All posts by vica

Another Kind of Easter

We all had plans for this year’s Easter holidays. Some of us planned to go visit our parents, parents-in-law, grandparents, take a break in a resort, or planned various exciting activities close to where we live.

All these plans have been overthrown by the COVID19 pandemic. Most of us will stay at home and try to make the best of it.

I’m utterly impressed by the compassion and the camaraderie many people show in these insecure times. Wanting to contribute something of my own and inspired by the idea and advice given to me by two people (the editor of my books and the consultant at the local startup club), I created a writing and a video series project called Gameful Isolation.

At this point, the video series contains eight videos on the YouTube Playlist with the same name Gameful Isolation. There is a dedicated page for it here: https://www.victoriaichizlibartels.com/gameful-isolation/

But you can also listen to the whole Playlist here:

I finished writing on the first draft of the little book with the same title, so now I know how many videos there will be in this video series. Four more videos will appear after Easter.

And then, I will continue creating such video books for all my books in the Gameful Life series. The one to follow Gameful Isolation will be Gameful Project Management. The very recently published Gameful Healing will follow it.

If you are searching for reading something encouraging and empowering over Easter, then I invite you to check out three collaborative free book promotions featuring two of my books.

“April Fools Celebration” features 5 Minute Perseverance Game. This promotion goes only until April 10, 2020. So hurry to get your copies of the books that might inspire you in this collection.

“Reiki” is another collection of books featuring again features 5 Minute Perseverance Game. This promotion goes only until April 30, 2020. You have some time to get the books, but I would recommend that you download all that interest you right away.

“Health and Fitness Newsletter Builder” features one of my newest books, which is a short version of the Self-Gamification Happiness Formula. It is the book The Who, What, When, Where, Why & How of Turning Life into Fun Games. This promotion also goes until April 30, 2020. Also, this time, I recommend that you download all that interest you right away.

And last but not least, I joined a sales promotion for my book Self-Gamification Happiness Formula to offer it for half-price until June 1, 2020. There are many great books to discover here too. If you ask a bookworm like me, then there isn’t a better time to read uplifting books than right now.

And last but not least, I would like to wish you beautiful Easter Holidays! I hope you’ll make them bright, gameful, and fun!

Where should we turn something into games?

Here is another excerpt from my latest book The Who, What, When, Where, Why & How of Turning Life into Fun Games, which is a short and reworked version of the Self-Gamification Happiness Formula.  It addresses the place where the self-gamification, in other words, turning our projects, activities, and also our lives, into fun games, occurs.

1. Where should you turn things into games?

Is there a space where the turning of something into games is most appropriate or works best?

Yes. In fact, there is only one possible space for it to happen. Here goes.
The only place to turn anything into a fun game is where you are. I.e., when we are working or doing anything else, we are playing that project or activity game. And the game takes place where the player is. It is where each of us is.

This also means that turning the work of others in a project into a game can only be done where they are, and by them. You can’t do it for them.
So don’t judge others; they are their perfect designers and players too.
Sometimes, when we have success in our life, we might be tempted to judge others who complain about theirs. But remember that you can’t design their games, because your “shoes” won’t necessarily fit them. Only they can develop their own Self-Motivational Games, and create their own experiences.

And also remember that when you judge others, you are complaining too. (I had to chuckle when I observed myself complaining about other people’s as well as my own complaints, for the first time.) And when you are complaining, you aren’t playing your games. So instead of analyzing what others do or don’t do while turning (or not turning) their projects and lives into games, concentrate on playing your games and having fun with them. This is the best way to share Self-Gamification.

2. Where is the starting point?

While working on Self-Gamification Happiness Formula, I found the following brilliant quote:

“Every moment is a fresh new beginning, a wonderful inauguration of the great cosmic journey through the universe. We can do whatever we want. We can change reality at any moment.” — Russell Brand

We might not perceive many of the moments in our lives as such fantastic beginnings, and discard them as not good enough, but they still make up part of our lives. Let’s consider examples of chains made out of moments related to what we are up to, and how our paths turn out.

If we map the initial state of our lists and thought processes, then the path might look like this:

Us —> Our to-do list item —> Our goal or dream

Being aware of the magic of a small, effortless step (see the later chapter, “How?”), we recognize that the following path is more pleasant and more doable:

Us —> The smallest effortless step —> … —> Our to-do list item —> … —> Our goal or dream

Where “…” corresponds to the other smallest, most effortless steps.
I am a passionate writer. So for me, it is straightforward to illustrate these diagrams with what I do almost every day. Thus for a writer, the previous chart will look as follows:

The writer (at her computer) —> Write a paragraph —> … —> Write a book —> … —> Become a published author

But here a question arises: will the next step for a writer always be to write a paragraph, when the starting point might be something else, like taking a shower? Many writers have brilliant ideas while taking a shower. So what is the choice? Despair?

No, rather a recognition that the next step is something else that will also contribute to your goal. So if you take a shower, then the next step would be to finish the shower.

The end of the shower will be your new starting point. There you have the option of either continuing your morning routine or taking a small detour to your desk to make notes on your brilliant idea.

You could also play a Role-Playing Game [1] with yourself and ask yourself, as you would a best friend, to remind you later about this brilliant idea. But assure yourself as you would your best friend, that it won’t be a problem if he or she (that is yourself) forgets it.

Yes, I again suggest that you be aware, progress in small steps and treat whatever you do as a game.

But here is another diagram that is trickier than having the shower as the starting point:

You (upset, wherever you are) —> (The next step; not identified yet) —> … —> Your to-do list item —> … —> Your goal or dream

When we are upset, then the to-do list items and even the smallest steps might seem further away than they do in other moments.

But what does being upset mean, anyway? Oxford Dictionaries say that we are upset [2] when we are “unhappy, disappointed, or worried.”

What could be the reasons for those feelings? Or is there perhaps one source for them? Here is what Dr. Robert Maurer [3], Director of Behavioral Sciences for the Family Practice Residency Program at Santa Monica, UCLA Medical Center and a faculty member at the UCLA School of Medicine, says on that:

“Do all upsets come from fear? We don’t know for sure. However, based on the research, I suggest that this is the most useful way of looking at them.” — Robert Maurer, Mastering Fear

It’s a great hint to look at our fears when we’re upset. However it is a scary task in itself. What to do then?

Here is what Ariel and Shya Kane say about it:

“It is often challenging to look at how you think and act because it might be embarrassing to see the real truth. But what if you were to take an anthropological approach to how you relate rather than a subjective, judgmental one? If you were a scientist, looking to see how the inner workings of a culture was put together, you would notate what you see — not judge it. If you bring an active interest, an observational approach to how you have been programmed, then you can ‘debug’ your own personal computer.

“Think of yourself as a highly sophisticated computer with archaic programming. Simple awareness acts like a complimentary upgrade.” — Ariel and Shya Kane, How to Have A Match Made in Heaven

Yes, non-judgmental seeing allows us to become both honest and kind with ourselves.

The path we take while making progress can be immensely intriguing, and if we drop our judgments and expectations, we can discover many surprises along the way.

Let me remind you here of the gift that anthropology, kaizen, and gamification bring together. Being upset is not wrong.

Upset and other “’stress symptoms’ … are not signs of disease. They are our body’s gift to us to let us know something important is happening that requires our immediate attention. Without these symptoms we would have perished as a species long ago.” — Robert Maurer, Mastering Fear

We often fail to appreciate these gifts because they don’t fit our preferences for the moments in our lives. It is up to us to decide which moments we extend and which we keep short. Let’s remember that each moment is a starting point.

So the next two steps, when your starting point is an upset, could be:

You (Upset) —> Stop —> Take a non-judgmental look at where you are and your fears —> …

In the next moment after you’ve had a good look at where you are and the fears you are resisting, will be whatever you choose to do next in your game.

