Gamify your chores for great justice

Guest post by Dootsie Bug

You can game-ify your home, but did you know you can game-ify the way you CLEAN your home?
You can game-ify your home, but did you know you can game-ify the way you CLEAN your home?
So you have no trouble contributing to your team, taking charge, completing tasks and generally rocking out… in-game. But what about IRL? Are you letting your warrior spirit sit on the back burner just because the game is over?

Unlock your inner champion for real-life rewards. Make a giant real life game out of your day-to-day chores to motivate yourself and your spacemates (while having more fun)!

Create a point system
Assign various household tasks point values. The more difficult or time-consuming the task, the more points it should be worth. Split tasks up into Regular, Occasional, and Bonus categories (with the most difficult or time-consuming tasks being Bonus tasks).

Build your world, set the rules
Devise stages in your world by dividing the Regular tasks evenly among the players for the week. Throw in one Occasional and one Bonus task. At any time during the stage, a player can complete their assigned tasks and collect their points. A player can also pick up some of the unassigned Occasional or Bonus tasks for additional points. A player doesn’t have to complete their tasks, but risks not collecting those points and thus not earning rewards.

Once a player has earned a certain number of points, it should unlock a special game reward. Randomize it by drawing from a hat. Ideas for rewards include a Swap card that allows them to swap one of their weekly tasks with another player or a Get Out of Chore But Still Get the Points card.

Create missions
Choose a time frame and a minimum number of points needed to win, then let everyone know the reward. Maybe a month from now you’d like everyone to have earned the point equivalent of most of their Regular chores, three Occasionals and three Bonus tasks. The reward for all who conquer? A trip to the water park!

Schedule some of the biggest household tasks for one evening or weekend, so all the players can kick this house’s ass together. Maybe make this the weekend for cleaning out the garage or reorganizing the kitchen. So long as everyone participated, they can share in the big reward—like beers and pizza on the deck or a night at the bowling alley.

Going it alone?
Compete with yourself. Try to beat your own score or aim to level-up faster than last week. Set long-term rewards to keep you in the game. Create achievements to unlock, like Perfect Week (all Regular chores done, plus your Bonus and Occasional) or Bonus Run (five bonus tasks done in one week)!

Do you have your own tricks, or maybe even apps that help you gamify your own cleaning processes?

Comments on Gamify your chores for great justice

  1. This is an awesome idea! Maybe this will motivate my gamer husband to take out the trash 🙂 I can totally see it working for when we have little ones, too. Love it.

      • Not to be Debbie-Downer, but those sticker charts have to have real consequences and rewards, and be age appropriate. I babysat for a kid who got stickers on his chart for putting on his pajamas. He was 4 and completely capable to dress himself, and as his babysitter I rarely had a PJs problem. So I thought the excess of stickers was rewarding behavior he would do normally.

        • To give the parent(s) a measure of credit, it may be that the stickers did their job and got him into a good habit! You’re totally right that it makes no sense to reward what is second-nature, but it’s also possible that what seems like a habit is really just playing the game–I’m taking kids or adults here. It can definitely he hard to know when it’s time to stop a reward, but I think you can observe a person’s enthusiasm to gather when a reward isn’t serving its purpose anymore. Is it “ugh, another dumb sticker” or is it “YEAH STICKER TIME WOO I DID A GOOD JOB”? Likewise, is it “meh, no sticker” or is it “I promise I’ll work real hard to get my next sticker.”

          • That’s true. There is a lot of psychology to motivation/organization. Sometimes just checking one thing off the list (“-Make List.”) is just the thing to get you motivated to do other stuff. It’s not really used as a reminder, but as a confidence and motivation booster. “YEAH STICKER TIME WOO I DID A GOOD JOB”
            And I think when morale is particularly low, those events have their use, too.

  2. My husband actually uses an app on his phone: Epic Win. We’re still working on this applying to cleaning tasks but he uses it for homework, work, or other things I ask him to do.

    We did start work on a big character sheet board for him but that got stalled out as homework took priority over fun. But it’s still in the works that he can earn points for just about anything in his life which will allow him to level up skills, receive achievements with fun names, add items and armor and weapons and also to level up his character (with new images for evolution like Pokemon).

  3. There is a great site for this: I’ve used it in the past with my husband, but he wasn’t competitive enough to diligently fill in his chores so it sort of fizzled out.

      • That was our main obstacle too. We have a big white board in the front of our living room that divides up chores by categories and points that certain regular chores are worth, and records are most recent high scores. Having it in the forefront of our visual space and easy to fill out (anything that involves clicking or tapping on the computer just took too much time for us and quickly died off) was key.

  4. OMG! This is so great for my husband and I, who are pretty avid gamers (both the rpg and video game variety), and I look forward to doing something like it with my son when he’s a little older.

  5. SuperBetter is mainly targeted at health-related goals, but it’s another gamify-your-life site. (I haven’t actually used it, but friends have, and we’re mentioning it in a museum exhibit we’re building about gamification and other positive impacts of gaming).

  6. I proposed this to my roommates, and I think they’re on board. One is very competitive, and the other and I are nerdy enough that a Hogwarts-house themed version will suit us well. I know I’ll be much more motivated to take out the trash if I get to say “Ten points for Gryffindor!” when I do. I think, rather than “leveling up,” we’re going to have the House Cup be at the end of the month, with the winner getting some sort of reward.

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