This is Part 5 of my Divine Productivity Hacks series. Click here to see the other posts in the series!
The truth about productivity is, you do better work when you’re motivated to do it. Motivation has strong ties to the quality and quantity of work we produce. So the key to being more productive often comes in finding better motivation.
Yet motivation is difficult to find when we accumulate more work. As our schedules and workload fills up, our motivation to complete such large tasks starts to diminish.
Thus, one of the greatest challenges with motivation is keeping it when our workload increases. With a stable and increasing sense of motivation, we can accomplish seemingly impossible task even better. But without motivation, we’ll cripple under their pressure.
I discovered this the hard way when it came to writing my first book. I had a short time limit (I wanted it published by April), and I had a large challenge (I recently scrapped my whole book just months before the submission). After diagnosing the problem, I found that I needed to grow my motivation if I ever wanted to make a significant dent in writing the book.
So what did I do? I made writing the book into a game.
I set a goal of when I would have it done by, I gave myself a limit of what I would accomplish each morning, and I rewarded myself with a relaxing night.
A game works as motivation by giving people enough small wins to generate momentum, excitement, and thrill to completing a task. If we can turn large tasks into games, we can find enjoyment in each small win we achieve toward our goal. And the more enjoyment we feel, the more likely we are to do the necessary work.
The book, Change Anything (by Kerry Patterson and numerous other authors), states that games typically have three aspects to them: 1) Limited time, 2) a challenge, and 3) a score.
With these elements in mind, I can’t help but think of how the disciples and seventy-two people viewed being sent out by Jesus to the towns. In Luke 10, Jesus sends out seventy-two people to preach the good news to people. He is working under limited time, as just verses before reveals that He is on His way to Jerusalem (9:51). He also gives the seventy-two a challenge to work on (10:9). And then, when the seventy-two return with joy, we see that they are excited by their wins (of healing and casting out demons), which Jesus then reveals to them as being only a small win, but a win nonetheless (10:20).
You see what happened? The seventy-two were operating within a game. That’s possible why they were motivated to attempt such a large objective.
Some people might think that making an objective into a game is belittling the importance of the task, but in reality, making something into a game helps motivate people to accomplish the task with fervor and excitement. The task might not be as light-hearted as a game, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun while doing it. As we see with the seventy-two, they were joyful when they returned! I don’t know if I would have been joyful at such a task, but since Jesus motivated them with game mechanics, they came back thrilled at the results.
In the same way, we can make seemingly large tasks into games. By breaking up large goals into small wins, we can capitalize on the momentum, and finally get work done toward our objectives.