Gamify Your Life
Up your productivity with Habitica
By: Myron Madden (aka Your Friendly Neighborhood Writer Man)
With New Year’s now six months behind us, it’s probably safe to assume that most of us have tossed our resolutions in the same dark hole that harbors that 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie we’re still trying to forget.
By June, I typically find my own abyss of shame filled the same neglected goals again and again: Write the next Great American Novel... Save up to visit exciting new places like Nepal or Wakanda… Become as shredded as a pre-Thanos Chris Hemsworth… The list goes on and on.
This year, however, I was surprised to find that I’ve stuck with more than half of the resolution on my list, thanks to the most unexpected productivity tool of them all: Video games.
If you haven’t heard of Habitica yet, you’re missing out. Since its development in 2013, the habit-building app has helped millions stay motivated by turning real life into a role-playing game.
In true RPG fashion, each player creates an avatar that they can outfit with battle armor, magic weapons and mountable pets to help them battle monsters and tackle quests. In order to level up their avatars and get their hands on that sweet, sweet loot, however, players must accrue experience points and gold by checking real-life tasks off their daily to-do lists.
Honestly, I didn’t realize how powerful the tool was until I found myself excited to take out the trash each time it overflowed—and that was just the tip of the iceberg. Since downloading the app this January, I’ve started sleeping more than three hours a night, taught myself to play an instrument, and executed a cross-country move I’d been dreaming about for two years. All in pursuit of that sweet, sweet digital loot.
Whether you’re a longtime Habitican or just starting out, here are a few gimmicks to help you stay fully immersed in your gameplay experience for the second half of 2019—and maybe even get a bit of adulting done along the way.
1. Pimp up your quests
Wanna get really excited about the items on your to-do list? Make them look like quests from your favorite video game. It may take a little extra time, especially if you stylize each entry with fonts from YayText like I do, but feeling like you’re on a stealth mission every time you go to the grocery store is totally worth it.
Before & After:
2. Create mini-games
Need a little extra motivation to get a particularly daunting task out of the way? Turn it into a mini-game by breaking it down into a series of fun by manageable challenges. The key is to set clear time limits and consequences.
Here’s the format I use when writing on a deadline:
3. Beat your high score
If you’re motivated by the thrill of competition, try keeping a record of your high scores. The app already displays the length of your current streak on the bottom right corner of each task, but keeping a separate record in-game will enable you to give yourself a few bonus points every time you break your high score. Or your little sister’s.
The high score method also works great as a mini-game:
** Got a few creative Habitica hacks of your own? Let us know in the comments below!