Pomodoro

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Illustration by Katy133

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!

One of the major productivity techniques people on Habitica talk about is the Pomodoro: a 25-minute stint of focused work, followed by a five-minute break… and then another 25-minute stretch of focused work. It’s called a Pomodoro after the tomato-shaped timer originally used by Francesco Crillo, who came up with the technique. Guilds on Habitica take it to the extreme with tomato throwing contests, prizes for those who complete the most ‘poms’, and a whole wealth of challenges related to the technique.

So this week’s highlighted Wiki post is all about how to use that technique alongside your Habitica setup:

The simplest way to use Habitica to support the Pomodoro technique is to use a mechanical device like a kitchen timer or an electronic device to time each Pomodoro. Players then track their activity manually on Habitica with a combination of HabitsDailies, and potentially Rewards.

By creating a Habit for each completed Pomodoro and optionally a second Habit for each completed set, Habiticans can track how many Pomodori they complete in a day.

Check out the full Wiki page here for more tips, tricks and resources for supercharging your productivity using both Habitica and the Pomodoro Technique!

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Coalitions of the Quick-Witted: Guilds for Training your Brain

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Illustration by RoseMonkey

Hello Habiticans! The summer is heating up and many students are enjoying their summer break from school. Even though classes may not be in session, it’s a great month to think about challenging your brain with puzzles, games, and new knowledge! Here are just a few of the Guilds in Habitica dedicated to sharpening your intellect and expanding your knowledge.

Habitica’s Court Jesters: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/fddaeafc-125c-4b43-a339-14c1d37634e8

Habitica’s Court Jesters is a Guild dedicated to jokes, riddles, and other witty and humorous media. Maybe it’s surprising that a Guild for jokes is on this list, but there’s a high correlation between problem-solving ability and having a good sense of humor. Plus, a good laugh is always healthy for your mind, body and soul!

Sedulous Sesquipedalians: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/8302e17b-e2b6-419b-bd7a-c1983f2c318b

Learning new words is a great method for challenging your mind and improving your communication skills! Sedulous Sesquipedalians is the perfect place to expand your vocabulary- check out the Guild chat for folks sharing the exhilirating vocables they’ve discovered.

Creative Minds: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/00b0eff0-85bd-402a-bd38-33f507624dfa

Creative activities are another fantastic way to keep your mind active and learn new skills and information. You’ll find all types of imaginative Habiticans chatting in this Guild, and there are some exciting Challenges to help get your creative juices flowing!

Puzzling People: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/330c4c91-8513-43ba-b0bc-b093ebda7573

This Guild is here for puzzle-loving Habiticans of all types! Pop into the Guild chat to discuss your favorite puzzles, riddles, and brain-teasers.

These Guilds and many, many others are here to give you lots of fun ideas for keeping your mind sharp and active!  Until next time, take care. ❤

Use Case Spotlight: Training your Brain

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Illustration by RoseMonkey

Hello Habiticans! Last month we looked at ideas from your fellow players for using Habitica to manage parenting and family matters. This month we’re exploring ideas for training your brain and sharpening your mind with the help of Habitica’s Tasks, Challenges, and social spaces. These great tips come from your fellow players in the Use Case Spotlights Guild!

Miechelle starts us out by using Habitica as a reminder for their educational apps and books:

I have as dailies my Lumosity session, my Duolingo session, my Khan session and then at least a paragraph in each of the [educational] books I am reading which range from a Grimoire to Getting Things Done to The Power of When – I am always trying to improve my mind and myself – I think it is the point of it all. I used to have to try and remember all this in my ADD brain and honestly I have progressed a lot once I started using Habitica to keep my checklists and get my ticks 🙂

Fox_Town points us to a fun Guild to help with memorization and expand your poetry knowledge!

I co-run the “Rhyme Commando” guild, where we have a running monthly challenge to memorize a poem. I still know by heart the poems I learned as a schoolkid, but it isn’t something I’d thought to do in years. I like the experience of both setting the text of a poem in my head, and also spending the month thinking about one poem, because I usually end up coming to a few new realizations about the language or the structure just by returning to it again and again. And with luck when I’m old, I’ll always have a few poems to reflect on whenever I”m stuck somewhere without a book.:)

Gumnos notes the importance of storing To-Do lists outside your brain to keep your memory free for other information:

I use Habitica both to challenge my brain and save my brain energies for other things.

