How Rewarding Is That?

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Don’t feel like proceeding with a mundane task?  Trying to make continued progress on something but need more motivation and incentive?  Deciding which business establishment to patronize as a customer?

Gamification seems a trend or practice embraced by many to integrate fun, excitement, challenge or gratification and reward to various activities.

Gaming tricks and elements such as badges and points, status/level achievements, and virtual currency rewards are being utilized in scenarios ranging from cafes and restaurants, to utilities, households, workplaces and even exercise and weight loss ventures.

As a recent article in the New York Times points out: “at a time when games are becoming ever more realistic, reality is becoming more gamelike.”

Oh, and if simply reading the said article is not quite stimulating enough for you then you can also opt for exploring the article by playing along as a game.
That’s right…BONUS!!

Check out the online article here:  All the World’s a Game, and Business Is a Player.

I think it’s interesting that there is reference to the job/role of “gamification consultant” which I’m thinking is a relatively modern term.  I also didn’t expect the connection of making activities into games to better engage children as a “homeopathic remedy.”

Okay, now excuse me as I go claim some reward points for wrapping up this blog post…
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Ho Ho Hashtag…Santa In The Digital Era

It’s that time of year when many families and folks start planning for the holiday season…and for a lot of folks, that means taking part in the whole “tradition” of planning for Santa Claus.  Did you know that even Santa is embracing the digital era and jumping on the bandwagon (or sleigh?) of social media and connected convenience?

Here’s a picture of a sign I saw last year in a mall.  Yep, Skype with Santa!

Back in the day, we had to put pen to paper and actually write to Santa!

If you want more proof that Santa and his helpers are completely well-versed in the world of social media and modern tech (from Facebook to Flickr to Twitter), check out this article published prior to this weekend’s Santa Claus Parade in Toronto:  Santa Claus Parade joins the digital revolution.

So would one still leave milk and cookies out for Santa…or would you just post on Pinterest?

 

Focus and mindfulness (amid the hustle and bustle)

As we start a new week, I thought it would be fitting to share some interesting pieces to do with focusing and also mindfulness.

Amid the hustle and bustle around us and so many activities and things that seemingly call for our attention, one really has to proactively focus on focusing!  Even with tools that make things more convenient and speedy, it’s not easy maintaining focus. I came across a great mind map diagram (by Learning Fundamentals) that could be used as a guide:
How To Focus In The Age of Distraction.

There’s also some helpful info about mindfulness provided online by The Greater Good Science Center.  Check out why practicing mindfulness is important and how to cultivate mindfulness.

Lastly, for an amusing look at what happens when we aren’t all that focused and give in to distraction, here’s a video by Lev Yilmaz on procrastination:

Poignant Video…”Five Extra Years”

Check out this interesting/innovative video by Designed To Move:

Physical activity in daily life has dropped quite a lot in past years.  Technology, electronics, and machines have become huge parts of our daily living–every hour of our days.  What are the consequences and ramifications of this?

The focus and setting for children’s play have changed over the years.  How children commute to and from school or activities have changed.  The amount of time spent sitting and hovering over our computers or other such devices has increased dramatically.

As the Designed to Move website reports:  physical inactivity is a cycle and has compounding costs over a lifetime.

What are two actions to change these concerning trends?

  1. Create early positive experiences for children (where they are playing actively and having fun). 
  2. Integrate physical activity into everyday life.  So move instead of falling for easy sedentary convenience.

Get more info and data on this topic at:  http://www.designedtomove.org/

More food for thought…

Here’s an article from Mother Earth News to help us continue to think about the destructive aspects of the industrial system as a source of our food and produce and to act on supporting better food security at home and globally.

The piece encourages folks to disconnect from mass agricultural and food production practices and grow food in our own plots.

If we can’t grow our own food for some reason, alternatively we can support local farmers’ markets, food security groups and networks.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/grow-your-own-food-zm0z12aszmat.aspx

Also…there’s something about looking at colourful fruit, vegetables and local harvest that does encourage one to focus on healthiness, nutrition, and sustainable growers.

Urban gardening on the edge

Here’s an article about creative use of window space to garden for those who have no balcony or access to a gardening plot.

This crafty design turns a window into a personal garden site.  The shutter moves like a drawbridge with cords allowing plants access to the sun and can be pulled back during the night to bring the plants back inside.  This is container gardening with an edge–or should I say near a ledge?

Check out the article and photos here:  http://www.good.is/post/room-with-a-view-window-shutter-as-micro-urban-garden/

Just make sure the contraption is secure or pedestrians below might not be too happy!