As readers of this blog may know, I use Habitica to keep track of habits, such as writing, exercise, eating healthy – the possibilities are endless. Habitica allows you to track what you do in three ways: habits you could do multiple times a day, dailies which you do every day (or every Monday, etc) and todos. For the writing example, a habit could be writing 500 words, a daily could be writing for 30 minutes first thing in the morning, and a todo could be writing a specific section of your paper. Completing any of these gives you experience, gold, items – all ways in which you could associate the habit with a reward.
Habitica also has a fourth category you can use for motivate yourself – rewards. Some rewards are defined by Habitica, such as items you can buy with gold collected from your habits. But you can also define real-life rewards, like going to your favorite restaurant, which you can buy with gold (you do still have to pay the restaurant, though!). I have not talked about this category much before, and in this blog post I explain why.
Habitica has examples of rewards you could define for yourself here. Here are a few examples that I am uncomfortable with:
- Leisure reading
- Call friend/relative
- Long hot bath
- Time alone with favorite music
- Take a walk
For me, these are habits, not rewards. I am perfectly capable of just doing the productive things that need to be done, and not taking time for a bath or leisure reading. Not very healthy!
So instead, I intentionally add habits that are enjoyable for me to do, do not have negative effects (other than “wasting” time and perhaps a little money), but do not necessarily HAVE to be done. Next to reading and baths, here are a few other options:
- Listening to a podcast episode. I learn a lot from various podcasts I listen, including how to be more productive, so perhaps this isn’t even such a “time waster”
- Trying out a new recipe
Going out to dinner or movies. I tend to stay in a lot so it’s a nice change of pace.
- Organizing things around the house. I realize this is a chore for many but I find it relaxing.
- Dressing up or doing something special with my nails or make-up
- Having friends over
- Playing with the cats
- Looking at photographs or notes from your “be kind portfolio“
To be honest, I had a bit of trouble coming up with a few of the things above and they were not on my list. Most things I thought of straight away, were “too productive”, which just goes to show how necessary it is to pay attention to these things. Then I remembered a thread I saw on Twitter about mental health and doing things that make you happy, which had many other ideas I could borrow them.
There is one suggestion from this thread struck me the most and I will definitely be adding it to my list: “Having a day with nothing to do”