The Habitica Planner

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Illustration by Vampitch

It’s Wiki Wednesday! Once a month we highlight a helpful post from the Wiki with tips about productivity, wellness, and optimizing your use of Habitica!

A new year is on the horizon, and lots of folks are thinking about ways to re-vamp their task management strategies to get 2018 off to the best possible start! Have you ever wondered if there are ways to make Habitica work better as your main or sole task manager? If so, the Wiki Scribes have some awesome tips and tricks just for you.

Read on for some ideas for using Habitica as a comprehensive planner or a central hub for your schedule, projects, and tasks.

Want to know more? Head over to the wiki to check out the full article!

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Generating Interest: Guilds for Money Matters

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Illustration by OuttaMyMind

November is already almost over, and many folks are thinking about budgeting for the Holidays, or even about how they want to work on their financial habits in the New Year. In this month’s Spotlight we’re focusing just a few of the many Guilds in Habitica where you can find fellow players to support you in your quest to tame your budget and work toward growing your savings!

Financial Discipline Guild: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/09a66cc6-62d9-4eaf-a705-4ea8ea330544

Financial Discipline is a large, active Guild dedicated to helping its members build healthier habits for their spending and saving. Check it out to read tips from fellow Habiticans and discuss any questions you’d like to post to the group! Financial Discipline also has a variety of Challenges, some of which are updated monthly.

52 Weeks: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/b78dfbb6-3009-4ae8-804d-832b533eac0a

52 Weeks is a Guild built around a series of Challenges designed to improve your life week by week for one year. This Guild’s list of Challenges includes the original 52-Week Challenge, where you put away an increasing number of dollars each week, starting with $1 in the first week of January. By the end of the year, you’ll have saved $1378! Check it out!

Death and Taxes: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/89a035c1-d7c9-42dc-99bd-d30cb11c5417

This guild focuses on helping Habiticans prepare their taxes each year! Check out their chat for a friendly community of folks who are ready to help you with questions and share strategies for getting all that pesky paperwork done efficiently and as inexpensively as possible! It also takes its name from a famous quote.

Quitting Poverty: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/551d0e43-b7d2-48ff-8087-10e8bd4f11e1

Quitting Poverty is a Guild of Habiticans looking to improve their long-term financial situations. A big focus here is unlearning unhealthy short-term spending and saving habits. Though its namesake blog is no longer running and the Guild is less active, its members are working to revive it and would love help if you’re interested!

These Guilds and many, many others are here to help you work on building your budgeting and saving habits . And if you’re looking for more advice on using Habitica to help with Money Matters, be sure to read this month’s Use Case Spotlight, featuring tips and tricks from fellow Habiticans!

Behind the Scenes: Tips for Burnout Prevention and Recovery from the Habitica Team!

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The “Behind The Scenes” series is a chance for us to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of HabitRPG, Inc., the company that makes Habitica. Every so often, we’ll treat you to some silly staff shenanigans or show you the work that goes into your favorite features. Enjoy!

Hello Habiticans! It’s November, which means we’re right in the thick of the school year and at the start of the rush into the holidays. And after that, we’re into the New Year! How time flies. At times like this, we may find ourselves extra busy, and when we’re extra busy there’s a chance that we may experience the dreaded burnout! In this Behind the Scenes post, some of the Habitica Staff + Mods share their tips and tricks for preventing and recovering from burnout.

Beth, AKA Beffymaroo:

My number one tip is to remember that being overwhelmed shouldn’t be a natural state of being or a state to aspire to. There’s a lot of pressure from different parts of our identities, surroundings, and the people in our lives to be constantly on the go or busy, and then when we actually have a moment where we’re not doing something work-related or “productive”, we feel guilty, like we’re wasting time. You should have moments of quiet, fun, or even just inactivity in your day so you can recharge your body, mind, and soul. Don’t let the “always busy” culture or comparisons with other people make you feel guilty for taking a moment for yourself or for keeping your workload manageable. The time you take for yourself and the boundaries you set for self-care time are an important part of being sustainably functional and productive!

Alys:

Make sure you take regular time off no matter what, and ask for help even when you know the people you’re asking are also busy. Accept that your feelings of burnout are normal and correct. You are meant to feel like this when you have been working too hard. It’s your mind and body’s way of letting you know that changing your processes is necessary to help yourself and to help the people you are doing work/favours/etc for. Also check out Vicky’s post about Meditation.

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Even the bravest bug-smashers need break time!

 

Paglias, AKA Matteo:

I’ve found it super useful not to work after a certain hour in the evening. It’s improved my sleep a lot and together with trying not to work during the weekend, this has really helped with burnout 🙂

Vicky AKA Redphoenix: Things that are on my short list for burnout recovery:

  • Physical workouts. Running, hiking, yoga, calisthenics, helping a friend move, whatever. This is because the next item on my list is
  • Sleep. Burnout for me frequently manifests physically, and one of the issues is that I start not sleeping well. The point at which I realize I need to pull back a little for sustainability is when I basically lose an entire day to sleep recovery.
  • Non-work blackout times. This frequently self-enforces without my consciously noticing it, but I do try to carve out spaces in my day where I tell myself I’m allowed not to be working. Generally applicable tip: Look for activities where you hit flow state, but are not work-related. Then SCHEDULE THEM IN as a non-negotiable obligation, either by putting them on your calendar, or scheduling to meet with a friend, or pulling together the physical supplies you need to do the thing.
  • A Treat. ideally something out of the ordinary. This doesn’t have to be expensive. My favorite little treats for myself have been: dressing up for a gallery show, trying out a new coffeeshop, sub $5 fountain pens. Occasionally, the Treat has been as small as “going outside where I can sit in the sun for a while”.

Leslie AKA Lemoness:

  •  Pay attention to your own personal burnout triggers. Productivity and self-care are very personal things, and what works for someone else may not work for you. Finding a way to keep track of what does and doesn’t work can be useful in developing your own strategies.
  • For me, I have to be cautious about getting too into the zone with work, to the point where I’ll keep working all night, every night. I can handle a few days like this, but long-term, it’s proven to be a recipe for disaster. The way that I combat this on a day-to-day basis is by setting a designated time where there is a very clear break point to stop working — in my case, dinnertime. Then I have someone who can keep me accountable and prevent me from returning to my work afterwards.
  • The time when I have to be the most cautious is actually during the burnout recovery period, when I start feeling energetic again, but my battery has a more limited charge (so to speak). History has shown that I tend to think, “I’m better! Time to massively overcommit again!” and then REALLY wreck myself. This is the equivalent of injuring your ankle and then, after a week of rest, saying, “Hey, I can stand again! Let’s run a marathon this weekend.” Although it can feel frustrating, like you’re holding back your potential, it is critically important to continue your recovery behaviors for longer than you think is necessary. Otherwise, you’ll be out of commission much longer.
  • Finally, if your burnout becomes a long-term, persistent depression, consider seeking help from a professional. There is no shame in reaching out to a mental health professional when you’re suffering, just as there is no shame in going to the doctor when you have pneumonia.
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Don’t let this guy turn you into an Exhaust Spirit!

Sabe AKA SabreCat:

The “take a break” type advice tends to send me into a spiral of doing nothing / doing only recreational-recuperative things. So rather than step back, I prefer to scale down:

  • Reduce sources of pressure and overwhelm. In Habitica, move things from Dailies to Habits wherever possible, and drink a Fortify Potion to blank out the stressful redness. Swap in low-pressure social activities, like board games, for high-pressure ones, like dinner hosting.
  •  Find a minimum comfortable degree of productivity, and stick to that: the “No More Zero Days” approach. Does working the inbox feel crushing and impossible? Resolve to respond to just one message. Too many dirty dishes? Polish one up and put it away. You’ll almost always end up doing more, but getting started won’t feel so frightening.

Keith AKA TheHollidayInn:

Building small habits of doing work daily helps prevent burnout. Slightly counter-intuitive, but for me building coding, reading, etc in small bits to my daily routine outside the 9-5 helps integrate the flow so that I don’t get the feeling of “Oh, it is 9 o’clock, time to change my mindset completely and work hard on problems.”

***

We hope these tips and strategies help you prevent burnout, and help you recover if burnout has already taken hold of you! We’d also love to hear your tips, either as comments here on the blog or in the Tavern Chat! Until next time. 🙂

Use Case Spotlight: Money Matters

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Illustration by OuttaMyMind

In last month’s Use Case Spotlight, we featured tips and tricks from Habiticans about using the site and apps to work on Cultivating Positivity. This month, as the holiday season approaches, we’re changing it up and looking at ways to use Habitica to build and improve your financial well-being — particularly in a season that can leave us strapped as we shop for gifts, decorations, and other festive things! Let’s look at some great ideas for using Habitica to set (and maintain!) new tasks and goals related to Money Matters. These come from your fellow players in the Use Case Spotlights Guild!

James uses Dailies and gets extra accountability through the Financial Discipline Guild and Challenges!:

I have used Habitica extensively to work on my finance game. I have dailies every two weeks (on payday) to balance my checkbook, pay my credit card bills, make savings deposits and do my budgeting.

The Financial Discipline Guild is also a great place to share information, with lots of great challenges, too. It’s where I queried the group to find the best budgeting app.

I’m also running a trilogy of Challenges in the Guild and my party to save up for the emergency fund, and also some fun to-dos to work on taxes, charities, and account management.

Shallan combines Habits and Dailies with a spreadsheet to track expenses and savings:

I have tried to keep things simple. I have a Habit, called “Find where you lost gold,” which I click up whenever I enter an expense. I also have a Daily, which I only get to click if I’ve logged all of my expenses for the day. I have a really simple spreadsheet with my budget, which also calculates how much money I have left “for each day” in the month. I find that number really helpful, as it reminds me how quickly $5 here or there stacks up / eats away at my monthly allowance.

I hope to expand this by adding categories, which will help with future budgeting (“fixed” costs, like personal grooming items) and when tax season comes around.

NickyJay creates a daily budget and watches the savings add up!

I created a daily: “Stay within allotted budget.” I set up a budget for every day of the week, varying from day-to-day based on activities and work schedules I usually have during certain days. I set them all up side by side on a spreadsheet. When I don’t use all of my budget for one day, I set it up so it transfers to the next day. Finally, it shows the amount leftover from my allowance at the end of the week, and I take 20% off of that and move that to savings. It’s been keeping me honest and responsible with my spending and it shows me where I’m spending and rewards me for not spending more than I should. Plus, saving is becoming a lot easier.

Fox_town uses a Habit to stop impulse spending in its tracks!

I have a + habit for “Saw something I wanted to buy – but didn’t, because I didn’t need it”. Once you start paying attention, it’s amazing how many times you can keep your dollars in your pocket for something more important. 🙂

This month’s topic generated an exceptional number of awesome tips and ideas — unfortunately too many to share here! But you can see them all and join in the discussion in the Use Case Spotlights Guild — one of your ideas could be featured next month! Look for an announcement of next month’s theme from Bailey soon.
Also, if you missed it you may want to take a look at our most recent Guild Spotlight, which showcases groups dedicated to Cultivating Positivity!

The Habit Loop

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Illustration by erikari

It’s Wiki Wednesday! Once a month we highlight a helpful post from the Wiki with tips about productivity, wellness, and optimizing your use of Habitica!

We can’t believe 2017 is already almost over! With the end of the year and the busy holiday season approaching, it’s a great time to take another look at the methods you’re using to build better and healthier Habits! Luckily, the Wiki Scribes have great information available for players who are interested in habit-forming methodologies and concepts, such as the Habit Loop!

The Habit Loop is a neurological loop that governs any habit. The habit loop consists of three elements: a cue, a routine, and a reward. Understanding these elements can help in understanding how to change bad habits or form better ones.

Want to know more? Head over to the wiki to check out the full article!

Behind the Scenes: Spotlight on the Joyful Reaper

The Behind The Scenes series is a chance for us to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of HabitRPG, Inc., the company that makes Habitica. Today we’re doing something a little different: we’re expanding on the fictional world of Habitica by spotlighting one of the characters who commonly crops up. Enjoy!

