Choose Happiness @ Work Online: Behind the Scenes

by Scott Crabtree

Join us behind the scenes as Scott Crabtree develops Choose Happiness @ Work Onlineβ€”the online version of our popular card game! We’ve received many requests for a version to play with remote teams, and Scott is working to make that a reality! What challenges will he face? What obstacles will he overcome? And most importantly: how will he apply the science of happiness and engagement along the way? Welcome to the journey, where we’ll all find out together!

Episode #1: The Turning Point

Today marks an early turning point in the development of the online version of Choose Happiness @ Work. When I first developed the card game, I already had an online version in mind. But it’s taken me yearsβ€”and excellent coaching from my colleague Kimβ€”to really get working on it.

In a discussion with Kim, answering her question made me realize that I wanted the online version so much, that I was afraid of it not working out for some reasonβ€”and therefore making excuses to avoid getting started.

We talked about “test and learn,” an approach advocated in the great Harvard Business Review article, “How To Stay Stuck in the Wrong Career.” Kim asked me to identify the smallest-but-still-useful amount of time I could consistently give to the project each week. I answered 30 minutes, and then immediately said it felt like it needed to be much more. But Kim (drawing on the idea of creating “microhabits“) coached me to start by making the goal just 30 minutes a week.

Many weeks have passed, and I’ve now completed what I’m calling version 0.01 of Choose Happiness @ Work Online. The Daily Happiness Boost simply shows a random, science-based solution from Choose Happiness @ Work and gives you a chance to share your thoughts with others:

Sample card from Choose Happiness @ Work ("Courage to Fail")
A (personally relevant) sample card from the Daily Happiness Boost

Progress, Not Perfection

Despite this being a very simple web app, almost any app has bugs. Most people do, too, by the way! One of mine is a weakness for finishing projects. I absolutely adore starting projects. I’m excited, and often have creative ideas and make solid progress. But when it’s time to fix the last few bugs and polish the final version, my energy and talent wane.

Because I believe we all do better work and enjoy it more when we each use our strengths, I asked for help from our web developer, Theo. In a virtual pair programming session today, Theo was able to help me quickly dispatch a few bugs that were challenging me. (While I spent years programming video games and other software in C++, it’s been a while, and I’m new to Javascript programming.)

Even better, I realized partway through our session that Theo might be willing and able to polish up the page and integrate it with I asked him about it, and he was happy to take on finishing the project.

So, I get to start the next phase: developing the full version of Choose Happiness @ Work Online! After researching and asking the opinion of a smart friend, I’m planning to use the Phaser 3 Javascript engine to help accelerate the development of the game. I’m excited to use my strengths in starting projects more in the months ahead.

Which stage of a project do you like best? Do you have any ability to craft your work to better use your strengths? And how have you gotten “unstuck” in order to make progress on something that matters to you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for commenting below, connecting with us through any of our social media channels, or contacting me here.


Check out these related posts in our Choose Happiness @ Work Online series:

Scott Crabtree

As the Founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happy Brain Science, Scott Crabtree empowers individuals and organizations to apply findings from cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology to boost productivity and happiness at work.

4 thoughts on “Choose Happiness @ Work Online: Behind the Scenes

  1. It makes me so happy to see the work you continue to do. I think back to that incredibly happy joyful little boy you were when you would come to play with Chris in Andover. I am still in awe that we all landed out here on the west coast and you are doing such meaningful work. Big hugs, Nonnie

  2. Awwww, thanks so much, Nonnie! You and your family have played such a wonderful part in my life. I’m so grateful that we all moved from Andover, MA to Portland, OR, and I get to see you and your wonderful children. πŸ™‚ You and they are doing great work, too! πŸ™‚

  3. I’m so glad you’re working on the digital version of your awesome Choose Happiness @ Work game! It’s going to help so many people, teams, and organizations. I know you can make it happen!

  4. Thanks so much, Tina! Thanks for your collaboration with Happy Brain Science; it’s wonderful to spread the science of well-being with you in various ways. πŸ™‚

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