HabitRPG: The Ultimate Fun Productivity Tool

I can't remember exactly when, but I joined HabitRPG at some point. It might have been last year, or the year before that. However, last year was truly when I took advantage of it. It changed my life and I'd like to discuss that with you and kind of recap what it helped me do.


What is it?

Before I get into the nitty gritty, let me tell you what HabitRPG is. There are several parts to the system but HabitRPG is basically a way to gamify habit creation. As far as the parts go, there is the dashboard, the inventory, and the social aspect to the game. There's also the "character", YOU, and some special attributes you have.

All in all, it's basically a glorified to-do list, but a very powerful one. Let's talk about it.


The dashboard view is separated into several parts: 4 columns of lists, character overview, and tags.

The first column is called "Habits", this is the place where you input a habit and whenever you do the good thing, you check off a "+", whenever you do something bad, you check "-". So for instance, if you are a smoker trying to quit, you'd click on "-". If you wanted to be healthier, you might have a task that says, "take stairs intead of using the elevator", and you'd click on "+" for that one. For this type of a task, you can accomplish both the positive and negative aspect infinitely while others have different intervals.

Upon accomplishing any task, you get experience and gold. For negative tasks (only in the habits column), you lose health.

The second column is called "Dailies". Dailies are very important as they make up most of the habit-making process. You see, these are tasks that have to be done daily though, you do have the option of setting which days the tasks have to be done but they have to be done on the day they become active. If you don't do them, you lose health, if you do them, you gain experience + gold + drops (loot, basically).

Next up is "to do" which is a general to do list; however, the longer you wait to do a to-do, the darker it gets, from yellow all the way down to dark dark red. The darker it is, the more points it is because presumably, the longer it took or the more reluctant you were to do it. You can even set a due date on these or a checklist if each to-do has a certain amount of sub-tasks.

Note that, on any daily, todo, or habit, you can pick a difficulty. And everything (other than outside challenges, and we'll talk about those) is self-picked. So you're there to keep yourself in line.

Lastly, there are rewards and spells. Rewards can be self-set or part of a challenge (more on that later). These cost a certain amount of gold. The idea is to do many different tasks to build up gold and use it to reward yourself. You can also buy potions to replenish any lost health. And lastly, as part of the RPG aspect of HabitRPG, there are spells. Spells, or rather "abilities" are modifiers that help you either run away from dailies (and not get damage), increase drop size, replenish one thing or another, and so on. It's a fun modifier.


As a character, you have mana (for spells), experience (to level up), health, gold (to buy things), and gems (to buy other things, available mostly to subscribers).

You also get to pick an assortment of armor based on your class. Oh yeah, there are classes! Anyways, all of these things help you be strong or weak to one aspect of the RPG or another. A Healer can obviously heal while a fighter has a better ability to defend him/her self against dailies and can attack during Quests (more on that later! :)). I personally play as a Rogue who tends to get a ton of gold (and thus can afford many health potions) but can also cast the pricey "Stealth" which means that dailies don't do damage to you for the day.

Armor and weapons add to these various skills, helping you get more gold, experience, (strike criticals!), defend yourself and so on.

There are also some goodies like picking a character background and getting silly armor/weapons to fit the season.


There's a social aspect to HabitRPG. In the Tavern (a main meeting place), you can participate in a myriad of general discussions; however, I find it distracting. It's not very useful to me; other than when the good guys at Habit start an overworld quest (a quest that everyone will participate in) and this is the place you can check your progress.

One of the most important parts of Habit though is the Party. Just like in any MMO, you can aceate a party and go on quests. You can fivite people, you can join a group, or you can party solo. I did that for a while. A quest really helps you set on a path to keep up your dailies. You're no longer just in survival mode, you're actively trying to finish your dailies, todos, and habits to attack a monster or pick up quest items (like special crystals). Quests come with some perks like getting rewards (which is usually a continuation of the quest, an exp boost, and gold!). It also helps get people together and encourage each other.

You're depending on others to finish their tasks as well because if they don't, you get hurt by the monster in the quest. Same goes if you forgo your dailies, your teammates gets hurt.

Anyways, let's move on. There are also Guilds, and you can join a ton of these. Each guild has its own chatroom and many have their own Challenges. These are cool because there are many topic-based Guilds, like "bilinguals", "life hackers", "Linux", and so on. The challenges help you get better at something.

There's a whole list of them actually. You can actively look at all the available challenges from all the guilds you join in one place. Challenges are like sets of Todos, Habits, and Dailies created by a Guild owner or another player. You can't edit these but you can join/unjoin these. They're awesome in that you can participate in a challenge with many others but you're only responsible for yourself.

Challenges come with prizes too (usually gems) but honestly, I've never managed to win anything!


Lastly, there's the inventory. There's a market where you can use gems to buy eggs and food (to feed pets) and quest scrolls (to go questing). Pets are interesting feature because they're the only collectible in the game. You get eggs and potions to hatch the eggs from dailies/habits/todos and then you can feed them until they become strong enough to become "mounts". You can have any of these display with your characters for others to see.

This part is pretty pointless but it's fun! :)

There's also an equipment market.

How did I use it?

HabitRPG is great in that you can make it very GTD. You see, all tasks (collectively: habits, todos, dailies) can be tagged. The same way as GTD. So you can tag "Get a new movie" todo as "out" and "fun". I used the tagging system very actively though, I mostly just look at everything at once.

Here's what it helped me with though:

  1. I was able to break up BIG goals into milestones (regular to-dos) and into daily/semi-daily tasks, and finally, anything extra got put into habits.
  2. I was able to keep up daily tasks that helped me achieve bigger things. Most to-do lists don't allow repetition or semi-repetition
  3. Organization, it was easy to organize all of my goals
  4. And RPG aspect kept me going. Not finishing a to-do meant damage to my teammates or damage to me, OR losing a streak (which is a big deal).

Let me give you an example of a task I accomplished last year: Writing. Writing is one of my favorite pastimes but I wanted something more from it so here's what I did:

  1. Habits - writing a poem or a story is a "+", reading about writing is a "+"
  2. Dailies - work on something writing related, whether it's a blog, a book, or whatever. Just do something daily (other than weekends!)
  3. Todo - these were the bigger items such as: write a book (and this was broken up into four quarters), write a poetry collection, pick out the best poems from past works.

All three of these portions helped me get more into writing and keep it at the forefront of my mind. There were other tasks, of course. The RPG element really drove me to keep up my streak. I believe my max was 26 non-stop days of writing.

During Story A Day May, I managed to do 28 stories in a row, and again, this was a daily. I also gave myself a bonus to-do task every 10 stories. I tend to do those for really long projects as milestones.

I did the same thing with Gym. I gave myself dailies (only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) and added todos are specific Gym goals such as running a 5K or running for 30 minutes straight, or lifting a certain amount of weight.

The result?

I've gotten more into the... habit of doing things and accomplishing goals. It's second nature and HabitRPG keeps me going. In fact, I formed my own party and we're rolling through the quests quickly. I'm already on level 47! So come join! :)