Monthly Archives: May 2017

Testing the 5 Minute Perseverance Game for the Four Main Components of a Game

Results for days 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28  of the round May 2017 of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game (5MPG): 10, 11, 11, 8, 5, 3, 3 points out of 11 possible for each day.

Results Total for week 4: 51 points out of 77 possible (more than 2/3).

Writing a blog post is different from writing short comments on how my game in any given round is progressing. With this new project you are reading now, I challenged myself to think and research on gamification more and more. When I published my little book on the

When I published my little book on the 5 Minute Perseverance Game, I haven’t even known of such a term as gamification. And now my Kindle is full of book samples on gamification and game design.

Right now, I am reading a book “Reality is Broken” by Jane McGonical, a well-known game designer, who is widely known beyond the gaming community for spreading the joy and value of games in all areas of our lives. Many of her videos on YouTube including her TED talks had many hundreds of thousands of views.

In the “Reality is Broken,” she defines a game as the following,

“What defines a game are the goal, the rules, the feedback system, and voluntary participation. Everything else is an effort to reinforce and enhance these four core components.” Jane McGonical in “Reality is Broken.”

When I read this, I thought, “Is the 5 Minute Perseverance Game really a game?”

Here is what I discovered when I read further about each of a game’s main components: (1) a goal, (2) rules, (3) a feedback system, and (4) voluntary participation.

(1) A goal

“The goal is the specific outcome that players will work to achieve. … The goal provides players with a sense of purpose.” Jane McGonical in “Reality is Broken.”

After a text search for the word “goal” in my book about the 5 Minute Perseverance Game, I found the following,

“The goal is to persevere for 5 minutes a day, for as many days within the given round — which can run for a month for example — as possible.” “5 Minute Perseverance Game”

And this sentence,

“Your goal is to gather as many points as possible along two different scales during each round.” “5 Minute Perseverance Game”

So, yes, there is a goal.

What about the rules?

(2) Rules

“The rules place limitations on how players can achieve the goal. By removing or limiting the obvious ways of getting to the goal, the rules push players to explore previous uncharted possibility spaces. They unleash creativity and foster strategic thinking.” Jane McGonical in “Reality is Broken.”

The rules in the 5 Minute Perseverance Game are straightforward and can be seen already in the title and the subtitle of the book describing the game. You have to work 5 minutes on the project you take into the game every day over the time of one month. If you manage to work these 5 minutes on your project, you get one point. If you work a bit, but less than 5 minutes, then you get half a point. If you work more than 5 minutes, you still get only one point. The points and half-points you haven’t earned go to your procrastinating self. So yes, there are precise rules for this game as well as also the guidelines for possible variants.

(3) A feedback system

“The feedback system tells players how close they are to achieving the goal. It can take the forms of points, levels, a score, or a progress bar.” Jane McGonical in “Reality is Broken.”

The 5 Minute Perseverance Game has two feedback systems. One in the form of points (described above) and one in the shape of progress in the project or projects you take into the game. If you chose a writing project, then the second scale would be word counts, if you project is to learn how to play a music instrument would be then the number of songs or pieces of music you have come to play. And so on.

(4) Voluntary participation

“Finally, voluntary participation requires that everyone who is playing the game knowingly and willingly accepts the goal, the rules, and the feedback. Knowing-ness establishes common ground for multiple people to play together. And the freedom to enter or leave the game at will ensure that intentionally stressful and challenging work is experienced as safe and pleasurable activity.” Jane McGonical in “Reality is Broken.”

To illustrate the voluntary participation of the “5 Minute Perseverance Game”, I would like to quote a 5-star review given to the book by Michael Hanko, a reader of the book, and a player of this game:

“Great tool for overcoming procrastination!

I’ve been using this game in writing a submission for a book. I combined the Game with the principles of Menna Van Praag’s Sentence Game as the author suggested, which was a wonderful combination.

I was amused to discover that even with these amazing tools, I am able to resist working on something that I actually wanted to do! But I have to say that the Game helped me to overcome my trouble getting started and also to not take myself so seriously in the process. It made writing feel manageable and FUN. I will be returning to this game in the future for big and small projects that I just can’t seem to get started on.

Thank you, Victoria Ichizli-Bartels: Your little book has changed my life.”

While reading this review, I realized something. Not only this game requires voluntary participation as any game, but playing it facilitates voluntary participation in our lives’ projects. It also helps us experience the work on our projects as a “safe and pleasurable activity.”

What is your opinion? Will any gamified activity have all these four components — a goal, rules, a feedback system and voluntary participation — or can any of these be neglected? Does any of the activities need rules to be fun? Or the opposite? Is the need for evaluation so acutely urgent to us that a feedback system is unavoidable? And what about routine activities? Do they have goals too? And what if we try to gamify the (supposedly) unwanted activities? Are we voluntarily participating in doing (playing them) or did we just let someone make us do them?

On the picture above: This past weekend, my husband and I uncluttered our garage, and I found these notes I took in Russian in preparation for my physics of semiconductors studies back in the 1990s in Moldova. As I re-discovered them, I realized that I had much fun compiling them out of many excellent textbooks on semiconductor physics, some of which I inherited from my father. And I also realized that in a way I did play 5 Minute Perseverance Game already back then while preparing for my studies. I worked in chunks, used colors to not only make the text easily readable but also pleasant to read (and also because it was simply fun to do so), and I did it over a longer period. My reward during the preparation for the tests: homemade chocolate by my mother.

What is this blog series about? You can find this out in its first blog post called “5 Minute Perseverance Game – Moving my Favorite Game to my Writing Blog.”

Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels

Olympic Games Inside My Head, or Why the Point System is Perfect for the 5 Minute Perseverance Game

Results for days 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 of the round May 2017 of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game (5MPG): 11, 10, 11, 8, 9, 4, 6 points out of 11 possible for each day.

Results Total for week 2: 59 points out of 77 possible (more than 2/3 and more than in previous weeks of this month).

I mentioned in one of the previous posts on the 5 Minute Perseverance Game that the point system I have used in this game helped me to step over my procrastination when I thought a task was too hard to do.

Giving myself points helped me also to avoid hanging out for too long with other duties because those were so cozy to be with, while the other projects waited for their turn. Only one point per project per day turned out to be a brilliant way to maintain the balance in progressing between preferred and not-so-much-preferred projects.

When I share this approach with others, many tell me that I am tricking my mind. My usual answer is a cheerful yes.

Only in retrospect do I see that the statement about tricking my mind might be considered as an accusation of being dishonest with my brain, being dishonest with myself. That I don’t solve or overcome my procrastination but trick my mind into doing what I want to do.

Contemplating now on this possible argumentation, I would again have to agree with some of these statements.

No, I don’t overcome my procrastination and probably never will. And yes, by playing the 5 Minute Perseverance Game and giving myself daily a point for each step in each project of the game, I do the trick my mind into forgetting or bypassing the fretting thoughts and into fulfilling of what I want and have to do. Moreover, I trick it to do this step-by-step, with less drama around each task and with more fun.

Am I dishonest with myself when I do so? I don’t believe so. The positive results provide arguments for such a “cheating-the-brain-game.” But let us for a moment consider who is who in this game.

What is the difference between me and my brain? Is there any?

Award-winning self-help and personal growth authors Ariel and Shya Kane, have written the following in their acclaimed book “Practical Enlightenment”:

“If you want to be clear about what is a thought and what is ‘you,’ it’s simple. Any sentence that you say to yourself containing the word “I” is a thought:

  • I like / I don’t like
  • I don’t understand
  • I can’t
  • I want
  • I won’t
  • I am

Most people think that they are their thoughts. They believe that the voice they listen to, the voice that speaks to them about how they are doing, about how life is showing up, what they want or don’t want, is really them. They don’t think that they are listening to some disembodied commentary, one that is sometimes accurate and sometimes not.

You are not your voice. You have a voice. And when you can make the distinction between the one who listens and the voice, you get control over the mechanical nature of life.

That means that anything put in words about how I am doing or who I am are thoughts produced by my brain.

Then what about our heart’s desires? What are those visions we long for and which draw our attention, leave us sleepless at night, and eager to achieve those visions in the mornings? Who produces them?

A well-known American brain researcher, Jill Bolte Taylor, who experienced a stroke and shared her experience shortly before, during the stroke and the recovery in her acclaimed book “My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey,” wrote the following intriguing words in this respect,

“Many of us speak about how our head (left hemisphere) is telling us to do one thing while our heart (right hemisphere) is telling us to do the exact opposite. Some of us distinguish between what we think (left hemisphere) and what we feel (right hemisphere).”

And a before that in the same paragraph she wrote,

“It appears that many of us struggle regularly with polar opposite characters holding court inside our heads. In fact, just about everyone I speak with is keenly aware that they have conflicting parts of their personality.”

