Having trouble getting things done around the house? Can’t motivate yourself to complete your chores? Want to add some adventure to your housekeeping? Then you might want to try Habitica, a task management program that converts your to-do list into Dungeons & Dragons-style questing and it’s pretty damn good.
I’d probably would be among the first to scoff at the idea that gaining experience points on a website would motivate me to separate my laundry correctly, yet here I am folding dark fabrics and washing whites as I level up!
Here’s how it works:
When you sign up for a free Habitica account, you start off as a puny level 1 Warrior. Then you can input any number of tasks, from regular “Dailies” (routine chores) to one-off “To-Dos.” You can even input positive or negative “Habits” that will reward or discourage you depending on which habits you want to make or break.
It’s all adventure from there onward. If you complete and check off your tasks, you gain gold and XP, but failure to do (mostly daily) tasks deals damage to your character. Gain enough XP and you can level up, take enough damage and you fall back down.
You can also go on quests, usually to slay some comically-named, chore-themed monsters. Recently, I fought a “Laudromancer” and some “Clutter Frogs.” Completing tasks damages the monsters, but the monsters can deal damage back if you still have uncompleted tasks. The more unfinished chores, the bigger damage they deal. Yeah, it’s all corny and cheesy, but it’s still very fun. Plus you tend to find friends and play as a party. “I need a heal, I can’t take the garbage cans out today!” It’s like that.
After progressing up 10 levels you can choose a class as a Mage, Thief, Healer or continue on as a Warrior. Each class has its own suite of special abilities. For example, I chose to be a Mage which specializes in quick XP gain and some specific spells that can buff the party or endow them with useful effects. Mages can also cast a fireball-esque spells to damage boss monsters during battle. In terms of managing tasks, Mages can cast ice spells to freeze tasks I can’t complete so I don’t lose my completion streak bonus at the end of the day.
Warriors are better at dealing damage and taking it, making them the best class for people who occasionally forget some chores, but want maximum rewards when they do finally get them done. Healers can heal themselves or others which makes it easier to recover from big boss damage or bad days where you didn’t get anything done.
Getting down to brass tacks, Habitica is actually quite fun. I’m not sure it’s helped me remember to take out the kitchen recycling any more then other tasks managers I’ve used, but it feels like the added sense of adventure motivates me. I certainly check in before I go to bed to make sure I have everything possible checked off. Hell, I stayed up an extra 10 minutes to unload the dishwasher to avoid damage, so I guess it works.
Plus, you can spend the gold you’ve earned on equipment, pets, mounts, vanity gear, and all the rest. Knocking off a few extra tasks so you can afford a new sword benefits both your character and your actual life.
Habitica also has a system to create guilds and groups, which means we can all play together and keep each other accountable to not slack off doing our day-to-day tasks. Geek & Sundry group anyone?
PS: Did I make writing this article a Habitica task so I could get gold and XP for it? Yes, thank you for the extra 3 gold and 22 XP.
Do you use a task manager to get things done around the house? Can you tolerate such corny names as “The Laundromancer”? Seriously who’s down for a Geek & Sundry Habitica guild… I already started it…
Image Credits: Habitica, used by request.