Tools of the Trade: Habitica
In the past, I’ve often made promises to myself to do certain activities consistently. Like write every day. Go for walks. Make my bed. I usually follow through for a couple of weeks then give up for lack of motivation. It wasn’t like anyone was checking to make sure I did these things.
If you have a problem like this and need a good kick in the but to do chores, homework, or anything else, then habitica.com might be the place to look for motivation. I had never heard of this site until last month when I noticed it being recommended over and over on the 4thewords forums. People swore by it. So, I looked it up.
This site is exactly what I needed to organize everything I need to do and to get me to do them. Habitica is set up like a role-playing game, but it’s more involved than 4thewords. You start by picking an avatar. That’s me over there.
After that you set up tasks and habits you want to accomplish during a day or week.
In my case, I set up “dailies” for all of my writing goals (on the right). These are things that have to be done every day or you health will be negatively affected. I set up my habits to give me “bonus points” for things like going over my word count goal for the day. Or getting by ass out of the chair to fill my own cup instead of having the kids do it. These are called “habits” on the site. There are also “tasks” that you can set up–sort of long term goals or other things that need to be done eventually. These can be broken down into smaller, more manageable goals. I use tasks to manage chores I need to do, breaking each one down to tiny components.
Habits, dailies and tasks earn you “experience” or affect your “health” (and later your “mana”).
Gaining experience (the yellow line) allows your character to advance through the game. You also earn silver and gold–digital currency to buy things like armor and weapons which affect how much experience and gold you might earn or how much a missed daily will damage you. You will also randomly receive pets and food as rewards for completing any kind of task.
There are a lot of different pets you can get. This is just the tip of the iceberg. They don’t actually do anything to your stats, but they’re cute and can be added to your avatar picture. If you feed the pets with the food you get, they grow into “mounts” that you can ride in the picture. It’s all just for fun.
Besides these things that you can do individually, you can also join guilds and parties. Guilds are just groups for people with similar interests. They offer a way to chat, get support, and participate in challenges to keep you accountable. Parties are more personalized, started by players who invite friends. They also have chats and challenges, but they can also go on quests. Quests can be about defeating a monster where completing tasks does damage. If you don’t complete your dailies, everyone in the party loses health. Talk about motivation. No one wants their friends mad at them for killing their digital character. My party consists of me and my eleven-year-old daughter. We’re currently on the hunt for eggs.
Put together, habitica offers a lot of ways to get you focused and on task. My productivity has really increased since I started using it. In fact, I’m writing this post because it’s one of the things on my task list which has turned red–meaning it’s old and needs to be done.
I highly recommend this site if you need a little extra motivation to write every day or get chores done.