3. What if the next step leads us somewhere we didn’t plan to go?

Here is another analogy to reflect the fear we might have of the next step, however small it might be. When you stop and look, you might have the feeling that you are at a crossroads. It is great to have a choice, but what happens if we take the “wrong” road, leading us away from where we were actually heading?

Even if we break down the path to our goals into the smallest of steps, we might shy away from those small steps and do something else entirely.

Or life might get in the way and require us to do something else.
Is that bad?

No, because you have the possibility to get back to where you were heading. Awareness can help you see that each moment is a crossroads. As soon as you detect a stop, take a look and choose the next step.

Sometimes detouring can help you make the best turn on your way to your goals.

Here is what happened as I was working on finalizing this part of the book in Self-Gamification Happiness Formula:

I had a doctor’s appointment for both of my children, who had experienced cough and asthma symptoms for quite a while. We went to test them for allergies, among other checks. The prick test revealed that my son was allergic to house dust mites. That called for action. So instead of continuing work on this book for the whole afternoon, as I had originally planned, I spent the time cleaning my son’s room meticulously by washing his bed linen, reducing the number of plentiful dust catchers (such as many tens of comic magazines), hunting around the house for plastic boxes that could close hermetically, and putting most of his toys in these boxes. Later I learned that all the dust catchers were not the reason for his allergy, but I am still glad I did all that. Whatever it was that ultimately helped with his dust-mite-allergy and asthma, my son hardly coughs these days. And that is what matters.

Awareness and saying “Yes” to what was requested, along with the experience of playfulness when turning my life into games, and kaizen, helped me to make progress and appreciate each of the small things I cleaned. I noticed how much better the air in my son’s room became when I removed old play carpets. All that brought a feeling of satisfaction that overpowered my sense of guilt for not having done it sooner.

I did write a little in these chapters, but only during two ten-minute breaks. These breaks felt like both a reward and progress.

But what surprised me most was what happened the next day, as I was taking my morning shower. I realized how I wanted to structure this part of the book in Self-Gamification Happiness Formula. Before that, I had various topics mixed up and hadn’t felt entirely comfortable with it, despite being unable to put my finger on exactly what it was that bothered me.

So the break I took from writing, also in my thoughts, whilst being preoccupied with the ambition to make my son’s room as safe for him to sleep in as possible, helped me achieve the state of mind needed to find the best solution for this part of the book.

Hence, the seeming “curse” of an easy or necessary step that can lead us away from our goals, can actually become the blessing that leads us more quickly or more directly, to what we want, and beyond.

Thus even your escape-to tasks can become the necessary step toward your goals. I continually discover great quotes and thoughts that I add to various chapters of this book (Self-Gamification Happiness Formula) while reading the multiple books I enjoy both for leisure and to learn something new. And even when I surf social media at random.

Being an interested and curious scientist is the most brilliant state of mind. The multi-dimensionality of our behavior and thought processes never ceases to amaze me. It’s so much fun to look at them non-judgmentally and become aware of the possibilities we have if we stop fighting and fleeing.

After recognizing where we are, where we want to head, whether we are escaping something toward that goal, what that is, and what activities we escape to, without judging all that, we can identify and take the next step that will move us toward our goals.

Awareness and kaizen will help us see that the next step toward our goals and dream is not far away, but exactly where we are right now.

And that in most cases, there is nothing else we need to make that step, than what we already have.

To get your copy on Amazon,
click on the picture below

For other retailers, go to the book’s page
on this site here.

 

Definitions and References:

[1] Role-Playing Game: “A role-playing game (sometimes spelled roleplaying game; abbreviated RPG) is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making regarding character development. Actions taken within many games succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.” — en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role-playing_game

[2] https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/upset

[3] http://www.scienceofexcellence.com/

Who is responsible for turning projects, activities, and whole lives into games?

