How many times in your life have you been given a mission, objective, task, or goal to achieve?
The correct answer should be many… and how many times have you found accomplishing these tasks challenging?
If your answer is never… congratulations! Stop reading now…and if your answer is always… well you just might be in the right place!
I consider myself a gamer (or geek, or nerd, depending on who you are). I’ve been gaming since… well, as long as I can remember. Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Play Station, etc… I’ve had or played on them all at some point.
I’ve also played games from most genres out there from First Person Shooters (FPS) to platformers, to full on Fantasy Role Playing Games (RPGs)… and the one thing that all my gaming has had in common… is the fact that there’s always a mission, a goal, an objective, very similar to life.
Save the princess, defuse the bomb, collect X amount of Y materials so you can use them to make Z… you name it, there’s an objective for it.
After some time, I’ve come to realize that I can apply these principals to my daily life… by this I don’t mean go out and find a princess to save (unless there’s a princess in your area that can use your assistance… in that case have at it!). By this I mean turn your daily objectives, chores, tasks, into a game to make it more fun and engaging.
There are 5 different ways you can set objectives you can set for yourself, all with varying levels of detail.
1: Just WIN! “Make It To The End”
Some of my favorite games have the simplest objective, WIN! Get to the end… reach the goal… (ie Sonic The Hedgehog and Super Mario Bros). Getting to the end of the day is something we all strive to do in the workplace. This is the most basic type of objective and this can be a great way to motivate yourself to keep moving forward and get results. However, it may not be specific enough for some…
2: The Broad Scope “Get The Job Done”
The next level up (see what I did there?) would be the broad scope. This is not too far off base from the first objective type, just a bit more specific. Examples of a broad scope objective can include; if you’re in sales “Sell something today!” If you’re in customer support “Support my customers!” I see this a lot in Call of Duty titles… “inspect this location” or “defend that location”… a seemingly simple task, which often involves a more elaborate scenario to accomplish the goal, especially if you’re met by opposition.
This type of goal setting mindset keeps your eye on the prize, while at the same being prepared for challenges that might jump up out of nowhere.
You get the idea… again a great way to stay motivated, but what if your daily goals are even more specific?
3: Tasks “Make A List”
Here’s where it gets more interesting… this is one of favorites. Task based objectives is exactly what it sounds like… you usually find this in Massive Multiplayer Online (MMORPG) titles. Some would consider this “busy work”.
By creating a daily task list for yourself (I suggest writing it down as opposed to an electronic device to keep yourself better engaged), you hold yourself accountable for what you intend to accomplish.
I like to take it a step further and color code my objectives based on level of priority…You can even make up your own point or reward system as a way to keep motivated… the way my mind works… give me points for anything and I’ll strive for the most points possible to beat my “high score”. You may ask “What if everything is a priority?” To that I have this to say; If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority…
4: Sequential “First Things First”
Sequential objectives are very similar to task based, with one big difference… You cannot proceed to the next task until you have completed the current one. The best example I can think of is Legend of Zelda. Another classic… Some peoples daily objectives don’t require this to be so… for some people, however (myself included), it’s easy to get side tracked and attempt to multitask in order to get more done sooner…
Don’t get me wrong…multitasking is an effective way to work on several things at once, however if you are “less than pro” (like myself), it is very easy to get your ‘wires crossed’ and eventually lose track of your progress. Also, some things simply require a specific order of completion (cough cough..The Biggoron Sword). This method allows you to slow it down, and take things one step at a time… this is a great method when attention to detail is a must!
5: Quest “The Long Game”
Ah, yes… quest based objectives standard to the RPG genre, yet another favorite of mine! When you have a quest based objective, you have a single larger (often long term) overarching goal, with several smaller often optional objectives (side-quests) that can aid in accomplishing your main mission… even if it doesn’t seem like it will at first glance. Side quests can often overlap, and can be considered “tasks”. Utilizing quest based objectives is an awesome way to keep on task, and let’s face it… makes your day sound way more epic!
Optional objectives, are just that, things you don’t have to do, but will over all aid in your daily/weekly/monthly mission. This one is pretty simple, and can easily tie in with the 5 mentioned above….
So there you have it! You can use one, a few or all of these methods of structuring your daily, monthly, weekly objectives to keep your brain engaged, and keep yourself on task.
You can wake up one day and decide to have a “Just WIN” attitude where you WIN by getting to the end of the week, (everybody’s working for the weekend after all right?) while having a longer term goal (Quest) that’s something much bigger… that new Lexus you’ve been dreaming about perhaps, or landing X amount of new accounts, a promotion with a corner office, etc…
Along the way you accomplish tasks (some optional, some not… some in a specific order, some not) which will help you to attain that big goal of yours.
None… NONE of what I’m saying here is new. We all have our motivations, our dreams, desires, and goals. Some of us just need to go about staying on task in a way that works, and this is a way that works for me! I know it will work for other as well.