I have great goal tracking software. It’s expensive stuff and has done wonders for helping me manage my goals. But you know what? For motivational purposes, it doesn’t even hold a candle to a simple, $10 wall calendar.
Want to know why?
When you use a wall calendar to track your daily goals, it stares at you every day, announcing your progress loud and clear. When a goal isn’t being achieved, when a giant X or circle denoting success isn’t placed on the calendar, you have to see that every day. When you leave for work/school, and when you come home again. It’s there.
I can close software with the click of a button. I can even just shut down my laptop if I want to avoid my terrible lack of progress. But a giant calendar on the wall isn’t so easy to avoid. It requires a symbolic admission of failure if you were to take it down or hide it from sight. As long as it remains up, the calendar continues to show you, objectively, how well you’re doing. When you’re succeeding, seeing those results every day is immensely gratifying. When you’re procrastinating, the calendar shows you a stark lack of progress that gnaws at that part of you that holds yourself to your highest standards.
So next time you track goals, think about how can you can keep those goals in plain sight so that you see them multiple times a day, every day.
Jerry Seinfeld followed this very same rule to reach success.
So did this inspirational athlete.
It works. And for $10, what are you waiting for?
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
-Leonardo da Vinci
At the start of this gamification experiment, I had a detailed system of time-tracking, progress standardization, a full list of “activated abilities”, and more. The system was fun at first, but quickly became difficult to track and manage. In it’s current form, my gamification set-up is much simpler, and I think I will leave it this way. In Part 4, I will conclude this experiment with my final recommendations on how to go about gamifying your own life. I’ll also answer the questions I asked in Part 1 regarding happiness, motivation and procrastination.
If you’re at all interested in gamifying certain parts of your life, what follows in the next few paragraphs is a comprehensive overview of the system I’ve found to work best.
As the foundation to my gamification set-up (and what I’d recommend as the foundation of yours), all short-term goals are converted into “quests.” Each quest requires at least four components:
This post is Part 3 of an ongoing experiment in which I gamify my life. To catch up to speed, here’s Part 1 and Part 2. The log continues with my second and third week of the experiment.
Wow, this week flew by! I stayed diligent with tracking my progress in my various skills, but recently I’ve been experiencing tracking fatigue.
If you recall, I’ve been using a motivational time-tracking app called “Level Me Up!” (based on the 10,000 hours to mastery rule). Although the app’s “leveling up” feature is cool in its own right, in order to motivate myself to level up, I’ve created a system of short-term incentives (usually by allowing myself to buy items I’ve had my eye on: a coffee maker, subscription to Audible.com, etc.) to add an additional source of motivation. This system worked well for two weeks. Unfortunately, three challenges with this system are beginning to rear their heads:
a) Remembering to turn on the Level Me Up!’s skill timer while I’m working on a skill (and remembering to turn it off right when I’m done) have proven to be quite a nuisance because I keep forgetting. Especially at work where I’m constantly breaking for meetings, food, coffee, etc., it’s a pain to keep track of whether the timer is running or not.
This post is Part 2 of an ongoing experiment in which I seek to gamify my life and study the implications such gamification has on motivation and happiness. To catch up to speed, here’s Part 1.
Week 1 – Days One & Two
So far, I feel pretty much the same. I still wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, and repeat. But there are a few subtle changes that I’m already noticing.