus groups.

I begin the log at Week 0 as I set up the different aspects of the experiment.

Note: Parts 1, 2 and 3 are dedicated to the experiment itself. Part 4 contains all of my recommendations and guidelines for gamifying your own life. If you want to jump straight to the recommendations and guidelines, click here.

Week 0: The Set-up

After spending most of this past week test driving the initial elements of this experiment, I think I’m ready to go. A great deal of my experiment is based on the research of Jane McGonigal and Jesse Schell. As such, the following four elements of gamification have been implemented extensively into this experiment because they are the fundamentals underlying most, if not all, successful games.  The four elements are detailed below, along with how I’m implementing each one.

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Using Expectations to Find Happiness: The Eight-Year Rule

One of my best friends has been going through some tough times lately. He’s explored many career paths and none seemed to deliver the sense of fulfillment he’s been looking for in a career. After speaking with him about his situation, I wondered: What if my friend was suffering from the passion trap? In other words, was the idea of having a one, true passion interfering with his ability to stick to a career path long term? To remedy this, I proposed an idea, which I will refer to as the Eight-Year Rule.
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