Blog 5 Why Tracking is a Core Concept for Gamification

5 min read


Gamification thrives under the ability to track your behaviours and action. This is because games are always working with a framework that hat set rules and boundaries for the player to follow, forcing the player to work within this framework. Within this framework the player is directed to achieve a goal, these goals are usually guided by subgoals which if you think about any goal, there really needs to be a way of messuring your progress. Translating this process into our lives sets the requirement for tracking. The tracking allows you to distinguish specific actions from the rest of your daily actions and placing them within the framework you have designed, allowing for gamification.

Lets get into some examples by listing some different types of tracking, say your goal is to become better at drawing. The framework relates to your goal and therefor requires you to track something that is connected to your drawing. There are multiple approaches on how you can track yourself on your journey to get better at drawing. The simplest way is to note down every time you sat down to draw. This might be documented on a sheet of paper, through checks or over an app to your phone like habithub (Although habithub merely notes if you did something on that day and does not document how often). Another approach would be timing yourself which is one of my favorite methods because it requires you to pay attention to your distractions and really gives you an overview on how much you are actively working on your goal. This method is more difficult to track since you need to remember to write down these times. The 10000 hour tracking app could be a useful app for this type of tracking. There are many more ways to track your progress and essentially it depends on what you would like to accomplish. If you just want to make sure you do something every day it would be easiest to use something like habit hub, but if you are trying to finish a complex goal that has multiple little aspects that need to be accomplished, then it might be best to chunk down that goal in smaller goals and track the achievement of each individualy sub-goal. What I am trying to make clear here is that tracking needs to be tailored to your goals that you are aiming to achieve. It also might not be very practical to track every detail and in most cases it is not necessary. We all know getting started is often the hardest part, therefor having a simple checklist for doing something can be motivating to at least start every day. Say you want to get more fit and stronger. You could write down all the workouts you do and the weights you use, tracking the time it took to accomplish the training, but the effort alone of writing all this down might demotivate you completely. (This is me majorly speaking out of experience btw, during this project here I have been haunted by the overwealming possiblities of gamifying my life. Taking a step back and simplifying it has been a major lesson for me. If I am not following through, its usually because i made it too hard on myself.) Back to the fitness example: A better approach would be to simply write down that you worked out that day so that you can keep an eye out for the days you missed. Seeing that you worked out 5 days in a row no matter how big the workout, can be very motivating to keep that streak going. (Small disclaimer here, you should take breaks from working out too. Muscle growth happens when you sleep.)

So to wrap it up, let me list the different types of tracking i have encountered so far. Checklist Tracking if i did or didnt do it today, counting tracking, how often i did something, Time tracking how long I have been doing something, Time or date tracking when have i worked on something. GPS tracking where have i done something. Emotional tracking, how did i feel doing something Subgoal tracking – achieving the diffent milestones towards a bigger goal (this one might involve u using different tracking for each sub goal)

In my attempts to track, I found that every goal needs a different approach and so far I have not found an applications that allows for the flexibility to track in all kinds of different ways. If you found one please let me know! Currently I am tracking in google sheets and This method allows me to use different formulas for different goals. A blank google sheets document will be released in the Tools section of this website.

Tracking types I have encountered so far:

1- Checklist Tracking: if I did or did not do it today

2- Counting Tracking: how often I did something

3- Time Tracking: how long have I been doing something

4- GPS Tracking: where have I done something

5- Emotional Tracking: how did I feel doing something

6- Subgoal Tracking – achieving the different milestones towards a bigger goal (this one might involve you using different tracking for each subgoal)

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