Our lives are filled with to-do lists. We must deal with endless daily chores (laundry, dishes, lawn mowing, carpooling, and much more). We also have bigger, longer term tasks: all those New Year resolutions we make and seldom carry out such as losing extra pounds, or taking on a healthy habit like running or yoga.
Some people are completely task oriented: whatever is on their list gets done, gets a little check sign or erased with a strikethrough, and they are off to the next assignment. Well, most people need a little push. Luckily for us, a nice variety of applications offers this kind of assistance. There are apps to help us get our chores done; others help us keep our diet, apps for maintaining and improving our workout routine, apps to manage our financial activities and more. Some of these apps use gamification to keep users motivated. Let’s see how:
Let’s take a look at HabitRPG. The app aims to manage your tasks in a fun and motivating manner. Your boring to do list becomes colorful and game-like. Each of your tasks turns into a little monster you have to defeat. (aren’t most of our daily tasks monsters that must be wrestled to the ground?). You get rewarded with “experience points” for tasks you complete and lose points when you do not. The “experience points” can be spent on in-app purchases to improve your gear and mark your progress in the game as well as in real life. In case sharing with others inspires you, HabitRPG can be used to create a social experience. You can invite your real-life friends to the app so they can cheer you up, advise you and reassure you when the going gets tough. The active community is not only for sharing but can also compete with you, encouraging you to perform.
While HabitRPG covers most habits and tasks you can think of, Fitbit is all about your fitness: it manages your diet, your exercise routine and your sleeping habits. If you need help in losing weight (who doesn’t?!) or just watch your calories, you could try this app. You need to log the foods you’re consuming each day and report your daily exercise. The app sends notifications throughout the day allowing you to track your calorie balance, while taking into account your personal data, goals, and how intense you wish the plan to be. The gamified elements do not involve role playing or virtual prizes. But the logic is that of a game: a player wants to fulfill the set goal. This is done with a completeness bar which indicates the calories burned through the day and a gauge which indicates whether you are under budget or over it. If you are the type that gets thrilled and motivated by competition, you can share and compete with your Fitbit friends. You can share progress and data and applaud each other, or better yet, compete and learn from a leaderboard how much harder you have to try.
Managing our finances is another one of those “must does” we adults have to deal with. Toshl is an app that aims to help you manage your financial activities. The ‘raison d’être’ behind it is that one’s finances are a serious matter but managing them could be fun. Toshl helps you control your expenses in accordance with your income and a budget you assign: you can add your expenses on the go, classify them, set reminders for bill paying (one time and recurring), get visualization to help you better understand your money handling, and share the info with your spouse or whomever you wish. Naturally, it does not offer information your bank account isn’t providing, but the presentation is more welcoming and the immediate feedback is a great incentive to stay away from extravagant spending.