I started using HabitRPG last weekend. At first it was just fun, but after one week I’m actually seeing some positive effects already:
- I take the stairs more
- I do more exercises at home
- I go to the gym more
- I floss more
- I go to bed earlier
- I eat less snacks after dinner
- I spend less time in front of the computer
I find that the following elements of gamification work the best on me:
- “Dailies” are recurring daily tasks. You lose hit points of you fail to do them. You gain increasingly more bonus if you keep doing on consecutive days. These two features give an added incentive to keep doing your “dailies”. Examples:
- Do 20 pushups
- “Habits” are things you should be doing, or shouldn’t be doing. So habits can have a positive or negative meaning, respectively. You lose hit points if you do a negative habit, and you gain bonus if you do something positive. Colors indicate how much you’ve been doing or not doing something. In case of positive tasks green means you’ve done enough, in case of negative tasks red means you’ve done too much. These features give incentive to keep doing positive habits and avoid negative habits. Examples:
- Positive: Take the stairs instead of elevator
- Positive: Go to the gym
- Negative: Awake at midnight
- Negative: Snack after dinner
Sounds interesting? Check out the tutorial to see how it works. This is a screenshot from my page just to give you an idea:
A surprising effect of the dailies was that now I spend much less time on answering questions on Stack Overflow compared to before. Recently it’s been kind of an addiction/obsession for me to collect reputation points on stackoverflow.com. I was aware that I was spending more time than I should, but it was hard to resist. There, a simple daily task on HabitRPG seems to have cured that addiction. The task says: “Answer 1 question on Stack Overflow”. As a result, after I already answered one question on a given day, I have no more incentive to do more. In fact that would risk missing my other dailies.
In other words, if you think you are doing X too much, add a daily that says: “Do X for 1 hour”. After you’ve done that a day, you will get no extra benefit from it. The incentive to do more will be taken away. At least in terms of HabitRPG.
Sure, this might not work for everyone. In any case here are some extra tips for beginners:
- The site is extremely buggy at the moment. Be careful. Maybe don’t gamify your entire life just yet. Start slow, and see as it goes, discovering the bugs and learning how to deal with them.
- Don’t bother creating your own Rewards. From level 2 you can see the many built-in rewards, which are too good and hard enough to earn.
- Don’t bother about the tags and advanced options. If you want to avoid hitting bugs, try to use the site the simplest possible way.
- Don’t bother entering Todos. Install the Chrome Extension and link it to your other todo applications, such as Google Tasks, Asana or Workflowy.
- Don’t add more Dailies than you can actually maintain. Start slow, add more later.
- Prefer to add the small tasks that you always want to do but somehow you just never do… In my case these were things like flossing, pushups, sit-ups, taking stairs, etc. Things that don’t really take time, but somehow normally I just really don’t do them.
- Whatever you do, do NOT become a HabitRPG addict! That would defeat the purpose!
Oh and by the way it’s open-source, here’s the main repository: