Habit, Daily, or To-Do? Task Type Choice

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!

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Illustration by Leephon

Habitica offers three ways to track your tasks: Habits, Dailies, and To-Dos. Sometimes it seems easy to choose what category to put a task into, but now and then you might add a task that is little more complicated to pin down! The Wiki Scribes have just the thing to help you out: a page that gives detailed explanations of what kinds of tasks best fit each type.

…if your task is a one off, make it a To-Do. If you need to work on a habit, like quitting smoking or eating more healthily, make it a Habit. Enter scheduled, repeatable tasks, such as taking your dog for its morning walk, as Dailies. Dailies are also good for habits or once-off tasks that you really need to work on, because you will be automatically penalized for every day you put them off.

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

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BEHIND THE SCENES: How We Coordinate Work Through Meetings

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!

We get a surprising number of questions about how the Habitica team gets stuff done! While we all use Habitica to manage our personal tasks, a lot of what we do is too big for any one person to manage by themselves. Here’s a primer on how staff and contributors coordinate work and collaborate at HabitRPG, Inc.

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Remote Work and an LA Nucleus

If you’ve been following the team at all, you’ve probably noticed that while Lemoness and redphoenix are based in Los Angeles, the rest of the team chimes in from time zones across the world. This is in large part because Habitica’s roots are in open source, where non-co-located collaboration is the default. However, we’ve also learned to institute some working structure so that we can keep pushing out improvements on a regular basis! Some of the strategies we’ve found useful are daily standup meetings, weekly updates, and regular in-person meetings.

Daily Standup for Structure: The Full Time Team

Every day at 11 am Pacific (that’s 7pm UTC!) we have a thirty minute “standup” meeting for the full time staff members. Standups are fairly typical in the tech industry, but Habitica does them a little differently. We use the time to update each other on what we’re doing for that day, including flagging stuff that needs intervention or assistance from another staff member, and then finish out the meeting with “picks.” (More on those later.) Basically, we’re each others’ accountability buddies.

As the team gets larger and it gets more difficult to constrain ourselves to 30 minutes or a single time slot, we may start experimenting with a rotating standup meeting or a split standup depending on teams. We’re still small enough that adding a new person to the mix changes the dynamic, so we’re definitely still in the experimental phase as far as figuring what works best for everyone involved!

Weekly Sync-up

Of course, Habitica also relies on a core team of part time contractors in addition to full time staff. A weekly check in on major projects helps us make sure that things keep moving forward. As with the Daily Standup meetings, picks are allowed and encouraged!

So what are “Picks”?

Picks are basically show-and-tell–each team member gets to share with the group something that they’re inspired by, excited about, or that they recommend to at least one other member of the group. Because picks aren’t necessarily work related and they happen on a daily basis, occasionally they’ll veer into tentative or lukewarm reviews (“I am not sure about this TV series that I just started watching”) or even anti-picks (“goat milk in coffee is really not recommended”). Over time, picks become a really good way to get to know each other’s likes and dislikes. For example, viirus really likes Legos.

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L to R: paglias, Lemoness, SabreCat, and TheHollidayInn, on a walk near our office!

In-person meetings

Some discussions are better had in person, even if you’re a team full of introverts. One thing we’re currently trying out is holding team retreats more regularly. Team members can get some face time with each other, not just FaceTime. We try to do at least one afternoon/evening of non-work activity so that we get to know each other outside of a work context, but also have a big project or discussion scheduled that would particularly benefit from being discussed with everyone in a room. So far these have proved super valuable for everyone to get on the same page and air any concerns that might otherwise get swept under the rug during day-to-day operations.

Separately from the team, Lemoness and redphoenix meet in-person at least once or twice a week, along with any team members in town for work or pleasure. We generally host out of our coworking space two blocks from the beach in Santa Monica, nearby some great restaurants and some really good cookies.

…Ok, maybe the questions about how we work aren’t so surprising. Given that we’re a productivity company, people do expect us to set an example for how to be more productive! We also spend a lot of time thinking about how to maintain peak performance, since we’ve learned from hard experience that long term sustainability is more difficult than “just work harder and longer.”Everyone’s a bit different, though, so in future blog posts we’ll be sharing strategies that work for each individual member of the team. Stay tuned!

‘Tis the Season to De-Stress: Guilds for Self-Care and Wellness

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Illustration by Rosemonkey

December is a month that brings celebration and fun, but also sometimes stress. Whether you’re stressing from the many tasks you’re doing to prepare for the holidays, your final exams in school, or just feeling the winter blues, Habitica is here to help! This month we highlight some Guilds in Habitica that focus on self-care and wellness: things that are important all year round!

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

Sometimes we can all get bogged down in negativity, and end up feeling sad and unmotivated. Good Things Today is a welcome refuge of positivity! It’s simple- post three things that make you happy or make you feel good in their chat, and enjoy reading posts from others in the Guild. They even have a monthly “Good Things Today” Challenge so you have a chance to win gems for consistently making your happy posts!

The Basics: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/033c9ff6-6fe2-4a94-8bd9-0f4fbbec104e

If holiday and/or end-of-the-year stress has you down and not feeling up to daily tasks or your normal routine, The Basics Guild is here for you! This Guild has some great Challenges related to different kinds of tasks as well as health and self-care. The Basics also has an active and supportive chat, so you can get advice and encouragement from fellow members.

