10 – Breaking the System

For the first few months of the Points Project, I gave myself points for spending time on productive things and completing projects, and took away points based on time and money spent on recreation. You know what breaks a system like that? Buying a house.

It broke the points system AND the blog!

But, that’s all said and done now, and I’ll be back blogging again from here on out. I’m already learning things about being a homeowner. For example, I’ve come to appreciate days when I don’t get post, because letters are now a sign of people wanting money. Also, you don’t realise how little furniture you own until you move out of your parents’ house. It was a good 6 weeks before I had sofas, and I still have to sit on the floor to use my “desktop” (hah!) computer.

Needless to say, the house purchase won’t be making an appearance in the points tally, otherwise I’d be in figurative debt for literal decades, but I’ve added “house homing” to my list of creative projects now. It’ll pop up every now and again, sandwiched in between my usual nonsense, though I’m not about to turn this into an interior design blog; my taste is awful and I have no desire to make you vomit from your eyes.

With all of that said, I’m zeroing out the points tally. Time to begin afresh!

Have a productive day.

Points Earned:

Blog post +5

Total Points: 5

09 – An Unexpected Absence

Oops!

I’m saying that for two reasons. The first is that I’ve not posted for a month despite having lots to write about, and the second is that I bought a laptop and have become thoroughly indebted to my own points system. It’s a creativity aid, so it’s not cost me as many points as it did pounds, but it’s still quite a deficit!

The good news is that, although I haven’t posted over the last month, I have been making a lot of progress with various projects. The difficulty is that one of those projects is TOP SECRET. I can reveal what it is in November, once my girlfriend’s birthday has been and gone, but my lips must remain sealed for the time being.

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Not the most exciting picture… but it’s all I can show for now!

Anyway, excuses done, I’m back and will be posting regularly again from now on. You can expect posts covering everything from music, writing, marketing (I’ve just enrolled in a CIM course), and various other topics. Speak soon, and until then…

Have a productive day.

Points Earned:

Recording with Tom +20
Super Secret Project +75
Adding ITBB Compendium Entries +75
Gig at Althorp House +15
Blog Post +2

Total Points – 68

03 – Shiny Things (Points and Rewards)

The Points Project is simple really. Complete task, receive points, spend points. Easy peasy, but I think it’s time I explained how the points and rewards aspects work! I’ll soon make The Points Project spreadsheet available so you can play along too. Yes, it’s a spreadsheet, stop grimacing. It’s got buttons and everything! First thing’s first… how do I decide the points value of a task?

Allocating Points

Simply put, it’s a mix of time investment, motivation, and importance. As a starting point, I allocate one point for every 10 minutes that it should take to do a task, then adjust the value a bit depending on the importance of the task and how keen I am on doing it.

For example: Restringing my guitar isn’t the most exciting part of my music career but it’s important, so though it only takes about 20 minutes I give it a whole 3 points! By contrast, editing a chapter of my book takes around an hour. It’s also important but I actually enjoy doing it, so I value it at 5 points. The idea of doing things this way is that it’ll encourage me to do the things I would usually put off.

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It’s not an exact science by any means. If you’re playing along at home, just try and be fair. Figure out what works for you; the system will only work if you let it.

Earning Points

Easy:
Complete task. Get points.

Spending Points (i.e. Choosing Rewards)

Much like allocating points, this isn’t so straightforward to figure out. Again, try to be fair and figure out what works best for you. I spend points in two ways: doing and buying fun things. As with allocating points, one point equals 10 minutes, so if I want to spend an hour playing a video game it’s going to cost me six points. Likewise, I want to buy something fun, the cost is the number of points it’s going to cost me. If I want to buy a DVD for £10, it’s going to cost me 10 points too. Necessities (food, fuel, clothes, etc.) don’t count here, and if the purchase in question will help with future projects or productivity I halve the cost. Ideally, I never want to go into points debt, and it should only happen in the event of a big purchase that will have an immediate impact on my productivity.

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Both my points and rewards systems are movable feasts; they’ll need tweaking and refining no doubt, but it’s a starting point! Good luck figuring out your own methods. Have a productive day!

Points Earned:

Edited book chapter +5

Blog post +2

Total Points: 26

01 – The Setup

The Points Project is a motivation tool. In this hyper-connected world, where distraction and procrastination lurk behind each and every corner, The Points Project is my guide to getting things done. It’s my solution to finding balance between work and play. A way for me (and you) to increase productivity while still ensuring ample time for fun. After all, what good is hard work if you can’t enjoy the spoils?

The Points Project is split into two parts:

1) A simple points system for tracking and managing progress in various projects, as well as doling out rewards.

2) A blog to document how well it works.

So, how has The Points Project come about? Well, I’m the kind of person that loves to make music and videos, adores writing creatively, and gets a buzz from finishing a project and putting it out into the world. At any given time I’ll have at least two large projects on the go. Currently, I’m editing a novel, recording an EP, and managing a fledgling music career. The problem is that I get distracted far too easily, by everything from Facebook and Youtube to television and video games. I wanted a way to ensure I was making progress in my projects without making them a chore. I love games, I thought, so why not make it into a game? And so, The Points Project was born.

“How does it work?” I hear you cry! It’s very simple, don’t panic. I assign every part of every project a number of points that corresponds to the difficulty and time expected to do it (as a rough guide, 10 minutes = 1 point). For example, writing an email to a radio presenter might get me 1 point, while sitting down for an hour to edit a chapter of my novel would net me 6. By completing tasks I’ll rack up the points, then I can exchange them for rewards.

If I want to spend an hour watching my favourite cat videos on Youtube it’ll cost me 6 points, so I’d better make sure I have that at least that much in the kitty (pun intended) first.

I mentioned earlier that this could help you too, and I wasn’t lying. I’ll make the spreadsheet (yes, it’s a spreadsheet, sorry) available as soon as I’m happy with it. It’s not a perfect system, and it’ll need some refining before I get it right, but it’s a start, and it already seems to be working.

Points Earned:

Blog post + 2

Total Points = 2