Turning your to-do list into a game with HabitRPG.

hrpg

At the beginning of the year, I found out about HabitRPG, a website that turns your to-do list into an RPG game. You get a little avatar and can make tasks and goals for yourself, divided into three sections: Habits, Dailies, and To-Dos. You can check out this video for an explanation on how most of the site works, but here’s a breakdown of each section:

Habits: This is stuff you want to accomplish on a regular basis, maybe a regular habit you’re trying to start or things you need to do and can easily forget about. Exercising, watering plants, journalling, quitting smoking, etc. You can click the plus sign when you do well or when you accomplish something, and the minus sign when you don’t.

Dailies: This is where you list things you want to do anywhere from every day to at least once a week. Instead of the plus/minus in the Habits section, you just click the checkmark. Maybe you want to make sure you eat breakfast everyday, or do the dishes every other day, or vacuum once a week. Also unlike the Habits section, you can add checklists to your tasks in this section.

To-Dos: Self explanatory, this section is where you mention all the other stuff you need to accomplish. For example, I make notes for my blog, such as things I need to tweak/fix in the layout or ideas for entries (which is why some of the stuff in my screenshot is blurred). You can also add checklists to your tasks here.

Rewards: Your rewards can be things like taking a day off from your chores, watching an episode of a tv show you’re catching up on, buying yourself something, or maybe treating yourself to a snack. You set the amount of gold you want each reward to be worth, making it as easy or as difficult to earn each reward as you want.

I used to have at least two to-do lists at all times, even after I finally got a smartphone. I had one list for stuff I did on a regular basis, one list for unimportant stuff I needed to do eventually, and whatever else I might make a list for. Since signing up for HabitRPG, that is my main to-do list now. It’s completely replaced the to-do app I’d been using on my phone, and I’m down to only one pad of paper on my desk. I’ve even stopped bothering to make a to-do list in my daily planner, HabitRPG has completely simplified how I keep track of what I want to accomplish.

If you have trouble finishing tasks or want to stop using multiple lists and apps, give HabitRPG a try.

Reasons why I might not be reading your blog.

I have a handful of pet peeves when it comes to other people’s blogs and blogging techniques.

  • Lousy layout.
  • Not everyone is a graphic designer, not everyone can have a layout that can be described with words such as “fluid,” “seamless,” “chic,” and other strange words that should be used to describe furniture and not a website. But I feel like some bloggers don’t actually look at their own blog, they don’t realize obvious problems such as the content box being way too thin or banner ads covering half the site because the sidebar is in a weird location.

  • Too many ads.
  • Let’s get real here, the only people who enjoy banner ads are the people making money off of them. I don’t mean links to similar blogs, I mean advertisements leeching information from the sites you visit. I don’t need a reminder of something I looked at on Amazon that I can’t buy because I’m still unemployed, and what little money I earn has to go to actually important things and not “important” things. I can deal with one or two ads but lately, blogs are more advertisements than actual content and sometimes it’s hard to tell where I’m supposed to actually find the content on the page.

  • Busy sidebar with too many links and too much blog info.
  • Multiple banner ads, social media buttons, a column of 200×169 images trying to grab my attention to go look at someone else’s blog, large buttons trying to push me to other sections of the blog I’m already on, a dozen ways to get updates about the blog… I get overwhelmed and annoyed seeing way too much in a sidebar. You want to grab people’s attention but you don’t want to keep it on the sidebar. I used to be guilty of this, I just wasn’t sure how much of it was actually important. Some should go there, the rest can go on a “etc” page.

  • No mini bio in the sidebar, or no About page.
  • You may not realize this, but that mini bio is actually pretty important on a personal blog. If there’s no mini bio (not all blogs have a sidebar) then there needs to be an About page. Readers like knowing who we are, whose blog they’re looking at. There needs to be a face and name to associate with the blog to have a personal connection with the writer. Privacy is important, but too much privacy is off-putting.

  • No contact information, or hard to find/read.
  • Include your email. And don’t make it impossible to read, typing [at] instead of @ and [dot] for every period doesn’t avoid as much spam mail as you’d think. If anything, it might be keeping people from contacting you because they don’t want to have to remove all those brackets. This is something else I used to be guilty of.

  • Multiple CAPTCHA codes to comment.
  • I just want to comment on your entry, I’m not trying to steal a priceless work of art. If I have to enter more than one code just to leave a comment, I won’t bother, and might not even return to your site.

  • Constant hauls and giveaways.
  • I get it, you run a beauty blog and recieve a lot of freebies or just buy way too much, and want to show it off or get rid of it. You don’t have to do one every single week.

  • “Share on these sites” social media buttons underneath each post
  • Unless you have a LOT of readers, I really doubt anyone’s sharing your blog entries. Even then, I doubt many people are actually visiting your site through those shared posts. Those buttons are a complete eyesore.