My new little book The Who, What, When, Where, Why & How of Turning Life into Fun Games, which is a short and reworked version of the Self-Gamification Happiness Formula raised interest on social media as well as discussions on what could that mean to turn one’s life into games. One of those who commented said that it sounds like a “culture changer.” It might. Surely, when I wrote the books on Self-Gamification, I hoped that many would profit from the approach I developed unknowingly for myself and later was asked to explain to and share with others. But in fact, these books, including the latest one, addressed just one person. The reader, who read the copy he or she held in their hands at any given moment. Here is one of the excerpts of the book, which explains what that means (a spoiler alert: the chapter “Where?” extends on this topic).

Who?

Who is responsible for turning projects, activities, and whole lives into games?

The simplest answer is, “You.”

No one else can turn the things in your life into games that you will find fun. You are both the designer and player of your Self-Motivational Games.

But let’s see who you might be, and why I believe that the approach summarized in this book is for you.

1. Who is it for?

This book, and the Self-Gamification approach introduced in it, is for anyone who wants to bring fun and joy into various projects and activities they take on, and if they wish so, to all aspects of their lives.
Since I am a non-gamer, I initially had all my fellow non-gamers in mind, or those who play games very occasionally and prefer spending their free time doing activities other than games, but who, like me, want to enjoy life regardless of how it turns out. This approach will help non-gamers lose the suspicion and fear they might hold against games, as I did in the past (especially for video games), and find a natural starting point for turning their lives into fun games without having to delve into gamification design or psychological research.

But if you are a gamer (that is someone who spends many hours playing various games, often video and online games, in your free time) then this method is also for you. It will show you that experiencing fun doesn’t have to stop with switching off your video game. You will learn that you can take your favorite games and apply their elements to every-day life and become the super-hero yourself.

If you have already tried to consciously turn some activities into games and wonder how you can extend gamification principles to other or every area of your life, then this approach will help with that too.
Gamification designers can also profit by discovering techniques and skill sets to enable the users of their frameworks to obtain maximum benefit from their products.

A few words about age. The approach in this book is applicable to both children and adults. I had adults, including young adults, in mind when I wrote this book, but I would like to urge you to share the possibility of turning your life into fun games with your children or your younger siblings and friends. This will enrich the experiences of the whole family or community.

2. Who is it not for?

Either Self-Gamification Happiness Formula or this book is not for someone who:

  • Is looking for the results of scientific studies on gamification,
  • Wishes to study the psychotherapeutic effects of gamification,
  • Wishes to learn advanced game or gamification design techniques, or
  • Seeks a scientific book on self-therapy, self-counseling, or self-help therapy.

Nor is it for those who:

  • Want to escape everyday challenges,
  • Want to give up their current jobs, companies, or relationships,
  • Seek a quick-fix, one-time happiness “pill” to solve all their problems,
  • Think that hard work and being serious are essential and that having fun is a flaw, or
  • Despise games and believe there is nothing worth learning from them.

Speaking of despising games and their primary goal of bringing fun and making us happy, do you perhaps think all this gamification “stuff” is nonsense and that life is not a matter of enjoyment? That life is a torment, through which we must fight until the end? That life is unfair?
Then this approach is not for you.

But since you’ve read this far, perhaps you are looking for a way to change your mindset from serious and hard, to light and joyful.
In that case I invite you to continue reading.

But here are four more disclaimers for the Self-Gamification approach and the books addressing it:

First of all, it doesn’t promote the development of games that place their participants in scary or uncomfortable situations, like experiences shown on “Candid camera” or the like. I won’t be advising you to go bungee jumping, if that is not already your dream or wish. Most of the self-motivational and uplifting game examples discussed in this book are about making everyday activities and projects (i.e. those we have already committed to doing or want to address, and which we already have on our to-do or wish lists) fun, enjoyable, and achievable.

Second, although I mention some of my Self-Motivational Game designs here and describe them in detail in Self-Gamification Happiness Formula, I am not suggesting that you use them. You are free to do so. But my main message is that you are the designer of your own games. No one but you lives — and that is designs and plays — your life. So, ultimately, even if you try out some of the elements of my game plans, you will still put your own stamp on them as they become an integral part of your daily, monthly, and so on, games.