For challenging it, I have dailies that force me out of my brain’s natural comfort zone (like thanking complete strangers) and hand-writing letters to grandparents. I’ll also create projects for myself to expand my programming skills (I give myself various personal coding challenges and landmarks along the way for them)

For preserving it, most of my To Do list consists of checklists I’ve offloaded so I don’t have to hold them in my brain and possibly forget them.

Dan O’Dea gives some other great examples for using Habitica to train your brain!

The most obvious way to challenge your brain is to learn something new every day. So…

  • Habitica has a guild called Today I learned… where people share things they learned. The guild leader requires posts provide sources for the learning so you can follow the links and see for yourself.
  • Build a habit or a daily task to read something, Google something you heard, or likewise add something to your knowledge.
  • Create a to-do, complete with a checklist, to learn a new skill. Of course, you can also add habits and dailies to this. For example, I have a to-do every month to draw some new thing (trees, faces, roads) and practice a technique (e.g., one-point perspective) and a daily habit to support that, such as “Draw one scene from work, my town, or a reference picture using one-point perspective”.

There are several guilds in Habitica for learning new languages, skills, and the like. Check them out – in fact, create a to-do to do just that.

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.

And lastly, be sure to take a look at our most recent Guild Spotlight, where we’ve highlighted groups for puzzles, riddles, and other ways to train your brain!!

Guild Creation and Maintenance Tips

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Illustration by Aries Faries

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!

Guilds are one of the key social spaces in Habitica. You can join as many as you like, and they cover all kinds of topics from productivity to crafting to managing your finances — and if you can’t find the kind of Guild you’re looking for, it only takes four Gems to create it. The Wiki page we’re featuring this month has tips for exactly that: how to create a Guild, how to promote it, how to get people engaged and chatting in the Guild once you’ve got it set up… The Wiki page is a one-stop shop for almost anything you might want to know before you set up a Guild.

Here’s a quote from the page which sums it all up:

This page is about creating and maintaining an active and successful guild. The tips will be useful for any guild leader, and for those planning to lead either a new or existing guild.

It is easy to create a new guild. It is more difficult to create a guild that is successful. Once a guild is created, it takes effort to keep a guild active. “Dead” guilds (i.e., guilds that are inactive or fail to gain momentum) clutter up the list of public guilds. The guild leader has several ways to prevent this. If a guild leader wishes to step down, it is easy to hand over guild leadership to another member.

So if you’re interested in starting a Guild — or breathing new life into one you’ve been maintaining for a while — then you should definitely take a look at the page here!

Behind the Scenes: Weird Tales of the Mod Slack

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Habitica’s Mods! Left to Right, starting from the top: Bailey, deilann, Cantras, Alys, Fox_Town, Blade, Daniel the Bard, shanaqui, Dewines, Megan, and Breadstrings! (Art by Lemoness)

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! In this special edition of Behind the Scenes, we’re going to take a dive into the wild and weird world of Habitica’s Moderator Slack channel. This space is where the moderators and a few members of the staff hang out to discuss issues that pop up in the community, talk about feedback and bug reports, and just generally hang out and chat! We thought it might be fun to share some stories of some of the most amusing and weird things that happen there, so buckle up!

Fun Fact #1: There is a channel devoted entirely to bunnies!

Moderator shanaqui is the proud parent of two adorable bunnies, Hulk and Breakfast. There’s a whole channel just for bunny-related pictures and posts because the buns were really dominating the Off-Topic channel!

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Hulk and Breakfast. Breakfast is sporting an interesting nose haircut here.

The buns also occasionally commandeer shanaqui’s keyboard to send special messages. These are most often directed at Alys, because Alys is the bunnies’ favorite (and just a fantastic critter whisperer in general).

If you’d like to get in on the bunny fun, check out the buns’ Twitter accounts linked above!

Fun Fact #2: Beffymaroo raises Monarch butterflies.

Beth (AKA Beffymaroo) has always loved animals of all shapes and sizes. As a kid she enjoyed bringing in monarch caterpillars and feeding and caring for them until they became chrysalides and then finally butterflies (which she’d then release so they could start their epic migration!).

Last summer, she bought a milkweed plant on a whim and discovered it already had a butterfly egg! This little egg hatched into a caterpillar named Herbie the Love Bug, and Beth shared lots of photos and stories on the Slack documenting Herbie’s growth and metamorphosis.

Image uploaded from iOS (12)
Little Herbie!