That means that everything produced inside me, either thoughts or feelings, either they appear in my head or my heart or anywhere else in my body, either creative and uplifting or depressive and dragging, all that is produced by my brain. By different parts of it, but still by the same physical entity of my human body.

So, the same poor “girl”, that is my brain, is doing all the struggling, and wages all the wars in my head.

We all learned at school the story about the ancient Olympic Games and the idea behind them. We’ve heard that all wars and conflicts were stopped for the opponents to step into peaceful competitions in frames of the Olympic games. They got points, scores, and laurels.

So, if the creativity fights a battle with the fear in my head, why not let them put their wars aside and instead organize games. Why not give each of them points as they progress as well as laurels and applauds at the end of each round for whoever won and praise also for the other who gave her best but lost?

Yes, why not? By this, I will show respect to both opponents in my head, the one driving and the one pushing on breaks. I will show them this regard by organizing Olympic games for them. And not only for a short time but continuously and I will vary types of the games to keep them going and having fun, and me along with them. And if a war will erupt between them for any reason again, then I am sure that it will not last long, because these wars are not fun at all, while playing games is.

What is your opinion? Do you thinking giving points ourselves and praising for each step on the way to carry out tasks is cheating or is it a way for boosting motivation and creativity? And if it is cheating, is it so bad to let our brains to be cheated by themselves, since their fearful parts are tricking us into trembling and upsets quite often anyway? Does finding our ways for each moment in our lives need to be serious and hard work or can it be playful? Or is this game designing exercise for oneself a pure waste of time?

On the picture above: Credits: Photograph © under the keyword “Olympic.”

What is this blog series about? You can find this out in its first blog post called “5 Minute Perseverance Game – Moving my Favorite Game to my Writing Blog.”

Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels

How much time does a project need daily to make real progress?

Results for days 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 of the round May 2017 of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game (5MPG): 10, 10, 7, 7, 3 points out of 11 possible for each day.

Results Total for week 2: 56 points out of 77 possible (more than 2/3).

In the book 5 Minute Perseverance Game, I offered several arguments why 5 minutes is an appropriate portion of time to make a small but visible step in any given project.

“The general recommendation is not to make the time for each move shorter than 5 minutes. You need some challenge, however short. And 5 minutes are long enough to manage something and short enough to put some pressure on you to actually do the work and do it quickly.” 5 Minute Perseverance Game

To give you an idea what can be done in this amount of time, here is an example. I have experienced many times that even very new and reluctant writers manage to write a couple of paragraphs in this amount of time.

In another chapter titled not entirely seriously “Warning on Addition,” I wrote the following,

“If you notice yourself getting too serious about the project you took into this game, it might then happen that you don’t work on it for 5, 10 or even 15 minutes, but for one, two or more hours a day. If you have the time for it and don’t have other wishes or commitments on the given day, then enjoy this creative time. In this case, you can use the moves in the 5 Minute Perseverance Game as a warm-up before a more intensive immersion into the project.

But if you have other things to do and you find yourself using the project in this game as an escape from other commitments, or if you are trying to get finished with this project, so that you can start another one soon, then playing this game for hours wouldn’t be helpful. In fact, the game you’re playing will lose its FUN factor.

What is a solution in this case? Set your timer for 5, 10, or more minutes, but definitely less than 30 minutes. Work on your project during this time, and then pack it away and forget about it for the rest of the day. You will discover a lot of energy and longing to do those other things you had to do, and you might even find fun in doing them.”

What would I recommend today after playing the game for almost a year day-in-day-out? I would still recommend at least 5 minutes and no more than 30 min for first timers per project a day.

But for those who played this or a similar game on habit development, I would suggest to become your own game designer and play with various parameters of the game, both times and types of projects. For example, a friend used this game to motivate herself to paint the walls in her house. The task always took more than an hour, also because she needed some time to prepare the actual “move” of painting, but the earning of a point motivated her and helped her to make considerable progress every day.

I rarely put timer nowadays feeling when a step is over. It can sometimes take only a few minutes, or last more than an hour. I learn more and more to observe when the fun in the given task reduces, and the tiredness appears. So, I either find ways to motivate myself to continue the work, when I need to meet a deadline, or I stop working on the given project until the next day.

What is your opinion? If you have a project or projects that you contemplate to take in such a game, what is the minimum amount of time you would need for a move? Why? What would take most time of your each move? The actual preparation of the utensils (as in the above example of painting rooms in a house) or contemplation of how to perform the move?

