Questing in Real Life

Publish date: 18 Aug, 2020
Tags: story

Do you also like the feeling when your virtual character completes a quest and you level up? Yea, me too. Wouldn’t it be great to have quests in real life? Yea, it would. Why not imagine your tasks as quests and gain levels while tackling them? Yea, sounds good. Well let’s set it up then!

Finish all the quests!

As a long time World of Warcraft player I always enjoyed questing and leveling either in a group or by myself. It is something about completing the objective that brings you a little bit closer to the next level. The desire to level up that can’t be stopped until the final level is reached. I remember every day after school when I entered the world of Azeroth and I was instantly hooked in the game. I’ve never really thought why it is so addictive but when I look back I can see a few reasons why. My guess is that for me it was a combination between a social aspect of the game and the desire to accomplish something (even though just virtual).

However this post is not about addictive computer games but about using similar approach to real life tasks. One day, few years ago during practicing procrastination, I came across a video reviewing some tool called Habitica. The title caught my attention and I watched it. It is a tool for task and habits management with some aspects of gamification such as levels, in-game currency, items and groups. Instead of quests you are rewarded with coins and experiences by completing your tasks or habits and punished with health loss otherwise. Moreover there is also the social aspect - you can create or join groups with similar goals and there are even guilds! But you can find detailed overviews of this tool elsewhere.

I started to using Habitica right away and I though I finally found the one and only tool that will help me with procrastination and finishing my tasks on time. Oh boy, was I wrong! It was helpful for a while especially for everyday habits but not so much for the tasks. I was finding myself not giving a damn about a task even though it costed me health and I wasn’t really into this kind of leveling either. So I stopped using it shortly after I started. But as my Habitica account collected dust, I discover other helpful tool for managing my tasks - Trello. “You haven’t known Trello?” you might ask. Of course I have, but I simple didn’t use it. Once I tried I started to put everything there.

It didn’t help with completing the tasks much, but I got them sorted out and at one place at least. And then one day when I cycled from work, I got the idea! What if I keep track of tasks in Trello, that makes managing the tasks very easy and hooked it up to Habitica (that has poor tasks management), so that finishing task would progress my character there? Hmm seems like questing in real life! But can it be done? Let’s have a look.

First idea was that in a world with APIs everywhere, Trello already must have an integration with Habitica. Since that is not the case, I looked at both app’s APIs. “Should I build some connector myself?” was the question that of course flashed through my head. But I instantly imagined a wasted week on this project which I wouldn’t even finish. So I kept wondering. “Hmm, isn’t there already some tool that connects two APIs?” was my next question. And it turned out there is! Zapier does exactly what I needed. And it supports a whole bunch of apps and services. So I made a few so called zaps connectors. Each of them takes an event from Trello (moved card in a specified list) and sends other event to Habitica (completed task in a list). That way when I finish a task and move it in a list, it triggers done task in Habitica and adds experience to my character! Finally I can manage my tasks and level up in a real life by completing them!

One of the zaps!

This is my current set up: Trello + Habitica connected with Zapier. It is not much but it suits my needs. Finally I realized that no tool can make me do a task and I have to have will to do it. So at the end the fight with procrastination still continues.

This is third article of a series about procrastination and task management