Tami Parker Other Duties as Assigned

Habitica – Habits, Gamified


I’m trying something new.

This is a common theme for me. I become unhappy with some aspect (or aspects) of my life and I try something.

Sometimes it works, and it sticks around. Sometimes it only lasts for a little while. Sometimes it gets chucked right outside the flippin’ window the next time I look at it.

I like to think of it as Livin’ the Scrum Life — cycles of effort and work and experiments, followed by evaluation and change. Gotta love agile.

This week’s big experiment is a new app/website called Habitica.

You tell it what you want to get credit for doing.

You do the thing.

You tell Habitica that you did the thing.

That’s all pretty standard in the zillions of todo list apps out there. But here’s the difference.

Habitica rewards you.

Not with … like … REAL things. Pssh.

But in Habitica, you have a little pixellated adventurer. And Habitica rewards you with gold, so you can level up, upgrade your gear, go on adventures, raise pets, slay monsters … all silly little rpg things that make my heart happy.

Is it cheesy? Oh yes.

Is it … working?

So far! Look at me right now, writing a blog post. (Guess who made “writing” a daily quest for herself, and guess who didn’t realize unfinished dailies deal damage? THIS GIRL!)

If you decide to check it out, let me know after you’ve played a few days. If you think you’ll keep it up, I’d love to add you to my dungeon party. (If you fall behind on your dailies, it’ll hurt the whole team though, so you have to KNOW you’re going to be active)

Some Specifics About Setting Up Your Goals

Also known as, things I’ve had explained to me by the game multiple times, but which I didn’t really understand till recently.

There are three types of tasks.

Habits, Dailies, and To-Dos.

The easiest of these to understand is the To-Do. These are items that don’t repeat often, if ever. Examples I have personally used include “Make Vet Appointment for Tiny and Moose Yearly Checkup” and “Sew that poxy shoulder strap back together before it rips apart while you’re using it”.

You can choose to update the difficulty of the to-do if you wish, but it’s optional. (Your rewards go up if you consider it to be a difficult task).

Dailies are also pretty easy to understand.

These are things you do on a regular, measured basis. Don’t be fooled by the name — I have some weekly tasks in there as well that repeat every Monday.

Once a day, I get credit for Writing (anything! Just get that butt in a chair and clickety-clack), Ukulele practice, ASL vocabulary … all things that are good. I’ve even got a Daily that’s for personal hygiene. Not that I’m going to forget to BATHE, but I admit to sometimes skimping on flossing or lotioning. No can do if I want to get credit for the daily!

My personal hygiene daily has a checklist inside of it, so I don’t need a separate task for flossing — it’s part of an entire checklist that I must finish before the task is done.

You can also change the difficulty or the repetition details.

The most complicated type of task is the Habit.

Habits aren’t on a set schedule and you might update them multiple times a day. Or not at all in a day.

For example, I have “read a book”. I don’t do that daily (well, not ALWAYS) but whenever I sit down and dedicate some serious time to enjoying the heckfire out of some wordsmithing, I give myself a little click in Habitica.

Habits can have positive clicks … and they can also have negative clicks.

So one of my habits is “eat healthy/treat yo’self”. This morning, instead of another sugar-laden coffee, I had a glass of water. One click of the plus button for me. Later tonight, I might have some ice cream. One click of the negative button for the Tamimonster.

In summary, To-Do’s don’t repeat. Dailies repeat on a predictable schedule. Habits happen randomly throughout your day/week.

And, as briefly mentioned, you are PENALIZED for not finishing your dailies on time. (They do give you plenty of opportunities to mark them done, even into the next morning).

And there’s nothing to stop you from cheating, which I think is just fine. In the end, it’s a tool to help you achieve your goals. It’s up to YOU what those goals are. (And hey, maybe your goal is to win Habitica, who am I to judge?)

I’ve also discovered Challenges on the site — groups of pre-made tasks defined by other players. I’m definitely going to be giving one of those a try after I’ve been at this a little longer.

And after level 3, you start picking up eggs that you hatch into pets, then grow into mounts. EXCITE.

Has anyone tried Habitica before? What methods do you use to keep your goals crankin’?

(Don’t mind me, I’m just going to go check Writing off my dailies now … )


  • I’ve started “Bullet Journal”-ing (http://bulletjournal.com) at work lately and it’s been helping. I’ve been considering keeping a personal one as well (or maybe combining them). Effectively, I keep a daily journal, notes, and an overall set of goals (short and long term) in it. Each day, I start out doing a little journal maintenance / planning (e.g. what did I accomplish the prior day, what needs to move or be cancelled or be rescheduled, what am I planning on doing today, and what’s important vs. not-so-important). I also do a little time-tracking in it, throughout the day, so I know how long I’ve worked on things (which is important for me because I bill time to different clients).

    Now that I’m more used to it, I organize my day-to-day stuff better and can fit in other goals where possible. It also helps me re-focus on the right things when I get interrupted. Biggest thing I had to get over was that it’s okay to waste paper (e.g. if I screw up, what to try something out, or just want to have breathing room for things). I dunno why, but being able to “waste paper” in a bound journal was a weird little hurdle for me (to the point where I intentionally “wasted paper” to get through it).

    • I’ve been bullet journalling for a while now. Just finished my first entire book and started a second one. I, too, am love/hating the wasting of paper. I’m getting better about it, but it definitely took some effort. I’ve started taking notes from the back inward, and leaving my weekly journal/log/lists from the front. A little more organized, and that way my random notes about Hawaii or what have you don’t end up interspersed between my work task to-dos.

      I totally endorse the bullet journal. I’ve enjoyed altering my weekly layouts to better conform to what I actually need the book to do. With habitica, my home to-do list is getting a different place to exist, so this coming week’s layout will have to be altered.

  • I’ve been using Habitica since before it was Habitica. It used to be called HabitRPG, which took place in the land of Habitica. But they said a lot of “normal” people had trouble with the name, so they changed it.

    I joined back in January 2014 or so. I’m in a four-person group, though two are mostly inactive. Maybe we could invite you in…?

    • I do have some work friends who are in my party with me, and I bet I can only be in one at a time. The invite is very much appreciated, though!

  • I just started using Habitica today, actually. I looked at it awhile back but passed when it had no offline support. Now that my situation has changed (have constant internet access) I’ve given it a second thought.

    Interesting concept and, for the first time I can remember, I got my To Do list down to two tasks left, rather than procrastinating my day away on Youtube (I still did my fair share of that, mind you).

    I’m cautiously hopeful this gamification of my Tasks will be the prod I need to start getting things done.

Tami Parker Other Duties as Assigned