Gamify your life with apps
Staying motivated every day can be a hard thing to do especially if you have a busy schedule. App developers have come to realize this and have been delving into the world of gamification to help us all get more things done and feel happy about doing so.
What is gamification?
Gamification applies the mechanics of games to real-life situations by rewarding you every time you complete a task. It is almost like putting your everyday tasks into a mission format and as soon as you complete a particular mission by hitting certain preset checkpoints, you get something in return for your hard work. Rewards can come in the form of recognition, privileges not awarded to others or more tangible things like badges or points. Progress bars and checklists also count as a sort of gaming reward system.
The concept of gamification is based on the chemical processes that occur in your brain. Every time you experience any form of pleasure the feel-good hormone dopamine is released in your brain. So dopamine’s effects serve as a motivator. The more goals you achieve, the more dopamine is released. The more dopamine is released, the easier it is to stay motivated in the future because you know you will feel that good feeling when you do achieve goals.
Now that we’ve gotten the informative part of the article out of the way, we take a look at apps currently on the market that can help gamify your life and motivate you:
Supported platforms: web, Android, iOS, Firefox, Chrome
Pricing: Free (can add $5 a month for ad-free use on the web app)
HabitRPG is one of the most popular gamification apps available right now. Daily tasks, to-dos and habits are turned into little “monsters” that you have to conquer in order to receive a reward. Some of the rewards include coins, gems, clothing items and hairstyles for your avatar as well as pets. You also get points for each item you complete on your to-do or dailies lists. If you indulge in a bad habit or don’t get a daily item done, you lose points. Points accumulate over time and if you get enough points you will a big reward at the end.
The app accommodates different reinforcement styles like negative, positive, predictable and random. There is also the social accountability aspect of HabitRPG. Some people are better at achieving goals if someone is holding them accountable and checking up on their progress. If you really want to get into the video game aspect of the app, you can do boss fights with a team. For every item on your list you do not achieve, the boss will hurt everyone in your team. If you achieve a goal, it helps the entire team move closer to defeating the boss.
The social aspect also comes into play with a challenge mode. You and your team (can be made up of friends or a group of strangers) participate in a challenge. Whoever does the best in the challenge at the end of a certain period of time gets a special prize. The app is great for getting your health on track, for people who are studying or just for getting through every day tasks quickly.
Supported platforms: Android, iOS, Web
If you’ve ever wanted to learn a new language but usually give up halfway through, Duolingo is a great way to help you get going. Some of the languages you can learn with this app include Spanish, Italian, French, German, Polish, Irish and more. It is great for beginners as well as advanced speakers. Advanced speakers complete a test beforehand to measure their linguistic prowess and level of understanding.
This app helps to keep you motivated by way of a progress tracker, experience points and bonus hearts. It also tells you how many consecutive days you have used to learn the language and notifies you when you’re falling behind on your schedule or are in need of a refresher.
At the end of each level, you complete a test to see how well you have done and the app will tell you which areas you are lacking in. Reading, writing, speaking and listening exercises are included so that you get a good overall understanding.
Zombies! Run (https://www.zombiesrungame.com/)
Supported platforms: iOS, Android
Pricing: A once-off purchase of $3.99 or £2.49 with additional in-app purchases available
Getting fit is not only important for good overall health but also for looking and feeling good. It can be hard to keep up with a regular fitness schedule when work and other responsibilities get in the way. The creators of Zombies! Run have managed to make going for a daily run a game. The zombie apocalypse has happened and in order to help rebuild you need to hunt for critical supplies while outrunning hordes of zombies.
The app provides you with a run log and statistics such as the total number of calories burned, number of kilometres or miles you have run and how many zombies you have evaded. Run activity and stories are provided in recap form. You can also measure how fast you can run when a zombie is chasing you and create custom music playlists to listen to while outrunning those flesh-eating zombies. There are about 160 missions you can complete, and it can be used outside or in the gym. The app also provides interval training should you prefer this.
Supported platforms: Android, iPad, Web
Pricing: Free trial available, a Basic account costs $25 monthly while a Pro account costs $49 per month (for every Pro account purchased money is donated to a public school student)
Studying remains one of the top things that people lack motivation for. This app is perfect for those who want to go into software development but do not have the money to go to university or college, or those who simply want to brush up on their skills. Treehouse offers courses on web design, Ruby on Rails, front-end web development, PHP, Android, WordPress development, Python, business management and more.
You simply choose the track you want to focus on and as you move through the course, you can earn badges and points. You can put your library of courses on display so that others can view your achievements. This is a great way to impress employers as they can see that you are consistently working on completing the track or course. Tracks are placed into manageable chunks and a progress tracker helps you to see if you are close to achieving your goals.
Supported platforms: Android, iOS, Web
Pricing: The Web and Android versions are free but iOS costs $4.99. There are also in-app purchases available.
There is no need to wait until New Year’s Day to kick that bad habit. With this gamified app you can set yourself a mental, physical, social or emotional challenge that you want to conquer such as drinking less coffee or giving up smoking. To ultimately complete the challenge you have set for yourself you need to complete small quests along the way.
Along the way you are presented with bad guys who represent the obstacles you face, power ups that give you strength and energy to move on, allies to help you with your challenge and future boosts that help you to look forward to something at the end of completing a quest or challenge.
The Superbetter app has been created by a team of doctors, psychologists, scientists and medical researchers from top universities in the USA to make sure that the app works as it should. You learn the science that is behind the app’s creation as you use it. The app is also customizable to suit your needs and it intuitively finds out what motivates you best.