How to use Todoist and Habitica together

Recently I have written a few posts about how I use Todoist and Habitica, a habit tracker (check out my posts on decision fatigue, food, and exercise).

It can easily seem that there is overlap between the two. For example, if you want to run 10K, you could schedule a recurring task “go for a run” in Todoist, or you could add “go for a run” as a habit in Habitica. Or you could try to do both, and sync the two apps by hand – the horror! In this post I describe a few alternatives I have tried to use Todoist and Habitica together, and the system that I currently use.

1. Daily Most Important Tasks

My first attempt at using the apps together was a Habitica daily, “Add 3 MITs (most important tasks) to Habitica”. These are three tasks that advance your important projects, and, if these tasks are the only things you get done, you would be satisfied with the day. So every morning, I would go through Todoist, decide my MITs, add them to Habitica, and (hopefully) complete them by the end of that day.

I think I abandoned this system because I tried to add “actions”, like “Start working on task A”, to Habitica, since I knew that “Task A” was not feasible within a day. Breaking down tasks is something I need to improve in general, so while it didn’t work for me at the time, I think it is a good way to use Todoist and Habitica together.

My Habitica avatar from June 2017 – who wouldn’t want to complete tasks to be able to buy pirate gear?

2. Use Zapier

Zapier is a service that connects different apps together. It waits for a trigger in one app – for example, a new task in Todoist, and then performs an action in another app – for example, creating a new task in Habitica. This process is called a “zap”, and with a free account, you can have five free different zaps. Another zap could be, that if you complete a task in Habitica, Zapier checks off the corresponding task in Todoist. You can read more about setting this up on the Habitica Wiki.

There are a few options available, for example only syncing a single project. This is what I did, since I have 100+ tasks in Todoist, and I didn’t want to see all of them in Habitica. I chose an important, but not urgent personal project, and for a while, it was working great. But then I made a mistake – I added sub-tasks to one of the tasks in Todoist, which all showed up as individual tasks in Habitica. I disabled the zap shortly afterwards – way too overwhelming.

Another option is not to have a one-to-one correspondence between Todoist and Habitica. For example, when you complete a task in Todoist, you could increment a “Completed Todoist task” habit in Habitica. This is something I might try net.

3. Use Todoist for “will do”, Habitica for “should (not) do”

Todoist is great for keeping track of what I need to do when. I use it for both one-time (writing a paragraph for a paper) and recurrent (cleaning the kitchen) tasks. I will probably procrastinate on these tasks, but I will do them eventually. Another way to see these tasks is that they are more outcome-oriented, i.e. in the end they add up to a written paper or a clean house.

Habitica helps me finish the “will do” tasks more effectively, for example, by rewarding me when I write for 1 pomodoro (What is this?), or by cleaning the dishes right after dinner. These things are also a bit less outcome oriented – there are obvious benefits to them, but the reward (a paper or a clean house) is further away.

Habitica also helps me to NOT do things, such as checking email the first thing in the morning. Again, not checking email in the morning has benefits – see this post for some examples – but it’s not a really a task, and simply not checking email will not add up to a finished project.

This system means that I end up never using the todos.  But, the todo feature is very motivating, so I came up with a way to use it anyway!

I use the todo feature to keep track of difficult habits that I want to do at least X times within a period of time. Let’s take reading as an example. “Read 10 pages” is a habit for me, but I don’t do it often enough. If I start reading, I never read just 10 pages by the way – but these bursts of reading should happen more often, if I want to develop the habit of “reading more”.

Habitica does have counters for habits, but these do not REALLY remind me I should do the “read 10 pages” habit more often. Instead, I create a multi-part todo “Read next book”, which I split up into five parts, based on the number of pages. Then each time I’m reading, I get a small reward for the “read 10 pages” habit, but I also have an overview of my how much I should still read. Over time, the “read next book” todo becomes red, motivating me to hurry up with the habit and get the much larger reward for the entire thing. I’m actually starting on a fresh book today:

4. Use Todoist for work, Habitica for personal

Perhaps another way to divide tasks between Todoist and Habitica is to split up work and personal projects. It is not the system I use, since there is overlap. For example, I’m reading a book that is helpful for my job, and interesting to me personally.

However, as you might have noticed from my posts, my Habitica is biased towards self-care. Not that that’s strictly “personal” – I need to be healthy & sane to be able to do my job well. But the types of habits I’m trying to build up, such as exercise, tend to be put on the back-burner a lot, especially when things are stressful at work. Adding these “should do” habits to Habitica helps me to prioritize them in a way that I wouldn’t be able to achieve with a task manager alone.

More examples?

Do you use a task manager and/or habit tracker? I would love to hear about your reasons to use only one or the other, and your approach if you are using both!

10 thoughts on “How to use Todoist and Habitica together”

  1. I love both and gave up trying to integrate them. I use a combination of #3 and #4 in your list: Habitica for Habits and Dailies. Todoist for Work and personal Todo’s. At the end of the day I redeem a “Complete a Task” habit in Habitica for every Todoist task completed. If I’ve cleared out all my To-do’s in Todoist then I check off the “Met Daily Goal/Clear All To-do’s” Daily in Habitica. Some days I forget and its not that accurate but its a good compromise.

  2. That sounds like a good system! How do you deal with it though if some todo’s are important tasks that take say 30 mins or more, while others are just small reminders – do you count them both?

    I think you could setup Zapier to check the “Complete a Task” habit automatically like I describe in 2), but then it will indeed count all tasks (or only a specific project).

    • In general most of my tasks usually have the same value because I try to break them down into manageable pomodoro chunks. I do like the color coding in Todoist, it makes it easy to glance at my “completed last 7 days” and I know grey are all the tasks that were on my grocery list so I subtract those when redeeming point in Habitica.

      I setup a Zapier and it’s working perfectly. But I have projects below other projects (example: I have “Client A”, “Client B”, etc as sub projects under a main “Clients” project). In Zapier I have to create a specific Zap for each client :/ Which is time consuming and would be costly because it would require a paid Zapier account. I don’t see a trigger for completing any task regardless of project. Bummer!

  3. Exactly – I meant things like the grocery list, which do not really take a lot of time/effort. I use gray for that too 😀 But I do also have things like “send reminder about X”, which is a very quick task, which would be color-coded into one of the projects.

    I’m checking Zapier now – it’s indeed complicated if you would need a zap for each project (not just because of the subscription, but it’s not really efficient!). There is however a “New Any Completed Task” trigger (you need to click on “less common options” when selecting the trigger, but it requires a Todoist Premium subscription.

    There is also an option, after you have the trigger, to filter out certain actions. For example if I would tag a task a “1min”, I could exclude it from the zap.

    I do have Todoist Premium (but not Zapier subscription), so I will probably look into this more.

    • That’s a good hint to filter out easier tasks!

      So I’ve been doing some serious experimentation with Zapier. I have Todoist projects linked to Habitica habits/dailies. I also hooked up Rescuetime Premium to Habitica so I get points for finishing a focus time session (like a pomodoro) and also get deducted points if I spend more than 30 minutes on distracting sites. Lots of guard rails setup for productivity!

      I love Zapier, so thanks for that recommendation. Its like a much smarter IFTTT. I am a Todoist premium member and with “New any completed task” Zapier it still requires that I select a project. I’m not sure if I want to commit to Zapier. $18 a month is a steep price to pay for automated Habitica. Unless I find some crafty zaps to use with other products I may just do a workaround and use labels in Todoist instead of projects.

      • Awesome experiments! I have Rescuetime Premium at the moment (thinking about cancelling though, don’t use it enough) so I might the distracting time a try as well – I’ve only done is as an alert (not effective enough) and blocking the websites (too effective) so far.

        Too bad about the “new any completed task”, that’s really a miss on their part! I find $18 a bit steep too, especially since Zapier still doesn’t have some other apps I’m interested in, such as Fitbit, that IFTTT does. I do think there are zaps I would use (that I can’t do with IFTTT), especially for automatic social media scheduling.


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