Establishing a Meditation Habit in 60 Seconds per Day (or Less!)

Hello friends! It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and while behind-the-scenes posts usually cover some aspect of how HabitRPG, Inc. runs as a company, I’ve had several conversations with both friends and business contacts about how I established my meditation practice. It’s been a stressful year in a lot of ways, and meditation plays a critical role in making sure I don’t run out screaming into the night, never to return. This post is for those of you who’ve added a “Meditation” daily to your Habitica tasks, but haven’t quite managed to make it stick. Without further ado….

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Why meditate? An introduction:

Before getting deep into the “how,” let’s begin with the “why.” There’s plenty out there about the benefits of meditation and why you should start. Wikipedia has an overview, the Buffer blog has an excellent post breaking down some of the physiological effects of a meditation practice, and finally, Chade Meng Tan’s book, Search Inside Yourself, covers a lot of the science and applications of a mindfulness based stress reduction practice, particularly in the workplace.

Some benefits that I’ve experienced personally since establishing a regular meditation practice:

  • I can offset the effects of sleep deprivation if I take time to meditate, i.e. if I should have gotten 90 minutes more sleep, taking 20 minutes or so to observe my breathing helps balance out some of the crankiness and the tendency to overreact to things.
  • It’s easier for me to recognize when my brain is basically a barrel of monkeys and take action to mitigate it or redirect my attention towards high-energy, low-cognitive load tasks.
  • I’m better at engaging with people and being patient with them even as my first reaction is a negative one, like irritation, or annoyance. (Not perfect, but improved.)

For the remainder of this post I’ll be operating under the assumption that you know meditation is a thing, and you want to do that thing! Only you haven’t quite yet cracked the “how” of it and the daily is starting to go dark red.

The “How” of Meditating:

There are plenty of different types of meditation. Here, I focus on mindfulness meditation. (Technically, “mindfulness based stress reduction” pioneered for the secular corporate world by people like Jon Kabat-Zinn. Whatever title works for you!)

Basic Technique: Make yourself comfortable, whether standing, seated, or lying down. Focus on your breath. You know how to breathe! Keep breathing. That’s all: one breath in, one breath out.

Too simple to be true? Yes, in a way–when it comes down to it, a breath isn’t necessarily a straightforward thing.

  • It has stages: when you inhale, when you hit the top of your inhale for a split second before pushing all the air out of your lungs, when you exhale, when you hit bottom of the breath but aren’t ready to inhale yet.
  • It has qualities: the temperature of the ambient air. The speed at which you’re breathing. Whether you’re inhaling through both nostrils equally, or one side more than the other (hooray, allergies). If your breath hits the back of your throat, or hovers somewhere above the roof of your mouth.
  • It has physiological effects: If you’re breathing too fast, you get lightheaded (and maybe should slow down a bit). Your chest may raise and lower, or your belly.

While you’re in a meditation session, you want to pay attention to your breath. I think of meditation as “dedicated time to get better at feeling myself breathe” and spend my session trying to pay attention to the above sensations.

 

One breath in, one breath out.

 

Repeat as necessary.

 

Next level:

I’m going to assume you managed the aforementioned just fine. If that’s all you need, you can stop reading here and count it as a session! For others, that’s not enough–you don’t feel like you’re meditating yet. Keep reading.

One full breath-cycle of an inhale/exhale takes me about 10 seconds. It might take you longer, or you may breathe faster and require less time. In any case, you can manage a focused meditation session of one breath-cycle now, so your next stage is 3 cycles of breathing and breathing out. Doable, yes?

Now you’re ready for a minute-long meditation session. This is usually where people start feeling a bit daunted, especially if they’ve been trying and failing to build a sustained meditation practice. But if you think about it, a minute breaks down into roughly 5 or 6 cycles. My suggestion, when you’re at this level, is to use a timer–I like Calm, which is beautiful and has timers available in a web browser at : https://www.calm.com/meditate/program/Htq1PUleuW or in their apps for iOS and Android. But you can really use any timer of your choice. I personally gravitate towards soft bells to announce the end of a session, but there are plenty of other options.

