life gamification project: the ten o’clock tally

With our Life Gamification Project, the goal is 100 points a day. But what’s a day?

The obvious answer might be that a day starts when you wake up and ends when you fall asleep. Doesn’t work.

For one thing, when would we add up the points? Doing it the next day seemed likely to result in a lot forgetting, and doing it immediately before bed might cause a willpower challenge–it’s not like I usually feel like doing much right before bed.

More importantly, we already have enough trouble keeping what weak structures of getting to bed and getting up at decent hours that we have. We do not need any extra incentive to stay up later doing things to try to get our 100 points for the day.

So, instead, we have instituted the Ten O’Clock Tally (with the owlish-looking acronym TO’CT). We each have alarms on our phones that go off at 10. Once they go off, we are done being able to earn any more points for that day.

We add up our points and record them on our sheet. Anything we do afterward that scores points counts for the next day.

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

One thought on “life gamification project: the ten o’clock tally”

  1. I guess the problem with “counts for the next day” is that you no longer have good days and not so good days, as a lot can happen after 10 o”clock (depending on what day of the week it is, your normal bed time and what kind of activities generate points) and points are spread over two days. Also you now have to remember what you did the night before which is longer ago and maybe harder to remember.

    Would it be better to record points the morning after (for the previous after 10 o’clock evening activities) when having your first cup of coffee or tea? This way you keep the day score within the same day and your memory may serve you better.

    I would also reward points for recording points in time.


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