This summer, Beth is at it again! If you’re interested in learning more or following along, check out Lovers of Lepidopterans, a Habitica Guild Beth started for those interested in butterfly- and pollinator-gardening and/or raising butterflies and moths.

butterflymaroo
*not shown to scale*

Fun Fact #3: Emoji-a-go-go

We often let the emojis do the talking in our Slack messages! Because users get an alert when their name is mentioned (and we typically try to avoid sending actual alerts unless it’s an urgent matter),  the mods and staff devised “emoji nicknames” for some folks so that there was a way to mention someone without making their phone beep!

lemonessLemoness’s icon is pretty self-explanatory! The Queen of Lemons.
sabrecatSabreCat’s emoji callsign is also fairly self-explanatory! He is a pointy kitty.

alysAlys’s emoji nickname is also a fairly straightforward rebus.

foxtownFox_Town’s emojis also are what one might expect. This is only because there is no adequate way to convey “many foxes in a trenchcoat pretending to be a human” in emoji.
beffymaroo Beffymaroo’s emoji nickname refers to an ongoing joke about how some users misread/misspell her Habitica handle as “Beefymaroo.”
redphoenixThe closest thing to a phoenix offered by emoji selection is a Fire Chicken, which Redphoenix found very amusing, and so it stuck!

shanaquiCare to take a guess whose emoji this is? Perhaps Habitica’s leading contender for Most Enthusiastic Reader, shanaqui!
cantrasCantras is a big fan of dragons. In fact, her mod avatar is a part-dragon!

(emoji images shown are those used in Slack Direct Download 3.2.0 64-bit for Windows 10)

 

We also make a lot of use of Totoro-based emoji (thanks pixel-soup.tumblr.com!), especially :

tumblr_inline_p8p96ms2J71rhwzwl_75sq  for “Thank you”

and

tumblr_inline_p8p96k4eR41rhwzwl_75sq  for a complex set of feelings Cantras described as “gleeful agreement”!

Fun Fact #4: Dream Titles

Weird dreams are a fun topic we sometimes chat about. shanaqui recently had a dream where they came up with exciting (and maybe slightly odd) titles for some of the staff and mods. In fact, if you go to the Hall of Heroes right now (see Beffymaroo, SabreCat, Fox_Town, Alys, and Cantras) you can see some titles Alys changed to match shanaqui’s dream.

Well, Habiticans, seems like it’s time to get back to our tasks…

no fun allowed
We’ll let you imagine the context in which this may have occurred.

That’s all for now! If you’d like to know more about what’s going on Behind the Scenes in Habitica, feel free to suggest topics for posts you’d like to see! Thanks for reading ❤

 

Use Case Spotlight: Parenting and Family Life

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Illustration by UncommonCriminal

Hello Habiticans! Last month we looked at ideas from your fellow players for using Habitica to manage mental health and wellness. This month we’re exploring ideas for enhancing your parenting strategy with the help of Habitica’s Tasks, Challenges, and social spaces. These great tips come from your fellow players in the Use Case Spotlights Guild!

Stephonee starts us out with a great way to take advantage of the times when you can be productive (and take a break!):

My main use of Habitica for parenting is my “Nap Checklist” Daily. I find that my brain goes kinda haywire when changing gears from “kid-time” to “nap-time ohmigorsh I have time to do things what?” Rather than trying to mentally make that shift and remember what I need to do during every nap, I have the Daily with the checklist!

It includes self-care things (drink a glass of water, hungry? then eat!, tired? then nap!, etc.), mundane have-to-get-done-before-baby-wakes things (clean off the high chair for next feeding), work things (check work email, check blog for new comments) and I can add things to it temporarily if there’s something special I need to get done during the nap on a certain day.

I check the daily off at the end of the nap (or at the end of the day), regardless of whether I got through the whole checklist or not, because it’s not meant to be a “do everything single thing on the list every single day” thing. It’s just a way to reduce the mental load of remembering ALL those things, and a reminder of what they are and in what order they should be considered. Sometimes I’ll check off an item just to say “I considered whether I should do that, and I shouldn’t so… check it off to cross it out!”

Dan O’Dea reminds parents to model the behavior they’d like to see:

If you make this a daily, put a description of the ONE behavior you want to model (if you have more than one, make separate dailies for each). I’ve deliberately left this unspecified as you will have your own ideas on what behavior you want your kids to demonstrate. A simple example: washing dishes right after supper is done. I hate it when dishes accumulate over several days, and I want my kids to help with that chore if they’re old enough. When they were too young to wash effectively, I made them dry and put away the dishes as I washed them. When they were old enough (and tall enough to reach!) I made them wash while I dried. Then I made them both do it without me and gave them a “schedule” (that is, they alternated washing and drying from day to day). Note: obviously, this does not have to be every day. They’re kids, it’s OK to give them weekends off .

