My #FOMO is acting up!
July 11, 2013 6:16 PM   Subscribe

How can I gamify the tedious parts of my day?

I've always thrived on novel, extreme and "peak flow" experiences. This is great for learning new things and impressing cute girls... less good for keeping a career, finding those same girls cute three months later, and doing laundry without having an existential crisis about it. My interests fluctuate wildly, except for a few deep passions. This super low tolerance for repetition is holding me back. I need better ways of dealing with drudge.

So! What are hacks to slow time, speed time, and make boring things better?

Bonus points for mental or conceptual tricks. "Look Ma, no hands!"

- While standing in line, why not play a quick game of "What's in her purse?"
- Don't sort your socks or forks, throw them willy-nilly into a drawer!
- Need to write 100 emails? Pretend the recipients are trapped baby lemurs who depend on your response for survival!
posted by fritillary to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Jerry Seinfeld's "don't break the chain" is a great way to gamify a boring daily routine. I used it to get in the habit of flossing every day, which I hate doing. There is a webapp, or you can just cross off days on your calendar. I learned about it on AskMe I believe!
posted by radioamy at 7:37 PM on July 11, 2013

Best answer: I try to flip the boredom equation around. I'm not bored by Doing X. I am so friggin sick of thinking about needing to eventually Do X. Much more exciting to bust through my to do list than to keep looking at the same stupid items. Hurry up through the Great Plains of those 100 emails to the wild and rugged frontier of whatever comes after that.
posted by salvia at 7:51 PM on July 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

And when that fails, I do whatever it is while listening to a podcast.
posted by salvia at 7:52 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

I time chunks of my knitting.

How fast can I do a row? Five rows? Also putting markers into a project every $time_increment can be fun.

UnfuckyourHabitat.tumblr has an app and it makes tidying up into something more fun.

Packing a bento instead of always having lasagne leftovers. Makes getting ready AND eating into a game.

Choosing outfits the night before while you're brushing teeth. This only works if your weather is fairly predictable/you pay attention to the predictions. Otherwise, choose outfits for various weather possibilities and put them together so they're grab and go. And do something else while you brush. I time my dental hygiene with a song. Whatever song comes up on pandora. If you're a hard brusher, limit to 2 minutes. Do calf raises, leg lifts, really concentra on your core, some physical but stationary thing.
posted by bilabial at 7:54 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh man salvia is right, everything is less tedious when listening to a podcast!
posted by radioamy at 9:30 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I suppose the most snarkily honest way to gamify your life would be to set up some kind of electronic microtransaction curse-jar and force yourself to pay into it for excess units of idleness when you exceed your under-provisioned daily supply.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:38 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I work at a standing desk. I do lunges and squats and tree pose and stretch one leg out behind me, and bounce up and down on my toes all the time when doing boring work.

Also, dumb as it sounds, sometimes you can just talk yourself into enjoying something you might not usually enjoy. I was talking to a friend about writing up a boring mechanical section of a paper we are doing together, and she said, "Oh, I am so excited that I just get to spend a whole day doing something mindless like that! It's so unchallenging that it takes the stress and panic out of writing, and I can really concentrate on making the prose elegant instead of stressing about whether I am even capable of expressing the concepts involved at all. It will be like a massage for my brain! I'm going to really enjoy this!"

And weirdly, I've now started looking forward to writing similar stuff because her framing of the situation totally turned around how I think about it too. I feel like there's a lesson there about psyching yourself up for doing tasks and about positive thinking, but I'm not sure how easy it is without outside input from someone who really does like whatever task it is.
posted by lollusc at 11:01 PM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

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