Category Archives: Self-Gamification

Optimist Writer’s Self-Gamification Newsletter, March 2018

It’s been quite some time since I wrote a blog post on self-gamification, or in other words, on how to turn one’s life into a fun game.

However, many things happened since I wrote on the topic. The book which will have the title Self-Gamification: Turn Your Life into a Fun Game is evolving well, and I am re-writing it right now. You can follow the project and show your support for it on the following Crowdfunding page:

Moreover, I will start soon teaching on various aspects of self-gamification.
For example, tomorrow, March 21, 2018, at 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm CET, at the International House North Jutland in Aalborg, Rantzausgade 4, 1., 9000 Aalborg, Denmark, there will be a Startup Cafe event organized by the Plus Consult, a team of international entrepreneurs, where I participate with my skillset.
I will also be helping others to increase their motivation and productivity in a light and fun way through gamification of their lives, in a series of bi-weekly workshops in April and May hosted by AOF Nord at their premises in Aalborg, with the following title:Increase Your Motivation and Productivity – by Turning Your Life into a Fun Game. This series of workshops starts on April 9 and finishes on May 21. Each participant will get a signed copy of my very first book on how to gamify projects, 5 Minute Perseverance Game: Play Daily for a Month and Become the Ultimate Procrastination Breaker. You will also be able to interact with me between the workshops if you have questions on how to gamify your projects. Here is the link to this two months or 4-workshop training course:

There is more to come, and I will keep you informed. But if you would like to get regular updates on self-gamification as well as my project game-plans, then join the supporting team on Inkshares. Here s the link to it again:

And if you would like to have a customized training course, a coaching session, or a seminar on self-gamification, approaching project and time management as games, or other related topics for your company or yourself then contact me at

(Credits: Photograph © with the keyword games)

Why is a Simple Scoring System Enough for Gamifying One’s Life; And Results of the November Round of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game

A note beforehand: This blog post applies both to writers and entrepreneurs, and therefore I am attributing it to both Business and Writing blogs on my website. Thus, if you signed to both of these two blogs, then you will get the notification about this article twice. I apologize for this inconvenience.


When I share the 5 Minute Perseverance Game with others, people often ask me how I reward myself in this game. When I tell them about the simple scoring system I use, they ask me “Is that all?”

First time I was asked this question and looked confused in reply, my friend clarified and gave a few examples how she does it: by eating a small piece of chocolate or at the end of a big task, she buys herself something.

I heard similar scenarios many times and even read about them.

After getting similar questions again and after writing last month’s article (5 Minute Perseverance Game: Results of the October Round and Editing plus Revision by Someone else), I stopped and contemplated. Why was gathering points enough for me? Why didn’t I see an occasional espresso I make for myself several times a day as a reward for the project work? Why did I consider it and other similar rewards instead as sweet indulgences and even as activities worthy of giving myself additional points?

After some thought, I realized what that was. If I would reward myself with something material or costing money (like a trip to the Bahamas or to a cinema), then I would not regard my projects as a game, or a part of a game. I would see them then as something hard to do, something requiring considerable effort.

When we agree to play a game, either a board game or one online, we usually don’t expect a material reward. I am consciously leaving the gambling aside here, since the stress factor there take those games out of the true game definition, or at least makes them another type of game altogether.

When we agree to play a board game, for example, with our children or our partner or a friend, all we want to do is to score more or less than he or she does, depending on the definition of the win in that game.

Seeing that made me realize why points are enough for me as a reward. Because I experience my day as if it was a game. It doesn’t mean that I don’t concentrate on the task at hand, but I loose (for growing part of the time) that wish of only getting things done and thinking poorly of the assignments I have to address. Enjoying what I do starts to prevail and with that (without explicitly intending) also the rate with which I manage to complete tasks increases.

Thus the condition for this game to have success is your willingness to design the game, its rules, test it, play it, follow those rules you have outlined, and through it, be willing to have fun.

Please note, I didn’t mean that you should expect to have fun. We often approach various suggestions we get testing them whether they would be fun for us, usually intending to prove that that can’t be the case. But what indeed makes a game or any activity fun is the willingness to have fun and to experience this feeling.


