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Gamifying life routines to keep them interesting

Image credit: Image found at https://stocksnap.io/photo/family-breakfast-UP68QACYMW . Photo by Direct Media.

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salemandreus
salemandreus Jul 10, 2021
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Necessity

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Conciseness

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How can we gamify routines in our lives in easy-to-implement ways, to make the mundane and repetitive tasks more interesting?
5
Creative contributions

I'll ask the tough not-fun question so that it may be fun for others

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MC
Michelle Christine Jul 11, 2021
I love the idea of gamification. I like challenges, I like competition, but not to the extent of basic survival which is the way our society has been set up. For reasons I can't personally understand, there are people who believe the least naturally competent shouldn't have the right to a good life.
What used to be fun for me (work out a lot, score the most points in games) is now stressful. When my company sponsors "challenges" for employees to the very things I actually enjoy doing (like taking a lot of steps), I opt out, and what used to be enjoyment has now turned to a mentality of when and how will they use all of this data they collect against me instead of for me? Same goes for any app. How do we create a system that ensures gamification (an idea I like) is used only for good and not an individual risk? It's not nearly as "fun" of a question as how can we advance gamification, but just can't be ignored.
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salemandreus
salemandreus5 months ago
Another way the public can ensure that information is not being wrongfully stored by tech companies is for the codebase to be open-sourced and practices made transparent and available for the public to inspect (and also contributed to by development communities and relevant security experts), as in the case of Signal, which bases its entire messaging platform on privacy and security of user data and which is famously used by Edward Snowden.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square says this about Signal which I think is a good guide on accountability measures that can be used to review how software companies use your data:

"I trust Signal because it’s well built, but more importantly, because of how it’s built: open-source, peer-reviewed, and funded entirely by grants and donations. A refreshing model for how critical services should be built."
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salemandreus
salemandreus5 months ago
One proposed solution to the privacy question is through using the decentralization of blockchain and similar technologies so that the user can “own their own data” and grant access of only those documents they wish to share with those entities they wish to share them with, and potentially only when requested.

Here is one such example.

To enforce their use though, we would also require legislation to back it up. Governments have taken strides regarding data privacy, but in other ways, their own laws sometimes undermine those practices in practicality, such as requiring certain data to be kept for audit purposes, particularly in the financial services industry. Recording of phone calls for example is often mandatory to ensure that no fraud, financial misadvice, exploitation of the customer or other legal violation took place.

South Africa for example has the Protection of Personal Information Act where at a user's request their data may be deleted, but companies are permitted if not required (and clients sign consent for) to retain certain information that is necessary. Some of these laws are even included in the POPI act itself for the enabling of the exact enforcement of those protection rights!

So if the product comes from an external provider then partly this may depend on the legislation and partly on the technologies available and the pressure put by people against governments.
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salemandreus
salemandreus5 months ago
A really relevant concern! To be honest when I raised this topic I had only been thinking of it in terms of individual self-motivation, likely due to my need to find an ADHD hack for many tasks where neurotypicals can "just get it done" but it's certainly true, gamification is so often exploited by advertisers and we don't have to look very far to see the negative sides of this: social media addiction, gambling addiction and sadly even exploitation of addictive behaviours in regular gaming, where "loot crates" very often function the same way as gambling in terms of mechanics and addictive reinforcement, but without the real money payout (which is that's the legal difference when it comes to regulation of gambling industries and what constitutes gambling, but the harm from the addiction is still just as real without the chance of winning real money!)
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Personal challenges

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Jul 10, 2021
As a kid, I used to challenge myself for speed, accuracy, efficiency, technique to spice up the repetitive, mundane tasks. Examples:
  • While riding an elevator, to which floor can I hold my breath?
  • Can I traverse the final floor of stairs before the elevator door self-closes? When it got easy, I upped the game by not breathing the entire ride plus the stair run. When that was easy, could I also unlock the door that was located at the end of the hallway? Could I close and lock the door all before the elevator door self-closes? If anyone saw this, it pretty much looked like parkour.
  • Brushing teeth with the non-dominant hand
I realize now that it might have been OCD :) When I got home, the neighbors probably thought "Is that a storm outside? An earthquake? Oh, it's just the staircase sprinting maniac kid again."

There's always something that can make mundane things more challenging. Often this can result in personal improvement, even a small one.

Personal challenges are also helpful when doing things that scare you.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic5 months ago
Pretty much something like this https://youtu.be/xfxIzNXtCZY
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salemandreus
salemandreus5 months ago
I was also considering mentioning this! As it became a big game changer for me and possibly inspired this session in the first place, as I use this as an accessibility and motivation tool for my ADHD! Before that it was really difficult to get everyday routine stuff done! In my case my challenges often involve timers and chaining routines.

For example while preparing coffee, waiting for the right amount of time before plunging to make it perfect for me (6:30 - 8:30 mins) is exactly the right amount of time to get a bunch of dishes speed-washed if they've been piling up or get several smallish organisational tasks done. Was very proud of myself yesterday on arriving home from a trip for getting all my bags unpacked, room rearranged to my liking and workstation set up etc within the time period it took to make that perfect cup of coffee!

Challenging myself to get micro tasks done around the kitchen while the kettle is boiling, the oven is preheating or something quick is cooking on the stove is super engaging for my brain because I'm exploiting my ADHD dislike of waiting and being bored by challenging myself to optimise tasks! When you're tackling several things in tandem and also listening for the click of the kettle to tell you time is up you don't have time to be bored!
I've even found myself wanting to push past time and feeling like I was "cheating" for wanting to finish washing the dishes although time was up. 😹
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic5 months ago
This reminds me.. I should check if I can still do it. I think the elevator has been replaced by now:)
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Apps like Pokemon Go and Zombies, Run! for running/walking

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salemandreus
salemandreus Jul 10, 2021
My friend and I spent a lot of time playing Pokemon Go, a game where you catch pokemon and equipment while out walking in the real world. It was a seriously addicting way to go walking outside. One weekend we ended up walking 19 kms over 2 days without even realising it, simply by meandering all over (and every 5 kms a pokemon egg in your collection hatched which was an incentive to walk just a little bit further!). We also had the bonus of discovering really engaging hidden-in-plain-sight artworks (as they were pokestops) all over our city, which we would ordinarily never have stopped to notice, as well as discovering new interesting places to eat out - under overlapping pokestops where people would drop lures to attract pokemon :D). There is also the game Zombies, run! which turns your running routine into a narrated adventure story where you have to outrun zombies on your missions to collect supplies and you can hear them catching up to you if you aren't running fast enough! I've tended to struggle with motivating myself to do the type of exercise which is traditionally not very mentally stimulating, like running, and gamification makes a huge difference in motivating me to go outside - also it's a sneaky way of using the existing tech, games or media we grow addicted to to make us actually go play outside! :D Also they have less competition right now, with countries mostly still getting the pandemic under control and unable to open social spaces like many sporting and gym facilities fully.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni5 months ago
As a kid, I used to skip alternate tiles while walking. As this became mundane after a while, I started creating patterns with tiles, paver blocks, the lines on a zebra crossing and following them. I needed to change the pattern after I got used to it to still feel the same level of excitement. Basically, it does not end. You need to bring in different patterns, instruments (already made available, for example, the paver blocks) and keep creating patterns. This is especially easy while walking or running since both these activities are not mindful.

Another way to involve your other abilities is to play with the number plates. I started dividing the numbers on the plates by 2 initially. Now I can divide a number by 2 (however big it is) as you speak it. I don't need to think or calculate. I know what digit I need to use to replace the original one. Then I started dividing the numbers by 3. Walking beside a filled parking lot was a nightmare since there were cars parked one after the other. It gradually became less and less difficult.
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Real-world memory exercises

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Jul 12, 2021
Perhaps we could even look at some of the information we are exposed to on a daily basis, especially news providers or blogs, and construct tests based on the information found on the pages for you to complete later.
An app could even be designed to monitor the sites we visit and generate tests from the content that we have read. This obviously opens the app up to some privacy concerns, but the basic idea would simply be to help you practise mindful reading and retention of information instead of mindless scrolling.
In this way, instead of attempting to get us to stop using our technological devices so much, which would be a really difficult undertaking, we might at least benefit from our daily online activities more.

There are obviously many other memory exercises that we could do without the help of an app. For instance, if we have the time, we could try to remember all the streets we pass from one point to another, not only will this improve your memory but it would also get you to know certain areas better.
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salemandreus
salemandreus5 months ago
I'm a HUGE fan of this as I realise there are so many essential things I have not gotten around to committing to memory- such as I stopped trying to remember cellphone numbers ever since I first got a cellphone in 2001 😆 - my parents' numbers (that I memorised as a kid before I got a phone!) and my own number are still the only numbers actually in my memory, the rest I have to actually look up!

The thing for me with my ADHD I guess would be gamifying the act of learning itself! Perhaps for me I'd need some kind of game app that quizzed me or, if it were on my phone, somewhere where I could load flashcards or a course with achievements and some kind of feedback on my progress.

Something which reinforces and dwells on the correct patterns for learning would be ideal - for me this would be a gamified and interactive version of Crash Course's style with animation effects and keyword highlighting of technical terms, except tailored to highlighting the content I need to remember on a site.

There are already plenty of natural language processing tools for identifying the main meanings or sentiments in a text. This could become a very powerful tool for quizzing and building retention, possibly even through some kind of summarising tools!
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw5 months ago
salemandreus Same here. I used to practise memorizing sequences of numbers and see how many I could get right, now I don't even remember a phone number long enough to copy it into my cellphone, I break it up into parts of three or four.
I don't think the ability has gone, I think it's laziness and habit. Gamifying these sorts of things can be very beneficial for our memory abilities I think.
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App suggesting ways to break out of the routine

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salemandreus
salemandreus Jul 10, 2021
Povilas S has an idea thread here for an app which finds ways to for the user break out of repetitive routines/prevent people getting stuck in that rut in the first place.
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Povilas S
Povilas S5 months ago
I have also proposed a suggestion similar to the topic of this session in a creative contribution here: https://brainstorming.com/r/UmAGa1. Although this session focuses on a bit of a different aspect, that is how to gamify the boring routines themselves instead of replacing them with something new, which is also cool:)
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salemandreus
salemandreus5 months ago
Povilas S I've checked out your creative contribution too now! I think for me I also struggle to motivate myself to do the novel thing unless I can find a specific reason why it "should" be done. Which brought me back here and also kinda brings us full circle to Darko Savic's CC on personal challenges - which is actually the mechanism I would use to gamify your gamification for my ADHD brain - in this case using novelty but as a means to optimize! Ie finding creative solutions when in-the-box ones aren't sufficient to achieve the desired results!
I do this when it comes to cooking creatively and experimentally, partly to avoid wasting food and also to keep the process interesting for me when I'm in a creative mood and don't feel like routine!
But the best example here that I can think of is how my friend (before she got a proper coffee grinder) removed the handle of her small metal manual grinder and instead used a power drill as the rotary mechanism to grind her coffee beans automatically, as it slotted perfectly into the rotational slot where the handle had connected! It was pretty hilarious watching her "drill" coffee beans for the purposes of reducing the grinding time from 2 minutes to 30 seconds (and zero physical exertion! ) 😂
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salemandreus
salemandreus5 months ago
Povilas S for some reason I can only tag people in the comments not in the actual CC.
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