Academic productivity app review: Habit RPG

In my previous post I asked people to share which digital tools and apps they use to help them work faster (and smarter). Lots of them sounded useful and interesting so I thought I would try some of them out and write some short reviews.

@java7nerd recommended HabitRPG. The habit changing app that turns your life into a COMPUTER GAME. The aim of the app is to help you ditch bad habits and pick up good ones. The app sounded like great fun and perfect way to help me get more into a work/life balance (by that I mean not sitting at my desk when I should be at the gym). I signed up and tried it out.

The app is FREE (whoop), easy to use and fun to look at. It takes some setting up as you decide what tasks you want to set where (and decide on which points to reward yourself).

The app works by assigning points for tasks which accumulate until you earn enough for a reward. Points do get taken away for bad habits though....

As you can see on this list you can include anything you like. I thought this app would be particularly useful for breaking up thesis writing.. as a long, boring, never ending monotonous task thesis writing can be broken up into chunks (big ones, little ones, and daily ones) and completing those is incredibly rewarding. Using this app you could track your progress and reward yourself with an enjoyable activity (and/or reminding yourself to go OUTSIDE/phone the friends you had in the days before thesis writing started).

I set my app up but I was never really sure of the difference between habits, dailies and to-dos - but I put tasks where I thought they should be and away I went ticking off my good (and bad) habits.

Unfortunately, very quickly I realised that the app wouldn't really work for me.

The main problem I have with the app doesn't have anything to do with the app at all. It's to do with me. I lie. I lie to apps to make them do what I want. I don't tell the app about my bad habits and sometimes I say that I have done things that I haven't. I also work on a lot of varied projects and my daily habits vary (I couldn't be described as someone with a 'routine'). So, I quickly gave up updating the app and then when I logged back in this happened...


I think this app is a great idea and would be really useful for someone taking on a big task (like writing a thesis or studying for exams). Unfortunately it didn't really work out for me though.


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