SMART Goal Setting

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Illustration by Willow the Witty

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.

Happy New Year, Habiticans! At this time of year, lots of folks are making resolutions and setting new goals, but keeping those through the whole year can be a real challenge. If you’re working to set and keep realistic resolutions and goals, you might be interested in the SMART Goal Setting method. If you’re not familiar with this concept, or would like to learn more about it, the Habitica Wiki has a great guide, courtesy of our fantastic Wiki Scribes!

SMART goal setting is a productivity methodology designed to help you achieve your goals by improving the goals themselves. By ensuring all goals follow the 5 SMART criteria, you can create better goals and have a better chance of achieving them.

The SMART criteria are:                                                                

S.M.A.R.T.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Want to know more? Head over to the wiki to check out the full article. And if you’re making a special resolution for 2018, you may also want to check out our special New Years Resolution Challenge and Guild for support and accountability through the whole year!

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Behind the Scenes: Spotlight on Lady Glaciate

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 Master of Warriors may be known for her terse manner and no-nonsense attitude, but if you delve a little deeper, you’ll find that this is only the tip of the iceberg…

Backstory

Lady Glaciate is descended from a long line of Mammoth Riders, the steadfast warriors from the Stoïkalm Steppes who have pledged themselves to defend Habitica’s rarest creatures in the peaceful but frigid north. She was not initially the most talented at guiding the mastodon herds, nor the quickest to memorize the pterodactyl calls, nor even the strongest at wrestling the velociraptors. But with her determination, focus, and careful balance of work and rest, she eventually surpassed those who had initially seemed more promising. When she was finally declared the next leader of the Mammoth Riders, all but the most curmudgeonly applauded the decision.

After the announcement, she was taken aside and entrusted with the most important secret of the Stoïkalm Steppes. For generations, the land had been touted as one of the most peaceful areas of Habitica, despite its perennially cold temperatures, but the lack of tumult and violent weather was not due to natural causes. Instead, for generations the leaders of the Mammoth Riders had magically funneled away all potential stresses and stressors into the icy northern mountains. This was what had allowed them to build their breathtaking buildings of ice and stone, widely considered to be architectural marvels, and to protect the rare animals of the Stoïkalm Steppes, which had long since gone extinct everywhere else.

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Glaciate had grave misgivings about this strategy; she herself was terse to the point of being gruff, and dissimulation went against her inclination towards brutal honesty. Still, she begrudgingly agreed to follow tradition to protect the beasts and her fellow Mammoth Riders. Unfortunately, her concerns proved to be well-founded. Unbeknownst to the leaders of the Mammoth Riders, the stress had been consolidating for centuries, and shortly after she took up her cape and antlers, it broke loose in the form of the Abominable Stressbeast.

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Nightmarish snowstorms swept across the countryside and animals fled as all of Habitica was terrorized by the monster. Lady Glaciate watched the disaster unfolding with horror in her heart, but she refused to be mired in guilt. After ordering her Mammoth Riders to defend Stoïkalm and verifying that other Habiticans were battling the Stressbeast, Lady Glaciate rushed north.  The mountain peaks had gone from treacherous to deadly with the onset of the sub-zero blizzards. Undeterred, she forced her way, step by step, to the secret valley where the centuries of stress had gathered, and with frost-bitten fingers, she systematically smashed all the magic sigils that had siphoned and stored it. Overtaken by exhaustion but secure in the knowledge that the Stressbeast could not reform once defeated, she finally permitted herself to collapse into the whirling snow.

Were circumstances different, she might not have survived, but that same day, the Abominable Stressbeast was vanquished, and as the snow dissipated, the pets and mounts returned to the valley and discovered her fallen form. They rushed her back to the rest of the Mammoth Riders, whose skillful healers worked tirelessly to restore her to health. As soon as she could ride once more, Lady Glaciate insisted on traveling to each affected area to extend a personal apology. Afterwards, she turned herself in to Habitica’s grand council, prepared to accept whatever punishment they meted out.

Instead, she was shocked when they offered her the position of Master of Warriors. Though her lapse of judgement did have dire consequences, they felt that her actions afterwards had proved her worth beyond a shadow of doubt. After considerable thought, Lady Glaciate accepted the position so that she might better protect all of Habitica.

Personal Life

Though she holds meetings in the ornate hall of the Mammoth Riders, Lady Glaciate lives in a simple house with many stables. She also maintains a cordial relationship with the magical beings in the area, such as the Icicle Drakes and Solstice Fairies, though she prefers to deal with creatures who don’t like to chat. When she needs a break, she goes on long cross-country ski trips by herself or rides through the mountain on her favorite mammoth, Sir Stomp.

