Write on! Helpful Guilds for Writers.

habitrpg-community-guidelines-wiki_writers_by_kiwibotIllustration by Kiwibot

As NaNoWriMo approaches, it’s a good time to focus on some Guilds in Habitica that can help you reach your writing goals. Whether you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, working on essays for school, or doing any other writing and need a boost of motivation, these groups can offer support!

Writers: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/ec82e9c6-fefb-419c-aff1-a4ec4c5f0ab9

The Writers Guild offers help to those working on any writing project in any genre. They run an active and supportive chat, and they have a wide variety of Challenges related to writing, particularly writing fiction.

Wordsmiths: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/48c084a8-81a7-40cc-a8c1-b8e93357424d

Wordsmiths welcomes all writers! This guild offers a lot of great challenges related to honing writing skills, building new skills, and accountability for those committed to particular goals and deadlines. They also have a special Challenge for NaNoWriMo!

NaNoWriMo Participants: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/8bd59d72-5fec-4a54-aaf5-1a5e83e35046

If you’re gearing up for NaNoWriMo, this guild will be of particular interest to you. In addition to offering challenges to prepare for NaNoWriMo, the guild has challenges to help writers keep their momentum and build skills year-round!

Ink Slingers: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/534a740a-a3c3-46d2-aa2a-4d639770155d

Ink Slingers is a guild especially for Science Fiction and Fantasy writers and editors. They have resources for forming parties of writers and accountability groups, as well as a variety of Challenges including fun writing prompts to get your creative juices flowing.

These guilds and more are ready and willing to help you get the pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Enjoy these helpful and fun groups in the lead-up to NaNoWriMo and beyond!

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Habitica Playlist: The Habitican’s Travelogue

The Habitica team loves to listen to music. For fun, we’ve decided to share some of the songs that keep us motivated while we work, arranged as a story about one intrepid Habitican who embarks on a quest to improve her life. We hope that you enjoy it!


THE HABITICAN’S TRAVELOGUE (A Habitica Playlist)

THE MUSIC:

THE STORY:

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An aspiring adventurer hears the call of the land of Habitica, and decides that it’s time to set her fears aside and venture forth on a daunting quest for self-improvement (Level Up – Vienna Teng). At first, it isn’t easy. Despite our Hero’s best intentions, she is often distracted, but her determination spurs her to continue the journey  (Maps – Hey Ocean!).

Gradually, our Hero begins to make a name for herself in Habitica. The locals are intrigued by the Hero’s versatile productivity techniques and impressed by her confidence that she can tackle any task (Skeleton Key – Dessa). Soon, the Hero is welcomed into several Guilds, where other hard-working Habiticans cheer her on, share useful advice, and chat during their work breaks (Home – Phillip Phillips).

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Our Hero makes several close friends, and she decides to form a Party so that they can embark on epic quests together (The Road Goes On – The Lord of the Rings Musical Soundtrack). The Party voyages through the far reaches of the land, from the Meandering Mountains to the Flourishing Fields. The friends marvel at all the exciting goals that they are achieving and feel unstoppable (Where No One Goes – Jónsi).

 

Drag'on Battle

Now our Hero is confident and happy, eagerly adding new items to her task list every day (Checking Things Off of a To-Do List Early in the Morning – Lullatone). However, as she piles more and more obligations onto herself, her goals are no longer realistic, and she begins to get overwhelmed (When Will My Life Begin – Mandy Moore). She loses sight of her original flexibility and curiosity, and instead pushes herself to the breaking point, resulting in a meltdown (Harder Better Faster Stronger – Daft Punk).

Our Hero is frustrated and wonders if she should give up, but her Party members and Guildmates encourage her, explaining that a few setbacks shouldn’t mean the end of her quest (The Middle – Jimmy Eat World). Heartened, our Hero decides to embrace her occasional failures as a natural part of the growing process. With a revised list of goals and a healthier, more balanced attitude, this Habitican is ready to conquer her monsters once more (Try Everything – Shakira).


 

We hope that you enjoyed our Habitica playlist, and that you’ll be humming along as you attack your tasks. Now go get productive!

 

 

Tips and Tricks for Recovering from Burnout

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!

Resting in Inn by draayder

 

It’s a rare Habitican who has never experienced a complete lack of motivation to do the things they know they “should” be doing. The helpful Wiki Scribes have documented some suggestions for tweaking your Habitica setup so that it works for you.

Players experience Burnout when they no longer care about completing tasks, and the rewards and penalties in Habitica are no longer motivating. Burnout can occur when the game becomes too easy or too hard, when tasks become tedious, or when changes occur in the player’s life.

To learn more (and to take a look at the convenient reference chart), head on over to the wiki to read the full article! You might also want to take a look at the wiki article on Obstacles, which we briefed here.

CONTRIBUTOR SPOTLIGHT: Cantras!

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Welcome to the Contributor Spotlight Series, where we interview amazing members of the Habitica community! Today we’re chatting with Cantras, one of our Moderators and Challengers. She helps to answer questions and safeguard the community, along with keeping Challenges running smoothly.

