To-do List Gamification

To-do List Gamification

Sometimes I need a kick to get going on my personal to-do lists. To-do lists are so boring and lacking in productivity inspiration. Gamifying my to-do list is the perfect antidote when I don’t know what I should do with my weekend.

My gamified to-do list randomizes which task I do next and adds the chance of being forced to do fun or relaxing activities. The fun stuff is what gets my lizard brain all excited and keeps me playing. Yesterday, for example, I HAD to take a nap in my hammock. The best part of the nap was that it was all part of the game and totally guilt free. I was just following the rules.


  1. to-do_list_gamificationGet a stack of index cards or old business cards and a Sharpie. I like the form factor of business cards because they feel more like the cards that come with board games.
  2. On each card, write down a task from your boring old to-do list. These should make up about 80% of the total cards in your stack.
  3. Create cards with some fun and healthy-ish things that you enjoy doing such as reading, walking the dog, going for a run, etc. Shoot for 10% of your cards being “healthy fun.”
  4. Create another 10% of your cards with tasks related to long-term goals that you never seem to get around to. Mine include improving my German (very long-term) and getting to the next level paragliding pilots license (without killing myself).
  5. Lastly, work in a couple cards with favorite vices. These need to be personal “million dollar grand prize” incentives that get your gambling lizard brain all excited to want keep playing the game. My prizes include, beer, naps, TV, reading… all the things you really want to do with your time off.


  1. To do list gamificationShuffle your cards.
  2. Draw a card at random.
  3. You MUST do what ever is written on the card for either 45 minutes or until the task is done, which ever comes first.
  4. Give yourself a point.
  5. If the task is complete, throw the card away. If the task is not complete, return the card to the stack.
  6. Draw another card.
  7. Play as long as time allows.

It is amazing how much I can accomplish in 45 minutes working tasks that I have been putting off all summer.

Somebody with a smaller to-do list than mine should build an app for this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *