Habitica: An Awesome Self-Development Tool

checklist photo. is your homeschooled kid being left behind?

I have a new obsession. It’s called Habitica, and it’s become a huge part of my life for the last month or so.

I had been looking for a checklist app of some kind, so I didn’t have to keep re-writing the same tasks over and over. Bullet Journals and Day Books are fine and all, but there’s only so much time in a day. Sometimes we have to look for speedier ways of doing things. I used to have the app Home Routines on my phone and I really loved it, but once I left the iPhone world, I was out of luck: Home Routines does not have an Android version. In my search for a new checklist-type app, I had run across Habitica before, but I’m not a big fan of pixel art, so I had not given it the time of day. But eventually I decided to give it a shot, and am I ever glad I did!

Habitica is an app that turns your life into a Role Playing Game. Now, I have to be honest: I had never role played before, thought it’s always been an interest below the surface—something I wanted to do but never really had the time for. Habitica has allowed me to enter some role playing while remaining productive (and becoming even more so), and I’m loving it.


Habitica: An Awesome Self-Development & Productivity Tool, www.marianamcdougall.com


How the game works

On Habitica, you have a little character. As you complete tasks in every day life, your character earns Experience Points (XP) to level up and gold to spend on stuff within the game. You can also create real-life custom rewards that you can spend your gold on. For example, one of my rewards is to watch a movie, and it costs me 120 gold. So before I watch a movie, I have to complete enough tasks from my task list to earn 120 gold. You can set your rewards and how much they cost however you want, but the things to “buy” within the game cost a specific amount. You also have to buy certain things in a series before you’re allowed to buy more advanced equipment.

A fun aspect of the game are the “drops,” which randomly give you pet eggs, hatching potions, and pet food. As your character grows through the game, you can hatch and collect pets that you can then feed to grow into mounts. It’s a lot of fun doing this, at least for me—and it’s attracted the kids to participate in the game as well, which is awesome; they’re actually looking forward to doing their chores now, so they can go to the game, check things off, and get pets. This has been great because we loved ChoreMonster, but that company seems to have gone kaput, and we were looking for something to replace it. But truth be told, I’m enjoying this even more than the kids!

A new community 

The most valuable aspects  of this game for me are the guilds and challenges. Guilds are groups of people centered around a common interest or goal. Many of these guilds will have challenges you can join; there are challenges for almost anything you can think of. For example, I’m taking part in a challenge to read for 25 minutes per day, a challenge for scheduling a full week ahead of time, and a fun challenge about taking a virtual vacation. All of these challenges help me grow as a person and learn new things, as well as organize my life. For most of the challenges, you have to report back to the guild on whether you completed the activities or not, which makes you feel part of a group (and keeps you accountable).

For someone like me, who hasn’t been part of the traditional work force for many years, this aspect of the game has been invaluable. For example, while Dan is on vacation, I’m working full-time with my freelancing and blogging. One of the guilds does “pomodoros” together. We state what we plan to do for the next 25 minutes, and then we have to report back to say whether we did it or not. On Friday, I spent the day doing this. I was extremely productive while also feeling like I was part of a group of workers again. Even if there’s no one physically in the room with me, it still feels like I’m working “alongside” people.


checklist graphic

There are three types of tasks on Habitica: Habits, Dailies, and To Dos.

Habits are things that you want to develop a habit of doing (or stop doing). You can have positive and negative habits. For example, one of my positive habits is to put on lip balm, because I frequently forget to do this, and thanks to my super sensitive and dry skin, I really need to remember to do it. Every time I remember, I get to check that and get some gold and experience points for doing it. It’s a great motivator for me. I have a negative habit of raising my voice at the children. Each time I do it, I have to click the negative habit, which means I lose experience points and gold. It’s not as much a motivator to not do it as it’s making me notice how often I do it and helping me work towards better forms of communication.

Dailies are tasks that must repeat daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. The important thing to note about dailies is that if you don’t perform them, you get “punished” in the game by losing gold, health, and if you leave enough dailies undone, you’ll lose all your gold, a level, a piece of equipment, and your character will die, so you’ll have to “refill health and try again.” In my dailies, I have such things as taking my medication, doing my physiotherapy, using assistive devices for my connective tissue disorder, and more.

Finally, To Dos are things that you only need to do once. For example, some of my to dos have been to put a letter in the mail or to create a new budget for my business (Budgets would be reviewed monthly/quarterly/year, but creating the new budget itself is a one-time thing).

Free Accounts and Paid Accounts

Habitica is free to access for everything I mentioned above. Paid subscriptions get a few extra perks, but it’s important to note that this game is not “pay to play.” You can access everything in the game from the paid account, but a subscription will give you fun things like the ability to purchase gems with gold. Gems allow you to buy certain things in the game that you otherwise would have to wait for a random drop for. These don’t affect your levelling up at all, they’re just fun little things to collect. There’s a few other extra perks as well.

Having said that, Habitica depends on subscriptions to continue running, so if you can afford to get one, it would be good to do so. I myself am considering buying the Groups submission, which allows you to assign tasks to people in the group, have a private chat, and other functionalities. This would be useful as a family to get stuff done around the house, and could even work as a chore chart that may be more effective than other things we’ve tried. I’ll keep you posted about my subscription purchase.

If you’d like to give Habitica, a try, visit the website here. If you want to learn more about the game and how it works, there’s a huge Wiki that will tell you everything you need to know.

Have you tried Habitica? What do you think of it?


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