Cantras, how did you get involved with Habitica?

“I probably came to Habitica from a Reddit post, since I used to spend far too much time there. Then I mostly helped out in the Tavern and Newbies guild. I think I got noticed as maybe-future-moderator after trying to mediate a heated discussion in the Back Corner. Also, I run the monthly Habitversary Challenges and the matching blog.”

What’s your proudest contribution to Habitica?

“The Elven Grove Guild — where people can point out challenges that are past their expiration date (‘Push-up challenge June 2014’) or otherwise in need of help, and get it taken care of. I think the Tavern Challenge list is 2/3 the length it was when I started, and there’s a lot fewer questions in the Tavern like ‘I’ve been in this challenge a long time, is it EVER going to close?'”

What are your secret superpowers?

squirrel wrangling Weapons-grade diplomacy, and enough skill in Google Translate to sometimes make users think I actually speak their language. Also, I have two toenails on my left pinky toe.”

What are your secret weaknesses?

“I can focus forever on a distraction — like spending 20 minutes leaning over my squirrel tank just watching her run on her wheel — but I have to buckle down with headphones and StayFocusd and so on to focus on something productive, even fun-productive, for more than a few minutes at a time.”

What are your favorite Habitican pets/mounts?

dragons
“I’m partial to the dragons, but I’m also a fan of the ones that make me laugh when I hatch them — the red rock, the egg mounts, the skeleton snail.”

What are some things you’re tracking in Habitica?

“All the things. Stuff I want to read, things I want to learn, skills I want to develop. And also making sure I eat breakfast and get sleep.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Lately it’s been a lot of Pokemon Go (if we walk until the dog is worn out, it counts as my fitness daily!) , but it’s also reading books and articles, and playing board/card games. I love Lords of Waterdeep, and we play a lot of Ascension.”

What are your top Habitica tips and tricks?

“People in Habitica talk a lot about what works for them — steal their ideas! Not everything will work for you, but if someone’s gushing about StayFocusd or Pomodoro method or flossing or meditating or Duolingo, investigate! I’d probably speak German, Esperanto, and Spanish by now if I’d checked out Duolingo the first time someone gushed about how great it was.”

Where do you like to hang out in Habitica?

“I hang out on my task page or else I’ll forget what it was I was in the middle of doing, but I almost always have the Chrome Chat Extension running for the Tavern and the Newbies guild. I’m also in the Legendary Book Club, because books!”

newbie_guild_collab_with-cantras

Guest Post: Does Time Tracking Actually Help You Get More Done?

Today we’re excited to bring you a guest post from Kat Boogaard, one of our productivity pals at Toggl! Read on to learn about our awesome integration, as well as how you can use Toggl and Habitica together to achieve your goals.

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If you’re not tracking your time, your work towards your goals might proceed at a snail’s pace.

What would life (and productivity, for that matter) be like if time simply wasn’t an issue? Well, if you ask us, the answer is, “Pretty darn boring.”

We know—sometimes time is that pesky thing that you feel like you never quite have enough of. But, more often than not, it’s actually a pretty awesome motivator.

Perhaps you’re racing against time to defuse a bomb in your favorite video game. Maybe you’re racking your brain for the right answer while the Jeopardy theme song plays in the background along with that classic, faintly ticking clock. Or maybe you’re on a training run, attempting to beat your previous personal best mile time.

In all of those instances, time is the very thing that lights a fire under your butt and inspires you to focus, keep your nose to the grindstone, and get stuff done. So, is it any wonder then, that tracking your beloved time could be just what you need to kickstart your productivity?

Personally, we’re big believers in time-tracking. And, using the seamless Toggl integration combined with the gamification approach of Habitica, keeping a watchful eye on how you spend your hours couldn’t be easier—meaning you can instantly unlock the secret sauce to using your time more effectively and more efficiently with just the click of a button.

Not totally convinced that you’re ready to start the clock? Well, we’re here to change your mind. Here are three key benefits that come along with tracking your time. If nothing else, we’re willing to bet you have the Jeopardy theme song stuck in your head now.

  1. Increased Awareness

Let’s start with one of the most obvious benefits first, shall we? Keeping a close watch on your time will likely mean that you naturally waste much less of it.

Why? Well, for starters, it instills a certain sense of urgency. Think of it as racing yourself—you’re eager to get as much productive work done in a single time block as you possibly can. Knowing that you have a running clock ticking away inspires you to keep focused on the task at hand.

Secondly, tracking your time achieves the not-so-simple task of raising awareness about where all of your precious hours are going. Perhaps it’ll bring you to the realization that you’re spending two hours per day on your inbox—something you could easily cut down. Or, maybe you’ll be slapped with the rude awakening that tasks that should take you thirty minutes are taking you an hour—because you’re falling into the trap of mindless internet surfing.

Regardless of what conclusion you come to, tracking your time is sure to be an enlightening experience. After all, there’s no way to know how much time you’re wasting without actually tracking it.