Third, this, or any other book on Self-Gamification, is not the description of an app. There is no Self-Gamification app, and I hope there never will be. After all, there could be many. And the same person would require countless versions, since we humans need a frequent change in occupation to feel alive.

Fourth, this book and the Self-Gamification approach do not show the way to eternal bliss. I can guarantee that after reading this book or Self-Gamification Happiness Formula, you will still experience discomfort and be upset and desperate from time to time. But you will feel more in control and have the tools at your disposal to make those periods of distress shorter. You will also learn how to shift your focus from complaints to creativity, and be able to bring yourself back into the flow without too much effort. And most importantly, you will learn to be both honest and kind to yourself.

To get your copy on Amazon,
click on the picture below

For other retailers, go to the book’s page
on this site here.

Join the Review Team for Gameful Project Management

I have some great news. I started releasing books in the series “Gameful Life.” Last week, Gameful Project Management went live as an e-book. The paperback will come out soon.

Thank you all, who expressed their interest in Gameful Project Management and the “Gameful Life” series. Thank you also for your support and exciting discussion on the topic. Note that the links and the picture above will lead you to the book’s page on Amazon. If you would like to see the book’s page on this site and see what other retailers have it on sale, then click here.

Even if the paperback is not out yet, you can already get a copy of the book, either by buying it as an e-book or by joining a Review Team. Taking we are having 2020, I have reserved 20 spaces in the Review Team. Several are already taken, thus please let me know ASAP (per e-mail to vib@optimistwriter.com) if you are interested in being part of it.

The book is short (105 pages); thus, you won’t be able to read much about it in the free sample. Therefore, I add here an excerpt from the introduction, letting you know what it is, what it is not about, who it is for, and what you could learn by reading this book.

What is this book about?

This book is an awareness booster.

That is what all non-fiction — especially those on personal and business development — and also some fiction books, video courses, documentaries, films, inspiring workshops, seminars, and conferences, as well as meet-ups with peers and friends, are. If we allow it, they can all boost our awareness of what else is possible, in addition to what we already know.

And that is what this book is about. I wrote it to raise your awareness of what is possible when you turn project management into Gameful Project Management; in other words, if you approach your projects, including the management of them, as if they were games, and as if you were both the designer and the player of these games.

What is this book not about?

And here is what Gameful Project Management is not about.

It is not an academic book.

Nor is it an exhaustive resource on the topic of Self-Gamification, which serves as the basis for Gameful Project Management. For an in-depth discourse on the Self-Gamification approach, go to Self-Gamification Happiness Formula.

This book is not about you buying new software or hiring new personnel.

We won’t be looking for the reasons you don’t feel as in control as you’d like over your projects, project management, or life.

This book is not about being too serious or demanding of yourself or your team. There is a word in project management that is often used: “accountable.” I feel it is sometimes used to add drama and exaggerate the need for precise recording of progress on a project, which is not always possible. And as a result, we put too much weight on the person who is expected to be accountable.

But excellence is not perfection. According to Elizabeth Gilbert, perfection is fear in disguise. Excellence is inherent to the gamers who enjoy the games they play. But there is no drama (or only jokingly expressed upsets) when they play games, while we seem to insist on loading our projects with drama and seriousness. So instead of putting too much weight and drama on project management activities, by claiming that they are vital and critical (which they might be in some situations, and not in others), you will learn how to address them lightly and gamefully, and at the same time with excellence and perseverance. After all, those who have fun with what they do, are successful at what they do.

Project management is about saying both “yes” and “no.” But we won’t be assigning things as either “good” or “bad.” I learned that if I keep things around for a while, then I want to do them, despite giving them all kinds of labels. The gameful approach that I address in this book will help you to put that labeling urge aside, and to view what you do as games instead.

The Gameful Project Management book is not about overthrowing the practices developed by the masters of project management. I was amazed to discover that project management knowledge has been collected worldwide for over 250 years. No, this book is not about replacing all this knowledge with a new approach, or distilling it in any way. It is about supplementing the essential project management toolkit.

