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Quantify and Gamify -- Life Lessons from Parents Applied in School Education

If someone has to play a game like cricket in which bowlers ball, batsman bats and fielders field, but there is no score, no record and no competition, this would become a boring activity for players and there would probably be nobody interested in such activities. Activities are same as game of cricket but the thrill and excitement are brought in through numbers by quantification and competition.

Same holds good in study. A bit of quantification and gamification can do wonders. For example, while solving mathematics questions from books, consider one run for successfully solving a question and a wicket in failing to solve a question. Solve the questions one after other. So, if you solve 25 questions successfully and then fail to solve one, the score becomes 25 for 1. You can have test match kind of scoring with two teams in which you are solving numerical questions and maintaining score based on questions solved or unsolved. It becomes fun and great way of learning when you try hard to not fail in solving a question because it is adding to score of your favorite batsman. Don't put yourself in pressure if your pattern of number of questions solved vs unsolved is drastically different. It is important that you quantify and gamify considering your goal and present level.

Take another example. Struggling to form a habit! Quantify and gamify to make it a fun and then succeed. Suppose you want to form a habit of writing. If it is easy for you, great. But if you keep struggling with this, bring some numbers into play. I prefer two numbers to maintain. One is writing at least 100 words on a day and the second one is to maintain an average of 300 words per day. It is seen that once you get in the flow of writing you may write more than 1000 words in a day. Few days at this pace may take the average to a high numbers. So high that even if you don't write a single word for few days you may still maintain the average of 300 words per day. So you don't write for few days and then again start struggling. So, the other number of writing at least 100 words in a day safeguards you against such risk. You may have your own numbers depending on what you want to achieve and how difficult it is for you to achieve that. Keep it simple and easy.

We had been put to this kind of fun in early childhood. Today, there are many apps based on similar concepts. One app that helps in learning foreign language keeps one motivated by maintaining a streak of days learnt. To maintain the streak you have to make 5 minutes effort in learning. As the streak becomes larger, you tend to do your best to avoid breaking the streak. So you keep learning. Quantification and gamification do this wonder for you.

In presents days, the way parents feed their children might have changed due to lack of time or presence of easy mind diversions tools like televisions and mobile. But you might have yourself experienced it or heard about it from elders that parents or grand parents used to spend time in feeding their children when they were not ready to eat easily. Telling stories, moving around with the child to feed, introducing some incentives or creating some fear if food is not eaten were few of the techniques to make the child eat. But the one I remember most was use of numbers in feeding me in my childhood days. The targeted food used to be brought in some numbers in front of me and some incentive associated with finishing certain parts of the target. Here, those numbers, some comparisons and some scope of manipulation used to  make eating interesting. Again an example of quantification and gamification. Difficult tasks can be made interesting and enjoying by this simple approach. 

Let us take one more example. Most of us have some general understanding about time of the day which is good for various activities. For example, morning is good for study or one hour after returning from School is good for doing homework or evening is good for playing or one should take bath before a fixed time of the day and so on. How can same time of the day be good for study for everyone! Individuals are different. Each individual may have his own most productive time for studies and it is perfectly fine if it doesn't match with that of someone else. But how do you find that which time is suitable for you for doing various activities? Quantification and gamification. It is illustrated below in regards with study. But can be used for any other activity.

I was trained to do something like this to make study more effective and strategically right. Now, these concepts are well researched and used in various apps as productivity tools. Set a target - say studying one hour per day. But sitting for one hour in one go and studying with good concentration may not be possible. You know best for you, what time you can afford to allot for this not very interesting task. May be just 5-10 minutes at a time here and there in such periods when you are likely to be bored of your play, entertainment and other preferred activities. Allot these small times for study so that the total time allotted for this is one hour or whatever you want. Then, study during these allotted times and rate your quality of study by assigning a quality index value using such parameters as level of concentration, number of concentration breaks or whatever seems meaningful to you.  Multiply this quality index with time duration for each study period in the day and add them for each day. You get a score about your study every day. Play with these numbers. Try improving it in your own ways. You are likely to start enjoying this game and study both. You can also analyze such data to find your best time for study and use them better to improve your quality of study.

Majority of the people want to reduce weight. It may be easy to reduce temporarily but is quite hard to maintain. Reducing weight brings numerous life benefits to those who are overweight. All of us know how to reduce but find it hard to implement. One thing is almost sure, you can't do it without quantification and gamification. Also, if you chose a right way of quantification and gamification suited to your requirements, you are almost sure to succeed. You can do it manually. Or, there are several apps that have the required data and algorithms. They can capture your personalized data as you provide them and can do all the computation for you. They can show the trend, allow you to share with others and also suggest you ways to remain on track. Quantification and gamification can do wonders in every walk of life.

You can manage anything better if you are able to quantify it. Imagine working on wight reduction without knowing the weight! Or game of cricket without having scores in it! Or working as a sales professional without quantification of sales! Life will be dull. So, make life and study fun by quantification and gamification.