Your career success is based on how much fun you have in your work. Look at the projects that you are most proud of. Most likely you enjoyed the work itself as well as the results.
You were able to find the best mindset for the tasks you needed to do in order to complete your project. And you had an emotional connection to your work.
It’s this connection that needs to happen naturally or you need to manufacture in order to maximize your career success.
I’m currently putting the finishing touches on a project I call Unlock Your Career Happiness. I want to help you bring more energy to your work so you can improve your results and level up your career.
I recently hit a wall, and I feel the fear rising as I get closer to putting something out there for people to see and use and therefore judge. I remembered an article that I read over at nerd fitness about gamifying my life.
Why Games Work
As a kid, you probably loved games. You felt the rush of joy as you were close to winning. There is something engaging about taking on a challenge that we are not quite sure we can reach.
Creating this feeling in your career to boost your motivation and productivity is a time-honored technique that more people should use.
I use games to encourage and motivate myself to take action. Here are 5 of my favorite games:
1. The Time Crunch Game
You understand the importance of time. It’s a finite resource that will run out at some point in our lives. It’s why the Time Crunch game is one of my favorites. It improves focus and productivity.
Next time you have a project to do and you are procrastinating, bring out a timer, set it for 20 minutes, and focus on your work until the timer goes off.
You know how hard it is just to get started sometimes. We hold on to all this emotional baggage which holds us back from taking action. This game sets your mind on focusing on the task at hand and there will be many times that you just keep working, but that’s the point. Sometimes the hardest part is starting something.
2. The Movie Game
There are times that you will look at a task and feel the torture before it starts.
We all have tasks we can’t stand no matter if we are at the bottom or top of the career totem pole. The key to being a top performer is treating each task as if it’s important to your career. This is easy to say, but hard to do all the time.
I had to stuff 2,500 marketing bags for a huge conference for a company that I used to work for. I stuffed them with our newsletter, pens, little flashlights and postcards. I couldn’t even tell you the total amount of time it took to stuff all those bags.
The only way I got through it was by playing mental games. One of my favorite Movie games was pretending to be Bruce Lee as I stuffed each bag. Each movement was precise and perfectly calculated. It forced me to be in the moment instead of worrying how many more bags I had to stuff.
3. The “Acting” Game
There are times we all feel a little inferior as I try to complete the task at hand. Heck, we can’t be good at everything.
Focus is a big problem of mine, which I know is a difficulty for many of you as well. Instead of beating myself up and letting my arch nemesis dictate how I feel, I play the “acting” game instead.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I pretend I’m Bill Gates. I’ve read stories of how expansive and quick his mind is. He is able to process and act on information faster than most people.
I adjust my glasses if I have them on, I hunch over just a little and I start to think of myself as Bill Gates. Then I get back to the task and it comes much easier to me. I eventually fall out of character within 10-15 minutes, but now I’m back on track and I’m much more productive.
4. The Internal Challenge Game
Every game needs to keep score -- how many enemies you’ve killed to how many coins you’ve been able to collect. Every time you play, you are measuring yourself against previous tries.
When I feel stuck while trying to write an article, I time myself to see how fast I can get to 100 words. I used to keep a record of how fast I could get to 100. Now I just use this game to spark my motivation and I’m off and running and reaching 1,000 words before I know it.
Next time you are stuck, try setting small little attainable goals that you can measure. Then keep track of how you improve from previous efforts.
5. The Freeze Time Game
You’ve probably wished you could freeze time. I know I have. How cool would it be to be able to freeze time, try something new that might not work, and if it doesn’t work you can just unfreeze time and continue with the original action you were working on?
This game is wonderful for finding a better mindset for doing a tedious or difficult task.
For example, you are about to finish up a report and send it to your boss. As you look it over, you see a way you could improve the report. You could create two graphs to back up your ideas. You already feel stressed about the report and feel you have spent too much time on it. You aren’t sure if the graphs will help. You then remember you have the ability to freeze time.
You freeze time and create the graphs. If you create the graphs and they don’t help, then no big deal. You didn’t lose any time. You unfreeze time and send off the report.
Too often we get caught up in trying to make perfect use of our time, which we all know isn’t possible. So this game gives us the attitude that we don’t need to be perfect in our execution, and helps us make sure that we deliver the best possible results.
Which game do you or would you use at work to improve your happiness and productivity?
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