Remember, the technique is: one breath in, one breath out.

Then repeat 4-8 times, however many breath-cycles it takes for the 1 minute timer to ring.

If you’re human (I hope you’re human! I’m pretty sure I’m not qualified to talk about how meditation works for non-humans) your brain is going to be bouncing all over the place like kittens being lined up for a photograph.

Don’t worry; that’s normal. Just notice it–and by “notice it” basically do the mental equivalent of nodding at someone in the hall like “oh hey, I see you” and continue on to your business. In this case, your business is BREATHING LIKE A CHAMP. (Seriously. Not dead? YOU WIN AT BREATHING.)

When the timer goes off, that’s it! Congratulations, you’ve completed a 1 minute meditation session. That’s really all you need to build the habit–a spare sixty seconds per day to ride your breath.

Moving beyond the 1 minute meditation session

At this point, you’re either nicely settled into the 1 minute meditations and feeling like you could take on more time because the sessions are too short, or you find yourself wondering when the timer will go off. There are a couple of different choices you could make here, all of which are equally valid:

  1. If you feel ready for more time, increment the session length. Calm’s timer intervals go 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 minutes (…etc. Calm also does an 8 hour timed meditation that I suspect is more for sleep than for actual meditation). Consider this the “check-in” method. Doesn’t matter if you managed to have a focused session or you find yourself ten million miles away when the bell chimes. I have seen comments like “It’s called meditation _practice_, not meditation perfect” which is kind of a dad joke but also true.
  2. If you keep thinking “are we done yet?” try replacing the timer with a stopwatch. That is, instead of having something count down from an arbitrary period of time, have it count up–and give yourself permission to finish your session when you feel done. This was a trick I used to get myself to sit for my first sessions that were longer than 10 minutes. It is also useful because it lets you get a feel for what the best sessions could be like, when you get into the flow of returning to the breath and aren’t worrying about when the timer will go off.
  3. Try the stopwatch, but with intermediary chimes. Calm has an “open ended meditation” feature that lets you choose intervals for a bell to chime. The intervals are useful reminders to check in on where you are–are you watching your breath? (In my case, hardly ever–and the chimes are a cue for me to get back on track.) However, Calm’s intervals are set at 2 minute lengths. If 2 minutes is too long, Spotify (free!) has an album that does 10 minute sessions in shorter intervals:

    .

Troubleshooting your meditation session:

Posture: Classical meditation has the practitioner sitting cross-legged, often on a pillow. If you can do that, great! If you can’t, great! You can also meditate while sitting in a normal chair, which helps decrease the likelihood that you’ll finish your meditation session and realize that your feet have fallen asleep. If you have terrible posture and sitting for meditation causes you stress, try lying down and doing your session that way! (I usually assume the corpse pose from yoga: feet relaxed apart from each other, hands a little ways out from the body with palms facing skyward, chin relaxed but lifted for easy breathing.)

Falling Asleep: Sometimes you might drift off while sitting quietly. If it’s chronic sleep deprivation, consider whether or not your time might be better spent sleeping rather than meditating. If you choose to tackle meditation, ramp up your sitting times slowly, or rely on the frequency bells as an outside reminder to bring your attention back to your breath.

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It happens to the best of us. Fanart by Promsien (deviantArt)

All the monkeys in the brain: normal. Carry on as before: note that there are monkeys, then refocus on the breath.

A word on habit-building:

These days I meditate much the same way I drink water: usually at the beginning and end of the day, plus when I feel like I need to. To incorporate a regular meditation session into your routine, it’s easiest to schedule it before or after something you already do regularly–after sitting up in bed, before you log on to your computer, or after a meal. Don’t forget to reward yourself afterwards! Perhaps by checking off your “Meditation” Daily in Habitica?

What are your strategies for making meditation work for you? We’d love to hear them!

Sample To-Dos

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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!

In last month’s edition of Wiki Wednesday we looked at some Sample Dailies to help you decide what to put in this important column! Now that you’ve set up your Habits and Dailies, you might be thinking about what kinds of tasks are good candidates for your To-Do column. The Wiki Scribes have helpful information and examples to inspire you as you add To-Do’s to your list!

Players may find it useful to add one-time tasks to their To-Dos. Like a normal To-Do list, items added here are meant to be taken care of, marked off, and forgotten about. To-Dos can be used as a quick way to make notes about tasks that need to be taken care of when on the go, or make sure that certain steps in a project are done.

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

Use Case Spotlight: Arts and Crafts

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Illustration by WreckedByJesusDiaz

In last month’s Use Case Spotlight we learned all about different ways that folks in the community make time for Relaxing Hobbies. This month, we’re further exploring how Habiticans make time specifically for creative hobbies! Here are some great tips, tricks, and ideas for using Habitica to set (and maintain!) new tasks and goals related to Arts and Crafts. These come from your fellow players in the Use Case Spotlights Guild!

kaoru coati starts us off with a great way to remember great project ideas as you come up with them:

Whenever I get an idea for something to make I make a To-Do for it right away, including a checklist with whatever sub-steps that come to mind at the time. That way ideas don’t escape me, plus having the To-Dos there reminds me to make time for crafting (they are all grouped under a tag of course). I can always delete or edit a To-Do if I change my mind about a project.

NR Nazario uses To-Dos and Habits to create comics!

My entry into ART & CRAFTS is making Comics. I have use two methods in Habitica to do so. On the first method, I divide the seven discrete tasks of my process (Script – Sketch – Pencil – Ink – Color – Letter – Publish) into seven separate to-do items. This method emphasized PROCESS and the progress towards getting a published comic episode (which is what I called each page) The second method, emphasized the achievement of the final result rather than working towards it, was to have a large task named after the episode number (101, for example) and then a checklist containing the 7 subtasks inside. Outside of those options, I have a + habit for working on the comic for 1 pomodoro which can be checked for each pomodoro you work and a daily set to work on the comic for at least the first pomodoro.

 

Memry, the silver pirate uses Challenges to tie subscriber gems to projects as an extra incentive!!

I create challenges. I created a private guild, and there I create challenges for every major (and minor) project. [For] making Christmas ornaments I create a challenge that includes every step from selecting what type of ornament I want to make to the moment I distribute them to the family. I am a subscriber, so I tie all my gems up in my challenges. I can’t spend them until I earn them – by finishing things! Double bonus!

Mikachu posted an excellent discussion of their art process and how it’s managed through Tasks. An excerpt is given here, but if you’d like to read the full post, head over to the Use Case Spotlights Guild and find it in the chat!

As a self-employed artist, using Habitica to track my art tasks is essential to my daily productivity and ultimately the success of my career. …[One] To-Do I’m actively pursuing is actually a set of twelve, one for each month, and is not only a part of my career pursuits, it’s my 2017 New Year’s Goal. My goal is to create a new, complete, and properly-done illustration every month. To help me accomplish this, I created a To-Do for each month simply titled “[Month] Illustration” and gave them due dates that correspond to the last day of the named month. To keep myself from spending too much time in this planning stage (as opposed to creating the works) I have only created lists for the To-Dos as each month has arrived.

There were so many helpful and exciting tips we couldn’t feature them all here! You can see them all and join in the discussion in the Use Case Spotlights Guild– one of your ideas could be featured next month! Look for an announcement of next month’s theme from Bailey soon.
Also, if you missed it you may want to take a look at our most recent Guild Spotlight, which showcases groups dedicated to Relaxing Hobbies- some of the featured groups offer discussions and Challenges you may find helpful as you work on finding time for fun and relaxing activities in your life.

Finding Time for Fun: Guilds for Managing your Relaxing Hobbies

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Illustration by eyenne

Habiticans are known for their productivity, but an important part of staying productive is taking time to relax and do the things you enjoy! In this month’s Spotlight we’re focusing on some Guilds where Habiticans talk about what they do for fun and how they make time for fun.

TV and Movie Enthusiasts Club: https://habitica.com/#/options/groups/guilds/1d9dcf4d-95f7-405c-b4e8-3d998251c7b2

Are you a movie lover? A television connoisseur? This Guild is a great place to meet other Habiticans who are into TV and Movies! There’s a lively discussion in the Guild chat, and several running Challenges including a Movie of the Week!
Gamers Union: https://habitica.com/#/options/groups/guilds/b767f59d-3743-462f-bd2d-9fe5390ddf53

This Guild is for players of all kinds of games, from tabletop to video games and beyond. They have a great chat filled with discussions of favorite games and recommendations for new ones to check out. Gamers Union also has a number of Challenges to help you discover new games on all kinds of platforms — you might even find a new favorite!

Tabletop Gamers: https://habitica.com/#/options/groups/guilds/a24a3958-2fda-4c55-a9a6-a1e3d3856df2

Whether you’re a Dungeon Master or totally new to the world of tabletop gaming, Tabletop Gamers is a great place to learn more, find games, and talk to others who share your enthusiasm! Featured Challenges in this Guild include Challenges based around games, but also a Dungeons and Dailies Challenge that helps you turn your Habitica Tasks page into your own tabletop-style adventure!
These Guilds and many others are here to help you make time for fun! And if you’re looking for more advice on managing your relaxing hobbies, be sure to read this month’s Use Case Spotlight, featuring tips and tricks from fellow Habiticans!

Behind the Scenes: Spotlight on the April Fool

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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None of Habitica’s four Masterclassers is as famous — or as frustrating — as the lovable scoundrel who calls himself the April Fool. It’s true that the Master of Rogues may seem elusive and lazy, but there are hidden depths beneath his cheeky exterior.

Backstory

Very little is known about the April Fool’s past, and it might be tempting to assume that the flippant young man simply sprang out of the mist surrounding his floating city. Certainly when he first sailed across the borders of Habitica on some enchanted clouds, he was subject to considerable suspicion. What use was this layabout in the land of productivity?

Interestingly, it was the oldest and hardest-working of the Masterclassers, the Joyful Reaper, who first advocated in the Fool’s favor. When the Fool’s illusory skills inverted all of the domain’s major landmarks, the Joyful Reaper declared that she hadn’t laughed so much for a century, and encouraged Habiticans to embrace the opportunity for fun. (And if she noted any resemblance between the Fool and young Assiduous Fuss, the long-lost heir to the Flourishing Fields‘ most upright and uptight family… Well. For a skeleton, the Joyful Reaper can be surprisingly close-lipped.)

Eventually, Lemoness and Redphoenix struck a compromise with the Fool: he could continue his entertaining pranks if he contained the majority of his mirth to a single day. Since then, he has distracted and delighted us every year during the Spring Fling gala.

When asked about his greatest success, the April Fool tends to proclaim that his most recent prank has surpassed all his others. Indeed, he has only ever been ashamed of one: the shenanigans that lead up to the attack of the Be-Wilder. Other than that “minor mistake,” he insists that he has been “a paragon of perfect taste.” Whether or not you agree, most Habiticans can point at a favorite prank.

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The Time Travelers frequently revisit their own favorite April Fool’s Day.

Personal Life

When he isn’t causing havoc, the April Fool lives in the city of Mistiflying. He likes to drift over Habitica’s various domains, although some have noted that he avoids the Flourishing Fields — dare we say it — assiduously.

More often than not, Mistiflying hovers over the Stoïkalm Steppes, since the April Fool is engaged in a highly enthusiastic (and occasionally combative) courtship with Lady Glaciate of the Mammoth Riders. Though the brusque Master of Warriors may seem like an improbable match for the Fool, he spends a considerable amount of time concocting wildly over-the-top plans to win her love — and she spends a considerable amount of time rescuing him when those plans go dramatically awry. Both claim to be in it solely for the amicable bickering, but their compatriots are not convinced.

Within the city of Mistiflying, the April Fool is constantly renovating his house, since his boredom drives him to constant creative heights. One week’s flashy cottage may be next week’s towering castle. The only constancy is the April Fool’s ridiculous use of rainbow palettes. Although he favors bright hues for his artwork, his apparel, and even his hair, the April Fool’s favorite color is secretly a mundane shade of dark brown: the color of Lady Glaciate’s eyes.

Some of the April Fool’s favorite hobbies include card-playing, karaoke, and keeping his citizens entertained. The messenger-mages of Mistiflying admit that their ruler is capricious, but insist that variety is the spice of life. “Just yesterday, he got all the Mistiflies to switch our latest mail deliveries with freshly-baked pizzas,” one messenger said. “I mean, our routes are terribly delayed now, but the pizza was delicious, and there’s something to be said about that.”
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We hope that you enjoyed this month’s spotlight! Read more about the other Masterclassers of Habitica here, and stay tuned for more in the future.

Sample Dailies

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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!

In last month’s edition of Wiki Wednesday we looked at the Wiki Scribes’ advice about Sample Habits. Now that you’ve set up your Habits column, you might be wondering about that ever-important Dailies column.  Luckily, the Wiki Scribes have more great advice and examples to inspire you as you decide on your Dailies!

Dailies are recurring tasks in Habitica. These are the tasks that need to be taken care of either daily, or at regular intervals, or on specific days of the week. There are differences between a Daily, a To-Do, and a Habit. For a task to be a Daily, it normally needs to meet the following criteria:

  1. The task can be scheduled,
  2. The task recurs at regular times (daily or “every x days” or on certain days of the week), and
  3. The task has a measurable goal that can be checked off and forgotten about until the next day.

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

Your Photobombed Party Pics with the April Fool!

Habiticans enjoyed yet another April 1st marked by silly pixel antics this year! The April Fool himself turned Habitica into the Distraction Discotheque and Dazzle Dance Emporium, a sparkly place filled with exciting distraction! Even the NPC’s were not immune…

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Disco Daniel!
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Matt the Beat Master!
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The Sensational Sorceress!

Best of all, the April Fool decided to have a dance party with each and every Habitican! As part of a special Challenge to mark the occasion, many Habiticans  shared their photobombed avatars on social media! Here are just a few of the many awesome pics with the April Fool you all posted as part of the Challenge!


Here are the pictures from the Challenge Winners!

Tousled SmileTousled Smile had a grand time with the Fool on a sunny porch!

Lalaitha

Lalaitha cautions, “The April Fool took over the beehive!”

CaptivatingLight

CaptivatingLight notes, “The April Fool’s hair matches my avatar quite well, I think.”

Anna Lilliman

Anna Lilliman has a new friend, but her Dragon looks less amused.

Acquafortis Fortis

Acquafortis Fortis says, “It was a pleasure having you in the photo, as they say Fools never differ….”


And here are some more of our favorite photobombs! There were so many great ones, it was hard to choose just a few to feature here.

Accio Books

Accio Books! says, “Looks like the April Fool is messing with gravity!”

Fintastical

Fintastical’s Flying Pig appears confused about the April Fool’s definition of “shade.”

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In a major political shakeup, the April Fool appears to have elected Firebirdy as his court jester!

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Meanwhile, Kirin and the April Fool match nicely in shades of gold…

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… and peoii seems to have just warned the Fool in the nick of time to get out of the line of cannon fire!

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QueenWolf and the Royal Purple Wolf here aren’t quite sure what to make of this Fool, but he does sort of match their outfits, so he’s probably all right.
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Tiffany Sostar knows her Shimmer Fox Mount probably shouldn’t have cotton candy, but it’s a special occasion!


Even the Habitica Staff and Moderators weren’t immune to the Fool’s antics!

