Gamify the Mundane

In a perfect world work would consist of tasks we love to do. But work usually includes mundane, boring, or repetitive tasks.

If your work includes a significant volume of such tasks then automate, redesign, delegate, or move to another role. If you own your own business, or resources are scarce, that may not be practical. Instead, consider gamification.


Gamification is defined as “to apply typical elements of game playing (point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to an activity”.

As kids we played games such as tag, rope skipping, knuckle bones, snap, through to organised sport and card games such as 500 and cribbage. A friend and his brothers were so competitive they would each select an insect and compete as to which insect reached an arbitrary destination first!

What makes games engaging is point scoring and competition.

KPIs for vital functions

Point scoring and competition can be applied to work. Key performance indicators (KPIs) relating to vital functions monitor job performance and overall effectiveness.

But what about the mundane tasks such as clearing email, filing documents, invoicing, keeping the workshop tidy and so on? How can we gamify the necessary but mundane tasks?

There are several approaches…

Time Bending or Genesis Deadlines

This approach sets “unrealistic” deadlines to complete tasks. Don’t think it’s possible? Just consider how quickly tasks are completed before an extended holiday break!

For example, instead of allowing two hours to complete quotes or invoicing, allow say one hour and just go for it. Compete against your arbitrary deadline to complete the task – winning improves efficiency and makes the task more engaging.


Or track tasks that cause you grief.

Uncleared email? Track the number in your in box at the end of each day and aim to get below the target. A long “to do” list? Set a target to achieve by the end of the day or week (don’t cheat or resort to poor quality workmanship).

Track sales calls made, or parcels despatched each day. Compete against your previous best, or your colleagues. Consider making the number public. A client found warehouse staff despatched a third more boxes when they tracked the number and displayed it publicly each day.


As we head towards the last month of the year with haircuts, cafes, and the new traffic light system beckoning, let’s finish the year well. Use point scoring and competition to encourage high performance.

“If you are not keeping score, you’re just practicing”

Vince Lombardi




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