Productivity Apps and motivation

This article is about apps. Over the Pandemic, I’ve given technology a lot of thought and realized that technology hasn’t really been helping us. Or more specifically, me. Endless scrolling through dating apps without dates and obsessively opening and closing apps led to an epiphany; they were not bettering my life in any way, shape, or form. I found myself accomplishing nothing and the Pandemic became worse as I began a cycle of starting projects only to never finish.

So I deleted the non-essentials and set about finding new apps. My goal was to make technology my friend and today I share two apps that have helped me thrive during the Pandemic; Habitica and Forest.

Habitica

The holy grail of apps. I found this by chance as I was brainstorming ways of being productive. My wish was to gamify my habits, much in the way Duolingo has turned language into a game. The original plan was to build my own app but to my pleasant surprise Habitica fit the need well. You have your avatar and your tasks are split up into recurring, one time, and daily. You can set them to easy, medium and hard. The kicker is, if you fail to do your tasks you take damage. You succeed in completing your task? You get money, experience, and mana. When you reach level 10, you get to choose a class and that’s when the app really starts to pick up. Each class has four skills and I picked rogue. I can steal money, stab a task (money and experience), collect more items, and even avoid damage if I’m feeling lazy one day and don’t complete all my daily goals. Each skill cost mana, which means you’ll be wanting to keep up with your tasks.

At about level 10 (I’m almost 50 now) I started looking at the other features. The big ones outside of having a fully customizable avatar (along with mounts, pets, and backgrounds) is the party and guild system. The two guilds I joined are for anxiety and life hacks where users can simply chat. These don’t have quests, the party system does. Parties consist of 30 people and create a small community of people dedicated to achieving their goals; it’s absolutely brilliant. With your party, you’re mostly doing quests where you typically unlock pets as rewards (as well as gold and experience) but some quests offer weapons and armor.

Forest

With Habitica, I solved my task problem. I could create goals and adhere to them. However, I was still missing a piece of the equation. Tasks that took a couple minutes or had a clear objective, no problem. But tasks that required flow, motivation, and willpower? Those were a struggle.

By happenstance, I stumbled across a Codecademy blog post where ‘Forest’ was recommended. The idea is simple; you set a timer in app and plant a virtual tree. Leave the app, the sapling withers and the forest does not grow. Reach the allocated time, you have a tree. The main draw? You earn coins depending on how long you set the timer and with those coins you can buy trees as well as shrubs to populate your forest. There is a treehouse tree, a lemon tree, a sundae tree, a celestial tree, and the list goes on and on. You can also use your coins to purchase soundscapes from the lapsing of waves on the Ocean to sitting in a cafe in Paris. With this app, I’ve been able to accomplish more in the last couple months than I had all of last year. Coding has been difficult to learn but getting a reward every 25 minutes has made all the difference. The app is updated fairly frequently with new trees and shrubs, which may not be a big deal for some, but it’s fun for me. The app also has a competitive leaderboard and achievements, so I expect to be using the app for the foreseeable future.

A musing on micro communities and motivation

With the Pandemic, I’ve taken a lot of time to think about what brings about the most joy in my life. To accomplish this, I’ve been exploring the very idea of what makes us human. I’ve boiled it down to competition and community. There are other fundamentals for sure, but as a whole we live to compete and are obsessed with reputation. We need these two things from a survival standpoint. I’ve been dreading competition over the last couple years but have come to see how invaluable it is in our every day life. Left unchecked, it can be dangerous, but utilized in the right ways it can be life changing. If there was no competition, there would be no reason for doing anything. Competition provides challenge and challenge in turn fuels growth.

On the flipside with have community, which I’ve been exploring a lot more. Codecademy has provided a haven for hobby coding, where I can go to feel welcomed. Habitica, has helped with habits. Without banding together in groups, it is much harder. We need other people and if we can focus, we can find little pieces of the world carved out for us. Community we are typically brought up into but micro communities (mostly existing online) we seek out. Typically, we are doing and then for growth to occur, we join together with others. Sometimes we compete, other times we support; it’s all a cycle of motivation. This is the first year I’ve fully explored online communities that match my interest and I plan to delve deeper. It’s an exciting time and here’s to hoping my dreams come true. It’s fascinating how much of a difference a few apps can make.


That’s it for the article! And for the month! I’ll be back in October, for my Short Story Horror Month. The big news is I’ve accepted a full-time offer to work at State Farm as an Account Manager. This month I’m studying for my license in property and casualty as well as life and health. I have 30 days to get everything in order so most of my time is going to be spent studying. On top of that, I have jury duty for the first time in my life as well as a birthday that needs celebrating. It’s an exciting and terrifying time but I’m sure it’ll all go well! Thanks for reading!

I am…

I am the rocks as the waves come crashing to shore.

I am the beach, as the waves caress the sand.

I am the light guiding ships to safe harbor.

I am…

I am the mountains standing tall to touch the heavens.

I am the dirt that builds the foundation for which to stand.

I am the leaves that make the forest dance.

I am…

I am nothing to some, everything to all.

I am the whispers of the wind, the voice of thunder.

My bounty is plentiful but not unlimited.

I am…

One-Way

Perhaps it’s time that I talk about something long buried, that I’ve hidden from the world in the hope that over time, it would vanish.

That I am afraid. Our lives have defining moments where we are left with two options; do we climb or do we fall?

Each decision a branch on our tree, creating endless ripples of what could of been and what will never be.

 I move forward and at the same time I stay exactly where I was, unmoving. I watch as the branch next to me crumbles and cling to my branch for dear life.

The wind begins to pick up and I pray that the branch chosen is strong enough to withstand any storm and should it begin to crack, I find the courage to keep climbing. That I will one day touch the sunlit canopy, and look back to see the branches I chose still standing strong; reaching their hands to catch me should I fall. And should I have stood upon a branch filled with rot, to have the knowledge to nourish the branch till leaves begin to sprout and the strength to severe the limb should the rot spread. 

Should I reach the top, I hope to see the forest and look far beyond the canopy of green that lays before me. To look at the thick roots down below; an intricate network of connections that keeps the forest alive. For if one tree suffers, the whole forest begins to die. And it is true that the strong nourish the weak but it is also true that the weak nourish the strong. And should the forest burn, from the ashes life begins anew.


Content from the Grave

When I found this draft, all it had was the title and the first line. So I expanded. This post was always meant to be a reflection of life and I wanted the words to be up to the reader to interpret. What is the forest? What do the branches represent? Is this referring to the individual or the group? Both?

$1.00

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading! Thoughts? Comments? Sound off below and I’ll do my best to respond.

A walk through time; a poem by Mike Cole

In the meadow, the birds sang

Golden hues bathed crimson flowers

The river whistled, water playfully splashing

A foot stepped, and trees began to sprout.

 

In the forest, the sun hide and the trees left echoes

Dirt cushioned each step, and the moss turned to greet the visitor

And when night fell, the fire flickered.

 

A blue hue began to take hold,

The universe revealing itself in all it’s cosmic glory.

Stars sparkling speaking of past events.

If there ever was a way to travel through time,

It was here…

 

So,

For a moment,

Time stood still. No motion. No control. Only a spectator left to wonder.


Funds to send Mike to Mars

I love producing content. As I grow as an individual, so does my content. What was once acceptable now isn’t. As such, more time is spent working on each post. I do all edits, research, and content creation. Whether it’s taking photos for a post one day to writing poetry the next, my blog is keeping me busy. Donations are appreciated and are used to invest in creative pursuits whether that be writing classes, art lessons, and anything in-between.

$1.00

 

 

%d bloggers like this: