I was a girl who didn’t tidy her bedroom, until my mother started a star chart system.  Mum made a wall chart and before bedtime she’d check my room.  If my room was tidy, I got a gold star.

There was no other incentive.  No pocket money reward, nor a treat for a certain number of gold stars.  But since I desperately wanted gold stars my room was kept tidy.

I haven’t changed.  When I want to achieve something, I track my goals – a calendar tick each day I don’t drink alcohol, weight recording, and debt reduction.  I mentioned this to a friend and she said “Oh, you’re gamifying your goals!”.

SMART goals

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. My goals are SMART because I have specific targets for alcohol free days per week, my weight, and debt reduction.

Making the invisible visible

Visible score boards tracking KPIs (key performance indicators) are powerful…  “if you’re not keeping score it’s only practice”.  If the All Blacks played the Springboks and didn’t keep score, then we wouldn’t bother to watch.

Recently, a client started a score board to record warehouse boxes dispatched each day. Within 3 months, box numbers had increased 33% without any change in personnel!  The warehouse team was competing against themselves – and winning.

A recent survey of accounting firms unsurprisingly found that the lowest performing quartile included the highest proportion that didn’t keep timesheets.

Choosing goals

Choose goals carefully – chasing one goal may have unintended consequences (for example, I snack if I don’t drink).  Ensure your goals align with each other, as well as with your core values.

And, when it comes to goals “less is more”.  Tracking one to three goals is about right.

Despite being an accountant, complex KPI tracking spreadsheets don’t work for me. A simple hand drawn chart on the wall is hard to beat.

So, how to gamify your goals (financial or otherwise)?

Firstly, decide the three KPIs that would have the biggest impact on your financial or business success – for example recording productive time, sales calls, personal spending, or debt reduction.

Secondly, check your goals are SMART.

Thirdly, create a visible tracking system that is easy and fun to use!

And lastly, keep at it. If you miss one day / week / month then make a commitment to succeed the next day / week / month.  Keeping score, and winning, is fun!


If you’d like to get better acquainted with Ann, check out her website: http://q2.net.nz/  or email ann@q2.net.nz