If you make this a habit, put a plus and minus on it. This will be more general (i.e., not a specific behavior, just “a behavior”) and works equally well as a plan for you to create better behaviors (or more consistently doing the task) and for them. Check the plus if you did model the desired behavior(s) and check the minus if you didn’t. In a way, this is like the proverbial “quarter in the swear jar”.

sagestacy notes the importance of maintaining your relationship with your partner when parenting can seem all-consuming:

Habitica and the Parents’ Guild have been helpful for me to maintain my relationship with my husband after the birth of our child. Taking care of an infant is exhausting for both of us–physically, mentally, and emotionally–and so having those dailies and habits to check off reminds me to do little things to preserve our connection, like holding hands, talking about our day, and scheduling a date night.

peach pip gives us great tips for remembering to keep taking care of ourselves even as we devote ourselves to the care of others!

With the birth of my daughter, I transitioned into a new role of a full time mom. I found it much more difficult than employment, particularly because infants don’t provide a lot of positive feedback at first, and tasks that used to be simple had become really challenging, such as eating a decent meal or showering. Additionally, it was much more difficult to stay in touch with loved ones. Habitica helped me celebrate little accomplishments and remember my self-care, as well as stay in touch with loved ones by creating a party together!

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.

And lastly, be sure to take a look at our most recent Guild Spotlight, where we’ve highlighted groups that can provide further support and motivation as you manage parenting and family life!

Guilds for Parenting and Family Life

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Illustration by UncommonCriminal

Happy June, Habiticans! Summer is nearly here, and it’s a great time to catch up and bond with your family. This month’s Spotlight focuses on Guilds in Habitica where you can find fellow players to support you as you take care of family business as well as family fun.

Parents’ Guild

This large and active Guild is full of fellow Habitican parents, sharing stories and ideas in the chat! It’s a supportive space for discussing other family-related issues as well. The Parents’ Guild also offers a number of Challenges for managing family life and making sure you take care of yourself.

Parents of Under-Threes

If you’re the parent or guardian of an extra-small adventurer, be sure to check out Parents of Under-Threes! The chat is a great place to discuss the special challenges of parenting young children, share ideas, and find support when you’re exhausted or frustrated in your toddler-care quests!

Loved Ones of those with Depression and Anxiety

If you have loved ones who are living with a mental health condition, this Guild can offer a supportive and understanding chat where you can discuss your experiences. In this active group, you can also talk with others about the importance of taking care of yourself so you can be a healthy support to folks in your life who are managing mental illness.

Pet Owners and Lovers

This is a Guild for chatting about the care and keeping of the furry, scaly, and winged members of your family. Pet Owners and Lovers also has a number of great Challenges to help you be an even better pet parent.

These Guilds and many, many others are here to give you helpful information and community support as you and your family work together to keep your household running, take care of each other, and have fun!! Until next time, take care. ❤

Perfect Day

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Illustration by riithewordsmith

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!

The first time a Habitican completes each and every task on their list for the day, they receive the Perfect Day badge. Every time you complete all your tasks, you get +1 on that achievement — but that’s not all! This month’s highlighted Wiki post is all about that elusive Perfect Day, what it does for you, and how exactly you can make sure to get it every day (or nearly: even the most motivated Habitican needs a break now and then).

The Perfect Day achievement is awarded when a player completes all Dailies that are due that day. In addition to the normal rewards (goldXP, and taking no damage) the player receives an achievement on their profile and a special bufffor the following day (+level / 2 to all attributes, capped at a buff of 50 points at level 100). If the player’s level is an odd number, their level will be rounded up to the nearest even number before the buff is applied.

And of course, a Perfect Day means you’ve done everything you needed to do, so the achievement and the boost you get for the next day are only what you deserve. So if that shiny badge tempts you (and who wouldn’t be tempted by that?), you should definitely take a look at the Perfect Day page to get all the info, and tips on setting up your tasks to make it more possible to achieve. You can find it here!

User Spotlight: Dr. B of Take This!

Welcome to the User Spotlight Series, where we talk with Habitica users who are experts in their fields. First up is DoctorB, the Clinical Director of TakeThis, who’s chatting with us as part of our continuing post series for Mental Health Awareness Month!

DrB

Hey DoctorB! Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a doctor of clinical psychology and the clinical director (Arch Psychomancer) of TakeThis.org, a mental health nonprofit that champions the message “It’s dangerous to go alone!” and spends our time educating on and destigmatizing mental health matters. Take This is also the creator of the world’s first staffed, mental health space at conventions – the AFK Room. Aside from my work with Take This, I also have a private practice in the Seattle area, I lead social skills groups using Dungeons & Dragons, and I’m an avid home chef.

