If there’s one thing I love doing, it’s being productive.

Sometimes, however, staying productive can be kind of hard.

I’m a full-time freelancer, so my success is highly dependent on how productive I’m being. Sometimes I work an eight-hour day, sometimes I only work four, or sometimes I don’t even work at all (which are not my best days, because I feel guilty when I’m not producing, but that’s a post for another time).

So, how do I keep myself on track? Well, there’s various ways, but the problem with some of these methods is that they can feel like a chore. Time tracking is one that seems to work out well for some, but personally, I hate it. It’s tedious, it takes up time, and my schedule is so unpredictable that I can never down the exact amount of time I’ve spent working (which is one reason why I don’t bill hourly). I’ll work for thirty minutes, then hit up Twitter for five, then go make a sandwich, then worth for a couple hours, then go play with my cats for who knows how long…

You see the problem here? It’s too much to keep up with. It’s tedious. But thanks to a little app called HabitRPG, I’ve learned a few ways to make it fun.

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Less Chores, More Games

I love gaming. I regularly play board games and tabletop RPGs (basically Dungeons & Dragons, if you’re not familiar), take work breaks playing Minecraft, and at night if I’ve had a productive day, I’ll play a little Xbox. Most games are have a common element – an XP system. You gain experience points, and you level up. The higher level you are, the more accomplished you feel.

That’s why HabitRPG really appeals to me.

bossWhat is Habit RPG?
HabitRPG is a free habit building app that treats your life like a game. You set up your own habits, dailies, and to-do lists, and in exchange for completing these items, you get XP, gold, and other rewards. The game has many rewards, such as in-game items, but you can also set up your own rewards (like 1hr of Video Games) that you can purchase with the gold you’ve earned. It’s a clever system that runs off of self-accountability, and it’s helped keep me more productive while I work from home.

You can play solo, or you can invite friends to your party (highly recommended), which opens additional challenges, like completing Quests and fighting Bosses. In order to complete a challenge, you must complete your dailies, your to-do lists, or some other combination of tasks.

In order to promote productivity, there are various rewards for completing your tasks, such as XP, gold, items, pets and mounts. Completing challenges will also reward you similarly, by pushing you harder to succeed. For example, we are currently fighting a Fiery Gryphon, which can be damaged by completing Dailies and To-Dos. The tricky part, however, is that if the party doesn’t complete all it’s To-Dos for the day, then the party takes damage. Therefore, everyone is accountable.

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My party. I’m on the left there. And yes, that is a cactus.

Gold in the game can be cashed in to improve your avatar. The items you buy also have stats, like adding more points in Constitution which alleviates some of the damage you get from not completing your Dailies (or something to that effect). You can also spend gold on your own rewards, such as +1hr of Reading, Play Video Games, or whatever else kind of reward you want to work toward.

(Also, if you’re curious, my Habits, Dailies and Rewards are below. Click for bigger versions.)

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I guess I can check Daily Writing, 30mi Writing, and Write a blog post off my list. (I’ve been trying to convince myself to draw and write more, which is why I have so many rewards set up for them.)

There are various other aspects to HabitRPG – like guilds, forums, achievements, critical hits, eggs, pets, mounts, and the like – that I highly suggest you check out. It’s a great app that I’ve been using for a few months now, and a really great way to track your own progress. Although I personally prefer the web app, HabitRPG is also available as a mobile app on iOS and Android.