Gamification can help us fulfill our need for better hard work by helping us choose for ourselves the right work at the right time, and also by carving out special duties for ourselves. Starting with a clear goal and actionable steps towards achieving that goal can result in satisfying work. Thus, this can give us a sense of blissful productivity: the sense of being deeply immersed in work that produces immediate and obvious results13.
According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, we crave this kind of productivity because it gives us an energizing push and a sense of purpose14. Gamification provides us with visual feedback of our productivity, and this is also satisfying, since it gives us a positive sense of our own capabilities, and when we see what we have accomplished, we build our sense of self-worth15.
By undertaking a difficult challenge, such as trying to finish a task in a shorter time than usual, we can produce in our bodies a rush of adrenaline, making us feel confident, energetic, and highly motivated16. Our brains also release a potent cocktail of norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine, which in combination makes us feel satisfied, proud, and highly aroused17.
This “chore management system” developed by Kevan Davis in 2007 is an alternate reality game you play in your real life: all online quests correspond with real-world cleaning tasks, and it’s designed to play it with friends, roommates, family or other people you know in order to enjoy it more. The “adventures”, which are the chores, are created by the users in the database, and everyone is encouraged to refers to these in a very creative manner. For example, the quest of doing the laundry could be named as “Conjuring clean clothes”18. Once the users log into the game to report their success, every chore or quest completed grants them a customized amount of experience points, virtual gold, treasure, avatar power-ups, or points that increase your virtual skills and abilities.
Chore Wars represents an example in which gamification is used in order to get things done in a fun manner, while also getting real rewards. It has transformed something we both normally hate doing into something that feels creative and fun, and therefore it has the potential to create a sense of blissful productivity. It turns these unpleasant tasks into meaningful choices, and it also requires voluntary participation, in which everyone picks their quest or adventure. It also connects the housework activities, which are individual in their majority, into a larger social experience by playing and competing against others, and being part of a collective adventure.
Try it yourself at http://www.chorewars.com
Formerly known as Habit RPG, Habitica is a platform that combines entertainment with the purpose of changing behavior and more positive and productive habits. Habitica aims to induce behavioral changes through the integration of habits, daily tasks and to-dos in a role-play game19. Similar to SuperBetter, users can create and avatar that gains experience, health and an in-game currency in the form of “gold” after the completion of their own activities and the achievement of their objectives. Players can also set their rewards in a custom manner, or let the platform set it for them in a standard mode. These rewards can either be used towards the development of the avatar (e.g better armour) or towards real life (e.g. players rewarding themselves by doing something pleasurable).
Regarding the social components, the users can form groups and fight enemies together by fulfilling their objectives on time. Habitica also has “guilds”: game communities formed with the goal of finding other users with similar goals or interests. Once part of a group, an undone daily task damages the whole group’s points, therefore social accountability comes into play in order to motivate users to work towards their goals.
Check it out at www.habitica.com