If you want to make work more enjoyable, look at the tricks used in the video game industry. Why are people able to spend countless hours “grinding” away in virtual environments that provide no real reward? Because they provide exactly what we crave as individuals.
“If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish” – David Foster Wallace
Let's break down video games and identify why they are so great at motivating us:
Video games have a clear objective and a path to victory. These are laid out as objectives to the player. Typically, with each death, comes an opportunity to restart or continue from a nearby save point. The player is able to continue to fail, learn, and improve until the game is won.
We, as individuals, want to take the path of least resistance. However, the only thing we like more than ease is a good challenge. We enjoy thinking and problem-solving, especially in the context of a game.
Having a clear goal that is measurable can help us to gauge ourselves and our increase in skills. With each accomplished goal, there is a new skill or ability unlocked, which helps us to see progress and a pathway to further successes. Have goals that you can achieve within the workday to keep yourself seeing progress each day: Accomplish Something Each Day
Each level and mission tends to show the player immediate feedback. Using this information, we can see where we made mistakes and how we can improve. Rankings and scores allow us to compare with friends and compete.
Games today are often multiplayer and include either chat or the ability to play on the same map or world. Playing games allows us to visit places or experience events we would otherwise be unable to in the real world. Games, allow us to expand our social circles with people who may otherwise be strangers or maintain connections with people far from us.
If you find work monotonous, but enjoy video games, see if you can incorporate similar elements into your daily routine. Can you break up the day’s tasks into multiple missions or goals? Evaluate yourself after each period for success or failure and provide yourself with rewards however small they may be. Work towards a larger goal and keep your eyes focused on the prize.
Incorporating game, like elements, can help make the boring tasks seem less difficult or draining; allowing you to accomplish more!