Using Habitica to Build Habits and GTD

I have been using Habitica for last two months very religiously. Habitica is an open source project meant to promote good habits by introducing the concepts of role playing game. I started using Habitica in 2015, on and off. But since this February I have been using it regularly. It has also become my main TODO app.

Habitica is an open source habit building program which treats your life like a Role Playing Game. Level up as you succeed, lose HP as you fail, earn money to buy weapons and armor.

Basics

Habitica has 3 main concepts to get the things done.

  • Habits: These are the Habits you want to build. You usually do them more than once a day. They can have +ve or -ve impact.
  • Dailies: Are the things that you do everyday or want to do everyday. You can also configure it to happen every other day or once every week etc
  • To-Dos: This is standard To-Dos that you want to get done.

But the best part is you can configure them the way you want. There are no real restrictions on how to use them. Use the way it fits your life. Habitica has a guide to starters if you want some help in setting it up.

For task organisers there are tags. So you can use tags like @home or @work to signify work or home related tasks or you can use morning, noon, evening tasks to filter out the tasks. Again its left to your creativity. Both dailies and To-Dos can have checklists to break the bigger task into smaller ones. Let’s say you have “Pay Bills” as a task then you can have “Pay Phone bill”, “Phone electricity bill” etc as part of checklists. Task gets marked done once you complete everything on the checklist.

Along with these there many RPG gaming aspects (Party, Guilds etc) that I won’t go into details. But I like rewards and challenges. I have created my own rewards like vacations, beers etc. Again you can go with the built in rewards or make your own. I prefer to make my own. You earn gold for completing the task and you can use it against the rewards. Challenges are community events in which players compete and earn prizes by completing a group of related tasks. It’s also interesting to see how the community uses Habitica. Also it serves as an inspiration to setup your Habitica.

APIs, Webhooks and Hacks

Habitica is a free and open source project. Hosted Habitica platform also exposes a set of APIs. The APIs are quite generous, as in you can control or access any part of the game. These APIs make it possible for the community to develop various kinds of apps.

This open API makes it possible for users to hack their own small tools. There are literally hundreds of such tools. Also community around such tools is big and active.

For example there is habitrello – a two way sync between Habitica and Trello. This is really useful for someone how uses these two platforms together. Then there is habitica-ifttt-action which makes it easy to add TODOs to Habitica using IFFT triggers. For example you can add a TODO to carry umbrella based on the weather. There are so many such small tools that I use with Habitica. Go explore the community site.

Habitica also has webhooks where you can subscribe to actions on Habitica and do whatever you want to do with them. As of now I have the Habitica webhook to post the data to CouchDB. This kind of works like a backup. I am also planning to use it to generate reports over time.

CLI

On a daily basis I use a command line interface to interact with habitica. This makes it easy to access TODOs without using a browser.

You can use CLI if you dont like Web or App.

You can use CLI if you dont like Web or App.

There are many other CLI tools. I like this one the most.

Data

Habitica allows you take your data out of its system very easily. It gives JSON and XML files. You can also export Habit history in a CSV formats. The JSON/XML format is well defined and you can easily find everything you have been doing. But remember you will get full history only if you subscribe, else you will get full aggregates and latest data. So its better to export and backup the files once a month at the least. One can easily write a python script to merge these monthly exports.

Community

Habitica has great community on its guilds section and on Wikia wiki. They have been very friendly. The community is also very hacker/tinkerer friendly. I think this is what makes this app special. Go through the wikia fan wiki as soon as you install the app. It gives you very many ideas as to how to begin and what to do next!

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