HabitRPG Custom AvatarThere are tons of great tools out there to boost your productivity. They help you keep track of all the items on your to-do list, prioritizing those tasks to keep you on track. As great as all that information may be, it can still lack in the motivation department. Just because you know you should be doing something doesn’t mean that you’ll actually do that something.

One of the more interesting methods to consider for this is called gamification and one of the newest tools to hit the web for this purpose is HabitRPG. It gamifies all the things that you have to do each day, placing them in the context of an SNES-era role playing game. Children of the 80s and 90s will certainly appreciate this retro appeal.

What Is HabitRPG?

The idea behind HabitRPG is to take all of your tasks and habits, treating these goals as if they were a part of a role-playing game for the Super Nintendo. As you achieve success with your goals, you gain experience points (XP) and level up your character. If you let you habits slide, then you lose health (HP).

The interface is completely online and, at least for now, it’s completely free to use. You simply create an account on the website — either by email or by connecting to your Facebook profile — and add the items that need to be done. You log back in each day to track your progress. One of the newer features recently added is support for parties, just as you would in a typical RPG. You can effectively compete with your friends who are also on HabitRPG, creating an integrated accountability system. This is not unlike what you might experience on Foursquare or why you may have an exercise buddy.

Habits, Dailies and Todos

The main user dashboard for HabitRPG is broken up into several main categories. This is because the tasks you want to track are inherently different in nature.

HabitRPG User Dashboard

HabitRPG User Dashboard

“Habits” are goals that are ongoing. They can be both positive (“1h productive work”) or negative (“eat junk food”), having a corresponding effect on your character’s points. Every time that you put in that hour of productive work, you can give yourself some positive XP. Each time you eat another bag of potato chips, you end up docking yourself a few points.

“Dailies” are the goals that you want to accomplish every day. Let’s say that you want to get in 30 minutes of medium intensity cardiovascular exercise each day. If you go for that jog, you can tick that off your list, but it’ll reappear again tomorrow. If you don’t go for a jog, then you lose points at the end of the day…and the task will reappear again tomorrow.

Finally, “Todos” are the one-off goals that only need to be completed once. Perhaps one of your “Todos” is to join the local gym. While you don’t lose points for not completing these, lingering “Todos” increase in value over time. This way, the item that’s been sitting there the longest is worth the most and you are the most motivated to complete it.

Upgrading with Rewards and Customization

Of course, the gamification wouldn’t really work if there wasn’t some sense of reward and accomplishment. One way that HabitRPG addresses this is with avatar customization.

Character Customization with HabitRPG

Character Customization with HabitRPG

As you earn more XP and gold, you can buy new weapons, armor, and other character customizations, including pets. You can also put in arbitrary “real world” rewards, like rewarding yourself with an extra hour of playing video games if you spend a certain amount of silver.

Future Directions and the Mobile App

HabitRPG recently sought funding through a Kickstarter campaign and it was very successful, earning over $40,000 in pledges. With this money, the developer hopes to fix bugs and expand the functionality of HabitRPG.

HabitRPG Android and iOS Apps

HabitRPG Android and iOS Apps

One very important item that’s missing is the mobile app. While the web interface is adaptive to smaller screens, it lacks offline access and native support. With this funding, HabitRPG aims to develop apps for Android and iOS. The funding will also be spent on improving reliability, fixing bugs, and integrating with major services like Fitbit, Google Calendar, Asana and Evernote.

Artificial Motivation for Real World Results

The whole point here is to get real world results. Even though the rewards are simply virtual in HabitRPG, taking on the form of virtual armor and weapons, the gamification does provide some very real motivation. However, just like any other tool, you have to stay motivated to keep using HabitRPG if you want it to work for you.

Image credit: habitrpg.com