And here, if you are interested, are the results of my 5 Minute Perseverance Game for November and plans for the December round of the game.

I scored in total 925 points in November. That made 160 points more than in October. Out of these, 455 were the bonus points, which correspond to 89 concrete deliveries, postings, etc. These correspond to 37 more than in October. There was one day when I managed to attend to at least to one project in each activity area. That compared to 1 more than in October.

I noticed that I was more diligent with recording the points and bonus points in November. It felt as if I slowed down a little and became more aware of what I managed during the day. But the gathered score and accomplished tasks show otherwise. They seem to imply that I completed more than the previous month. The paradox, however, is, that it didn’t feel like I had worked harder. It felt as if I had more fun than the month before. Here we go again: the success of the game, the feeling of satisfaction as well as the success of the projects resulted from allowing myself to have fun in the game.

After re-evaluating the projects and developments in them, and after noticing how my activities and priorities changed lately, I again came up with eight areas of activities for the December round of the game. The projects areas have been re-shuffled and switched places, as well as their components, but the number of all is still eight. That seems like a good number to keep me positively challenged, but also allow me to have an overview of various aspects of my life.

Here are my project areas for December month:

  1. Finish the first drafts of two books which are both about 80 % done
  2. Book marketing
  3. Training and consulting projects
  4. Tools page development
  5. Family, my business, and other admin matters
  6. Free time, fun, health and movement
  7. Voluntary work (technical and creative)
  8. Other writing projects (This is mainly to catch all those floating free ideas and help them not to go unnoticed).

What about you? If you take a look at what you do or want to do during a regular day, what would those areas of activities be for you? Consider both weekdays and weekends. How many of these areas can you identify?

Credits: Photograph © under the keyword “a treat.”

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

Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels

Kindness, Flexibility, and Fun Are the Keys to Successful Self-Gamification – Results and Lessons Learned in the September 2017 Round of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game

Today I will report on the results and lessons learned in the September 2017 round of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game.

Instead of dividing the day into slots reserved for each project as I did in August, having twenty-one projects/activities in total, for September, I’ve split the game plan for a day into eight project areas.

These were:

  1. Voluntary work in a technical (S1000D) community, where I serve as a chair of a global working group.
  2. Content development to offer for sale on my website.
  3. Non-fiction writing (including blog posts in business and S1000D areas)
  4. Fiction and memoir writing (including related blog posts)
  5. Book and content marketing, as well as publishing books and update of already published books, when necessary.
  6. Training, coaching and consulting services/projects (including pitching, carrying out, and marketing them).
  7. Family, personal, and business administrative matters (incl. accompanying my family members to doctors, organizing meetings with colleagues and friends, personal (including that for my mother) and business bookkeeping and similar).
  8. Free time, fun, health, and movement (for my family’s, my friends’, and my own well-being; including sports, getting enough sleep, playing games, etc.)

This very new for me design turned out to be much fun. It was also due to the flexibility I included. There was no more maximum amount of points I could strive to achieve, but I could set records by managing more projects in the same project area. I have also introduced a bonus system. I gave myself two points for each set of 8 points, meaning making one step in a project in each project/activity area. And I gave myself five points for each completed task which included preparation time and delivery to someone externally: sending a draft of an offer to a project partner, sending a manuscript to an editor, answering a customer’s questions in an extensive consulting e-mail, or similar.

At the beginning of the September round, as I was getting used to the new game design, I thought I saw a draw-back of dividing my day into project areas (or groups). When I managed one point in a particular area, I didn’t necessarily urge to do the other projects in the same project group, as for example to work on both of my fiction books on the same day, which I thought I wanted. But to be honest, having multiple projects all written in a flat list as in August (twenty-one bullets) didn’t help to manage more of them either.