And, the best part? Your increased awareness is then sure to result in increased efficiency. Think about a marathon runner, for example: Their goal is to always beat their previous personal best time. With a time-tracker in your arsenal, you can approach your work tasks with a similar mentality—further adding to the gamification of productivity you already enjoy with Habitica.

  1. Improved Processes

Your workload is fluid—it’s always changing. So, that means your approach to that work should be flexible as well.

However, all too often, we find ourselves completely married to a routine. We stand firm in our workflows not necessarily because they’re efficient or productive, but because we’ve simply always done things that way.

Unfortunately, that can lead to a lot of bottlenecks throughout your workday—places where you’re getting stuck, simply because your process doesn’t quite gel with your work anymore. Enter the miracle of time-tracking.

Your timer will make it easy to identify those places where things are getting road blocked and held up. And, then? You can take that valuable information to tweak and improve your own processes to always maximize your effectiveness and efficiency.

Remember, your approach doesn’t have to be set in stone, and time-tracking will make it that much easier to adapt and adjust when the time comes.

  1. A More Realistic Workload

Have you ever heard of the Planning Fallacy? This psychological concept asserts that we all have the tendency to severely underestimate the amount of time a specific task will take us. We’re all a little too optimistic, apparently.

While that may allow you to approach your day with a positive feeling, it typically always leads to disaster. That to-do list you were so sure you could conquer in eight hours is left mostly unfinished, and you wrap up your day feeling completely discouraged and disheartened.

Being more realistic about your workload is yet another key benefit of tracking the amount of time different tasks and projects take you. When planning out your day or your week, you can have actual information about how much time specific things take. You no longer need to make your best (absurdly optimistic) guess—you can now form your plans based in actual reality.

Ending each day feeling productive and accomplished, rather than frustrated and frazzled? Well, if that’s not a convincing enough benefit, we don’t know what is.

Many people roll their eyes at the thought of tracking their time—after all, it just seems like one more thing you need to add to your ever-growing to-do list. However, time-tracking is not only incredibly easy (particularly when directly integrated with Habitica!), but it’s also super beneficial.

By keeping a watchful eye on how you’re spending your minutes, you’ll wind up with less wasted time, an improved approach to your work, and a more realistic handle on just how much you can get done in any given day.

If you consider yourself a time-tracking skeptic, do us a favor and at least give it a try. We’re willing to bet you’ll be humming a different tune (ahem, we’re putting money down on the Jeopardy theme song) in no time.

UPDATE 12/2/16: Our Toggl integration is now also available for Firefox as well as Chrome! Enjoy 🙂

 

BEHIND THE SCENES: Seasonal Events!

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!

seasonal-shop-all

What would Habitica be without our four Grand Galas to celebrate the passage of the seasons?

Believe it or not, the first event was created on a whim by Leslie, whose fondness for seasonal decoration eventually led to her becoming the Seasonal Sorceress in-game.  Shortly before Habitica’s first Halloween, she whipped up a set of monster skins for fun and we stuck them on the site as a silly extra… and were blown away by the delighted response from our community.

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The original Spooky Skin set, now retired, that was thrown together in a single morning, and the improved Supernatural Skin set, which we now release every fall.

Emboldened by the success, we began to plan out a more ambitious winter event, involving decorations for the Non-Player Characters around the site, a winter-themed quest,  limited-edition winter equipment, snowballs that turned your Party-mates into snowmen…. and the rest is history.

So what goes into making a Seasonal Event?

Answer: a lot of work.

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Some of Leslie’s original quick scribbles, brainstorming possible Summer Splash outfits…
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…and the eventual pixel art that resulted! (Note that the designs were spread out over two separate years. We plan these things far in advance!)

 

Leslie usually has brainstorming sessions a few times a year where she batch-plans events, including art, potential features, and quests. When we’re a few months out from the start of the event, it’s time to talk to Sabe about what’s needed from a programming perspective, to make sure that enough time is budgeted. Finally, the new art assets are all completed a month or so before the event launches, so that we have time to build it out!

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If you summon the Mysterious Time Travelers during a Grand Gala, you’ll see them dressed for the opposite season. That’s partially a joke, but it’s also partially a nod to our users from the Southern Hemisphere. Though the vast majority of Habiticans live in the Northern Hemisphere, we didn’t want our friends below the equator to be forgotten!

We quickly figured out that prioritizing things that could be repeated each year would free us up to keep innovating. That first year of events was pretty exhausting to implement, simply given the sheer number of new assets and features that all had to be prepared at once, but now we can reuse lots of art, code, and content. That leaves us free to add something new and interesting every year without burning out!

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A sneak peek of spooky things to come…

Now Leslie and Sabe aren’t doing it all by themselves anymore — Beffymaroo and various pixel art contributors pitch in! Even so, it still takes a lot of cooperation, coordination, and commitment to bring you a new Grand Gala. But when we see how much fun the community has, it makes it all worthwhile.

Until next time!