Postcard from Habitica (1)

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I’ve been meaning to write about Habitica (formerly HabitRPG) pretty much since I joined back in May 2015. Has it been that long?! Wow! And still going strong as a wonderful motivation and organisation tool for me! I’ve started so many posts, and failed to cover even half of what the site is about – but then, there is a wonderful wiki so I’m giving up try to repeat a whole site’s worth of information in one post! Instead, I’m going to focus in on how I use the site.

First off, in one line, what is Habitica? It’s a motivational site, a set of lists (split into habits, dailies and to-dos) that you create to suit yourself, and using ‘gamification’ – in the form of an old-school Role Playing Game set up – to reward you for completing the tasks you’ve set yourself.

habitica-lists

a quick peak at some of my list items

The to do list is the most obvious, and this is the best format of such that I think I’ve found – for me. This is because it’s one huge list to which I add absolutely everything I need/want to get done, whether NOW, or just eventually, or something in between. It sounds like it should be unwieldy, and yet it works for me. When I complete an item, I tick it off so the list stays full of still-to-do items, plus I get a happy little ‘ta da!’-type noise and those gamification points: health, skills mana, gold, and maybe a random item. Of course, this isn’t going to work for everyone, but it utterly appeals to my inner geek! 🙂

Dailies are the ones that you ‘have’ to complete or else your in-game avatar loses health, so ideal for reminders (e.g. ‘take tablet’) and things you really want to enforce as a daily habit. My advice for this is to make the daily the smallest possible unit of the habit you want to create: if it’s meditation, for instance (which is on mine, but ‘ticked off’ already for today), set the goal as just 5 minutes. You can always do more – I usually do! – but this way even on your busiest days you can still ensure you’re touching base with the habit.

The actual category Habits are theoretically for things you’d do more than once a day, but for me are more things I want to do but don’t mind if it’s not every day. I’ve also discovered along the way that while there are positive and negative habits (separately, or a plus/minus on the same item), negatives really don’t work for me – I don’t find it motivating to ‘punish’ myself for not doing something, and just seeing a negative item on the list reminds me of it, which is less than helpful!

The challenge that’s kicking me to actually write this post is #HabiticaResolutions – how this all helps me to keep my New Year’s Resolutions. Well, I didn’t have set goals like that, tbh, but in terms of a lifestyle I’m continually trying to create and improve, I still absolutely love Habitica. It lets me keep everything in one place, with just enough filters (via custom tags, or Habit headings (like the ‘mind’ in the screenshot above, which is accompanied by ‘body’, ‘organisation’ and ‘hobbies’) ) to keep it a little bit tidy.

The gamification element isn’t going to work for or even appeal to everyone, but if it does then there are several different ways to use it. For me, daft as it is, I enjoy collecting the pets – these are ‘random drops’ as you complete tasks, with a large collect-them-all page… yeah, it’s silly, but hey, if it works! 🙂

habitica-pets

I hope to be writing a lot more ‘postcards from Habitica’, but there’s your brief overview. The site rocks, I’ve barely scratched the surface of what there is to customise your best motivational version, but personally I love it and the control it helps me feel I’m keeping over my scanner-scattered life! 🙂

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I get to go tick off a big ‘to do’ item – perhaps I’ll find a dragon egg as a reward! 🙂

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