GTD — Streamlining Efforts With Swipes Lead Me Home to HabitRPG

It’s like a . . . challenging romance. No matter how many times I try to leave, HabitRPG woos me back with its charming rewards, its earnest whimsy, its promises that integration with the rest of the productivity universe will happen Real Soon Now… 

Let’s face it — like many others with ADHD, I am an immediate gratification junkie. And nothing else I’ve found says “immediate gratification” like an 8-bit musical flourish announcing a pile of gold, a bunch of experience points, and perhaps a juicy item landing in my inventory every single time I finish a task. 

Evernote remains my GTD “trusted system” for collecting. I really haven’t messed with my simplified version of “The Secret Weapon.” But for tracking tasks once I’ve decided to do them, Evernote reminders don’t work for me. Very little does. I’ve tried Toodledo, Pocket Informant, BugMe Stickies, Remember the Milk… Going back in time, there was the Franklin Planner, and DayTimer. After a few weeks, sometimes even just a few days, I’d start ignoring my “prioritized list.” Then I’d stop bothering to make a list, because after all I was obviously not going to look at it, and then it was back to no planning at all.

HabitRPG has motivated me to dig in a little harder. I have a hard limit, now, of six things to do besides daily routine (which, by the way, I dare not take out of HabitRPG lest it vanish.) Four is more likely do-able. And if I have a meeting or appointment (rare) I have to put that in my list as one of my six maximum things.

But still, it is a royal pain to manually transfer my tasks from Evernote to HabitRPG. And then there are the inevitable tasks that recur on strange schedules. I have a task that has to be done every month on the Wednesday before the third Friday of the month. And a related task that has to be done on the first Monday after the third Friday of the month. (I have yet to find a task manager that will automate that completely, by the way, but I can set alarms two days before and three days after that nasty little third Friday.)

HabitRPG won’t handle directly any recurrence on a period longer than a week.

My latest affair was with a sexy task manager called Swipes. Its main claims to fame are that a) it will pick up tasks directly from Evernote automatically, and b) it will automatically take checkboxes from an Evernote note and make them subtasks. Also, you can snooze tasks from your list for later so that you only have one thing to do on your list.

The Evernote integration worked pretty well and cut some time out of my week. It was nice to see a short list, but the things I snoozed came back (loudly) before I was ready for them, and I had to snooze them again. Either that, or I ran out of things to do, and had to go rummage among the snoozed items. There was no penalty for deferring things. And while the friendly “ding” sound was nice when I finished a subtask or main task, it couldn’t compare to getting gold, experience points, occasional items and a little tune (see above.)

So, I’m back home with HabitRPG. I’ve implemented my own little tracking system for oddball recurring tasks. I’ve also implemented a tag system to cut down on how many things I’m looking at in my list at one time.

And if they implement Evernote integration (Real Soon Now!) I’ll never go a-wandering again.