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The friendliest skeleton in all of Habitica also happens to be our much-beloved Master of Healers! The Joyful Reaper has been a cornerstone of our land for a long, long time…

Backstory

The Joyful Reaper is one of the oldest Habiticans, though her tireless energy and gentle enthusiasm have never waned over the decades. Her exact age eludes scholars, as does the question of how precisely she came to be. Is she a talented healer who took on the guise of a skeleton to study anatomy? A magical spirit, animating some bones to appear more human? Perhaps she, like her many skeleton pets, simply hatched one day from a large and mysterious egg. Whenever a new theory is presented, the Joyful Reaper cheerily agrees that it sounds very plausible, so we are no closer to learning the truth.

Regardless, her origins are less important than all of her accomplishments. It’s known that she was a member of the very first class of the illustrious Academy of Ensorcellment, where she became quite popular for her helpful spirit and proclivity to bake interesting new desserts. Not every friendship was successful; for example, she briefly dated Recidivate, who would later become a dreaded necromancer. It quickly became apparent that the match wasn’t going to work out. The Joyful Reaper liked sunshine, and Recidivate liked gloom; the Joyful Reaper was majoring in Agriculture, and Recidivate was writing an independent thesis on Raising Undead Habit Hordes for Domineering and Profit…. “In retrospect,” the Joyful Reaper has mused, “there were several signs.” Still, aside from the occasional bumps, her time at the university was overwhelmingly positive, and she graduated as valedictorian. Many theoretical magician jobs were offered to her, but she turned them all down in favor of building a small cottage in one of the most barren and inhospitable areas of Habitica: the Fallow Fields.

Few would choose such a difficult place to work, but the Joyful Reaper saw the potential in the empty land. She spent many sleepless days and nights tirelessly working her healing magic on the dusty flats, dreaming of an area that could be devoted entirely to growth and the celebration of all the life and loveliness that hard work could achieve. After decades of tireless effort, the once-forgotten western lands of Habitica were transformed into some of its most fertile grounds, and soon they were called the Flourishing Fields. Many Habiticans moved there, drawn by the promise of productivity brimming in every orchard and wellspring.

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The Joyful Reaper was not content to limit her healing to the land, however. She stretched life magic to its limits, developing creative crops, such as candy that grows on trees, carrots that can be wielded in battle, and more. She even developed many fascinating new hatching potions! (She’s known to be particularly fond of the skeleton varieties, even lovingly crafting papier-mache bodies for the freshly-hatched spirits of creatures like caterpillars and octopuses so that they won’t feel left out.) Her unparalleled devotion to life magic and the healing arts eventually led to her being named the Master of Healers.

That being said, it is possible to work too hard. In fact, the intense productivity of the Flourishing Fields made it susceptible to an attack from the dreaded Burnout. Like the rest of her fellow citizens, the Joyful Reaper was transformed into an Exhaust Spirit during that frightening time. Luckily, all Habiticans pooled their efforts to defeat Burnout by focusing on their self-care tasks, serving as a reminder that even the most hardworking of us all needs to take some time to rest.

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Personal Life

The Joyful Reaper can usually be found working on one of her many projects in the Flourishing Fields, or taking a break to sample the delicious desserts that she grows in her garden. She’s devoted to her small cottage, and while some may find the decor spooky, she considers it to be quite charming!

In her spare time, she loves to prepare elaborate feasts, even hosting the yearly Fall Festival. She also works with Lemoness and King Manta to create fun transformation spells that Habiticans can use on themselves and friends, such as the Supernatural Skins and Spooky Sparkles.

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In fact, she and King Manta often collaborate on spell-crafting, as they’ve known each other from back before Dilatory sank. She also remembers the April Fool from when he was just a youth, though she kindly keeps his secret identity to herself. Clearly, she sympathizes with the desire to keep one’s past mysterious. She helps heal Lady Glaciate’s pets and mounts whenever they fall ill, and though her sweet demeanor is sometimes at odd with the brusque manner of the Master of Warriors, the two women have developed a meaningful rapport over the years.

