At University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the new semester is upon us. For many academic librarians, this means running here and there, teaching classes, holding consultations, fixing electronic resources when they break, and just trying to keep one’s head above water. In honor of this crazy time of the year, and also of our upcoming webinar on the 29th of August on the organizational tools of Trello and Evernote, I am going to use this post to tell you about a to-do list and habit reinforcement site that I have found to be highly useful.
The tool I am talking about is called Habitica. Available both in browser and also as an App for iPhone and Android systems, this tool is at its heart a way to reinforce positive habits and keep track of to-dos. What is really genius about it is the way it keeps you motivated to stay on track. It takes completing tasks and turns them into a simple role playing/ questing game.
This is my avatar, a level 38 rogue (look at my adorable panda mount!):
You level up, gain more equipment, and collect new pets and mounts by completing the tasks you have put in your lists. You can make as many to-do lists or habits as you want. The most important list though is the list of “Dailies”, which are simply enough tasks that you want to perform every day. Not performing them all hurts your health and can eventually kill your character (don’t worry, you can come back easily but you lose some levels!). This is a fantastic way to build a daily routine. I use it to try and make myself remember to organize my email inbox, check UNCG’s electronic resource problems email, and write for one hour. The main interface looks like this:
For both habits and to-dos, the longer you ignore them, the brighter red they turn. When you complete a to-do, it vanishes, but when you complete a habit, it turns from red to green. Dailies turn gray once they are done for the day. To-Dos can also be given due dates or have their own mini checklists of steps attached to them. The more steps a task has, the more experience it is worth when finally completed.
Finally, on top of all the rewards and getting to make your avatar look cool and ride pandas, you can also join a party of friends and go on quests together. When you are questing, every time you complete a habit, to-do or daily, you deal damage to the big monster you are all fighting. But every time you miss a daily, the monster hurts everyone in your party. The extra peer pressure of not wanting to hurt your friends has really motivated me to complete my dailies and being able to help your friends has pushed me to complete my to-dos.
Habitica is free to use, though you can get extra equipment and prettier backgrounds if you subscribe on a monthly basis. While I have tried many other to-do list programs before, this tool, with is combination of working as a group and getting rewards for progress, is the first that has really clicked for me. As you enter into a new semester, I would encourage anyone interested in a better way to keep organized to try it out.