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

Come to the Mindfulness and Stress Relief Guild to check out a variety of great Challenges and resources to help you with stress management and relaxation! The Guild also has a great, supportive chat space for discussing your pursuit of peacefulness and exchanging information on helpful resources.

These Guilds and many others are here to help you remember to take time for yourself this month. Check them out for a dose of relaxation!

STAFF SPOTLIGHT: Keith AKA TheHollidayInn

Welcome to the Staff Spotlight Series, where we interview members of the Habitica Team! Today we’re chatting with Keith, also known as TheHollidayInn. Keith is an avid engineer who is able to work on both the web version and Android app. He’s also spearheading the upcoming group plans!

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What’s your proudest contribution to Habitica?

“API-V3. This was not a solo contribution, but it was the first major project I worked on here at Habitica. The project was also the first time I was able to work with the team. Plus, cleaning code is always a good time.”

What are your secret superpowers?

“I can write a mean math proof. I’m not sure if it is too much of a secret since I have a degree in mathematics. However, when people ask me about what I studied in college, I tell them my last 2 years was doing that proof writing stuff you did in geometry grade-school times 10.”

What are your secret weaknesses?

“Reese’s candies. This become even more evident around the holidays. Peanut butter with chocolate is hard for me to resist.”

Favorite Habitican pets/mounts:

“Skeleton Dragons. I have liked dragons since I was a child. They really brought me into the fantasy world. And, the little skeleton dragon pet is so cute!”

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What some things you’re tracking in Habitica?

“I use Habitica to track all of my current in-progress tasks. I do two things:

  1. Every week I prepare multiple To-dos (with checklists) of projects or study items I want to complete during the week.
  2. I create a To-do each day with a list I need to complete the next day.”

How do you use Custom Rewards?

“I don’t use custom rewards much. I very much like gathering gold and in-game items. But, I do reward myself with a Friday dinner when I have completed my week’s tasks.”

Do you have a daily routine/ritual?

“Yep! And I have Habitica to thank for that. I wake up in the morning to run/workout. Then, I begin working through my To-do lists. I will then take a break to knock out some of my Daily ‘academic studies’ – which include reading non-programming books and learning languages, etc. Then, back to the work list and finally a cleaning Daily to make sure my apartment stays fresh :D”

How do you spend your time when you’re not working on Habitica?

“When I am not working on Habitica, I like to do many things! I read many books, hangout with friends, run 5ks, play video games, and take my dog Izzy to parks.”

Top Habitica tips and tricks?

“Use the Daily feature to get a routine. Start very small, but then slowly build. Once you get into a good routine, you will find yourself very productive. But always give yourself some margin of error. It is okay to miss a day or Daily.”

 

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Favorite Habitica anecdote?

“When I first started contributing to Habitica, I messed up a lot. I had very little experience with MEAN and Github, so I expected some mistakes, but I felt so bad about these mistakes that I messaged Alys apologizing. She told me stories of other contributors making mistakes and really motivated me to continue working on. I really think I would have stopped contributing if it wasn’t for her.”

 

Want to learn more about the people who make Habitica? Check out our other posts in this series:
Spotlight on Vicky AKA Redphoenix
Spotlight on Leslie AKA Lemoness
Spotlight on Sabe AKA SabreCat

Spotlight on Matteo AKA Paglias

Spotlight on Phillip AKA viirus

Use Case Spotlight: Prepping for the Holidays!

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Wow, December is going by so fast, and the holidays are fast approaching!  Here are some great ideas, tips, and tricks for using Habitica to be ready for that fun, festive time of year. These tips come from players in the Use Case Spotlights Guild!

Remedie has some great ideas for To-Dos and special tags:

I have To Dos for each present, tagged with “presents”, and each with a checklist: “bought” and “wrapped.”

When I was in college, I also had a tag of “doomy dooms of end-of-semester doom” (or something suitably dramatic), and To Dos for each class, with checklists of anything major that had to be done for that class (projects, papers, presentations, exams.) before I could go home for break. It was always very satisfying to head home for Christmas knowing that I hadn’t forgotten anything.

Mikachu reminds us to keep our goals balanced, which is so important this time of year!

Putting everything I want to do for the holidays into Habitica is also helpful in giving me perspective; I may want to make presents for every family member, decorate my entire house, bake cookies as often as possible, send cards, host a party, watch my favorite holiday specials, go see The Nutcracker, etc. but when all of that is written down, I can see when I’m asking too much of myself and further, I am more easily able to pare down and cut out my holiday tasks so that I’m able to have a productive, happy holiday season, rather than a frantic, let-it-be-over one.

Shulamit offers an idea for a customized Challenge:

I create a challenge with all the things I need to do to prepare for Pesach (Passover). Each room that needs cleaning gets its own task in the challenge, and within that task, I use checklist to further clarify what needs doing in that room. I also add to-do’s in the challenge for preparing the food and the ritual. Then I add a habit for doing 30 minutes on the list.

SingOutLouise suggests a “Holiday Bucket List”:

I’ve had one for Fall (example tasks: carving a pumpkin, drinking apple cider, going to a football game, etc.) and it has been so helpful in giving me fun activities that I wouldn’t make an excuse to do for myself normally (see: go to a haunted house). It’s a very childlike version of self-care that inspires joy and excitement every time I open my ToDo list. I’ll be checking the whole ToDo off this weekend (18 items, check!!!) and getting started on my Holidays one!

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 holiday-prep-themed groups. These Guilds can give you more ideas and some even have themed Challenges to give you a jump-start!