And one more: If you’re a lousy speller, there is no excuse not to use spellcheck.

Dang kids and their newfangled cookies.

oreos

While talking to a friend on Skype, she had to excuse herself for a minute to go calm down her child who started wailing because there were no more Oreos in the house. There was a package of plain ones, but according to the child, there were absolutely no more whatsoever because the weird limited edition flavor they’d bought were all gone. Kids, right?

This reminded me of the time I was at the supermarket with my mom, perusing the cookie aisle and came across the section of Oreos. Three shelves high and five feet across just of Oreos. They’re extremely popular, so one shelf was nothing but the plain flavor (regular and Double Stuf) and the other shelves had half a dozen other flavors, all sounding more disgusting than the last (with the exception of the chocolate ones, I love those). I started ranting to Mom about how many different flavors there were of this one freaking cookie, how unnecessary it was especially considering most probably just tasted awful.

I spent a good minute just bitching about those cookies, getting louder by the second, and finally ended my rant with “Back in my day, there was only one flavor of Oreos! Kids today don’t need all these weird flavors!”

A nearby elderly woman burst out laughing, snorting a little. She nodded and said “I know exactly how you feel.”

Pinspiration: Make your own pad of paper.

list

I love making lists, and I can’t function without to-do lists. I have apps, I’m part of HabitRPG, and I need a paper list sitting on my desk. I’ve always loved the idea of making my own pad of scratch paper just for fun, but I wasn’t committed enough to spend $7+ for padding compound, the glue to hold the pad together.

A couple of days ago, thanks to Pinterest, I found Jessi’s how-to at Practically Functional, and she uses rubber cement. I was excited because I thought I had some, but apparently I don’t. So today I went out and got a jar of rubber cement and got to work on a small pad of paper to see if it’s really that easy. It is! The rubber cement worked beautifully and dried super quick, and gave me a headache because I forgot to properly ventilate the room by opening a window. Whoops.

list2

Jessi mentions the rubber cement stays tacky so she covered the top of her pad with some scrap paper to give it a finished look, I just coated mine with a thin layer of Mod Podge and it worked just as well, it took away the sticky aspect. (I tried this project with Mod Podge since it’s what I had, and it did not work. Your best bet is padding compound or rubber cement.)

DIY flowerpot out of a soda can.

flowerpot

I hate coffee. I drink soda to wake up in the mornings. I ran out of soda last week and while at the market, noticed the mini cans of diet Dr Pepper were on sale, so I bought them. When I got home I realized they’d be great as starter pots for seeds, so I decided to try it out.

7.5 fl oz, regular cans are 12 fl oz.

7.5 fl oz, regular cans are 12 fl oz.

Using an x-acto knife, I cut the top off.

Using an x-acto knife, I cut the top off.

I then closed the top and covered it with some duct tape.

I then closed the top and covered it with some duct tape.

After hammering a nail through the bottom a few times to make drain holes, I put the can on top of the lid to catch excess water.

After hammering a nail through the bottom a few times to make drain holes,
I put the can on top of the lid to catch excess water.

Filled it with a mixture of soil and growing medium, and added a few seeds.

Filled it with a mixture of soil and growing medium, and added a few seeds.

Using a tiny chalkboard label and a chalk marker, I wrote what I planted and the date.

Using a tiny chalkboard label and a chalk marker,
I wrote what I planted and the date.


And now we wait to see if they grow!

And now we wait to see if they grow!
(Yes, there’s soil all over my windowsill, sorry for the mess.)

Simple pleasures of May 2014 through Instagram.

Saying hello to baby bugs.

Saying hello to baby bugs.

Reliving my childhood.

Reliving my childhood.

Learning and doing something successfully.

Learning and doing something successfully.

Penpals.

Penpals.

Adorable packaging.

Adorable packaging.

"Just because" gifts.

“Just because” gifts.

Birthday presents!

Birthday presents!

Adding to my washi tape collection.

Adding to my washi tape collection.


Instagram

Say no more, mon amour. Lips are for kissing, baby, je t’adore.

One of the jobs I’ve had was at a music & movies store in a mall. There were two game stores in the mall, so we didn’t carry any, but we were the only store in the mall to carry CDs and DVDs. That meant two things: Everything was overpriced, and we were overworked and understaffed. I got a heads up about the job from a girl I’d worked with at a previous job and was excited because I love the movie Empire Records and thought working in a music store would be similar to that. Not even close, it was so disappointing. The GM (general manager) was an irritating woman who’d say one thing to your face but something different when talking to someone else, so there were a lot of moments like “What do you mean I’m scheduled for today? I’m supposed to be off the next two days. Okay, I’ll be there in half an hour.” With the exception of two supervisors, my co-workers were lazy jerks not worth getting to know. The customers were the best part, I loved the customers.