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She is sometimes exhausted by the boundless enthusiasm of her fellow Masterclassers, but she appreciates the Joyful Reaper’s assistance with caring for the beasts of Stoïkalm in the newly tumultuous environment of the Steppes, and the Master of Healers has helped her reintroduce the endangered creatures to other areas of Habitica. Through King Manta and his undersea domain, she has also learned to befriend an entirely new set of pets and mounts, and has become particularly fond of whales.

When it comes to the charming Master of Rogues, Lady Glaciate had plenty to say to us, namely that all rumors about her relationship with the April Fool are false, and that she doesn’t know who keeps sending the bouquets, and that anyway she fed them all to the local triceratops herd. In fact, she grew so unexpectedly eloquent on the subject that nobody on our interview team was brave enough to point out that none of us had even asked anything about him yet. Given that many of her previous answers to our questions were monosyllabic, we will let our readers draw their own conclusions.

We hope that you enjoyed this month’s spotlight! You can read more about the other Masterclassers of Habitica here.

Use Case Spotlight: Setting Realistic Goals

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In last month’s Use Case Spotlight, we looked at ways to use Habitica to motivate yourself and stay organized as you take on your important tasks to prepare for all the fun (and the occasional stress!) of the holidays. This month, as we start the new year, it’s a great time to look at methods for goal setting. These great ideas for using Habitica to set new and realistic goals for 2018 and beyond come from your fellow players in the Use Case Spotlights Guild!

Lalaitha starts us out with great ideas for motivating yourself and your Quest Party to set and achieve New Year’s goals!

In my Party we started a New Year goal challenge about a year ago. We are re-running it this year, since it seemed pretty helpful. The challenge is about finding your main goal(s), figuring out what may prevent you from reaching them, and what you can do to keep that from happening/keep yourself motivated. Then we share that with the Party (or just parts of it, if some of it is too personal), and create Habits/Dailies that can serve as reminders to reach the goal. Each month there’s a Daily for checking in with the Party to tell a bit about how it’s going, and if there’s been any obstacles. This way we can help each other stay motivated and come with advice if needed.

Quite simply, the challenge has a list of to-dos. The first is about listing 5-10 goals you’d like to achieve. From that you should narrow it down to 1-2 goals. Those would be your main goals for the year. That’s the second task. Some of the goals you didn’t select can serve as secondary goals (they don’t have to, that’s up to you), but the main goal(s) is(/are) the most important one(s).

From there you list the things that may come in the way of achieving your goal(s). Then, list the things you can do to prevent them from happening, and keeping yourself motivated. Those could perhaps be used as a Daily or Habit to keep you accountable.

An important step is to write it all down somewhere. That way it’s really set and you will be able to remember it 6 months later.

Daenalia Elvandruile keeps realistic expectations at the forefront, while emphasizing the importance of persistence!

Your New Year’s Resolutions start great! You feel amazingly productive for a week or two and all of January was pretty good on the whole. But. There’s always a but. You’ll take a week off halfway through March … just one week you tell yourself, I’ll just have a short break and get back to it afterwards. And before you know it, it’s November and you’re watching YouTube every day instead of exercising, your last blog post was 200 words 3 months ago and you know that feeling. You hit rock bottom because you did too much.

Instead I’d only pick one major goal. Just one. Then make a plan for what you’ll do on it every week and push yourself to do it even when you had a hard week. Maybe also add a couple smaller goals like doing a plank every day for a minute (not 5 minutes) or cutting social media a little, just 15 minutes less every day or something similar, but I wouldn’t have more than 3 little goals or all your little goals will overwhelm you.

Once you’ve picked your goals, you need a plan. Your major goal might be learning an instrument. So find a teacher/course, dedicate to practicing a set amount each day, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, just at least 6 days a week (I find one day of rest really helpful). You might have a goal as well, like finishing grade 2 work by the end of the year or being able to play a duet with a friend. Thats great! Now you know you have a routine that you must stick to. And your smaller goal? Say you choose exercise. Start small, I can’t stress that enough. Do 10 minutes a day or go to the gym once a week and only increase if you’ve been doing it for about a month and you’ve got motivation.

And last, but not least, try again next year, or even earlier. I want to be tidier and I started with my bedroom in 2015 and it lasted 3 weeks. In 2016 I got all the way to June, hit a rough week and motivation sprouted wings and flew away. 2017 was great, I was fairly tidy all the way through and in 2018 I’m going to try and keep my craft space tidy as well. Little steps to a big goal!

Dlk62385 uses “SMART” goals to help keep resolutions realistic!

