How to use Video Games to Improve Your Life

Are you bored at work or school or home?  Are you reading the blog at Spoon Deep because you have nothing better to do?  But really there isn’t much in the world better than a deep spoon.  More often than not I am enjoying my time throughout the day, and much of that comes from tips that I have picked up from video games!   Yes I have applied the same principles found in our favorite video games and sprinkled them throughout my “real life” to make it more enjoyable.  Read on for 3 tips I use to Gamify my life.

This is not an article designed to help you get better at a certain game.  I am trying to help enhance and enjoy your time away from the games, in the dreaded real world.  By playing a diverse selection of games I can take the best ideas from different games to create this guide.  This can apply to anything you do outside gaming, in order to make it more enjoyable.  Get through your chores, homework, or day to day tasks at your office job quicker and with a smile on your face.

1. Create a List

If you have ever played an MMO or RPG you often find your quest log filled with things to do.  And if we are being honest most of the things in an MMO are mundane fetch quests that are more tedium than excitement.  Nevertheless, as gamers we feel compelled to complete them.  Why?   Video games hone in on human psychology and create these systems that encourage you to complete quests and keep playing.  Create a quest list for yourself.  Every morning I start the day by creating my own personal quest list.  At first it seems daunting, “make the bed, take out the trash, manage spreadsheet A, call person B, etc..”  but every time I finish a task, I cross it out and continue on to the next task.  At the end of the day I look back at a completed log and feel great about my day and ready to tackle the next day. It’s also okay to put fun things on your quest log like “play xbox with friends.”

questlog

One important note, is to keep your quests simple and specific.  Things that can be accomplished quickly will give you a quick shot of endorphins from your ability to complete them.  Putting something like “Learn the Guitar” is unlikely to be accomplished in one day and difficult to quantify.  Focus on something like “Practice the G Chord.”

2. Take Breaks and Explore

Any open world game is full of nooks and crannies that many players will never see.  So too is life.  If you only focus on the things that you put on your list, you may miss out on some great opportunities and experiences.  Allow time throughout the day to just surf the web aimlessly and see where you end up.  Walk around the office and see what is going on outside your desk or down the block.  You never know what is happening beyond your daily plan.

We do this in games all the time!  Think about this year’s big hit The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.  Sure the Princess is telling us to come to the castle in order to save her and the rest of the world, but what is at the top of that mountain?  Just going around and exploring makes life exciting, because you don’t know what you are going to find.  But in the case of Zelda, it is probably a Korok seed.

3. Reward Yourself

Finally, and most importantly, take time to reward yourself.  Sure it feels great in World of Warcraft to finish every quest in our log.  But part of the fun of finishing all those quests is getting rewarded along the way.  Even if the reward is paltry, or randomized in the case of many games these days, it still gives the player a reason to keep going.  Get some healthy snacks (or unhealthy) and reward yourself with something little every time you finish a task.  Pick something bigger and reward yourself when you complete something that you have been working on for a few days.  Finish a report for you boss?  Buy yourself a new video game, you earned it!  Beat the newest raid in Destiny?  You get a Gjallarhorn!  Maybe… again RNG.

destiny loot

At the end of the day if you aren’t enjoying yourself, change what you are doing!  Gamify your life.  Reach a new high score in the real world and then brag about it to all your friends, challenge them to gamify their life too.  Games are fun on their own merits, but we can also learn a lot from them and then begin to apply that knowledge to other aspects of life.  This is all just the ramblings of a man searching for my own Quietude, dude.  But these three tips work for me.  I live my life like a video game, and I get to create my own rewards.  Gamify your life, it’s a thing now.

 

Jake Fredericks has been playing video games ever since he was a little kid.  He played a lot of video games during sick days from school and boring family gatherings.  He now runs the non-profit Spoon Deep Gaming with three of his best friends, who might even be working on blog posts.  His quest log is very full in World of Warcraft.

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