Gamification and Time Management Training

If you have been a time management trainer for some time, I probably don’t need to sell you on the importance of gamification.

In the time management world, however, there hasn’t been a lot of “gaming around.”

Effective games would help not only teach the concepts required to upgrade a time management system, but they would also help learners to implement new habits, practices and rituals. Incidentally, this happens to be where most people fail in their attempts to improve.

Recently, I gave a speech at one of the leading Human Resource Conferences here in the Caribbean on the topic of Transforming Time Management Learning with Gamification. In my online and live training, I include a number of games in an attempt to engage learners at a deeper level that requires them to think.

In fact, I argue that the training I offer in NewHabits and MyTimeDesign are actually extended practice sessions in planning a time management upgrade. It is meant to replace the seat of the pants planning that we usually do when we attempt to implement an ineffective upgrade. In this particular game, you happen to award yourself different belt levels depending on an evaluation of your time management skills.

I started studying the principles of gamification about 7 or 8 years ago when I was introduced to the idea of game mechanics via an article with Amy Jo Kim of ShuffleBrain. To be honest, I struggled with the idea at first and couldn’t see how it could be used for a practical result.

Now, however, I am always on the hunt for games that make learning easy. For example, I was asked by a client of mine to come up with a method for selecting a help desk dispatcher. The role requires someone to field calls and emails from customers, and to dispatch technicians to effect repairs.

The client needed a way to use more than just a few interviews to hire someone who would do well in the job. I suggested an assessment centre, which is essentially a series of tests in which a candidate is invited to undertake certain parts of the job while being observed. Imagine hiring a cook after asking a number of them to prepare a particular meal.

I had a hunch that there had to be a game that simulated this job and got lucky. Miss Management is a desktop based time management game that proved to be a very close match to the job, and could be used to test a candidate’s ability to perform very fast triage.

One of our candidates was offered the position, in part because they passed this particular test, which involved playing the game for an hour. Their performance was not as high as a staff member who actually held the job for several years (there was a 20% difference in performance.)

I played the game all the way through to the end, and found that it did what I expected – build real-life skills. It was a promising beginning, and the potential for using games in training time management skills is, I believe, abundant.

Here are the slides from my presentation and you can listen in to the audio of the speech by clicking this link and allowing it to play in the background.