Who is this book for?

This book is for everyone interested in making project management not only productive and effortless, but also fun.

What will you learn in this book?

You will learn about the synergy of anthropology (= awareness), kaizen (= small steps) and gamification (= bringing fun game elements into what we do). These three approaches are brought together by Self-Gamification, and when it comes to project management, by Gameful Project Management.

Here is why.

Without being aware of and appreciating what you have already achieved or what you have at your disposal, you won’t be able to grow. You need to know your “soil,” the “grains” and the “weather/landscape” conditions at this moment (not some future point), to identify the best next step to achieve the result you would like.

Without being willing to take a small step at a time, and to make only a little or no investment for each of these small steps, you won’t be able to grow continually. Instead, you will experience bumps.

Without adding a fun factor to what you do, without enjoying what you do, you will struggle to produce something that others will enjoy too.
By introducing these three skill sets, the book will equip you with simple tools to address any challenges you experience with your projects, and the management of them.

You will learn how to improve performance in your project management without considerable investments in expensive technology or new personnel.

You will find out how to achieve these improvements using what you already have at your disposal, and with minimal additional effort.
You might also experience what I did, when time and money were saved in a project — that the company I worked for as a sub-contractor received referrals, not only from their customer, but also from their customer’s client. The most fantastic thing about this achievement is that the only parameter changed was the gameful approach described in this book.

You will also discover that saving time and money comes as a natural result, as does the acquisition of new customers. These are the by-products of embracing the essence of Self-Gamification and Gameful Project Management.

For you, as the project manager, this essence is to approach each project and project management with awareness, in small steps, and gamefully.

Contact vib@optimistwriter.com to join the review team for Gameful Project Management.

What Projects to Turn into Games?

Reading time: 7 minutes.

You can turn any project and any activity into a game — both at work and at home.

There is also another aspect of what we can or maybe should gamify (turn into games). I discovered that most satisfaction comes when I turn those tasks into games that appear tricky and tough. A task seems tough and overwhelming when I resist it. Turning those tough tasks into enjoyable and fun activities helps me melt my procrastination and increase my desire to “play” them. That is the actual fun of Self-Gamification.

Let’s look into this a little more.

Many of us have learned at various points in our lives to classify our projects and tasks into urgent and non-urgent, important and unimportant. I learned and tried to apply this system multiple times too.

While turning my life into games, and by observing myself and the world around me non-judgmentally, I discovered that there are only two types of projects and tasks depending on how I treat them.
I either:

  • escape from them, or
  • escape to them.

That is it. Nothing more.

There is, of course, psychological research about how and why we behave in various situations. Human behavior is so complex that there are numerous scientific disciplines studying and trying to explain it.

Thus, it is even more amazing to realize that independent of the causes for our actions, we treat whatever we want or have to do in only two ways:

  • We either avoid them (in other words, we don’t do them), or
  • Do them while escaping from other things.
Escape-from tasks

What are the tasks and projects from which we tend to escape — those we procrastinate about before attending to, or avoid forever? What are these?

When I considered what these were for me, I realized that there were again two types, or sub-types, of projects and tasks, independent of whether they had to do with work, my family and friends, or myself.
My thought processes determined these two sub-types of escape-from tasks, and this is how I thought of them:

  • Sub-type 1: I either felt that I wanted to do them very much, but didn’t have time for them, or
  • Sub-type 2: I thought I didn’t want to do them but had to do them.

Here are some examples of the tasks I wanted to do but thought that I didn’t have time for (sub-type 1):

  • I wanted to spend more time writing my works-in-progress during the day but I couldn’t because I had so many other things to do.
  • I wanted to learn and speak better Danish (since I live in Denmark).

Here are examples of the tasks I needed to do because I had committed to them, but claimed or thought that I didn’t want to do them (sub-type 2):

  • I didn’t like doing bookkeeping for my business, but I had to.
  • I didn’t like working out or doing any kinds of sports, but I had to because it was better for my health.

