I can’t seem to help turning things into games.

I tell myself I’m going to go for a leisurely swim and just go as long as I feel like. Pretty soon I’m counting laps, counting strokes per lap, and giving myself little challenges to meet.

It’s like this when I shoot hoops, vacuum the floor, wash the dishes, sit by a fire, or respond to emails. It doesn’t matter what it is, I almost always end up gamifying it.

I’m not sure if this is good or bad or a bit of both. I mean games are definitely good sometimes, especially for really monotonous tasks. But the games aren’t necessarily fun. Sometimes they are, but mostly they’re a result of some kind of OCD tendencies I have to quantify and patternize every task and always – always – find ways to do it better or faster, even when that has no bearing on the outcome or when the entire goal of the activity was just to relax.

Occasionally I can just doing things without little sub-tasks and challenges within, and it’s kind of nice to have an open-ended, non-timebound experience, where the activity is one whole rather than a bunch of parts. Writing is one of the few things I can do that way (though I often gamify that too).

I’m not sure if I do this because it reduces the scope of the goals to nearer term, or because it keeps me from getting bored, or for some other reason I should seek counseling for. Maybe this is universal.