Working there was absolutely nothing like Empire Records with one exception: We had a Rex Manning Day. If you haven’t seen the movie, a quick explanation is a popular singer was releasing a new album and was doing a signing at their shop and all hell broke loose. My Rex Manning was Michael Bolton. And all hell broke loose.

(The title of this entry is a lyric from Rex Manning’s big hit.)

The night before Bolton was arriving, some of my co-workers had gone out partying. Good job, gentlemen. Two showed up hungover, one tried to call out sick. I was the one to answer that phone call and since the GM was standing right there working on who knows what, I relayed the information to her. She said to tell the guy “I don’t care how late you’re going to be, but I need you to be here tonight.” I repeated it to my co-worker who was silent for a moment, then said “Okay. Tell her I quit,” and hung up. It was such a ridiculous situation I just burst out laughing as I told the GM what just happened. She was pissed. She went to the office to call the guy back and the rest of us finished setting up. Nobody would be able to come in to cover his shift.

The store was pretty small, so we set up as many of the CDs out in the open as we could and just sort of crammed the rest of the boxes where they’d fit. There was such a large stack behind the counter, we could only keep one register open until we sold a few boxes.

About an hour before Bolton was scheduled to arrive, the GM decided to clock out and go home. We were officially understaffed for the night.

The store was so small, we had to set Bolton up at a table outside the store, so at least the crowd wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been and I didn’t have to deal with flash photography. It’s not fun trying to use a register after a camera’s just flashed in your eyeballs. But the crowd was bad enough, especially for the first half hour until we were able to clear out enough boxes to open the second register. Since we were the only music store in the mall, we had a lot of customers who were oblivious to anything going on and thought that was a great moment to move at a snail’s pace and ask a million questions. I only cared so much, my paycheck was going to be the same amount no matter how many CDs I sold.

It took hours. One large steady stream of middle aged women (and some men) shrieking and giggling and singing his songs, some bought a handful of the same CD (obviously to give as gifts after getting them signed) and some ended up buying all his albums. At the end of the night, we were completely sold out of all of them. It was a nightmare for me but a great night for Bolton.

There was one moment I’m still embarrassed about. A guy around my age came to the counter holding the movie Office Space, asking if I’d seen it. I absentmindedly nodded and he said he’s going to ask Michael Bolton to sign it, then looked at me expectantly. I half-heartedly chuckled, charged him for the movie, and sent him on his way. The truth was I hadn’t seen the movie yet so I had no idea why that was funny. Eventually I’d finally see the movie and remembered that guy, and just felt so stupid for lying about having seen it. One of the characters is named Michael Bolton and it’s a running gag that he doesn’t like the singer. This guy was buying the movie to have the real Michael Bolton sign it. That joke is hilarious and deserved an actual laugh. So if somehow that guy ends up reading this, I’m sorry for not taking a moment to ask for clarification instead of just trying to move you along.

“Thank you for the money! …I mean, for the card. And the money.”

cards

Every year for my birthday, I get a card and check in the mail from my paternal grandmother. Ten years ago I started keeping them, she’d started sending some really adorable ones and I just couldn’t throw them out. They’re probably meant for children, but I don’t care. They have cutouts and die-cut pieces and rhinestones and I just love receiving them, I look forward to it every year. That’s the second reason why I started keeping them: I don’t know how many more years I’ll get a card from my grandmother. She’ll be 86 this year.

When I was a child, I’d call her to thank her, saying “Thank you for the check” and she’d ask if I liked the card. As an adult, I call to say “Thank you for the adorable card” and she asks if I got the check. I know it’s because she wants to make sure the check wasn’t stolen, but the change has amused me for years. I used to only be grateful for the money, now I’m usually too excited about the card to remember to thank her for the money too. Today I called and was sure to thank her for both.

cards

Renew! (Happy birthday to me!)

lifeclock

“Yeah, me too.”

When I was a teenager, I had this really annoying habit of always trying to sound like I could do whatever my friends could do, even if I’d never actually done whatever we were talking about. We’d be talking and they’d mention something, maybe a talent or just something they’ve done, and I’d automatically say “Me too” or “I can do that too.” I don’t know how it started, but I was aware of myself saying it. It would just tumble out of my mouth. I guess I just wanted to seem cool and inadvertently developed an irritating habit instead of just being myself. I mean, I sort of was being myself by being annoying, but I wish I’d have “been myself” by not sounding like a child trying to look cool to their older siblings. I know that’s how I sounded, it was just obvious I wanted to fit in. I’d try to seem more part of the crowd by trying to insert myself into conversations I wasn’t really involved in. “Yeah, me too.” I finally grew out of it, I was very aware of how dumb it was and I managed to make myself stop saying it. But man, I still feel embarrassed thinking of some of those moments.

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