Habitica

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A year ago today, I started to use Habitica, an online role playing game aimed at improving productivity.

What is Habitica?

Similar to lots of other online games, you have a character and work to collect experience (which allows you to level up), coins (which allow you to purchase items) and other drops which let you accessorise your character.

However unlike most other games, rather than just wasting CPU cycles by clicking randomly to grow a farm or mine the ground, in habitica you need to be productive to get the prizes.

You create tasks which can be in three different categories:

  • Habits
  • Dailies
  • To-Dos

Habits are things that can be done multiple times a day for example, achieving email inbox zero, do some housework, learn something new. They could also be negative things like procrastinate or take the car when could have walked.

Dailies are things that get done once a day and if you don't do them, you will take damage. You can schedule them for particular days of the week or every x days.

To-Dos are just a simple to do list. Once it is complete it is gone and there is no recursion.

Can't you just cheat?

Yes... but you are just cheating yourself.

The biggest benefit I have found to using habitica is that it is effectively a commitment to yourself and so you would be going back on a promise to yourself. There has been several times that as I am in bed and ticking off the last few items, I realise that there was something I forgot to do. In the past I would have probably just not bothered, 'its not worth it, it can wait till the morning'. However now I force myself to get back up and do the job properly.

How has it helped me?

In the last year, I have been much more organised and productive particularly as part of the evening routine. Having a checklist of things that I have committed to completing each evening has helped motivate me to actually keep on top of the housework.

I have also found it useful at work to have a separate list from tracks. As previously mentioned I use tracks as my main task manager. Tracks is advanced and allows splitting jobs into contexts/projects and deferring them into the future.

Habitica only has a simple todo list and although things could be tagged for contexts or projects, it is not possible to defer them to show up in the future.

Each morning, I review all the active tasks in tracks and pick which ones I will actually focus on today and copy them over to habitica. During the day, I mainly use habitica to keep tabs of what I am currently working on.

Almost like tracks is long term storage, habitica is short term focus.

What are my future plans?

In the next year I hope to continue to work in a similar manner and not only keep the housework at a minimal acceptable level but up my game and really get on top of everything.

Short version for tavern: A year ago today, I started to use Habitica, I have been much more organised and productive particularly as part of the evening routine. Having a checklist of things that I have committed to completing each evening has helped motivate me to actually keep on top of the housework. In the next year I hope to continue to work in a similar manner and not only keep the housework at a minimal acceptable level but up my game and really get on top of everything.

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