Here’s something that we can all agree on: people love to win.
Think about the rush of scoring a winning goal, or placing a tetris to clear your entire board. How about getting the right answer in a trivia game, or kicking your family's butt at monopoly?
Playing games and winning makes us feel good - so if you could chase that feeling while decluttering your life, wouldn't you?
Let us introduce you to the life changing concept of gamification: coined by Nick Pelling in 2002, the term gamification refers to “applying the typical elements of game playing to other activities” (https://languages.oup.com/google-dictionary-en/ )
This could be as simple as trying to shoot your paper trash into the can like a basketball, or as complex as Mary Poppins using magic and a musical number to help the Banks kids clean up their nursery. She makes it a game!
And it’s not just a fancy definition! Gamification actually affects your brain.
When you reach a new level of a game or beat your highest score , your brain becomes excited and releases dopamine in the mesolimbic pathway, also known as the reward pathway. In turn, this creates higher motivation and makes you chase after a reward. See the brain diagram below and learn more here:
Now, since we can’t promise magical moving objects, how exactly do you gamify your life?. Let’s break it down with some more concrete examples.
Checking It Twice
Tom Chatfeild, an expert on gamification, breaks down the process into some simple ways to gamify your tasks, starting with writing a list. He says that checking things off of a list one at a time gives you that same dopamine rush as completing a side quest in a video game.
And if you want to take it further, you can reward yourself once everything on the list has been completed.
This could be treating yourself to an episode of a show, enjoying a refreshing beverage or indulging in a sweet treat. If you start small and stay consistent, your brain will start to look forward to finishing that list - and you’ll be getting sh*t done in the process!
Watch Tom’s TED talk here.
With A Little Help From My Friends
Another way to motivate yourself is accountability: in the age of social media, accountability is just a screen tap away!
Start a group chat with like-minded friends where you can text each other about your organizational conquests, and send motivational quotes back and forth. Create a Facebook group where you and your close family members can post photos of your clutter-free spaces. Open a zoom room where friends can join and organize while on a video call with each other!
If you want to get competitive, try developing a point system or an hours tracker to determine who “wins” and let that person pick the next group outing. In the end though, anyone who gets started on a decluttering journey is a winner.
Check out more ideas for how to gamify your life at this link.
If you're thinking “that’s great, but how do I get my kids to help without Mary Poppins and a musical number?” we’ve got you covered.
Gamification can work for people of all ages!
There are the basics like a chore chart, motivation with an allowance, or promising a fun weekend activity if X gets done. Employ timed activities so that your kids can race against the clock and each other, and reward them with tablet time or a treat if they finish before the timer goes! Once they get started, they may get carried away and finish the tasks just to chase that winning feeling.
Need Outside Motivation?
Many of these gamification examples rely on self-motivation and accountability which, let's face it, doesn't always come easy! If you want to use your device to put a little fire in your belly, you can find a number of great apps here.
If you’re looking for something more tactile however, look no further.
Lynne Poulton, Certified Professional Organizer and owner of Wholly Organized!®, has been working with clients who feel overwhelmed by their clutter for 10 years.
“Many of my clients don’t know where to start with organizing: they want a calmer home, and to have more time for fun. They want to be productive and they often can’t get started. My solution – make things a game and have fun, literally!”
So she used the concept of gamification to create a tool that would take decluttering from a chore, to a rolling good time.
Enter: Declutter Go!® Declutter Go® is a fun motivational tool that gamifies home organization, using mini-challenges and rewards. The game features six brightly colored dice with different categories. You roll the dice, follow the prompts, and turn decluttering into a game that's impossible to lose. Whatever way you roll, you and your space win.
The next time you’re looking around at your mountain of “stuff” and can’t decide where to start, try rolling the dice!
Click here to watch the full explanation on how to play Declutter Go!®
You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish in so little time!And if you feel like breaking into a musical number to celebrate, be our guest. After all, gamifying your life is almost like magic.