Friday, 17 January 2014

To-do list, revisited.

It's been almost a year now since I discovered HabitRPG, which I posted about back in February 2013. (For those of you who missed that first post and are too lazy to click the link, it's a to-do list with integrated life gamification. You have a little avatar that gains gold and experience for every task you do, whether one-off or recurring, and can die if you miss too many recurring tasks. Like a roleplaying character, it will level up when there's enough experience amassed, and the gold can be used to buy either in-game rewards like equipment, or buy permission to treat yourself to some real-life rewards, like the book you wanted, or having coffee with friends, or whatever you set for yourself at whatever gold price suits you.)

That was not the first planning gadget I had tried, but contrary to my expectations, I did actually stick with it and did not drop out after a week or two, or even half a year. My to-do list is still quite long, and some items stay on it nauseatingly long, but I do have the feeling that I am getting more done overall.

Habit is especially useful, for me, in keeping track of recurring tasks such as book-keeping (and you faithful readers will know exactly how much I love that task), but also small everyday things that tend to get forgotten. The to-do list can get a bit unwieldy if it becomes too long (if? it's always way too long), and tends to make me sigh because I have still not gotten around to doing this or that, but that is not a problem of the programme, but of my too-ambitious planning.

There are plenty of small things to keep you motivated, too - special gear turning up from time to time, a chance of finding something such as a pet or pet food, and recently implemented are "boss quests" where you have to fight a special monster by doing all your daily tasks, for example. You can also join friends in a party, or join a guild of like-minded folks. For long-term positive reinforcement of getting things done, there's the real-life reward opportunity, which also works nicely for me (and is the main reason why my little avatar does not have that much equipment - I preferred having coffee or lunch with friends, or saving up to buy that yoga mat, or a book).

When I started using Habit, it was still very much in development, and quite... buggy. That has much improved now, though it's still being developed and gets add-ons periodically, such as the long-awaited checklist option. More gamification is possible now than in the first months, with a class system and more complex stats (that you can also ignore if you want).

Sometimes the documentation and explanation on what things do is a little... vague, and there are still plenty of bugs being had, but the developing team (which sports many, many volunteers) is doing a really good job of tackling them. So while there's the occasional glitch, overall I don't mind that much. I really like using Habit, and it actually has made a difference for me. If you like RPGs (or even if you are just curious about that thing), go and check it out. If you need help or want to read some more about it first, here's the wiki for Habit... but I'd actually recommend you to jump right in and give it a try with a few tasks and a few recurring tasks, and see if it suits you. It just might.

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