Let’s face it: some of the tasks we do every day are pretty mundane. Maybe even downright boring. Yet, we still have to do them. Whether it’s checking email and making sure we’ve responded to all of the appropriate messages, or remembering to write that daily report every single day, there’s a lot of stuff do to. But staying motivated to complete even the most tedious of tasks doesn’t have to be a chore in itself. Here are three apps that make it downright fun.
You may not think a simple string of green dots could motivate you to get things done. But that just means you’re not familiar with Wonderful Day, a 99-cent iOS app.
In some ways, Wonderful Day isn’t all that different from you basic task manager or to-do list app. It lets you add a list of tasks or activities, lets you tell the app how often you’d like them done – every day, every Monday, every weekday, or something similar. You also can tell the app what time of day the activity needs to be done, and set a reminder if you need one.
Once the task is complete for the day, you check it off in the app, and you begin building a chain of green dots. The goal is to keep building the chain without breaking it, with the idea that the more often you do something, the more likely it is to become a habit. And while green dots don’t sound terribly motivating, they actually are when you look at them – especially when you see a lengthy chain that you don’t want to break. Wonderful Day also awards medals when you create a lengthy chain.
Wonderful Day is not designed for one-off tasks, so it won’t motivate you to finish that massive year-end report. But it’s very easy – and fun! – to use, so if you’re looking for a simple way to stay on top of those daily to-dos, Wonderful Day is for you.
If building a chain of green dots doesn’t sound like enough of a game for you, HabitRPG may be just what you need. This free app for Android and iOS (with a Web version, too), turns your entire life into a game. And yes, it can help you become more productive along the way.
HabitRPG lets you add habits (both good and bad), daily tasks (called “Dailies”), and to-dos. Doing so is easier on the Web version than it is on the mobile app, which isn’t as intuitive. When you complete one of your good items, HabitRPG rewards you with experience, which allows you to level up in the game, and gold, which you can use to purchase items from the app or from your own list of rewards. The in-app rewards are items like swords for your avatar, which can give you a boost in the game, or items that you choose, like taking a break to play another video game. If you complete a bad habit – and own up to it – you damage the health of your avatar, a primitive looking figure you can customize to your liking.
HabitRPG can boost your productivity if you follow its rules, but setting it up and remembering to mark off the items you do or don’t complete can be something of a time suck. Its graphics are rudimentary, so sophisticated game players may be turned off, too. But it’s simple enough to use and offers a fun way to stay on top of all those boring tasks you need to complete.
Saving money. It’s something we all should be doing, whether we’re trying to pay down a debt or launch a new business. But, honestly, it’s just not all much fun. Saveup, a free iOS app, tries to make it more enjoyable by rewarding you for making good financial decisions.
To use Saveup, you link your various financial accounts, from credit cards to mortgage loans and savings accounts. I found this process simple, as Saveup included direct links for adding accounts from national banks, like Chase and Bank of America, as well as those from small banks, like the one down the street from my house. When you make a smart financial decision, such as paying down a credit card or putting money in a 401K account, Saveup rewards you with credits. You earn 1 credit for every $2 paid to a credit card or every $1 added to your savings. You also earn credits for adding accounts and watching educational videos.
Once you earn enough credits, you can exchange them for a chance to win various prizes, which include items like store and restaurant gift cards, money, and even cars and vacations. The games you play to win the prizes, which typically include revealing digital cards and looking for matches, feel a lot like you’re playing a scratch lottery ticket, albeit virtually. They’re fun, but they do seem slightly out of place in an app that’s touting financial responsibility. Still, Saveup is easy to use and it makes saving money seem fun and exciting.
Liane Cassavoy is a veteran technology and business journalist. She contributes regularly to PCWorld and has written about business issues and products for Entrepreneur Magazine and other publications. She is the author of two business start-up guides published by Entrepreneur Press.