Ok… Juniper will nap from 9:30am to 10:30am. When she wakes up, I’ll feed her and then we’ll quickly jump in the car and drive to story time at 11:15am. After story time, we’ll head back home for lunch and then playtime until her next nap. During that nap, we’ll unload the dishwasher, organize the laundry, and clean up the apartment. Once she wakes up, we’ll all take a walk to Boba Guys and do playtime at Dolores Park. We should get home by 5pm, give her a bath, and then have her in bed by 6:30pm. Ready?!?!… Let’s do this!
We all strive to be more productive: to have more energy, to accomplish more in a day, to hit our goals, to be the best possible versions of ourselves that we can be. But of course, we all face challenges that keep us from achieving our peak selves: we watch TV, we watch Youtube, we sleep in, we do everything possible to avoid the work that we need to be doing.
If life is a game, then we can hack our lives using Gamification to motivate, drive, or trick ourselves into being more productive.
The following are the 10 best productivity apps that use Gamification to improve your productivity, health, and financial habits.
The 10 best productivity apps that utilize Gamification
10. Todoist Karma – gamified productivity app that uses Karma as a measure of progress
How it works: First in our list at #10 is Todoist Karma, a simple, easy to use task manager that utilizes a point system to rank a player and get them motivated to complete objectives. When tasks are completed, the player gets Karma. When tasks are postponed for later, the player loses Karma.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Todoist Karma does a great job at showing a player their progress over time. They have great charts and analytics that show a detailed view of how productive a player is. Players are motivated to complete tasks to earn Karma and improve their charts.
Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance: Players hate losing things that they’ve earned. The threat of losing Karma for postponing or failing on tasks drives a player to complete objectives so that they can retain their status.
9. Smarty Pig – gamified productivity app for finance
How it works: Smarty Pig is a personal finance app that helps you achieve your purchasing goals. Let’s say you want to buy a new refrigerator. Well, with Smarty Pig, you set the refrigerator as a savings goal and then automatically deposit money from your bank account to your Refrigerator account. You’ll slowly fill your progress bar (savings account) until you’re 100% complete and you can buy that refrigerator guilt free.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Smarty Pig uses CD2 very well in two ways: 1) it makes the savings process incredibly easy. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it approach that makes you feel smart and financially savvy; 2) instead of a meaningless progress bar, Smarty Pig replaces it with progress that leads to a real world purchase. When you hit your objective, you not only feel good, but you have something to show for it.
Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession: As you rack up the dollars in your savings account, you’ll feel greater ownership of your accounts and pride in your ability to save money. Furthermore, Smarty Pig does a great job at encouraging you to spend your money once you’ve achieved your savings goals.
8. Fitocracy – gamified productivity app for fitness
How it works: Many people want to work out, but they have to battle against sleeping in, eating chips, watching Netflix on the couch, or late nights at the office. It can be incredibly difficult to get motivated and head to the gym. Fitocracy aims to drive people to live a healthier life by gamifying fitness and nutrition. They turn working out into an RPG (role playing game), where you earn experience and level up the more you work out and eat healthy.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Fitocracy gives the player the feeling of progress and improvements through earning experience, leveling up, achievements, and quests. It’s their way of turning fitness into a game.
Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: Fitocracy excels at helping players find small online fitness groups that encourage each other to work out and eat healthy. By being the platform where groups communicate and encourage each other, Fitocracy taps into the Right-Brain Core Drives of its players, driving them to workout for intrinsic reasons (for example, because they don’t want to let their team down).
7. Bounty Tasker – gamified productivity app for to-do lists
How it works: Bounty Tasker takes the concept of a real life RPG to the next level. At its core, Bounty Tasker is a to-do list, but what really sets it apart is its Gamification elements. As a player, you get to choose and customize your character and assign yourself tasks that give you experience upon completion. As you gain in experience, you level up and earn items to outfit your character.
Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: CD3 is where Bounty Tasker truly shines. Players get to customize their characters as they level up and earn items. This loop of accomplishing tasks, leveling up, gaining items, and customizing characters keeps the player motivated to keep playing.
6. Challenge Timer – gamified productivity app for the Pomodoro Method
How it works: Challenge Timer uses the Pomodoro method to break large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. Unlike most Pomodoro timers, Challenge Timer lacks a pause button, forcing you to finish your task during the given time period.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: like most productivity apps, Challenge Timer uses CD2 to drive users to complete tasks and objectives. When you complete a task, it gets marked off as “achieved”, making the user feel good about their work.
Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience: the lack of a pause button creates a limited, forced window for you to complete your task. By limiting your ability to get distracted, Challenge Timer forces you to stay focused.
Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance: if you get distracted or need to stop your task, then you have to click on the “Forfeit Work Session” button–admitting defeat. Players don’t like to lose or get defeated, so this drives them to stay focused and complete the task.
5. Beeminder – gamified productivity app that puts your money on the line
How it works: At it’s core, Beeminder is quite straightforward:
Set a goal
Did you complete your goal?
Yes: great, keep it up!
No: we take your money
What!?!?!… yup, that’s right, if you don’t hit the daily or weekly goals that you set with Beeminder, then they take $5 from your credit card (it’s their business model). Sound extreme? Maybe, but it’s quite effective for people that only get motivated when they’re about to lose something.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Beeminder uses a “yellow brick road” to keep you on track. Everyday it asks you if you accomplished your goal and to quantify it (quantification is key). If you’re on track, then you stick on the yellow brick road. If you get off track, then you have 24 hours to get back on track or else Beeminder charges you $5.
Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance: CD8 is a big part of Beeminder. If you get off track and don’t hit your objectives, then you get charged $5. For some players, they need skin in the game and the thought of losing something to get them motivated to take action.
4. Epic Win – gamified productivity app for those that want to level up their life
How it works: Epic Win takes the concept of a real life RPG and makes it super fun with great artwork, fun animations, and a system that truly feels like a game you would pay for on the app store. The character designs are imaginative, fun, and quite customizable for a productivity app.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: In Epic Win, the player creates tasks and assigns them experience points. As the player achieves tasks and levels up, the player can customize their character with loot.
Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession: the more that you customize your character, the more ownership you’ll feel for them. This drives the player to keep making progress and upgrade the character even more.
3. SuperBetter – the gamified productivity app for recovery and wellness
How it works: SuperBetter was designed by Jane McGonigal to help players live a healthier, more fulfilling life. To accomplish this goal, SuperBetter is a game where players design their “epic win” and go on quests to accomplish objectives. Players design their quests, team up with allies, identify “bad guys” or actions that are counterproductive, and create power ups throughout their journey in real life.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: SuperBetter utilizes player stats to motivate players to take action and accomplish their goals. Players can create their own quests to move towards accomplishing their epic win.
Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: CD5 is where SuperBetter really shines. Not only can you add friends as Allies in the game, but Allies can add Quests to your Quest Board. In the video above, Jane’s friend knows that she is trying to recover from a concussion. He creates a Quest on her board to walk together on the Embarcadero, knowing that this will help her recover from her concussion.
2. Forest App – the beautiful gamified productivity app that helps save the world
How it works: When it’s time to focus, open the Forest app and plant a seed, signifying that it’s time to focus. If you stay focused on your task, then the seed will grow into a might tree! However, if you leave the app to check on something like Facebook, then your little seedling will whither away.
Why this works: Forest app is an amazing app because it utilizes many core drives to Gamify your life:
Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession: the more you play the game and be productive, the more trees you’ll plant and the bigger your forest. You’ll want to keep playing because you feel ownership of your forest and you want it to keep growing.
How it works: Similar to other real life RPGs listed above, Habitica aims to gamify your life. Habitica has earned the #1 spot on our list because it boasts over 2,000,000 users and is a completely open source project. In Habitica, players create their character, create their Guilds where they team up with other players, and take on quests and defeat monsters to accomplish their objectives.
Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: this is where Habitica truly shines. Because it has over 2,000,000 players, it’s easy to get involved with a Guild and go on quests together. The community, camaraderie, and opportunity to meet others truly makes this game stand out.
Did we miss any Gamified Productivity Apps that should be on our list?
Let us know if you have created a gamified productivity app or use one that you believe should be on our list and we’ll review it. If it blows us out of the water, then it could make our top 10 list!
Get ready to learn, the fun way! We have scoured the internet and app stores to find the 10 best educational apps that use Gamification for adults. See how companies and organizations are making learning languages, music, coding, art, history, and more fun and exciting for everyone!
10. TEDEd – gamified educational app to create actionable video lessons
How it works: TEDEd creates amazing, fun, entertaining educational videos for all ages to enjoy. In addition to their videos, they’ve created a web app that allows users to create video lessons that are actionable. Choose a video, add a description, add a quiz (multiple choice or open-ended), and prompt some discussion.
How it works: Khan Academy is an educational platform where students can learn math, science, computer programming, history, and more. What makes Khan Academy standout is their mission: they aim to provide this education to everyone around the world (currently in 36 languages) completely for free forever.
They’ve accomplished some amazing results:
Students who complete 60% of their grade-level math on Khan Academy experience 1.8 times their expected growth on the NWEA MAP Test, a popular assessment test.
Student use of Khan Academy correlates with score gains on standardized achievement tests.
20 hours of practice is associated with a 115-point average score increase from the PSAT/NMSQT to the SAT, nearly double the average gain of students who do not practice on Official SAT Practice.
Why it works:
Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling: Khan Academy truly utilizes CD1 to motivate donors, teachers, and volunteers on its quest to accomplish its mission. Because of their mission to provide free education to everyone forever, they’ve gotten companies that have donated over $10,000,000 each.
How it works: Coursera is an online learning platform that provides universal access to the world’s best education from top universities. Universities add their courses onto the platform and students can use Coursera to pay for and take a course.
How it works: Udemy is an online platform that allows educators to upload courses and for students to purchase these courses and learn online. Anyone from anywhere in the world can upload a course: you can learn anything from coding, to languages, to fashion, and even parenting.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: on the student-side of the platform, Udemy utilizes progress bars to indicate the student’s progress and to encourage completion of a course. They also dangle a trophy at the end of the course as their reward for completing it.
Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: Udemy truly excels on the teach-side of the platform. Anyone from anywhere in the world can create their own online course. They have the complete creative freedom to choose any topic and use their video editing skills to make their course stand out.
6. Tinycards – gamified educational app for learning with flashcards
How it works: Tinycards (by Duolingo) makes learning with boring old flash cards actually fun and enjoyable through the use of Gamification. Pick a subject: language, science, movies, and start to learn with flash cards.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Tinycards makes boring old flash cards fun by adding a gamified layer on top of them. As you progress through a deck of cards, your progress bar fills up and you earn accomplishments.
5. Blinkist – gamified educational app for reading non-fiction books in just 15 minutes!
How it works: Blinkist is for the professional on the go, the person that is super busy, but that desperately wants to carve out a little bit of time to learn something new. Blinkist summarizes over 2,000 non-fiction books to give you content that you can easily digest in 15 minutes.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Blinkist isn’t using a bunch of fancy avatars or leveling up systems; instead, it focuses on making the user feel incredibly smart and effective. Blinkist is a master at utilizing CD2 to help its users read more, learn more, and become a more educated person
4. Memrise – gamified educational app to learn a language through locals
How it works: Memrise is a gamified language learning app that utilizes a myriad of gamified techniques (including over 20,000 native speaking videos) to teach a new language. Players can learn English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, and many more languages. In addition, Memrise has courses for art, math, and history.
