O'Reilly logo

Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, Third Edition by Gina Trapani, Adam Pash

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Hack 32: Turn Tasks into Game Play

Level Easy

Platform All

Cost Free

Marketers get you to do things using game play all the time: frequent-flier miles, those stamped cards at ice cream places that earn you a free cone after you buy eight, and under-the-soda-cap promotions that get you a free song download are all examples. You can use the same technique to psych yourself into getting work done.

Ever wish you could knock down the items on your to-do list with the same gusto you fit blocks together in Tetris or collect gold coins in Super Mario Bros.? Granted, cleaning out the refrigerator will never be as fun as taking out a sea of grunts in Halo, but if you reframe even the most dreaded task into a game with levels, points, rewards, and a bit of friendly competition, you’ll be done before you know it.

Make It to the Next Level

Break your task down into chunks, and track your progress to completion with a level-o-meter. Think of a fundraiser “thermometer” whose red marker rises as more money is raised. In the same manner, you can draw a personal progress bar to track your own road to completion. This technique works especially well for group projects.

Say that you have a 10-page paper due for class. Before you start writing, find a nearby whiteboard or poster board and draw out a progress bar split into 10 sections. Each time you write one page, color in one section of the bar. It’s completely mental, but getting to the next level can be a huge motivator.

Collaborate, Compete, and ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required