Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Gamification and HabitRPG

For some time now, I've been trying to use To-Do lists to feel productive throughout the day. And it hasn't worked. Mainly, because I'm an avid gamer, I lean more towards achievement driven success than I do a simple task list to check off each time I do something productive. I went perusing the internet a couple of weeks ago and found that there is actually a term for my ailment - gamification.

Gamification is essentially the act of rewarding players/employees for accomplishing tasks by giving them points, achievements, tokens, badges, etc. When I heard about this, I thought it was a dream come true. Being an avid gamer, I revel in gaining achievements for the work I put into something, and I feel productive and accomplished even when I win something as trivial as an in-game bauble. It's just the way that I am wired.

After finding out about this, I realized that I have the potential of being more productive if I apply the same gamification ideals to my own life and writing career. So I went in search of apps that cater to this obsession online, and found very few that an individual - as opposed to a company - can use to do daily tasks. But one that I did come across shows promise. HabitRPG.

HabitRPG is an online, open-source app that runs To-Do and Task lists as if you were the character in a role playing game. You get gold and experience points as you complete tasks. The experience points help your character grow stronger, and the gold can be spent on weapons and armor that increase your experience or protect your health. The coolest thing about HabitRPG is that you can create your own reward system and set the gold standard that has to be spent to reach it. For example, I have a reward that I can purchase that gives me a day off from work if I spend 500 gold.

But it's not just about rewards. It's also about habits. You have daily habits that have to be performed, such as drinking your daily allotment of water or writing for an hour. If you don't complete the habit that day, you ding yourself and your health goes down. Once you're health reaches 0, your character dies and you're knocked back a level.

The game has other great options, like manually setting the difficulty of each task - although the system has it's own algorithm built in that may/may not really need to be adjusted, setting deadlines for each task, and getting bonuses when you get a streak - a consecutive number of the same task done daily. 

HabitRPG does have bugs and glitches here and there, but they are being worked out, and of all of the online options I have seen for this type of system, HabitRPG is by far the most promising.

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