How Trello makes work feel like a Video Game

How Trello makes work feel like a Video Game
It just hits different

In the world of productivity, there are plenty of tools and products which help you achieve your goals. Whether it be the simplicity of Workflowy, the aesthetic of Notion, or the team functionality of

When we look into these different platforms there will always be strengths and weaknesses. It will be different to each person, what keeps them focused on tasks, and how they express their information.

For me, Trello is brilliant because it combines a dashboard with the foundation of a video game HUD.

Within my context, as a Junior Marketer at a Startup called Upflowy, I need to have clear, defined tasks that help me build toward my one KPI. My one KPI is building signups to our company’s waitlist. I need to ensure that everything I’m doing is impacting on that, continually moving that needle forward.

I’ve been inspired by my co-founder, Guillaume Ang, who tries to automate as many of my processes as possible. The more time I can be spending on the most valuable work the better, and less time on things that feed into Parkinson’s law. Understanding the concept of resistance, coined by Steven Pressfield has also been extremely helpful in staying on task and not procrastinating.

An arena that has a brilliant understanding of task completion and display is video gaming. The Heads-Up Display (HUD) is the centerpiece. On the HUD you’ll find quests are neatly oriented for you, with clear motivations, potential rewards, and hints to guide you through it. After choosing a quest to follow, you rarely lose focus. You have a clear motivation. Resistance struggles to find you. You want to move the story forward, upgrade your character and complete the quest.

HUD for Productivity
HUD for Productivity

All the relevant information is there for you. You’re given XP feedback for the quality of your performance, your tools and items are available at the click of a button. You have the updates to understand the context and better execute the next assignment.

I value this system because it works so well for me. The well-organised structure integrates you into the experience so easily. Add to that a system of leveling up, constant retries, and a thrilling story and it’s easy to see why people can have hours fly by while playing.

Trello is the product that takes these elements and executes them the best. Their execution leads them to really push me to better approach my tasks and removes a lot of resistance. The HUD is clear and easy to follow, Cards within the Boards have great functionality with checkboxes, descriptions, activity tracking, and due dates. The ability to work as a team on this platform is brilliant too.

It instills more faith that Treyarch, the video game developer who has produced titles for the Call of Duty franchise (most notably their integration with Warzone) use Trello to broadcast the work they’re doing for the game. They offer helpful updates about the game, whether that be patch notes, passing updates, or known bugs and errors they’re working on. Not only is that demonstrating their accountability, but it helps maintain a sense of awareness of the current issues facing the game.

There will be tools that work better for others. I have no doubt that some teams, for their type of work, for their style of work too would be better suited to other platforms.

Within my context, for the team that I operate in and to get my working consistently at my peak, Trello is the most efficient tactic available, it’s my META. When you need to take a moment, pause, and ensure you’re on task, Trello has your waypoint highlighted and locked on.

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