Gamify Your Day for Maximum Efficiency

We’ve all gotten lost in our favorite video game at some point only to have our focus shattered by a parent, spouse, or roommate’s nagging voice. Suddenly, someone’s hounding you to stop playing your game and do your homework or the dishes.

Well, Automox Senior Customer Success Engineer Dean Goss has news for your mom, better half, or roomie: Your work can (and should) include gaming.

Gamification means implementing game-style mechanics to motivate yourself to get down to business. It’s a smart tactic. Here’s why: Gaming dynamics are innately geared towards getting a player to complete their tasks with the express purpose of winning a prize.

There are easy ways to gamify your efforts and infuse a bit of fun into your workday. No matter how you gamify your day, you’ll reap the benefits of crushing your tasks while making work a bit more playful. So, game on.

Today, we’re talking with Dean to find out how to gamify your workload. But first, let’s learn about Dean’s background.

Dean Goss - An entrepreneur at heart, Dean was an administrator for 15 years. His passion (and priority) has always been automating the impossible and helping business units with their most significant challenges, especially recurring problems.

Before coming to Automox, Dean worked as the escalation point to the project managers, director level administrators, and level 3 developers. He was constantly interacting with IT directors and the C-suite. Dean helped solve problems for entire company units. In those roles, he was a customer of Automox. Whenever he hopped off a call with Automoxers, he thought, “There’s no way a company could be that happy.” So, he made the leap.

How do you define gamification?

Dean: Gamification is the art of breaking down tedious processes and quantifying the sub-tasks into fully definable segments. Once you’ve done that, you assign them a point value based on difficulty.

Performing such steps allows for incentivized goals and an accurate measure for when the tasks are considered complete. Much like the reward structures implemented in video games, these strategies are essential to success. It’s sort of like the Agile and Scrum FrameWorks!

What are the benefits of gamification?

Dean: Okay, here are some of the benefits of gamification according to, well, me:

  • It incentivizes learning and innovation.

  • Gamifying your work provides real-time feedback.

    • (e.g.) Measuring status towards a meaningful target while allowing for additional course corrections and process optimizations.

  • Considering work play can increase knowledge retention.

  • It can ignite and increase collaboration among teammates.

  • Gamification provides a well-defined metric of completion.

What are some prime examples of gamification strategies?

Dean: Every successful Project Management Strategy/Methodology/FrameWork has hidden gamification aspects, like:

  • Assigning point values

  • Applying weights to increase a task’s importance

  • Self-correcting task lists based on behaviors

  • Customer-centric behavior shaping

How do you implement gamification to tackle your day? Your week?

Dean: I implement gamification strategies into everything reliant on my time.

For example, while writing an Automation for a client, I break the intended goal into well-defined sub-tasks. Then tackle the most difficult stipulations first. For instance: A client wanted an Automated PowerBI report created using the results of a custom script run.

  • Custom Script

    • Dynamic Renaming

      • Output Type: CSV

  • Data Upload

    • Email

      • Requires API Key or Passing Credentials

      • Requires the output file of the script

  • PowerBI Dashboard

    • Requires the data from the script

In this example all requirements point back to needing the data from the script first.

However, addressing how the file will be sent via email with secure authentication would be the most critical to the success of the project.

When attempting to assess the scope of an issue, I use data analytics tools like PowerBI and Mode Analytics for classifying and identifying all aspects of the perceived problem. And to assist with accomplishing all deliverables around my intense meeting schedule, I implement gamification strategies for time management.

What would you say are some gamification best practices?

Dean: Apply meaning, creativity, ownership, and influence to better control and shape scarcity and unpredictability, while also reducing loss and avoidance.

The same technique is actually used when creating and training an AI. When creating an AI and teaching it how to perform, it will learn by recording only its pitfalls and greatest regrets versus a rewards system. The AI then uses the giant list of “regrets” to perform the intended process in the most streamlined fashion while avoiding all of the past pitfalls.

Then, the pitfalls can easily be identified from the metrics of past attempts and assigning them meaning. Over multiple runs, the AI will use creativity to solve the task. While using the past runs to reduce unpredictability, now that the task is better defined. Over the course of several hundred attempts while training the AI it will then understand how its actions finally allow, efficiently reaching the desired result every time.

What’s your favorite game(s) today? What was your favorite game(s) when you were 15?

Dean: Well, I love economy-based games where you need to constantly juggle the best action moving forward with the availability of specific resources. These challenges are most commonly seen in real-time strategy and tower defense games.

Dean’s Favorite Games Today:

  • Magic the Gathering Arena

  • StarCraft 2

15-year-old Dean’s Favorite Games:

  • StarCraft 1

  • Total Annihilation

  • WarCraft 3

Are there any platforms you use to help you gamify?

Dean: Mode Analytics and PowerBI have been my primary platforms to enforce gamification. Relaying complex problems in an easily ingestible format helps intuitively see the whole story. Analytics and business intelligence platforms are quintessential to a successfully gamified approach to everything.

Gamification Wrap-up and Resources

To learn more about gamification, Dean suggests tuning into Jane McGonigal’s Ted Talk on allowing gaming to improve your world. Or you could check out this gamification framework or Scott Herbert’s talk on the power of gamification in education.

The moral of the story here is to up your game with gamification FTW at work.


What are other ways to increase efficiency at work?

How can flexible work culture make work feel like sport?

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