SMART goals: Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Timely. It can be used to help make goals that are specific and geared towards where you want to be and what you are aiming for. I myself need to work on setting due date for my to dos and sticking to them. I am great at breaking my larger goals down into smaller goals to make them achievable but with no due date I tend to wait longer between each of my mini goals than I would if there was a end point to meet.

Gumnos expands on using “SMART” criteria to keep themselves on task.

For my most realistic goals, I consolidate the “SMART” criteria to deal with the aspects that give me the most struggle: prioritization & bite-sized tasks. I find that I flounder if I have a bunch of doable tasks but no clear idea which to do next. So I make sure my to-do list is prioritized, putting The Most Important Thing for any given context at the top.

Likewise, I struggle if I know which project I need to work on next, but haven’t broken that into manageable bits that can actually be completed. So I make sure that the project is decomposed into things I can accomplish in a single time unit.

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, be on the lookout for an upcoming Wiki post featuring more information on using Habitica to set SMART goals, a topic touched on by several contributors to this post.

And lastly, if you missed it you may want to take a look at our most recent Guild Spotlight, which showcases groups dedicated to Holiday Tasks!

Making Your Days Merry and Bright: Guilds to Help With Holiday Tasks!

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Illustration by weeWitch

The holiday season is upon us, Habiticans! 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 head into the holidays prepared for all the work involved as well as all the fun!

Seasonal Decoration Guild: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/f065a669-9483-42d4-9562-7f8dd5b8adb7

The Seasonal Decoration Guild is ready, willing, and able to help you with all your holiday prep needs! From decorating and baking to budgeting, this Guild has a great active chat and runs a number of helpful Challenges for extra motivation! Plus, this Guild is led by our very own Seasonal Sorceress, Leslie (AKA: Lemoness) 🙂

Chef’s Special: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/0f2c28ff-35db-47eb-a459-5466dcd7d958

One of the very best things about the holiday season is all the delicious food we can make and share with family and friends! If you’re in the market for recipes and ideas for holiday dinners, desserts, or other special confections, look no further than the Guild chat in Chef’s Special. This Guild also has some fun Challenges encouraging finding new recipes, trying new things, and using up ingredients.

The Procrastinators: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/3d5c008e-664a-4cc6-a1bd-34d1baccc31e

With the holidays so close, is it possible you’ve left some tasks to the last minute? If so, fear not! Procrastinators is here to help give you the boost of motivation you need to get it all done. They feature an active chat full of members sharing tips, as well as a bunch of great Challenges to really get you going!

The Mindfulness and Stress Relief Guild: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/5b92fb16-8a21-4678-ad85-655f00683c3a

Finally, even though the holidays are a time of joy and togetherness, they can also bring stress. We rush through tasks, and sometimes all the time with friends and loved ones can even overwhelm us! Check out The Mindfulness and Stress Relief Guild for a supportive chat as well as Challenges created to help you slow down, de-stress, and take care of yourself.

These Guilds and many, many others are here to help you get prepared to spend your holidays ready to relax and enjoy time with family and friends. And if you’re looking for more advice on using Habitica to help with holiday tasks, be sure to read this month’s Use Case Spotlight, featuring tips and tricks from fellow Habiticans!

Use Case Spotlight: Holiday Housekeeping

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Illustration by weeWitch

In last month’s Use Case Spotlight we featured tips and tricks from Habiticans about using the site and apps to work on better financial habits in anticipation of the holiday season. This month, as the holidays arrive, we’re looking at ways to use Habitica to motivate yourself and stay organized as you take on your important tasks to prepare for this festive time of year! These great ideas for using Habitica to set new tasks and goals related to Holiday Housekeeping come from your fellow players in the Use Case Spotlights Guild!

Dan O’Dea gets us in the mood with thoughts on preparing your kitchen for holiday cooking and baking!

Cleaned my kitchen today, including the cabinets holding my baking stuff. I looked over my pans and tossed everything that had its lining damaged. I still have too many cookie sheets but I’m not overloaded anymore.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to go over your cookware and get rid of the damaged pieces you can’t use.

Gumnos uses To-Do’s to make sure all the decorations, gifts, and other seasonal traditions in their home go off without a hitch!

I usually create to-do items for holiday major tasks: getting decorations down from the attic, hanging lights, tree, other decorating, buying gifts, making cookies, correspondence, etc. Then I use the checkboxes within them for sub-tasks: lights in the kitchen/window/fireplace/etc; set up the artificial tree, light it, hang ornaments; make/bake/decorate various types of cookies (gingerbread, French butter-creams, peanut-butter kiss cookies, etc); ideating gifts for each person, purchasing them, wrapping, & shipping/delivering them; various stages of writing, editing, and sending our Christmas letter. The gifts one gets pretty huge as it’s also where I keep stocking-gift ideas and the list of thank-you gifts for school teachers, church teachers, and extra-curricular instructors.