How did you start using Habitica?

In 2016, I was at the Game Developers Conference for the first time, and I met Leslie [AKA: Lemoness] after a panel. We got to talking about what we respectively did, and she told me about this cool app she works on that allows you to turn your to-do lists and habits in to an RPG. I’ve seen a few things that tried to do this in the past (poorly), so I probably expressed some incredulity, but she really sold me on it. I downloaded it almost immediately and fell in love. It was so cool seeing someone finally do gamification of behaviors right. When I saw other things like this in the past, they often left out the “game” part, but seeing this as a real game which also happened to help keep me on task was a revelation. A few months later, Take This wrote a series of community challenges for Habitica that have been used by thousands over the last two years.

What some things you’re tracking in Habitica?

I have a few big projects Take This has in the works that Habitica is helping me keep on task for. I also like to use it to remind me to work out. It’s great for reminding me to keep a balance between passion projects and my own health. It’s really easy to overdo effort on passion projects.

What projects are you working on right now?

Aside from all the stuff we do at Take This (most notably building a streaming ambassador program), I’m building a day-long workshop for mental health professionals to train on how to use tabletop RPGs therapeutically. A lot of people underestimate the complexity of these types of projects, and they’re complicated to build. Habitica is helping me build it all a little at a time.  Take This is also writing a new series of 12 community challenges for Habitica.

Where do you like to hang out in Habitica?

Mostly with my own guild which is comprised almost entirely of the Take This staff and volunteers. That said, I love the community at large. Whenever I pop my head in to the forums, I love how supportive everyone is of everyone else.

What advice do you have for folks in the gaming community for healthy gaming/life balance?

I like to think of my goals and the behaviors that interfere with those goals. Games are fun, no doubt, but there are times when I can play them to the point of not going after my goals. It’s at those times I really have to rely on things like Habitica and put limits on what I do. For example, one of my Habits is “No video games between 10am and 6pm”. Given I often work from home, this is a legitimate temptation.

Any personal tips/tricks for using Habitica to manage mental health and wellness?

Start a guild with people who you personally know and talk to. I love having accountabilibuddies that can actually hold me accountable in a way strangers can’t.

Thanks, Dr. B! To learn more about using Habitica as a tool in your mental health journey, check out this month’s Guild Spotlight and Use Case Spotlight!

Caring for the Mind: Guilds for Mental Health and Wellness

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Illustration by Rosemonkey

Hello, dear Habiticans! Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? In honor of this event, this month’s Spotlight focuses on some Guilds in Habitica where you can learn techniques for awareness and mental well-being.

Mentally Ill: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/54846572-9b87-421c-a2f5-11f72ee8ecfc

This Guild is open to all those affected by mental illness and/or looking to improve their mental health. The chat is a supportive and safe space to discuss symptoms and experiences and to share tips and ideas. Mentally Ill also offers a wide variety of Challenges that may offer helpful motivation boosts for learning more about mental health and for managing symptoms.

Mastering Emotions (DBT Skills): https://habitica.com/groups/guild/109d5b3f-661f-49cf-ad1d-53de129ecaf5

Mastering Emotions is a space for Habiticans who are using DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) to manage difficult feelings and the situations around those feelings. Check it out for a welcoming and encouraging chat and a long list of Challenges for learning about DBT methods and for developing skills for emotional management.

ADHDers Guild: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/17848f38-0418-4764-9fe8-91fdc9950e32

This is a large community on Habitica dedicated to creating a supportive and helpful environment for folks with ADD/ADHD. Their Guild description has a tremendous collection of helpful resources, and the chat space there is kind, friendly, and active. ADHDers also hosts a number of Challenges for help, motivation, and for learning more about ADHD and related conditions.

Anxiety Alliance: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/1da5ae22-6659-4600-9951-905f923c9373

This Guild is devoted to those working through anxiety-related mental illness. There’s an active and supportive chat for Guild members to discuss experiences and share tips. There are also a bunch of helpful Challenges–including several that repeat monthly–to help with anxiety management, meditation, and getting out of your comfort zone.

These Guilds and many, many others are here to give you helpful information and community support as you work on improving your mental health and wellness! In fact, there are so many Guilds on Habitica devoted to this topic that we’ll be doing another post (or two!) on this topic in the future.

There’s also a Use Case Spotlight post this week featuring mental health related tips from fellow Habiticans! Until next time, take care. ❤