Progress Tracking Made Easy
During the chapter on Gamification we stress the importance of tracking progress – of enabling people to see how they are doing. It reinforces self-belief by showing people what they have accomplished so far. It appeals to people's sense of mastery by showing how far they have to go. And it can reinforce willpower by reminding people of the need for progress.
The two most common types of tracking techniques in Gamification are points systems (which, as the name implies, use points awarded for certain activities to track progress) and progress bars (which are visual representations of progress).
Now James Clear has described a beautifully simple tracking technique in his blog. He describes someone struggling to make a habit of going to the gym each day. So the individual put a jar on his desk. And from then on, whenever he went to the gym, he put a paper clip into the jar. And he slowly watched it fill.
The jar fulfilled two tasks: not only did it function as a progress tracking system, but it also functioned as a habit-reinforcing trigger – reminding him that he needed to go to the gym each day.
Cheap, simple, effective. Just the type of tool we like.