The app is incredibly fun to use. You are an astronaut, going on your journey to learn a new language! As you learn and progress, you gain in levels and your pet alien evolves as well.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Memrise uses CD2 in a myriad of ways: from earning points for completing lessons to leveling up your little alien pet, the app continuously shows the user their status and progression.
Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: Memrise has the “point and translate” mode that allows players to turn on their camera, point to an object, and get the object translated in real-time. It’s a phenomenal way to get creative and capture your own vocabulary library.
3. SoloLearn – gamified educational app to learn how to code
How it works: SoloLearn aims to gamify the way we learn how to code. As an educational app, SoloLearn naturally has lessons that teach players how to code, but that’s just the beginning. SoloLearn utilizes player challenges (players can compete head-to-head in a coding challenge and the winner earns XP), a Code Playground where players can show off the code they’ve created and get feedback from other members of the community, and a leaderboard that shows the top coders.
Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: SoloLearn truly shines in the way it uses CD3 to drive player engagement. Players can create their own code and apps, upload it to the playground, and have players from around the world upvote their product and even play with it. This provides immediate feedback for the player and encourages them to continue engaging with the platform.
Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: SoloLearn has an amazingly vibrant community (their Q&A discussion forum). The community is completely gamified, allowing players to upvote topics and get EXP for answering questions.
2. Yousician – gamified educational app for learning a instrument
How it works: Yousician is a Gamified educational app to learn a new language. When you’re ready for your lesson, you turn on the app, select your instrument, and choose a lesson or song to play. The app will play the background music, display the song tutorial, and listen to you play to give you immediate feedback about how you’re doing.
Why it works:
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Yousician is structured like a game: you start off as a beginner with easy levels (easy songs). As you progress and get better, you unlock stages that get progressively difficult and you level up in level. You can also see your progress through the in-app analytics that shows how you’re improving.
Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: This is where Yousician truly shines. The key to Yousician is that it listens to you play and gives you immediate feedback. If you struck a chord too soon, it will visibly let you know immediately and track your progress. In addition, you can upload your own music to the app so that you can learn to play your favorite songs.
1. Duolingo – gamified educational app for learning a new language (and it’s free!)
How it works: Duolingo is a free language learning app on your mobile phone. There are a ton of languages to learn: Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, and the list goes on and on. In fact, more Americans are learning a language on Duolingo than the entire American school system! It’s quite an impressive feat.
Duolingo is proud that they infuse Gamification into every lesson. From in-lesson grading, to streak counts and hearts, Duolingo has done a terrific job at making language learning incredibly fun and easy.
Why it works:
Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling: As stated in the Duolingo Manifesto: “There are over 1.2 billion people learning a language and the majority are doing so to gain access to better opportunities. Unfortunately, learning a language is expensive and inaccessible to most. We created Duolingo so that everyone could have a chance. Free language education – no hidden fees, no premium content, just free. Duolingo is used by the richest man in the world and many Hollywood stars, and at the same time by public schools students in developing countries. We believe true equality is when spending more can’t buy you a better education.” When you use Duolingo or pay for the premium version, you are contributing to this grand mission.
Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession: There is a currency within Duolingo called Lingots which allows players to buy Power Ups (such as streak freeze) and buy attire for your avatar.
Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: Duolingo has social language learning clubs within the app that encourage players to learn with each other. Although it sounds like a great idea, it’s actually implemented weakly–not much conversation is happening amongst club members, resulting in empty rooms.
Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience: In order to play (to learn a language), you need lives. If you run out of lives, then you have to wait until you regain life to learn again.
Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance: In Duolingo, players get lives. Every time you fail a lesson, you lose a life. Run out of lives and you’ll have to wait until you can continue learning.
Conclusion: Education Gamification is here to change our future
Even with all the great examples above, this is just the tip of the iceberg of all the great education gamfiication examples. Education gamification is here to stay and here to change the world.
What about you? Do you know of any great education gamification examples that can really impact our society, not just for this generation, but also future generations to come? I look forward to learning about that in the comments!