He motivated himself to study for his interview by using a combination of milestones and rewards. He threw in time tracking, streak bonuses (i.e. studying for ten days straight unlocks a shopping spree), a progress bar, and variable rewards, which included Sencha shots and energy drinks.
He explains each motivational method on his blog, Living for Improvement:
Milestones and reward combination: Guerrera set up a few studying milestones at the 1 hour, 5 hour, 10 hour and 16 hour marks. Upon hitting each milestone, Guerrera rewarded himself with a pre-planned prize. After the first hour, for example, he was allowed two Rockstar energy drinks. After ten hours, he unlocked a $200 shopping spree. The rewards were realistic; he happily gave them to himself as he reached each goal.
Tracking: Guerrera tracked his daily studying time with a stopwatch on his web browser. He jotted down the results on post-its so he could reward himself for total hours studied and streaks. For example, if he studied for ten days straight, he allowed himself to buy a ThinkGeek item, worth up to $100.
Variable rewards: Some of his rewards were based on chance; they weren't outcomes he could control. For instance, every hour he studied, Guerrera would flip a coin twice. If it landed on heads both times, he'd be allowed an energy drink.
Progress bar: As he grew weary, Guerrera pushed himself to continue by implementing a progress bar, like the ones LinkedIn uses on profile pages to encourage users to upload more items. His progress bar was completed after 16 hours of studying.
A workaround: When he was too tired to study new information, Guerrera came up with a method he dubbed, "low energy progress enabling." In other words, he came up with a satisfactory way to study without actively learning new material. He'd record himself reciting answers to hypothetical Google interview questions, then listen to it when he was on the go. The time spent listening to his recorded answers counted towards his total study time.
Here are the gamiifcation sticky notes Guerrera created to track his progress (click to enlarge):
Gamifying interview prep time sounds intense, but for Guerrera, it paid off. He landed the job at Google.
"I arrived at the interview nervous as hell, but I was incredibly well prepared," says Guerrera. "And I never would’ve been so thoroughly prepared without the system I’ve described above – every spare moment of my days leading up to the interview were filled with preparation and practice, which paid off in spades. Eight weeks later, I’m sitting in my San Francisco apartment, currently employed by my dream company. I’m so glad I was able to use gamification to help me capitalize on this once in a lifetime opportunity that presented itself to me."
Now check out what happens when you don't prep for a Google interview enough: My Nightmare Interviews with Google. Then read: This is the Application that Got me a Job Interview with Google >
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