I always have a lot to do. Sometimes, I even manage most of it. Long-time readers might even remember I did a series of posts on time management. The problem with schedules, for me, is that they only seem to work if I’m accountable to someone else — appointments, volunteer slots, anthology deadlines are all well and good. But something as simple as trying to create a set order of things to do each day? Not so much.
I saw it mentioned in a couple of different places — a productivity tool where you get coins and level up by doing tasks you set for yourself. My first thought was that it was perfect for my son, who gets mildly obsessive about RPGs. I was right about that — he’s several levels above me and working at collecting all 90 pets.
You can set up things you want to do as dailies, habits, or to-dos. Dailies are set up on a recurring schedule: yes, it can be every day of the week, but it could also be aerobics MWF or taking the trash out every Thursday morning. The key point is that you can point to specific days you want to repeat tasks.
Habits are tasks you want to do more often but not necessarily on a regular schedule. I have tasks like “Finish a craft project” and “30 minutes of housework” there. (I’m well aware most people would put the latter as a daily. I’m not most people, okay?) If you have a habit you’re trying to break, you can set it up as a negative habit, so you lose experience and coin if you do it. (I had my son add “Leave dirty socks in the living room” as a negative habit. I’ve only had to remind him once since.)
To-dos are for one-and-done tasks: file taxes, finish writing the current cozy mystery, or mail a card for an upcoming birthday.
Lots of feedback is built into the system: tasks that are done more often become green and blue (and you get less bonus for doing them), while things left undone shade from yellow to orange to red (and you get more experience and coin for completing them). You can trade the coins you earn for rewards — either rewards you set yourself (20 gold for a slice of chocolate torte with fresh raspberries, for example) or equipment for your avatar. This being an RPG, there are swords, shields, staves, robes, and so forth.
There’s more to it — you can form a party, join a guild, pursue quests, take on challenges, and even decide what class you want to be once you reach level 10. In other words, it is an RPG geared toward helping you get your stuff done, and so far, I’m finding it quite useful. (I like my little streak of perfect days!)
It does have drawbacks, or at least things I haven’t figured out good ways to deal with yet. For example, our recycling pick-up is every other week, which means I can’t have my son set it up as a daily for one day a week. The best thing to do may be to set it up as a habit with a note that it’s every other week — but that won’t help him remember which weeks. Something that only happens once a month works better — I set up a habit to give the dog Heartguard and Frontline and put in a note that it’s due the 13th of each month.
So that’s what I’m grateful for today — a silly little online game that helps me take the time to check things off my list of stuff to get done.
Does that sound like something you could use? Or do you have some other little trick you find useful to get stuff done?