Believe it or not, these accomplishments are only the beginning. The Joyful Reaper also runs Habitica’s most illustrious healing hospital, personally oversees each season’s new crops, and has opened three separate universities for healers, farmers, and party planners (respectively). “She’s an inspiration, that’s for sure!” attests one of her many students. “Somehow work always seems more fun with the Joyful Reaper around. Plus, she found a way to grow candy that is also a vegetable. What more could you ask for?”

We hope that you enjoyed this month’s spotlight! Read more about the other Masterclassers of Habitica here, and stay tuned for more in the future.

Gatherings of Good Cheer: Guilds for Cultivating Positivity

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Illustration by Katy133

This autumn, you’ll be hearing many folks around Habitica talking about all the things about the season that make them happy. Sharing these kinds of positives in your life and working to be more aware of them is an important part of self-care, and making sure you’re taking care of yourself is key as you pursue your goals. In this month’s Spotlight we’re focusing just a few of the many Guilds in Habitica where you can find fellow players to support you in your quest to create and maintain an optimistic outlook!

Happy List Guild! https://habitica.com/groups/guild/a1d9d3fd-fa2f-4eb5-89b9-194246963ac0

The Happy List Guild is a group built around its themed Challenges! Each Challenge asks you to post a list of ten things that make you happy and fit the Challenge theme. As you make and post your own lists, you can enjoy hearing from fellow Guild members about theirs!

Good Things Today: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/6193e183-4dc8-4d50-9744-121c45305b7b

Good Things Today is all about sharing the little moments that make you happy every day. Check it out for an active chat full of folks looking on the bright side. Good Things Today also runs monthly Challenges where you can win gems for consistently sharing your good things!

Daily Positivity and Updates: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/f131d416-834f-49c2-9554-300edf23ed65
This Guild focuses on positivity and inspiration along with check-ins about how you’re doing on your goals and habits. The idea is to stay accountable and to cheer each other on!

The Optimists: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/4f11eb55-fe44-4805-8a30-9009fd7d7979

The Optimists is a group for those who look on the bright side, or wish to look there more often! Check out their chat for tips, recommendations, and quotes to help you shape a more positive perspective on the world!

These Guilds and many, many others are here to help you remember and focus on the good things in your life .  And if you’re looking for more advice on using Habitica to cultivate positivity, be sure to read this month’s Use Case Spotlight, featuring tips and tricks from fellow Habiticans!

Use Case Spotlight: Cultivating Positivity

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Illustration by Katy133

In last month’s Use Case Spotlight we featured tips and tricks from Habiticans about using the site and apps to work on Learning Languages. This month we’re changing it up a bit and looking at not only keeping your mind active, but keeping it happy and healthy as well! Let’s look at some great ideas for using Habitica to set (and maintain!) new tasks and goals related to Cultivating Positivity. These come from your fellow players in the Use Case Spotlights Guild!

Gumnos starts us out by emphasizing the importance of gratitude:

I’ve got an item in my Habit list for thankfulness/kindness. It usually takes the form of going out of my way to thank someone for something that would otherwise go unthanked. Sometimes it’s a genuine compliment. Other times, it’s going out of my way to lend a hand or send a note/tweet/PM of encouragement. They don’t come naturally for me in many occasions, so it helps nudge me over my generally-apathetic nature.

TheOutlandishPeabody wrote a great post with a number of tips! We’re including an excerpt here, but you can read the whole post in the Guild chat!

One thing that has really helped me with a gratitude practice is a bracelet I bought for the purpose. It is woven from 5 strands of leather in a really pretty pattern, and when I notice it on my arm (many times a day), I list 5 things I’m grateful for, or I take stock of my 5 senses (plus body sense). The gratitude obviously “positives” me up, but the 5 sense exercise really makes me mindful, and more mindfulness is associated with greater positivity.

MissBirdee reminds us of the importance of our connections with people who make a positive impact in our lives:

For cultivating positivity, I have a daily for reaching out to friends. This could be anything as small as texting someone I having seen in a while or talking to a stranger to create new friendships. It really helps me to stay motivated to maintain positive connections.

