I’m currently doing my second master’s degree, this time in Counselling Psychology. The aim of this degree is to become a proper therapist in my area. It’s been a long road, with lots of bumps, scratches, and bruises, but I’m still here, while others have run for the hills.
Where I live, the path towards becoming a therapist is incredibly narrow and riddled with all sorts of barriers (and occasional elevators) that would make most peoples’ heads spin. In any event, I’m doing the practicum portion of my degree, which means that I am working closely with many people across the lifespan.
As I get closer and closer to my goal of becoming a proper therapist, I find myself in situations where I try to encourage others to develop increasingly appropriate coping strategies, such as time management, self-care, and many more. Recently, I’ve been thinking more and more about the concept of gamification.
Gamification is a great way to emulate the highs of a good old gaming experience within our daily lives. When you play a video game, you might feel inclined to play across many days and pursue many tasks until you complete that boss battle or final quest. There are sounds, graphics, and periodic reminders that help encourage you to continue playing, even when your interest fades in and out.
The same logic can be applied to our daily tasks. For example, rewarding yourself for doing chores can be a great way to reinforce the self-discipline of having to clean up the house. No one likes chores, but someone’s got to do it. Perhaps you’ve set up the goal of cleaning more of your house than you did the previous week, challenging yourself enough to “level up”.
In essence, gamification involves encouraging yourself to set goals, tracking your progress for improvements, and hitting new milestones along the way. For each milestone achieved, there’s a reward, whether it is a points system across a scoreboard or some other mechanic like monetary or emotional prizes.
Gamification’s Practical Utility
In the cyberpsychology world, gamification has become a common buzzword for helping others reach their goals, whether it is your boss trying to boost employee morale by assigning points to the best customer service rep or just simply a humble student trying to motivate themselves to study a language more efficiently.
Either way, gamification has been marketed in certain industries as a way to potentially improve one’s productivity. For example, there are plenty of apps and remote services out there that take advantage of some element of gamification, whether it is your fitness app, your digital finance savings planner, or even a language learning program.
Gamification doesn’t have to be digital either. For example, you and your partner can engage in some real-life friendly competitions like cooking the meanest dishes for the week, saving more clusters of money, and so much more.
That swear-jar you might have is likely an offline gamification tool too, alongside those sticker charts that you might give your kids to encourage them to do more chores than usual. In any event, the gamification of one’s tasks, whether offline or online, can do wonders for many people, especially for the unmotivated.
The next time you find yourself stuck in a pickle, perhaps gamification will provide some helpful pointers.
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