At the beginning of every year I like to sit down and reflect. What goals did I accomplish this past year? What habits do I want to keep or change? And most importantly, what would I like to accomplish this year?
The results of this process helped me determine that my art goals for this year include visiting more artist alleys, improving the cohesiveness of my portfolios, and completing 52 illustrations. Well, today I’d like to share the system I created to help me achieve them and more!
This year’s system is inspired by a new trend I’ve been enjoying that’s about romanticizing your life. It’s a concept about falling in love with your life and learning how to enjoy the little things that make your life yours. I plan to embrace this ideology this year with my bullet journal but with a twist. This year I want to turn my life into a game.
The Basics of Bullet Journaling
In the past I’ve tried many a strategy to complete my goals. Panda planners, weekly planners, a google doc that’s just a long to-do list…They all worked for a bit then one day I just lost interest in them…. And with my newly expanded family, I need to find a way that’s flexible and adaptable to help me keep up with my goals. Bullet Journaling has been the one that fit the best with my chaotic energy in the past, so I plan to use it as a baseline for my new planner.
Bullet Journaling at it’s core is about living an intentional live. Or in other words, it’s about organizing your day while being mindful about why you’re doing it. You set up your intentions, and break it down all the way to daily goals. It’s one of the best adaptable systems because all you need is a blank journal and pen. If you’d like to learn more, head to their website here.
Yet the basic bullet journaling system hit a mark of me nagging at myself for not completing things. It always felt like the list of things to do kept expanding at a rate I couldn’t keep up. So I decided that this year I’d make it into something that I find more engaging. Something inspired by this planner that works for me.
That is where gamification comes in.
What is Gamification?
Gamification is applying game elements to other types of activities. You’ll find it most often with marketing. For example, Twitch has made streaming a game. As you watch, you gain points that can then be used to interact with the streamer. (The streamer then gets to decide how these interactions go. Like having to change their outfit mid-stream or draw a suggestion.)
And this is what I want to do to my planner this year. Taking inspiration from some of my favorite video and tabletop games to create a system that works for me, and maybe for you too.
Digital Vs. Physical Gamified Planner
There are already some apps out there that have also been created to help with the monotony of life. And I did try to use them before this year. However, I didn’t like how they had you expend experience for rewards and cosmetic upgrades. It was a little too disconnected from life to work for me. If that sounds right up your alley though, check Habitica or Bounty Tasker in your App Store.
Meanwhile with this physical gamified planner I can customize it to become a combination of what I enjoy. That cozy vibes from farming rpgs and the luck of the roll from tabletop rpgs to create a system that hopefully improves my productivity.
The Main Pages To Gamify
One part of bullet journaling is creating a set of pages to help you be mindful with your planning of each month. And below are a few of the pages I’ve setup for this year with a gamified flair.
This page is all about having a quick glance at the big goals for the year. What are you wanting to accomplish, and what note/quote of motivation is helping to encourage you achieve them. I plan to write down the page number where the mission log is for each quest to make it easy to find.
On Questline pages, it’s all about breaking down the quests posted on the quest-board to figure out how you’ll achieve them. For my quests, I broke it down into missions that can be achievable within a day. All of this is then put in the mission log. I found it also important to write down the intrinsic or extrinsic reward for achieving them.
For example, in the past few years I have been in the hobby of collecting books instead reading them. So this year, I’m only allowing myself to buy a new book after I’ve finished reading three in my hoard. The intrinsic reward is getting to enjoy new stories. The extrinsic is freeing up storage space for new books and other hobbies.
One of my favorites, this page is where you collect all the tokens you’ve earned each week. I’m still working on designing this one, but I like the idea of making it look like a dragon hoard or dwarves excavation site.
I don’t know about y’all, but I found that extrinsic rewards can be very motivating. And this page is all about that.
This page was very much inspired by my love for dungeons and dragons. The idea is that a table has a certain set of treats and “magical items” that can be acquired after I spend my tokens and roll a dice. Each table increases in value and difficulty in acquiring so you have to save up tokens to get the treats. This is a very personal page as the rewards should be something you look forward to getting.
This page is for those daily, weekly, monthly chores that need to be completed but have no set timetable. Each day I roll a set of dice and determine one chore to complete on each table. That way I’m spending less time deciding on what needs to be done and more time on getting it done.
Part of the fun of gamifying my planner is also changing how I think of each goal and project. I found that using “game terms” instead of the usual planner terms help me find it more fun. Some examples include:
- Bounties are quests or missions that are urgent to complete, so they have a higher reward to them.
- Dailies are the habits that need to be completed, well, daily to keep everything running.
- Magic Items are tools that help ease the burden of work. For example, having a roomba to vacuum for you instead of having to pull out a regular one.
- Missions are tasks you can complete in a day or two. (Honestly you can pick the timeframe that works best for you.)
- Quests are goals or projects you want to complete.
- Questlines are goals or projects that need to be broken down into missions that can be accomplished in a smaller timeframe. They must have something measurable that you can track.
- Random Encounters are tables created for chores that are completed daily, weekly, monthly, etc. A dice is rolled to see which chore will be taken on that day. (This helps kill decision making paralysis.)
- Side Quests are any missions that I want to accomplish but do not fall under a main quest for the year. They *technically* distract from the main goals, but they are usually important to complete and are an alternative way to collect tokens to use on the treasure tables.
- Tokens are rewarded after a certain amount of missions are completed. This is tallied at the end of the week. Can also be called coins.
Romanticizing my life into a game has been a dream of mine for a few years now. Finally having the eureka moment this year to have it come together like this is exciting. It’s still a very raw, rough concept that’s slowly coming together. I suspect that more pages and terminology will come along as I work on this new system.
Any suggestions for new pages or feedback on my current ones would be greatly appreciated.
Until Next Time,