There was something else, which became prominent in this round. It also happened before, but I had the feeling that it was stronger this time. Here is what that was.  I didn’t always manage to remember to record the points earned, and at the beginning, I thought that it was frustrating. But then I recalled that in video games you didn’t manage to gather all the treasures available out there either. Some of them need to be left behind if I want to move forward and keep going. I loved this realization because it confirmed how often I experience the projects I want to pursue as pleasant and fun games. So the points which I forgot to record where the treasures I didn’t manage to retrieve along the way. But while forgetting those, I gathered the others. And I got the best rewards of all, a smile on my face, warm feeling of achieving and completing something, and happiness of having a perspective of moving forward.

The new design of eight areas worked so well that I want to try it again next month. The bonus system was excellent too. Having to do for example just one thing in book marketing, or one thing for area eight which I call “Free time, fun, health, and movement” to get the point, took the pressure away and with that resistance to try to make progress in each project. I still could get more than one point per area, but the pressure lessened when I saw that most of the eight boxes in the game for the day had at least one check mark in them.

The most spectacular result for me during this round was in the sports/health area. In the last month, I procrastinated doing something in this “project” and earned only a few points during the whole month. In September, I haven’t been doing sports every day, but I did it every week and most importantly I re-discovered fun in it. For a long time, I used to think that I didn’t like jogging. In my opinion, you couldn’t enjoy surroundings while jogging. This September I discovered that to be untrue. Plus, the springy and merry pace of jogging showed it’s happy face to me. That might have also been because the first time I went jogging this September, I did it together with my children, Niklas (almost 7) and Emma (a bit over 2,5 years old).

We ran only a little circle down our street, then to neighboring one, behind our house, and then back, and that with a few walking breaks for Emma and me to catch a breath. But we returned with rosy cheeks and happy. Niklas was skeptical and reluctant before our jogging tour, but after it, he also said we should do it again the following week. The next weekend came. On Saturday I went for a run alone, and on Sunday we went again together. The weekend after, we repeated the pattern: me jogging alone on Saturday, and together on Sunday. And the past weekend my children excused themselves from jogging because they went swimming with their dad instead. It struck me that just after a few times joking together at the end of a week, all three of us embraced our jogging tours as a beautiful and fun tradition. That was quite an immensely pleasant surprise to me.

The same happened with getting-enough-sleep “project.” In August, I had that pressure to sleep close to 7 hours every night, and I only managed that on 6 or 31 nights. In September, I didn’t have that pressure. One check mark in the box for the project area “Free time, Fun, Health, and Movement” already made me feel good that I did something for my well-being. Whatever that was: either playing with my children, getting enough sleep; doing sports, reading a book, watching a film or a TV-show, or anything else.

What I also realized is that the new design allowed space for ambitions, but included kindness to myself, gave room for flexibility, and plenty of room for fun to collect points. I thought of bonus points before, but September was the first time when I dared to implement them into the game. And instead of feeling as if I cheated and gathered the points for nothing as I feared before trying this approach out, I was motivated to do more and more with a growing sense of pleasure.

Here are my results for the September round of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game:

I made in total in September 703 points. In August I made 262 points out of 651 possible. Now there were no maximum points to strive for in September, and I have passed the maximum of the last month, but that of course due to bonuses. But even without bonus points, I reached 457 points. Much more than those gathered in August.

  1. Voluntary work: 50 points
  2. Content development for sale: 23 points
  3. Non-fiction writing: 22 points
  4. Fiction and memoir writing: 18 points
  5. Book and content marketing: 47 points
  6. Training, coaching, and consulting services/projects: 47 points
  7. Family, personal, and business administrative matters: 139 points
  8. Free time, fun, health, and movement: 111 points.

Bonus points:

  • 46 items delivered = 230 points
  • 8 times managed to gather a point in each of the eight project areas = 16 points.

I don’t know if this design would work for everyone, but it definitely worked for me this month.

And since it was so much fun, I will continue with the same design of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game for October as well.

The only change I am going to make is to increase bonus points for managing to make progress on the whole set of eight projects (one in each project area). That would guarantee variety in my day and ambitions to be active in all eight project areas because each of them is fun and worthy.

On the picture above: The new design also meant a new recording system. I caught myself enjoying drawing the nine tiny boxes each day to record my points. Who knew that such a seemingly “silly” activity might raise my motivation and help me see my work as fun? Now I can truly say: I love time management. 🙂

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