I will admit, I sometimes have difficulties adulting. You would have thought I’d have regular living life things like “doing the laundry” and “buying groceries” down by now, but I do not. I tried just feeling guilty and lazy, but that didn’t seem to help, so luckily I found something much more useful: gamification. “Gamification” means that you apply game-like elements to things that usually wouldn’t include them. For me, it came in the form of Habitica.
Habitica is a website that turns your life into a role-playing game. You get a little avatar, and when you do tasks and reinforce good habits, you get experience points and gold. With experience, you can level up to be tougher and cooler, and with gold you can buy better equipment and a costume. It’s a really simple idea that has worked remarkably well for me. Apparently, having a clean house isn’t motivation enough to sweep the floor, but getting a stable of virtual pets is.
If you’re looking to develop new reading habits, or end bad ones (like spending all your grocery money on books), Habitica is a good place to start.
I use Habitica to manage my bookish to-dos and habits: reminders to do book reviews, a daily task of reading for an hour a day, weekly tasks of Booktube videos, and as a reward for my attempts at improving my book blogs. But there are plenty more ways to use Habitica to gamify your reading.
There are group challenges, where you can participate with other like-minded people, including the Book Riot 2016 Read Harder challenge! (It automatically adds all the Reader Harder tasks to your To-Dos, and shows how other users are doing in completing them.) You can also join different guilds, including book clubs (and Hogwarts).
Another fun aspect to Habitica is that you can play as a team. You and your buddies–either people you’ve joined up with online, or real-life friends you’ve convinced to join Habitica–can participate in quests and battle monsters together, and you can all reap the rewards! I think this would be really fun to do as a book club. But if someone doesn’t do their daily tasks, everyone takes a hit, so watch out for that person who never does the reading!
It would be embarrassing, if I had any shame, how much using this little tool has helped me sort out my everyday life. And maybe it makes perfect sense that I would be drawn to this system: maybe it’s not so much gamification as storyfication (narrification? Still workshopping that.) It turns mundane tasks into a narrative: you’re not cleaning the house: you’re on a dungeon crawl! You’re not checking things off your to-do list: you’re fighting the basi-list!
So onwards and upwards, book wyrms! Let’s use every tool at our disposal to read harder.