You stand in front of the computer, reading the project requirements over and over again. From time to time you go out for a walk in the park or a quick snack, but when you’re back those instructions still don’t ring any bell. You’re stuck!

This happens to all remote workers, even to those who work as motivational speakers. There are always moments when you find yourself in the middle of a procrastination phase or in the middle of a lack of inspiration in all things work. When this happens you need to find a new way to get out of this phase and get the creative juices flowing once again – after all, your well-being and your traveling schedule depends on this, not to mention your own lifestyle. This is the best moment to introduce gamification into your life.

What is work gamification?

Gamification is an old concept brought back into the spotlight in 2015 in the attempt to increase employee engagement and make the difference between high performance employees and less productive ones.

Gamification of work takes the essentials of games – fun, play and addiction – and introduces them into workflow. Almost all types of work can be the subject of gamification. This concept had been resurrected after multiple researches, like Gallup’s latest report, showed that workforce is more and more disengaged, especially millennials, which are going to make 75% of the total workforce by 2025.

By employing gamification into the work you can raise the engagement as the worker is going to have a transparent tool to record his achievements, goals and measure the competition. A highly addictive method! Gamification uses the same patterns used by games to transform a business into a sort of real-life game; the strategies stimulate the worker to find solutions to the problems and increases his productivity.

Remote worker disengagement is real

Despite the general belief a remote worker or a freelancer can’t be disengaged, the reality is we can be just as not interested in work as our office peers. Companies are not the only ones responsible for engagement, so when you hit a dead end, known as a procrastination phase, in your workflow, you can use gamification to improve your work performance and stimulate your creativity.

At first, it might seem counterproductive to use a game to fuel your workflow, but in time you will get accustomed with this technique and you will notice just how addictive this method is.

The principles of gamification

To be able to apply gamification to your workflow you need to think of the principles of a game. The leader in work gamification, Jane McGonigal, had stated them for us all, so we know a game has:

  • a goal
  • rules
  • feedback
  • voluntary participation.

To find you an example of work gamification, you can turn to Charles Schwab’s work, “Succeeding with What You Already Have”. In this work, the multimillionaire gave an example of work gamification which became classic.

Schwab had problems with one of his factories, which had a low productivity rate. Schwab came with the idea to write the production number of the floor. There were two shifts in the factory and when they learned what the number meant, each shift tried to exceed the number. They did and the production of the factory eventually exceeded the production in all the other factories.

This example uses the goal, the rules and the feedback system to apply gamification and lets the workers voluntarily involve in this game.

Getting into the gamification yourself

You don’t have to write the number of words you write on a wall or note down the number of programming errors you’ve fixed; gamification can be embraced without making it all a game. As long as you use the principles of games, you are going to increase your productivity and engagement.

Set up a rewards system

The first step of gamification is setting up a rewards system. When you make a goal list or a to-do list you need to have a way to reward yourself for accomplishing all the items on the list. Each time you tick all the tasks you can get a fresh smoothie or put 5$ in a savings box to buy an expensive object, like a dress or a gadget.

Your reward system can be made of multiple levels: for an entire week of achievements you can set yourself another reward. Then, for a month of achievements you have another reward and so on. For example, you can set the goal of going out with friends after a week’s work or after reaching the weekly income goal. Use your personal taste and favorites to come up with the rewards system, but make sure you don’t use food! You don’t want to turn from a remote worker to a fat and unhealthy remote worker!

Use a points system

Another method of gamification is using a points system, pretty much like the one you have for your credit card. As you gather rewards you also gather points, which can be used for certain things, such as more rewards. Assign points to everyday, repetitive tasks, such as clearing the email or sending the project before its deadline, for example. You can also use the points method instead of the rewards system, because there is a slight risk you will lose the interest in the gamification of the work if you get too many similar rewards over a short period of time.

You can also use a timer and transform the points system into a mix of gamification and Pomodoro technique. The Pomodoro is the method where you work for 25 minutes, then rest for 5 minutes, then repeat until you complete a cycle of four Pomodoros. For one Pomodoro you get a 15 minutes break.

You can use a timer or a special app to divide the working time from the pause.

This method is going to bring you a new understanding of time, as you will discover how many things you can do in just 25 minutes or less.

Compete with a friend

One of the best ways to gamify your digital nomad business is competing with a friend. Or not a friend, in this phrase competition is the key. Games have lots of competition and you already know how lucrative it is, so apply it to your business and increase your productivity right away. Set up new challenges and see who is the fastest between you and a friend. However, make sure to keep it friendly.

Another way to keep up your interest is to set up a visual image of your goals and your progress. Think of the progress bar from a download – isn’t it exciting to watch how that empty bar is filled bit by bit? When you are the one filling it with your own work, it gets even more interesting!

This method also gives you a clear image on how long you have to go to finish a task, which can also be highly motivational.

As a bottom line I challenge you to use gamification of your remote work for one week and state the results, regardless how they were, positive or negative. Have fun!