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Beffymaroo had unexpected company in the sunflower garden!

SabreCat

SabreCat found the Fool’s kindness to animals quite touching: “My octopus mount is taken aback by the Fool’s sweet romantic gesture.”

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shanaqui is an expert at wrangling foolish antics around Habitica, so they were ready: “As befits a moderator, looks like I’m gonna catch that April Fool!”

Breadstrings

Breadstrings decided a Harry Potter themed cosplay was in order, and dressed as Professor McGonagall while the Fool aptly played the role of Peeves!


Last (but certainly not least!!), Vandraren treated us to some wonderful photobomb fanart featuring perhaps the cutest-ever zombie battle!

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We had so much fun bringing you the April Fool’s goofy antics! We’re glad you had as much fun as we did. Stay tuned to see what that delightful joker is up to next year!

Use Case Spotlight: Managing Your Relaxing Hobbies

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Illustration by eyenne

So far in our 2017 Use Case Spotlight series, we’ve focused on several health-related topics. We’d be remiss if we didn’t cover an often-neglected aspect of living a healthy life: taking the time to decompress and do activities that you enjoy! Here are some great tips, tricks, and ideas for using Habitica to set (and maintain!) new tasks and goals related to Managing Your Relaxing Hobbies. These come from your fellow players in the Use Case Spotlights Guild!

Juanaxo:balloon::bowtie: offers a great way to block out time for something fun and relaxing:

I created a monthly S.M.A.R.T. Goal in the Long Term Accountability Guild for a Monthly Recharge Day. Each month I pick a day to check into the Inn and on that day I will alternate crafting, cooking something complicated, or family day trip. Because I don’t want to add 12 To-Dos I decided it would work best as a Habit.

 

awesomelibrarian has some great ideas for finding time to mindfully relax throughout the day:

I have some of my dailies reflect my want/need to do relaxing things, such as “color for a little bit” and “read for 30 minutes.” This forces me to be more mindful throughout my day for spots when I can sneak in some me time. In the past I would have just gone through my day without thinking about reading on my lunch break or coloring while I waited for a doctor, but now I do (and it’s made me some friends!). I also keep a habit of “Do something you’re proud of” for times when I do something I never thought I would do (like go to a party with too many people, or type poems to send to friends), and need a pat on the shoulder.

 

akirassasin likes to take it easy by keeping things green!

I take care of cool looking plants as a way to make myself feel relaxed, but they all have different requirements (amount of water, fertilisers etc.) so I use every X days dailies to keep track of what to do 🙂

Pips the Fetid highlights the importance of remembering to de-stress when we need it most:

I started playing the ukulele after my best friend died a couple of years ago, and it helped me through some really hard times. It relaxes me and, depending on what I play, can help me work out emotions or put a smile on my face. The problem is, I often don’t think to play when I’m really stressed – and that’s when I need it most. Putting it as a habit on Habitica helps me remember to take a few minutes here and there to play and de-stress.

Katy133 keeps track of a neat creative project with Dailies!

I’m working on NaNoRenO (a month-long challenge to make a video game in one month) and have been using Habitica to help me manage my time. I have a Daily to work on it, and it’s so nice to visually see my progress increase with the Daily’s Streak number.

 

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.

 

Taking Better Care of Yourself and the Planet: Guilds for Living Eco-Friendly

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In this month’s Spotlight we’re focusing on some Guilds in Habitica that aim to help their members to live in more sustainable and ecologically conscious ways. Here are some places you can find fellow Habiticans who are also interested in being better citizens of the planet by reducing, reusing, recycling, and more!

inHabitants of Earth:  https://habitica.com/#/options/groups/guilds/9b8989b7-73e9-4904-af1a-77e34e7b8094

This Guild is a place for Habiticans to discuss a wide variety of ways to make their daily lives more gentle on the Earth, as well as gentler on their pocketbooks! They offer many Challenges aimed at helping each other to be more consistent in eco-friendly practices as well as swapping new tips and tricks.