Lalaitha notes the importance of reminding those closest to you that you value them!

Every month for.. quite some time now, I am part of the challenge Choose Your Partner Today. The challenge is about writing why you choose to be with your partner that particular day. Doesn’t matter how small or big the thing is. It really helps to bring out the positive each day, even if you had an argument or things don’t quite work out like you had hoped.

The challenge is hosted in the guild by the same name (Choose Your Partner Today).

 

Last, but certainly not least, a great positivity tip from Habitica’s own heroic bug-smasher Alys:

Each day I write down three things that have made me happy or that I’ve liked in some way. They can be as simple as seeing a pretty flower or hearing a moment of birdsong. They can also be good things that I’ve done or things I like about myself. It’s far from a novel idea and I’d seen it recommended on many websites but I’d always been dubious about how much it could help until my anxiety therapist recommended it as a daily task. It’s surprising how much it helps! Being aware that you need to write three nice things every day helps you focus on the niceness around you.

There were so many helpful and exciting tips we couldn’t feature them all here! You can see them all and join in the discussion in the Use Case Spotlights Guild– one of your ideas could be featured next month! Look for an announcement of next month’s theme from Bailey soon.

Also, if you missed it you may want to take a look at our most recent Guild Spotlight, which showcases groups dedicated to Learning Languages!

Dealing with Variable Goals

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Illustration by Leephon

It’s Wiki Wednesday! Once a month we highlight a helpful post from the Wiki with tips about productivity, wellness, and optimizing your use of Habitica!

Autumn is in full swing, and it’s a great time to do a little “fall cleaning” in your Tasks list! If you have tasks that are season-specific, or are otherwise not on a regular schedule, the Wiki Scribes have some great tips for how to manage them with Habitica!

This page compiles tricks for using the Habitica system with schedule irregularities, such as:

  • Tasks that need to be done a certain number of times per week, but not on specific days
  • Tasks that repeat monthly, seasonally, or on some other schedule

Postponing or skipping sets of tasks (e.g., due to changes in health or work shifts).

Want to know more? Head over to the wiki to check out the full article!

Places for Polyglots: Guilds for Learning Languages

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Illustration by OuttaMyMind

Happy Fall! Whether you’re in school, or just learning on your own, it’s a great time to expand your knowledge. Habiticans love to learn, and one of the things they love to learn most are new languages. In this month’s Spotlight we’re focusing just a few of the many Guilds in Habitica where you can find fellow players to support you in your language-learning journey!

Duolinguists of Habitica: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/22360759-fd87-444d-86bd-42724be07bd7

Do you use Duolingo? It’s a language-learning app that many Habiticans love, and you can find them here! Duolinguists of Habitica has a supportive, active chat and a huge variety of Challenges for different languages you might be interested in learning.

The Language Hackers: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/283171a5-422c-4991-bc78-95b1b5b51629

This Guild is for anyone who wants to learn a new language, or even many new languages! They have a great resource list of apps, sites, and books that can help you reach your goal. They also offer Challenges to help give you extra incentive as you work on your linguistic skills.

The JRPG Club: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/df76bff9-28c8-4aed-8ba9-ac83095f9530

If you’re learning Japanese, or interested in learning Japanese, this Guild is here for you! The JRPG club runs several Challenges for extra motivation. You can discuss your approach to learning, post in Japanese, and share tips and resources in their chat.

Learning French – Apprendre le français:
https://habitica.com/groups/guild/3272dfab-2b42-4ccd-ab12-eeeb4aed63ad

This Guild is here for any Habitican who speaks French or aspires to! You can post about your favorite strategies and resources in their Guild chat. They also have challenges (in both French and English) to help with motivation and accountability as you learn.

These Guilds and many, many others are here to help you become bilingual, trilingual, or a polyglot. We’ll definitely be highlighting more language-learning Guilds in the future as well, so let us know if there is one you’d like to see featured!  And if you’re looking for more advice on using Habitica to learn languages, be sure to read this month’s Use Case Spotlight, featuring tips and tricks from fellow Habiticans!