Turning life into a game with HabitRPG

The last two weeks I’ve shifted my tracking system to HabitRPG.  Tracking on a wall calendar had two main defects for me: (1) Lack of visible automatic penalty for missing something I want to do on a day, and (2) Inability to use it while travelling (which is on average once a month).  Moreover, I had to wait till I came home in the evening till I checked something off.  Having an iPhone app means I can stay on top if it anytime.

The program asks the user to fill in three kinds of things to do — Dailies, Habits (both good or bad) and Tasks (which are one-time to-dos).  You earn gold and experience for completing something and level up once you’ve accumulated enough experience points.  The gold can be used either to buy stuff in the game for your character (like armour, pets etc.) or you can choose your own custom real-world rewards.

I find myself surprisingly averse to losing health points (which happens if you miss a daily or indulge a bad habit).  And wanting to perform an extra task just because I’m about to level up.  At the end of the day when I realise I haven’t done any German practice, I would have ordinarily said “screw it, it’s too late now”.  But now I know if I can just open Duolingo and work through two sections, I can tick it off.

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The thing I’m not too fond of the the RP (Role Playing) part.  I don’t care very much for the social aspects of it nor the  armour, dungeons, quests etc.  I can ignore it for the most part except there’s no way to turn off the in-game rewards.  The second thing I have trouble with is the “Tasks” list.  Since I already have a very functional GTD system in place, the single-list nature of Tasks is no longer viable.  But I would still like to think that ticking off a next item should count for something.  So currently the setup is that I put all the items I’ve been procrastinating on in the HabitRPG Tasks to give me some extra motivation to tick it off.

My current dailies include getting to office on time, meditation, german practice and some other daily hygiene-related errands.  Points are docked if I’m late, if I watch too much TV in the morning, miss going to the gym etc.  There are also nice ways to track the number of pomodoros spent doing deep work, coding or writing.