The Urban Homesteaders Guild:  https://habitica.com/#/options/groups/guilds/42a0b13a-bc1c-4108-8580-870c70683d1a

The Urban Homesteaders Guild challenges its members to learn new techniques for reducing consumption, waste, and dependence on processed products and foods. Check out their Challenges and learn to ferment or dry foods, and much more!

Sustainable Living: https://www.habitica.com/#/options/groups/guilds/6471d047-dc13-4687-a76a-389b2cf503c3

Do you want to learn how to live with a smaller footprint of resource use and waste? Look no further than Sustainable Living. They have an active chat for exchanging tips, a great resource list, and sustainability-themed Challenges!
These Guilds and many others are here to help you be kinder to the Earth and all the people, plants, and animals we share it with.Check them out! And if you’re looking for more advice on living in a more eco-friendly way, be sure to read this month’s Use Case Spotlight, featuring tips and tricks from fellow Habiticans!

Contributor Spotlight: Dewines

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Welcome to the Contributor Spotlight Series, where we interview amazing members of the Habitica community! Today we’re chatting with Dewines, one of our Moderators and the leader and creator of several fabulous Guilds! She helps manage the community and keep Habitica safe and happy.

Dewines, how did you get involved with Habitica?

It was all because of the April Fool’s joke in 2014 when all the avatars were turned into fruits and vegetables. Jim Hines mentioned this on his blog, and after reading his post about Habitica, it looked like such a cool idea that I went to sign up to see what it was all about. It turned out to be exactly what I’d been looking for to motivate me to actually do stuff, and more than two years later, I’m still here.

What’s your proudest contribution to Habitica?

Probably the Guilds I created. I still run some of them but I’ve also handed others over to new leaders. One of these was the Guild Leaders & Challenge Creators Guild, where people help one another by sharing good ideas related to keeping their Guilds active. Of the Guilds I created and still run, I’m probably most proud of the Long-Term Accountability Guild. This helps people plan long-term goals and also encourages them to monitor their progress. It’s easy to let goals slide if you don’t keep an eye on them. Finally, there’s the quirky Haiku Guild where everyone posts about what they’ve been doing in the form of haiku. I created it almost as a joke, but it’s turned out to be surprisingly popular.

What are your secret superpowers?

Being able to make a tasty soup out of random wrinkled vegetables found lurking in the fridge.

What are your secret weaknesses?

It’s not really so secret, but procrastination is my main weakness. Tasks and projects always take much longer than they should because I put off starting. If there’s an external deadline, I’m always finishing things in a panic at the last minute.

What are your favorite Habitican pets/mounts?

I do love many of the new quest pets, especially the owl pets and the horse mounts. However, I think my favourites are the original fox pets.

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What some things you’re tracking in Habitica?

As well as mundane things like doing the laundry and washing dishes, I’m tracking the hours I spend learning Welsh and using Dailies to make sure I get some exercise each day.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Knitting and crocheting, going for walks, writing and photography.

What are your top Habitica tips and tricks?

It’s important to keep assessing your Habitica tasks to make sure they are still motivating you. My set up now is nothing like what it was when I started two and half years ago. I don’t mean you should be switching tasks round every day, but every few weeks, if you have a daily that you just aren’t doing, you need to ask yourself why that is. Would it be better as a Habit or a To-Do? Also, don’t be overambitious. Start with a few tasks and then build on success. Finally, Habitica is brilliant for finding people who will support you. There are hundreds of Guilds on all kinds of topics and it’s very likely there’s one where you’ll find people with similar goals.

Where do you like to hang out in Habitica?

I’m in quite a lot of guilds but a couple of my favourites are the Long-term Goal Accountability Guild and Venture Outside Your Lair. I founded both of these because I wanted some way of keeping track of long-term goals and I also have a terrible habit of sitting indoors all day working on the computer or trying to read the entire internet. I’m also very fond of the Short-Term Goal Accountability Guild, known affectionately as STAG.

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