About the book:

Have you ever received an invitation from your friends to play Candy Crush or Candy Crush Saga?

Candy Crush is a “puzzle adventure” where you “switch and match your way through hundreds of levels.” (king.com)

I have and still get invitations to play this game. At first I tried to be annoyed, as tradition expects, but I couldn’t be for long because these requests came from my very good friends and family. I also realized that I do much the same thing. I may not have shared Candy Crush or similar games, but I have shared other things that I’ve enjoyed and valued — often urging others to take a look and try them out. Such as, for example, books.

Besides that, I was curious. Not about Candy Crush itself, but about whether I could play a different game; one that wasn’t about taking a break or switching off from everyday chores (as I do when reading fiction or playing board games, and on a rare occasion some simple online ones), but could I have as much fun (or perhaps even more) as people do playing games, with the various projects I wanted to pursue?

Yes, I was contemplating gamification — even before I knew what it meant.

Sometime later I discovered that when you gamify your life you extract “the fun and addicting elements found in games” (Yu-kai Chou).

That was exactly what I wanted! I wanted to make progress with activities I was passionate about, and make time for them. We all allow ourselves a bit of time to play, don’t we? So why not combine the projects I was excited about with the fun elements of a game? Could I play at “writing a book?"

At the same time, I wondered if I could make the tasks I thought I didn’t enjoy but had to do (like applying for a new passport or cleaning and tidying our house), if not enjoyable, then at least a little bit fun by gamifying them.

It’s now been more than two years since I started a continuous gamification of my life. I’ve learned a lot along the way, including the fact that in addition to gamification there are other essential skills and approaches that can help make life, and what it brings along the way, fun and doable.

These discoveries, and the reactions of people to the experiences I’ve shared with them, have motivated me to write a book, and to follow a friend’s advice to turn it into a crowd-funding project.

Why this project is unique:

This book is not about gamifying just one activity and bringing elements of games into parts of our lives. It is about bringing game design, and the fun connected with it, to all areas of our lives, as well as gamifying project, time, and life-management.

The book will also have an emphasis on game design. By understanding how games and gamification frameworks function, you will be able to create your own, or use and combine the models of others to create multiple fun project designs of your own.

As a byproduct it will help you take your attention off what you want to avoid, or don’t like, and instead focus on what you want to achieve. And to do so in a continuously gameful manner.

How it is different to other books on gamification:

There are many brilliant books on gamification, some of them written by scholars and gamification pioneers. This book does not compete with them.

This book will complement them. It will add to the existing literature because gamification is not considered on its own here — it is supported by two other vital approaches, which result in the following skills when applied:

  • the ability to be here, to live in the moment, and
  • the ability to identify the next smallest step to be taken, which is an integral part of kaizen, “a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices, personal efficiency, etc.” (oxforddictionaries.com)

By combining living in the moment, kaizen, and gamification to manage your projects — and your life — this book will be the first of its kind, enabling you to turn any activity into a fun, effortless, and successful game.

And there is another difference: I am not a gamer. That is, I rarely play games. I play board games from time to time with my family, and of all the online games, I only play Minesweeper, and even that less than a handful of times a year.

The most popular books on gamification are written by gamers who are also game designers, often of video games. I am neither a gamer nor a game designer. I last played a video game probably twenty years ago, and I don’t feel compelled to play one anytime soon. I would play if someone invited me, but only to enjoy their company, rather than from a keenness to play games. And even upon the repeated requests mentioned above, I’ve never wanted to play Candy Crush, although I do enjoy its bright colors and cheerful design, occasionally stopping to watch my son playing it.

So this book also has a unique perspective. It is written by someone with no great passion for games themselves, but who is keen to play games and have fun with everything else there is to do: both things to get excited about, and those one might find tedious.

How you can help me shape my book:

The book will show how various activities can be gamified and my lessons learned from them. So far, the notes I’ve made and articles I’ve written have concentrated on the projects from my gamified life as a writer, consultant, business owner, mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. So far I’ve addressed and plan to address writing, dealing with edits and feedback from someone else, self-editing, editing and revising someone else’s work, household, attending to family matters, structuring and managing a project, learning languages, helping a child gamify and complete his homework assignment, and more.

You as a reader can help me by identifying other topics to address, providing more ideas for gamification using the approach shown in the book (which in the spirit of Candy Crush I’ve started to think of as “Project Crush”).

About the author:

Victoria Ichizli-Bartels is a writer and specialist in business development, information technology, semiconductor physics, and electronic engineering. She is the founder of Optimist Writer, a writing, publishing and consulting business. She grew up in Moldova, lived in Germany for twelve years, and now lives in Aalborg, Denmark, with her husband and two children. Since 2015 Victoria has published an array of books, both fiction and non-fiction. Before that she authored a Ph.D. thesis and many other scientific and technical publications.

Victoria published her first book on gamification in 2016 (even before she’d heard of the concept), entitled 5 Minute Perseverance Game: Play Daily for a Month and Become the Ultimate Procrastination Breaker. The book was judged “outstanding" in all categories and received a remarkable review in the 25th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, 2017.