Gamification

Sticking with the theme of last month, I’m going to share a few other resources for fellow fans of gamification. However, I would first like to warn against thoughtless gaming. While gamifying aspects of your life that aren’t fun or otherwise don’t give you that dopamine rush you crave can give you the nudge you need to get shit done; it can also lead to wasted time, effort, and money spent engaging in activities you wouldn’t otherwise find rewarding—if you weren’t getting your dopamine fix from points, badges, and rankings. Ask yourself, what behavior is being rewarded?

Take, for example, credit cards that award you points based on how much you spend. Sure, those can translate to money, airline miles, or products at the end of the month, but you’re probably spending quite a bit more money than you would otherwise in order to get those points—and I imagine that spending more is not one of your personal goals. You’re paying for those rewards in the long run, and then some. Don’t let yourself be exploited. Unless you’re into that, I guess…different strokes for different folks!

I would advocate instead for intentional gamification based on self-chosen goals. If your goal is to get out and explore your city, Pokémon Go might be a great, gameful tool to help you do just that—and have a bit of fun in the process. If, however, your goal is to repaint your entire house before summer’s over, learn Mandarin, write a Twilight parody, or save your failing marriage, downloading such a game might just be the final nail in the coffin, alongside your procrastination and lack of self-motivation.

But do not despair! Below you will find gameful resources for three common goal areas—productivity, personal finance, and health & fitness.

Productivity: Habitica

Much like SuperBetter, which is great for achieving bigger goals, Habitica turns general productivity into an RPG—and takes it to a whole new level! In addition to gaining experience points, battling bosses, and completing challenges, with Habitica you can compete with friends and earn gold that can be spent on in-game items (like weapons and gear) or customizable out-of-game rewards.

Personal Finance: Qapital

Do you find it hard to put money into your savings account, or just want to make saving money a bigger part of your routine? Qapital allows you to set a savings goal and “rules” for when money is transferred into your savings, like rounding up purchases to the next dollar (and transferring the difference), fining yourself for purchases made for things you’re trying to cut back on (this would work well in conjunction with Habitica), and saving unspent money when you’re under budget. You’ll enjoy seeing your progress toward your goal, but you won’t need to expend much energy to get there.

Health & Fitness: Nerd Fitness

Nerd Fitness is an excellent website full of gameful ideas on health and fitness, and the archive of posts alone makes this site well worth a visit if you are nerdy and looking to get fit. (Nerdiness is not a prerequisite, but you will at least need to be able to tolerate all the nerdy references—there are a lot of ‘em!) They also offer Nerd Fitness Academy, which looks especially gameful, complete with XP, quests, and boss battles; but at $150, I don’t know that I’ll join anytime soon. If you do, let me know what you think of it!

I hope you found these resources helpful, even just as a jumping off point in your own quest to gamify your life. If there’s something you want to make more gameful, there’s probably an app for that! And if you know of any that you’d like to add to the list, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me; I’m off to find a way to gamify my job! AFK.

-Angela

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