On the picture above: I did include spending time with family and friends as one of the activities/projects into the game this month, but I often forget to start these times intentionally. They come naturally and by themselves. Whether by visiting my sister and her husband, a week ago, or sitting in our garden and enjoying being “shot at” with a soap-bubble gun by my daughter, this past weekend. Only later, at the end of the day, I see that I earned a point there too. And I am glad to say that this one is present every day. My sister took this picture of me in front of a tiny waterfall in front of her and her husband’s house; she calls it lovingly and not without pride “our Niagara Falls.”

What is this blog series about? You can find this out in its first blog post called “5 Minute Perseverance Game – Moving my Favorite Game to my Writing Blog”.

Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels

Contributing to Mekon’s Bitesize on Business Rules – 8: What is more important, or what comes first – business rules or implementation?

I used to think of S1000D business rules and S1000D implementation separately. I did think business rules definition to be a part of the whole S1000D implementation process. But other than that I couldn’t think of a connection between them. Implementation was always something big, and quite the unknown. The business rules, on the other hand, were more concrete and therefore easier to grasp.

Little did I know that someday I would find an entirely different connection between them, without intending this. Only after publishing my book “Take Control of Your Business”, where I give a simple introduction to business rules, I discovered that I had attributed the rules of implementation processes to be a part of a complete set of business rules.

In the eighth article to Mekon‘s Bitesize on Business Rules, I have shared the whole story, told how I discovered the business rules definition and implementation processes to be entangled more than I have expected, and also about the recognition why they never should be considered separately.

Click here to find out more: Bitesize Business Rules: What is more important, or what comes first – business rules or implementation?

At the end of this article, you will also find an invitation to a webinar (planned for May 24 and June 28) with the title “S1000D is More than a PDF file, default BREX, and XML Schemas”.

Click here to find out more: “S1000D is More than a PDF file, default BREX, and XML Schemas”.

(Credits: Photograph © under the keyword “business”)

P.S. Check out the two new books on Business Rules and S1000D Issue 4.1 & Issue 4.2.

How the 5 Minute Perseverance Game can Ignite Fun and Motivation

Results for days 4, 5, 6, 7 of the round May 2017 of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game (5MPG): 7, 7, 4, and 8 points out of 11 possible for each day.

Results Total for week 1: 45 points out of 77 possible (more than 50%).

Results for days 8 and 9: 9 and 10 points out of 11 possible for each day.

Before I started posting and reporting on my progress in the “5 Minute Perseverance Game”, I was sharing this game with a group of friends, which is called “Procrastination Breakers’ Club.”

While reporting on the progress in different of my projects, I invited the members to share their thoughts on the game as well as what has happened to them while they played the game.

One year ago, I took for May 2016 a project that I thought would be annoying to finish. “I am going to prepare my novelette “Nothing Is As It Seems” for publishing,” I wrote in the comments to that month’s game round.

I had this idea that formatting and preparing a book for publication is complicated and too tedious. I wanted to have finished it already, so each step in doing it was an effort. And since I made the experience that the Perseverance Game can help me make progress with even the least favorite tasks, so I took this project into the game.

With time I forgot that the project was supposed not to be fun. Here is what I wrote on the last day of the May 2016 round, on May 31, “ I’ve spent more time than 5 minutes [on the project] today. I guess I was caught in the fun. 😉 … This process of formatting was probably the most relaxing of all four paperbacks (+ 3 pdfs) I have formatted [so far]. 🙂 I love this game. I even have now a game book to “play” other projects. I found the word for what we are doing here. We gamify our activities. 😉 I received a newsletter from a software provider for app consolidation with a link to a blog post about gamification. Can you imagine this? Just as I am launching a book about this. 😀 This kind of coincidences is simply amazing!“ [The book I mentioned being launched was the “5 Minute Perseverance Game”.]

So, the project I thought not to be fun became fun. I even “got caught in the fun.”

As it looks like, this little perseverance game can not only help us make time (broken into small bits) for and progress with the projects we like, but it can also ignite fun for the tasks we think we don’t like.

What is your opinion? Do you think “fun” has an absolute value? Or in other words, are you of the opinion that if one thing is fun to do than it is always fun doing? Or the other things that are not fun are they always not fun? Or can the way we feel about certain things and projects change with time?

On the picture above: A couple of years ago, my son didn’t go anywhere near zip-lines eying them very skeptically. That has changed now, and last week he had big difficulties leaving this one.

What is this blog series about? You can find this out in its first blog post called “5 Minute Perseverance Game – Moving my Favorite Game to my Writing Blog”.

Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels