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If you ask leading entrepreneurs like Richard Branson what their favorite productivity hack is, lots of them will say: “To have fun! To enjoy your work!” Being able to enjoy your work can lead to a tremendous increase in productivity. Think about all the times when you had fun at work. How time moved fast, how easy you were able to get into a state of flow. You probably produced stellar work and had an incredible time doing it.
Now, obviously, there are things at work that we don’t like to do; everyone has things they would rather delegate or skip. But sometimes, it is absolutely necessary. Also, you want to make sure things are done correctly. So, how can you sweeten your experience with some of these tasks? What if I told you that you could treat them like video games and find ways to “gamify” them? Well, here are five ways to gamify your work!
1. The art of enjoying emails
Emails. Lots of them. Every day. I hear you. I really do. So many people complain about the excessive number of emails they get. Flooded inboxes are filled with spam, or even if it is not spam, there are tons of emails that could have easily been an instant message, phone call or just waiting patiently for a meeting. That is why I developed several methods that make me enjoy email. One of them is working with Spike. Their email communication platform makes your email experience feel like instant messaging, which helps me interact easily and quickly with contacts.
The platform also automatically divides your inbox into a “priority” inbox and an “other” inbox that usually has spam. That saves me time in filtering out my inbox. The second thing that helps me enjoy my email experience is the “snooze” button. Almost every email platform has a “snooze” feature. Every time I have an email that can be taken care of at a later time, I snooze it. I also make sure to snooze “sent” emails in order to follow up in case someone does not answer. This helps me be very effective with my emails and makes me feel like emails are some sort of a video game filled with strategy and pace.
2. Break big tasks up into small tasks
Whenever I have a big task that needs to be done, I break it up into a series of small tasks. I then make a checklist that contains all these tasks, and I make sure that the title of the checklist is the name of the big task. I personally utilize Trello for this and for my team’s task management. What this does is make every task seem like a level on the path to the prize, exactly like how a video game is built. Each level leads you to the next. This helps enhance my motivation towards it, as well as makes me understand the importance of every step towards getting the big task done. If you want to take it a step further, you can decide in advance what type of reward you will give yourself when you advance to the next task (next level) and what reward you will give yourself when you complete the big task. Be creative with the rewards; the key is to be able to provide an incentive to yourself, so make sure the reward is something you truly enjoy.
3. Find gems in meetings
Having lots of Zoom meetings can lead to a sense of fatigue. Trying to pay attention to every word being said can be challenging, and a big chunk of meetings could have easily been a simple instant message or email. Some company leaders enjoy the formality of meetings. It makes them feel like things are in control. There are several ways in which you can elevate your Zoom meetings, find a way to enjoy them and even get excited about them. One of the things you can do is build a meeting agenda in advance and make sure to quickly go over all the things that need to be done and provide action items for all. After you get these essentials out of the way, you can ask the other people in the meeting some extra questions.
These extra questions can lead you to discover lots of new things. It can be movies, books, tips, hacks, valuable information and so on. The key is to be open to adding new layers to your meetings. I would suggest having about five talking points that are essential for the meeting and then adding two extra talking points that might lead you to discovery and further insights. Obviously, it all depends on who is in front of you in the meeting, but almost everyone can contribute from insights and intake on your industry or in personal life matters. This will make you see meetings as a valuable part of your increased knowledge, expertise and experience instead of just another cookie-cutter meeting.
4. Mind maps
My friend, Ori Manor Zuckerman, CEO of Substrata, is obsessed with mind maps. He is a visual thinker, and so am I. Being able to showcase a business strategy or a marketing plan via mind maps is very powerful. It makes you focus on the essentials and on how things can work together to provide a great result. You can take almost any strategy and visualize it as a mind map and see, from a chess-like perspective, how things are structured and where you can strategically utilize your efforts. It is powerful and also very enjoyable. This can also be very helpful for your team members, as it will allow them to see the full picture of what you are trying to do with your company and how important their role is in the plan.
5. Time tracking
One way to increase productivity and enhance your performance is to work based on a time tracker. For instance, you can set a timer for 30 minutes and try to see how many things you are able to do in that time frame. Think about it like an athlete. You have 30 minutes to score as many points as you can. After that, you rest, recharge and are ready to do it again. It is similar in a sense to how 100-meter Olympic runners perform. They focus on delivering a strong sprint, and then they rest, recover and prepare for the next sprint. This is why the Pomodoro technique is so useful and has been widely adopted — because there is a time tracking component to it. Your mind knows exactly how long it needs to be focused and knows exactly when it is time to relax. This is very powerful and can take your productivity and focus to the next level.
Hopefully, these tips can help you “gamify your work” and, as a result, make work more enjoyable. The key is to make your work feel like play. There are many ways to do that, and each individual should find his own tactics that work for him or her. The idea is to experiment and try out for yourself what works for you. Think about the things that you truly enjoy, and find ways to connect them directly with your work.