Why Can't Productivity Be Fun?AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
"I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun." ~ Thomas A. Edison
I always thought that personal productivity is primarily a matter of habits, and that (lack of) habits are the main reason why most people cannot maintain an acceptable level of personal organization.
It seems that while there are people who are born to it, others have to struggle hard to maintain the necessary discipline to achieve results. It has nothing to do with their ability or intelligence; it is all about habits. If you are used to somehow get organized since you were a kid, well, now it is easier. But if you lack that habit, it gets tricky. Creating new habits is hard, time consuming and requires an iron will.
Personal productivity is one of those activities that everyone recognizes as beneficial to their life—like quitting smoking, exercising or eating in a more healthy way—, but only a few manage to get it under control. Probably our biggest challenge in FacileThings is to help create those habits in people who are not accustomed to stay organized for long.
Although I know that you need a good dose of self-discipline to build good habits, I keep wondering if we could not help more from the outside. From this point of view, lately I am very interested in the concept of fun as a means of motivation.
I’m just outlining the subject, thinking out loud; so if you have any idea about it, I would really appreciate your comments below ;)
You probably already know The Fun Theory, an initiative of the Volkswagen group that seeks different ways in which fun can change people’s behavior. Perhaps one of their most famous videos is this:
Although walking up stairs is a good exercise, most people use the escalators if they can. In Sweden, they transformed the stairs of a metro station into a huge piano, so that each step seems and sounds like a musical note. After that 66% more people chose to walk up stairs.
Clearly fun motivates people. Would not it be easier to get organized each day if it was a amusing activity?
A way to introduce fun in personal productivity could be through gamification. This term is applied when you use game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts.
It turns out that games are very powerful tools for motivation. They have ingredients that make them fun, exciting and even addictive. Could not we include in personal productivity other ingredients that would make it more attractive?
Sometimes, knowing the benefits you will get if you do something is not enough motivation. What if we gamify GTD? What do you think? Any ideas?