While practicing Self-Gamification, I discovered something surprising that now sounds logical and revealing to me. The tasks we ”have” to do must also be something we ”want” to do. Otherwise, we wouldn’t keep them around but would give them up entirely after some time. We can become aware of this by recognizing that they are, in fact, parts of the more significant projects or goals we want to achieve. Such as preparing for exams to get the degree we want.

Escape-to tasks

Now, let’s consider the things that we escape to. The things that we choose to do before those discussed in the previous section. Let’s take a look at the projects and tasks we blame for our procrastination of escape-from tasks.

I discovered that here, there are also two sub-types. There are “obvious” and “productive” escape-to tasks.

The obvious are those we describe as, “I deserve a break, so I’ll do that instead of what I planned to do.”

These could be, for example, watching TV or random videos on YouTube, reading a book for leisure, playing an online game, staying in bed, spending time on social media, surfing the internet, etc.

And the second type is productive activities, but not necessarily those that are urgent or necessary to reach our set goals. Instead, these are beneficial but non-urgent, and things we might attend to when we “should” be doing other more pressing activities or those we claim we want to do.

For me, that used to be doing laundry (or in the absence of it, other household chores). If I was finding it a challenge to write an article or a blog post or a book chapter or to compile advertising copy for my books and services, I sometimes followed the impulse to go and check if there were enough dirty clothes to wash or any clean and dry laundry to fold.

Others might choose, for example, gardening before any other things they have to do. Or, if you work in an office, you might find yourself re-structuring the folders on your shelves (or in your computer file system) or some similarly useful but not necessarily urgent activity.

Escape-from and escape-to tasks can switch places

While reading (or listening to) the above, you might have had difficulties to differentiate clearly between escape-from and escape-to activities, when thinking of yours.

That could be because the activities we escape from can become those we escape to and vice versa, depending on our state of mind.

The first time I noticed that for me was when I was putting off laundry and checking the books for my business almost daily, even if there were rarely daily income and expense entries for a one-person business, while I let laundry grow into a considerable mountain.

How can this classification help you?

You might have felt a little uncomfortable looking at what you escape from and escape to and also at the complexity of your thought processes. So why doing it?

First of all, its purpose is to give you a simple approach to study your behavior toward various projects and activities, as well as your thought processes, anthropologically, in other words, non-judgmentally.

This consideration is also meant to make you aware that you procrastinate not only the things you think you don’t want to do but have to, but also those projects about which you think you cherish.

The awareness about what your escape-from and escape-to projects and activities are, in various situations and state of your mind, can help you design your Self-Motivational Games in such a way that you create an enticing challenge. Above that, you can give yourself more rewards for your escape-from projects and activities, and limit your rewards for the escape-activities.

For example, I limited points to a maximum of one per day for doing laundry. If I gained a point for it on a particular day, trying to do more laundry wouldn’t earn me another point. That motivated me to come back to writing and other activities I feared and procrastinated about so that I could make more points there. Giving myself a point for each tiny bit of a task I procrastinated about, for example, for writing a paragraph for my book or working a few minutes on another escape-from project made those tasks more attractive and effortless to accomplish.

If an escape-to task switched places with an escape-from task, then I adjusted my Self-Motivational Game correspondingly. For example, I had the following game-design twist for the example above, when laundry and book-keeping for my company switched places. I have reserved a spot on my calendar for each Friday to check my business and private accounts and update my business books and personal expenses. Until Friday came, I wouldn’t get any checkmark (or point) for doing this task. Now I was free to do the other tasks I had on my to-do list like laundry, for example, which had become an escape-from task.

Your gameful epiphanies for today:

Before you go on with your day, contemplate what epiphanies you had while reading this piece. Jot them down and revisit later as you had more time to digest what was said here. You are also welcome to share them with me on my social media or by writing me an e-mail (see Contact).

If you want to learn more:

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