Top Ten Gamified Productivity Apps
One of the most practical uses of gamification is in helping people boost their productivity and manageably transform their challenging goals into reality. Success of course, does not come from mere inspiration. It is the result of consistently achieving small goals. This is no easy feat as we often develop enormous amounts of inner resistance to these seemingly small tasks.
So wouldn’t it be great if there were better ways to turn mundane or pesky tasks into fun? Thanks to gamification, these tools are now a reality. What better way to challenge yourself to new heights than through using gamified productivity apps?
Through enjoying the overall experience of working towards your ambitious goals, we can transform activities that we normally resent into positive new habits which give us a greater sense of control over the direction of our lives.
Lifestyle gamification is a very exciting field and the opportunities to design new methods for “leveling up” your life are limitless. Please share with us your ideas once you take a look at our curated list of productivity apps below.
Here are the top ten apps that could potentially change your productivity, health, and financial habits for the better.
Is it actually possible for task completion to be fun? Habitica certainly thinks so. Writing to-do lists is the common advice given when we feel overwhelmed by the things we have to do. But they are not very inspiring and people still moan and groan when it comes to following through on striking things of their list.
Instead of conventionally crossing off items, the app uses Core Drive #4, Ownership & Possession by designing it so that users accumulate experience points as they complete tasks. The app provides quests and opportunities to level up- a good example of Core Drive # 2, Development & Accomplishment. What’s fun is that your incomplete to-dos are penalized, causing your personal stats to suffer. Talk about Core Drive #8, Loss & Avoidance.
Habit RPG has compelling multiplayer capabilities which utilize Core Drive #5, Social Influence & Relatedness. Users can actually receive social feedback from other players, helping users stay on track through personalized motivation and feedback.
2. Super Better
We all have bad habits we’d like to break and good one’s we’d like to cultivate. Examples include starting and maintaining an exercise program, and quitting smoking.
Willpower is often the issue that keeps us from managing these goals. Super Better, an app designed by gamification expert, Jane McGonigal, aims to help people conquer bad habits and make the process less painful.
Super Better includes rewards and quests where players unlock new challenges on their path to health and well-being. User stats are provided to motivate consistency, ensuring the Core Drive #2, (Development & Accomplishment) continues to compel the user to reach her goals.
There is also your own personal, “Secret Lab” where you can track your progress and brainstorm ways to do better (this is a fun example of Core Drive #3, Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback).
Also, with the help of Allies (other players) Super Better provides a social support system that creates a system of accountability as well as motivation to stay on track.
3. To-Doist Karma
Another option for keeping you on track with your tasks is the productivity app known as To-Doist Karma. This may be ideal for those who want a very simple tool.
Positive karma is rewarded for timely task completion. Just like with Habit RPG, too many incomplete tasks generates negative points (or karma in this app). There are also different player rankings that can be achieved: beginner, expert and enlightened.
With the paper and pen method of creating to-do lists, you normally discard it when you are done. But To-Do-ist Karma is designed to help you achieve a true sense of personal progress.
Your performance is compiled into a visual graph that shows peaks and trough. This type of feedback can motivate players to stay in peak performance mode or to reflect on why their productivity tends to slip ( a nice combo of Core Drive #2 and Core Drive # 8, Loss & Avoidance).
4. Epic Win
Epic Win is also similar to Habit RPG but simple mechanics like checking off completed items, becomes an exciting experience with a dose of wow-factor.
Epic Win allows you to play as a character who gets to level up when tasks are completed.
One interesting feature is being able to assign attributes to each task, in terms of the types of abilities that are required. Examples include:
For those who enjoy more intensely entertaining game environments characterized by high quality graphics and sound effects, Epic Win may be a great app choice for tracking productivity and to-dos.
5. Task Hammer
Task Hammer is another productivity app that lets you experience To-Dos as a Role Playing Game. You get to play as one of the following three characters:
Like Epic Win, you are able to establish certain attributes to each task such as strength and charisma.
There are additional features that help the player better organize his tasks:
- the ability to specify tasks as a repeating part of a regular routine
- the ability to mark tasks by priority as well as due dates
- the ability to take notes on a given task
The choice to use Task Hammer over other productivity apps would depend largely on how well the features are suited to a particular context.