Fishdye not only gets all their tasks done, they make sure to build in time to enjoy all the  most wonderful things about this time of year!

This year I’ve got 4 things going to help me with holiday organization.

  1. I make a to-do for the annual event I host, Pizza + Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, with a checklist for all the things that need to be done to prepare for it. Same thing with Christmas cards.

2. I use the app “The Christmas List” to keep track of gift ideas prior to the       holidays, and to organize my shopping, since you can sort your list by store!

3. Then I use another to-do for all the things. The checklist for this one includes separate items for ordering & receiving or shopping for/making, and wrapping gifts for each individual or group, decorating gift boxes–anything that needs to be done by Christmas, and even all the family members’ houses we go to on Christmas Day.

    4. I’m excited about this one! This year I’ve also created a to-do called “Necessary Niceties.” Its checklist includes things I always want to do around Christmas, like “watch it snow,” “go for a walk,” and “listen to [Handel’s] Messiah all the way through.” The sort of calm but important things that might get shoved aside for all the gift-giving preparations. And the last item in the checklist says, “Check off anything you didn’t get to, and check off this to-do.” That’s so the “niceties” are actually nice–not burdensome, but opportunities to recharge and live in the moment–to really enjoy the holidays!

You can see more helpful tips 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 Money Matters!

Behind the Scenes: Habitica’s Winter Staff Retreat!

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! Some of you might remember that this summer the Habitica Staff took a trip to the desert for work, bonding, and more than a touch of shenanigans. This winter, with lots of exciting things on the horizon for 2018, we decided to have another retreat. This time we headed for the U.S. East Coast and invited our two designers, Apollo (AKA: Tressley) and piyorii (AKA: Sara)!

Upon arrival, our first item on the agenda was acquiring food!

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Alys (on the right) takes in the uniquely American marvel of a salad composed mainly of red meat, cheese, and onion rings.

Once we arrived at the house we’d rented for the retreat, we launched straight into meetings! Meetings of all types and fashions.

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Beth (AKA: Beffymaroo) shows important graphs to the team. Definitely not cat pictures. This time, anyway. [L to R: Beth, Sabe (AKA: SabreCat), Leslie (AKA: Lemoness), Alys, and Keith (AKA: TheHollidayInn)]
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(From L) Leslie, Sara (AKA: piyorii), Tressley (AKA: Apollo), and Vicky (AKA: redphoenix) have a video conference for user feedback!
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Look how serious we are. Serious at all times. [L to R: Sara, Phillip (AKA: viirus), Vicky, and Beth]
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SERIOUS AT ALL TIMES. Note the big roll of paper, which should convey the seriousness. (Okay, maybe it was covered by Leslie’s sketches by the end, but those were serious too. Very serious cute winter critters and outfit ideas).
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The Big Roll of Paper featured pretty prominently in the meetings. Note the helpful plants.
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The mirrored dining room at the rental house gave us the illusion of our fondest dream: that we all had doubles to help us do our work more efficiently!

We spent a lot of time talking over our plans for the new year (get excited!!) and talking over areas where we want to improve and make things even better for all you Habiticans out there. ❤

But it wasn’t all 100% serious meetings. We found some time to balance out the hard work with fun and team bonding!

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During an important supply run, Beth and Sara found the llama onesies of their dreams.
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They attempted to nonchalantly join the team once they had donned their new workwear, but the fabulousness of the onesies was not to be ignored. Note Sabe’s trademark catlike alertness at the entrance of these strange creatures.
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As you can see, the addition of two would-be llamas to the team only increased our productivity.

We also have some team members who really love to cook, which worked out well for everyone. 🙂

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Vicky’s beloved sourdough starter, Fred, sacrificed part of himself for the purpose of waffle-making. A moment of silence for Fred, please, though some feeding should bring him back to his old self. Also notice Alys opening the waffle iron with her BEAR HAND!

 

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We even had a ramen day! Although Keith’s light-up holiday sweater really distracts from the beauty of the spread Phillip laid out for the team… ;P
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‘Tis the season for distracting novelty sweaters! 😀

And for dessert, a hot chocolate bar!

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What hath Sara wrought?…
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…only the most delicious of abominations.

We also made it a point to take a break from our computer screens and enjoy the beautiful natural scenery near the rental house!

 

 

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All in all we had a great time! We got a lot done, but still found time to enjoy ourselves — in the true spirit of Habitica!

Until next time! 🙂

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!

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.”

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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!