ADHD Toolbox: Habitica

Image Description: A small square image with a white background and white text superimposed on the image. The image contains a ball-peen hammer with a wooden handle. The white text superimposed on the image goes as following: “This is not a drill. I repeat: This is NOT a drill!”

A lot of my personal ADHD journey has been trial and error and, let’s be honest, that can get you down after a while. To counter-balance that, I’ve been wanting to write up more positive blog-posts about ADHD, posts that other ADHD/Neurodiverse people might find useful. One of the more positive aspects of my childhood was my interest in computer games and video games.

I wouldn’t consider myself super talented at computer/video games, just that electronic games were a good source of low-stakes fun for me, then Jessica @ How To ADHD made a couple of videos about video games and ADHD (videos down below), and a few things clicked into place for me. I could now understand some things that hadn’t made sense before.

One the applications suggested in the video is Habitica, it’s a habit tracker and a To-Do-List rolled up into an RPG. It sounded perfect for someone like me, unfortunately, it didn’t work out. The thing is that I definitely feel as though this application could be useful for ADHD people (even if it wasn’t helpful for me).

I like to think that this application would work better if a group of friends agreed to use it together, that way it would be easier to form a crew to go on quests, however, I can acknowledge that the point of the game may have been to help people cope with social isolation and that making friends is apart of the process.

I guess my problem is that I couldn’t figure out of the RPG aspects of the application, I had a decent go of trying to figure it out, and there is a Habitica Wiki for those looking for more information, however, I just couldn’t figure it out. It’s probably super obvious but alas it has eluded me.

This pretty much left the organisational aspects of the application. The set-up is easy and interesting. The application asks you to pick which sectors of your life you’d like to improve and it tries to help you by creating automatic habits and daily tasks corresponding with that topic.

For example, say you want to develop the habit of cleaning your house more regularly, it may generate the daily habit of “10 minutes of cleaning”, and To-Do-List tasks like “Clean out Closet”. Sounds good right? My problem is that due to my ADHD, I don’t always know how to break down a big job like “Clean out Closet” into smaller bite-size pieces.

From my point of view, “Clean out Closet” is the end result, the final step. How do I get from “Volcanic Eruption of Clothes-Pile” to “Cleaned out Closet?”. What category of clothes do I start with? Am I just sorting things into categories or am also getting rid of items at the same time? Help me, Marie Kondo, you are my only hope.

There’s also the fact that the To-Do-List function is just one big list. I can’t separate it into folders or sub-lists. This means I have this one giant overwhelming To-Do-List. This is almost guaranteed to make sure I don’t complete any of those tasks, which is one of the many reasons that I feel Asana is no longer working for me either, but that’s a blog-post for another time.

There’s also a big problem with accountability. I can easily just tick off the items in my Habits and Daily section and there’s no real way of making sure I actually did the tasks. I could just say I did the tasks, continue to earn gold (I chose the amount of gold I earn when I complete all Daily tasks), and just keep leveling up.

Another problem that I had with Habitica, and I think this is my main one, is that I chose the wrong player class, I think I should have chosen Mage instead of Rogue and, unfortunately, you can’t change player class until Level 100. I don’t particularly like the items and weapon choices available in the Rogue class, which meant I lost a lot of motivation to use the application.

That’s not to say the application is bad, in fact I think it could be super helpful for ADHD people, Habitica even has it’s own ADHD guild. I think this was more a “It’s not you, it’s me” type situation and, while I can see this application being super helpful for some people (ADHD or not), I felt as though Todoist would be a better option for me than Habitica.

I am happy to recommend Habitica, however, there are some limitations that need to be acknowledged. Just as this tool can be used to help people, I can also see Habitica being a great source of distraction as well. I definately recommend checking out the Habitica wiki guide first before using the application.

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