App Review: Habitica

Anyone who has dedicated even a small amount of time to video games has been here: there’s a task that you really don’t want to do, like fight yet another monster that you’ve already slayed a dozen times, or run halfway across the map in order to find that one final collectible that you need.  But we do these tasks anyway, because we want to see our Experience bar tick up one more level, or we want to be able to cash that collectible in for a cool new piece of gear that we’ve been lusting after.  But what if we could apply those systems to our real life tasks? What if we could gain experience not by slaying monsters, but by going on that run that we’ve been putting off, or finally getting around to the pile of laundry that has been building up all week?  That’s precisely what Habitica aims to do.

One of the most talked-about concepts in the tech world over the last couple of years has been gamification.  Simply put, gamification is the attempt to apply the tools and knowledge that game designers have developed about incentive systems and influencing human behavior to other, non-game aspects of life.  There are plenty of gamification apps in the Productivity section of the App Store, but probably none as successful at what they set out to do than Habitica.

In Habitica, you’ll create a simple pixel-based character that will act as your avatar in the retro RPG-influenced fictional world of the app.  You can set goals for yourself, such as “Do The Dishes” or “Complete Writing Assignment,” and as you complete the goals your character will earn Gold and Experience.  Gaining experience will lead to leveling up and makes it easier for you to slay the monsters that are present in the world, while earning gold will allow you to purchase rewards – both in the game, like new weapons or equipment, and in real life, like “Watch One Episode Of Favorite TV Show.”  The app also comes supplied with some pregenerated goals and rewards, if you have trouble thinking of ones yourself.

One of the most useful features of the app though, is the ability to form groups among your real life friends.  This creates a sense of real accountability – fail to complete a task, and all your friends will take more damage from the monster that you are collectively fighting.  Succeed in what you set out to do, and you will all succeed together.  As you gain levels and progress through the game, you will also unlock additional features that will provide you with more incentives to complete your goals.  You can raise Pokemon-like pets, discover new Mounts to ride, and gain achievements to display on your profile.

Habitica is perfect for freelancers, or anyone who needs a little bit of help adding structure to the tasks they’re meant to complete throughout the day.  It really gives you an almost constant sense of tiny accomplishments that can push you over the edge from “I’ll get around to it eventually” to “Let’s get busy!”


Do you have experience using gamification apps to improve your productivity?  What are some of your favorites?  Share them in the comments below!

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