Doable is another app that offers a much more fun and engaging way to get things done and track your progress. Game mechanics are relatively minimal but this tool can be a helpful companion for deadline-driven situations.
Doable prioritizes your tasks to focus on those that you might be late on. It also quantifies how effective you are at at getting a particular task done. The app also issues stats on your general performance for certain tasks.
7. Chore Wars
A harmonious living environment depends on keeping up with regular chores. But for some households, this can be hard to maintain. Chore Wars seeks to solve this.
Understandably, chores can feel unpleasant or simply boring. There are many more things we’d rather be doing than doing the dishes, taking out the trash, or cleaning out your fridge.
When multiple people are responsible for different chores, this reluctance can create friction and frustration (think of every roommate situation ever). But with Chore Wars, it doesn’t have to be this way. This personal productivity app turns housework into an actual Multiplayer Role Playing Game, utilizing Core Drive #5, Social Influence & Relatedness to compel players to engage as a team. If team play is not important, users can choose to keep it as a single player game.
The game design includes interesting obstacle course elements such as:
- Dropped loot and gold (which players would pick up)
- The ability to unlock treasures
Experience points are awarded for completed chores which helps the player level up over time. Households with children may find this experience to be truly life changing.
8. Mind Bloom
Sometimes it is not enough to simply get things done. Even with fun immersive apps, a person may still deal with a lot of internal resistance. Many areas of our lives are interconnected and therefore, points and leveling up may not be sufficient for helping certain people feel fulfilled with their accomplishments (our mind consistently weighs the pros and cons of every action).
Mind Bloom is actually a suite of apps. For example, Life Game is designed to help people keep track of their moods to lead a more well-rounded life which balances personal efficiency with other areas. The game is presented as a tree with branches that represent areas like self care, health, family and finances.
The features of Life Game help users identify certain emotional triggers that repeat themselves and cause feelings of being stuck. By being aware of patterns, one can approach certain situations with a fresh perspective and break free from previously limiting emotional cycles.
Another app in their suite is Juice which helps users understand how their energy levels are tied to the things they do, eat, and experience. It can also be used to track sleeping habits as well.
For certain people, this type of insight can help them overcome emotional barriers to greater personal achievement and fulfillment by identifying the various convergences that shape our negative and positive habits.
Fitocracy is an excellent personal productivity app for the workaholics who have mastered task completion, but leave little time for exercising and staying in shape. Burnout is very real and costly to those to who are interested in achieving ever higher levels for their lives.
Fitocracy allows you to log your workouts and celebrate when you have completed certain challenges. The ideals of starting an exercise program, staying consistent and becoming fit actually becomes a game. Players can not only win badges and levels, but also battle other members as well. The element of social influence is perhaps the most addictive factor of the game. Forcing ourselves to go on morning runs or to the gym can feel like we are engaging in an uphill battle against ourselves. But with the Fitocracy community of users, this does not have to be the case thanks to the power of Core Drive #5, Social Influence & Relatedness.
10. Smarty Pig
Perhaps you are already a productivity guru and get paid well for it. But when it comes to saving money, you could use a little help. Smarty Pig is a personal finance app that actually makes saving fun.
The idea is to pay yourself first in order to save for bigger and better things that bring you fulfillment and joy. Examples include a wedding, car or a flat screen TV.
Smarty Pig can be thought of as an online piggy bank that automatically withdraws funds from a specified account. Users are able to share their progress with their social circles. The system is also designed to accept gift contributions from friends and family.
The thrill of using Smarty Pig is that it helps the average person save up for the things they want within a shorter amount of time, turning mere dreams into reality.
When goals are completed and it comes time to redeem funds, Smarty Pig issues cash rewards or gift cards.
Lifestyle Gamification through Productivity Apps
Procrastination is a vicious cycle that stems from our tendency to run towards pleasure and avoid pain. We therefore condition ourselves to regard the important boring stuff as painful. This is how ingrained resistance develops. But these productivity apps can be immensely useful for overcoming inner barriers to achieving the things we want more easily. Give them a try and maybe even share your experiences and ideas in the comment field below.
For a more detailed approach to gamification and human-focused design, try Octalysis Prime, the gamified mentorship journey.