A Writer's Life - Using Habitica

You might think being a writer consists of getting up and writing.  I can't speak for the writers out there that have deals with publishing houses and stuff, but that is certainly not the case as an indie author.  There's so much to do, and time is limited.  Thus, I have been relying heavily on my new organization app, Habitica.

If you read my I Quit My Job! post from two weeks ago, you saw that I set a schedule up for myself.  I'm not completely happy with it, though figuring out how to improve it...not really sure the best way to do that yet.  I just erased a paragraph I had started to write about that and then realized it was getting really boring.  Suffice to say, I'm draining myself and might need to break up my writing sessions.  Organization, though, that's what has served me well so far.  As previously mentioned, I'm using Habitica, which basically combines a RPG (role-playing game) with and a to-do list into one.

If you're not familiar with RPGs, in a nutshell, you create a character and play as that character.  You can choose a class (mage, warrior, rogue, etc.) in most cases, and that will determine your combat skills and equipment options.  Gold and experience are earned by completing quests, and you level up to get more skills and use the gold you earn to buy cooler, better equipment.  Here endeth the basic RPG lesson.  In Habitica, your to-do items are your quests.  This is great for me because I am massively rewards driven when it comes to stuff I don't like doing.

Something I really appreciate about Habitica's setup is the different to-do categories they have.  I've used numerous other to-do lists and organization apps before, and an issue I have with a lot of them is a lack of structure.  Let me explain what I mean by that by telling you about how my life is arranged in Habitica.

^Web version

^Web version

^Mobile version

^Mobile version

First you have your Habits, which are meant to be things you do (or don't do) at least once a day or several times a day.  You can set these with + or - options to keep you really accountable (e.g, "I ate a whole cake again" would have a - option next to it, and you would lose experience if you did that thing).  For me, though, I just want a list of stuff that I need to make sure to do everyday.  Now, you may look at my list above and say, "Okay, Dana, drinking water is good, but brushing your teeth?  You seriously have that on your to-do list?"  And then I look at you like this: -.-  Okay, look.  Yes, that's a cheap way to get points and gold, but, but, 1) you can set difficulty levels on all of your to-dos, and brushing my teeth is set as easy, so it's not like I'm getting very much gold and experience from it.  And 2) there have been many weekends where I was a lazy doss and didn't do anything to transform myself into a human, which is bad, so this has legitimately helped me in that area.  Seriously, if you don't know how much of an achievement sucker I am, you don't even know me!

After Habits, you have your Dailies, which are the recurring things in your life that you might often forget...like putting out the garbage this week.  Whoops.  Guess what's since been added to my Dailies list?  And then To-Dos are the things that don't fall into the first two categories.  This is where I stuff everything else, including things that I would just like to get accomplished one day.  Having those written down helps me when I'm trying to think of something fun to do for a date with the hubs and whatnot.

And all of these things have a bunch of customization options.  You can set reminders, sub-task lists (which get you more XP and gold...just saying), notes, etc.  And then there's the rewards system.  So you can use your gold to buy equipment.  Cool.  And after you level up a few levels, you start getting drops like food and eggs, which can be hatched with dropped potions and fed the dropped food to grow into mounts.  Did anyone notice my super-cool dragon?  NBD.  Just riding a dragon.  And eventually you get to choose your class, which allows you employ those cool skills I mentioned.  I just got to choose my class today!


Any guesses on which class I chose?  Yeah, Mage, no surprises there.  And then this cool thing appeared:

Oooooooh, fire. Β This is gonna be fun. >:D

Oooooooh, fire.  This is gonna be fun. >:D

And apparently using that on your tasks gets you a boost to experience and damage if you're fighting a boss.  That brings me to the really complicated part.  If any hardcore RPG'ers out there are thinking this seems really simple, that's because I'm intentionally painting it that way.  I've learned that Habitica can be as simple or as complicated as you like.  You can join a guild, form a party, participate in challenges, the list goes on and on.  The online community is huge, and I haven't delved very deeply yet.  Even so, I'm super enjoying the app; it's already helped to keep me on track in this strange, new, self-employed world I'm in.  Thanks for reading!