Gamify Your Life

To preface, I get very anxious about remembering things. I try physical planners and schedulers and to-do apps on my phone but I always find myself slipping up, forgetting to check it, etc. That is, until I discovered HabitRPG.

HabitRPG (tagline: “Gamify Your Life”) describes itself as, “a free habit building and productivity app that treats your real life like a game. With in-game rewards and punishments to motivate you and a strong social network to inspire you, HabitRPG can help you achieve your goals to become healthy, hard-working, and happy.”

As an example, here’s what mine looks like (with more personal stuff blacked out):


Separated into Habits, Dailies, and To-Dos, HabitRPG is a versatile way to manage all the things you have on your plate. BUT, its novelty doesn’t come from that. Instead, it comes from the game/RPG aspect. In the top left corner is my avatar – I actually haven’t done much to it in awhile so it’s pretty plain but, as you can see in the Rewards panel, I can buy clothes and weapons. As you check things off your lists, you can also “find” objects like eggs that hatch into pets.

As you complete more tasks, your experience goes up and, with that, so does your level. If you do not complete tasks by your self-assigned due date, you lose health and possibly EXP; lose enough health and you get docked down a level.

“Gamifying” real life isn’t a new idea – I remember when the concept for “Zombies, Run!” (where your usual work-out run gets turned into a zombie chase via a phone app) came out and, even though I never work out (that WORK OUT habit is 99% wishful thinking), it made me want to try it out. Gamification is also widely popular in marketing and advertising; how many times have we seen companies promote apps that reward you for things like check-ins? For example, my UrbanOn app (by Urban Outfitters) gives me coupons every time I do a series of check-ins – once through their app, once through their site, and once in a physical store.

The websites Duolingo or Codeacademy follow similar concepts where you get badges for learning new things. These badges are pretty much meaningless in the sense that they don’t amount to any tangible thing but they’re effective – why? Is it because we love being acknowledged and rewarded? Or is it because there’s entertainment value in things that lacked it before?

For instance, I never had any incentive to actually check my to-do lists but now, if I don’t, I lose health and EXP. In the grand scale of things, it doesn’t really matter if my little avatar dies but, as a player, it’s great motivation. There’s a reason why it’s a popular marketing tool – there’s very little at stake, app development costs aside, but it builds intense “loyalty” or, at least, incentive. People will buy ten drinks because they want one free, go to a store and check-in because they want a badge, etc.

I’d actually love to hear more examples of gamification, if anyone has any. HabitRPG was a great find for me and I’d love to know if there are any more ways to make my mundane life a little more entertaining.

But now, I’m going to go and give myself a little plus for making a blog post because EXP points make me happy 🙂

0 thoughts on “Gamify Your Life

  1. Tried it. It sucks. Logging back into that thing so often is such a chore in itself. You also have to program it due to a lack of templates. The rewards are meager and disproportionate.

    1. I agree that it has a lot of shortcomings and it’s not super exciting to look at but, personally, I’ve tried things like Wunderlist and with no lasting success. Also agreed, it’s a bit of a chore to set everything up but I think the concept of a gamified to-do list is pretty novel so I’m probably going to stick with it. I can definitely understand why others may find it underwhelming though!

Leave a Reply