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Need an app that makes life better and keeps you motivated?
Perhaps it’s time to consider getting a gamification app.
Gamification has become popular in the areas of personal improvement and productivity. Individuals, organizations, and businesses are using it to enhance user engagement, injecting an element of fun into otherwise tedious or challenging tasks.
In this article, we share with you the top gamification apps for self-improvement. You’ll find apps designed to boost your productivity, improve your health and well-being, and help you acquire new skills.
(Side note: Want to level up your productivity and time management skills? Then watch this free video about the 9 productivity habits you can build at work.)
What You Will Learn
Game Elements Get You Going
The main draw of gamification apps is that while users enjoy playing on the interface, they’re also getting things done and accomplishing their goals.
Some common elements of gamification that productivity apps are using include:
Here’s our pick of the best gamification apps.
Best Gamification Apps for 2020
Formerly known as HabitRPG, Habitica is an oldie but goodie—a favorite of the gamified apps for personal productivity.
It turns your to-do list into an epic quest. By completing your tasks, you help your avatar advance its status within the game. However, your avatar takes a hit each time you fail to accomplish tasks.
Habitica’s standout features include:
The app is free to use, but does have in-app purchases available.
Todoist is one of my personal favorite productivity apps. It helps me manage my daily tasks effortlessly and stay on track with my goal-setting.
The cool thing about this app is that you can gamify your goal-setting experience by using the Karma feature. This feature allows you to get into the flow of tracking, visualizing, and improving your productivity.
When using this feature, accomplishing activities that move you closer to your goals gives you Karma points. Failure to accomplish goals makes you lose points, and possibly lowers your rank. The number of points accumulated places you in a certain position within an eight-level ranking system, from beginner (0–499 points) to enlightened (50000+ points).
The app is free, but a premium subscription is also available for $3.99 a month and $35.99 a year.
If you’re looking for an app that lets you develop resilience (i.e., build on what you’re good at and use your weaknesses as stepping stones to greatness), SuperBetter is the answer.
At its core, it is a motivational app. However, unlike other apps that only let you view or listen to motivational quotes or listen to relaxing music in order to improve your mood, SuperBetter uses games that help you overcome challenging situations in real life.
Some specific ways that people use this app include:
It was the goal of the app designer, Jane McGonigal, to help people live healthier and reach their potential. (You can check out McGonigal’s TED Talk about SuperBetter here.)
The app has successfully passed a clinical trial. Reports from the trial showed that SuperBetter helped improve symptoms of depression in individuals who used it.
Game features of the app include:
The app is free.
4. Epic Win
Are you tired of the repetitive nature of your chores? This app adds a sense of adventure to your to-do list.
At the start, you choose your own character from among five pre-set characters (priestess, treeman berzerker, swarf, skelly, and warrior). Just like any RPG-inspired productivity app, Epic Win awards points for tasks accomplished.
Features-wise, it supports recurring tasks, provides reminders for overdue activities, and lets you set long-term goals. Each time you accomplish a goal, you can view an animated battle where your avatar destroys items from your to-do list (the laundry, perhaps?).
The app can be purchased for $1.99. Purchase is also necessary to unlock the treeman and warrior avatars.
Want to beat your Facebook addiction? Forest’s gamified approach helps you regain your life and reconnect with the people who matter most.
The concept is that when you intend to focus, you open the app and plant a seed. This seed has the potential to grow into a tree. However, it only grows when you are not using your phone for things like browsing social media.
As long as you stay focused, the tree grows. Lose focus and the tree dies. Accumulate all your focused moments and transform them into a forest.
To further motivate you to spend more focused moments, there are over 30 tree species you can unlock, along with other rewards.
In addition, in partnership with Trees.org, the developers of this app pledge to plant actual trees in several countries in Africa.
The app is available for $1.99, with in-app purchases starting at $0.99.
6. Epic To-Do List
This isn’t your usual to-do list.
The app supports your need for daily productivity and helps you visualize every step of the process in a fun and engaging way.
You can schedule tasks and create daily to-do lists, and set the difficulty rating of each task from “easy” to “legendary.” Accomplishing the tasks gives you in-game coins that you can use to purchase weapons or costumes for your character.
Furthermore, you can let your character learn a new skill that is a reflection of something that you are also learning in real life.
The app is free for Android users, with in-app purchases.
Learning a new language can be fun and engaging with this app.
Duolingo uses gamified learning to develop solid foreign-language communication skills. Lessons are delivered in bite-sized pieces, allowing you to grasp the basics of grammar and vocabulary in minutes.
Each time you complete a lesson level, you’re awarded a certain number of lingots (the game’s currency) that you can use to purchase anything in-game, such as bonus lessons or costumes for the owl mascot. Completing a lesson level also unlocks the next set of lessons.
Learn from a selection of 30 languages, including Welsh, Latin, Vietnamese, Japanese, and High Valyrian.
The app is free, with an option to upgrade to Duolingo Plus with a subscription rate that starts at $9.99 a month.
You’ll make a run for it—literally—when you use this fitness app.
It’s designed to help you meet your running objectives by keeping you engaged in a storyline with a zombie apocalypse theme.
The premise of the app’s storyline centers on you, Runner 5, as one of the survivors of an outbreak of zombie plague. Your mission is to gather supplies and information. Throughout your mission, you’ll encounter zombies, dangerous humans, and other hostile situations.
The story is delivered through narration and superb voice acting. All you need are your phone, a headset, and a bit of imagination to turn your regular run into an adventure.
While you’re running and listening to the story missions, the app is monitoring your distance and speed. Every once in a while, you’ll be prompted to run faster when you hear the words, “Zombies detected!”
The app is free, with in-app purchase starting at $5.99.
9. Plant Nanny
Many of us often forget to drink enough water. To correct this, this hydration tracker ensures that you’re drinking the right amount of water each day.
The concept of this app is that you help a plant grow with each glass of water you drink. There are different types of adorable plants you can choose, give a name to, and take care of.
You can activate the notifications feature to give you reminders throughout the day to drink up. When you neglect to drink, the plant starts to droop. However, the app will also admonish you if you drink too much water too fast.
The app provides suggestions for the ideal amount of water you need for the day, depending on factors such as your level of activity and vital statistics.
For users to stay motivated longer, the app also provides rewards and missions that you can do in order to reach your hydration goals.
The app is for free, with in-app purchases.
Final Thoughts on Gamification Apps
Achieving goals and doing chores can often be challenging and discouraging. But using gamified apps can help make things more interesting and fun to do.
We hope you found a favorite among the apps featured today.
If you’re interested in more resources related to self-improvement, you might want to check out the following posts:
Finally, if you want to level up your productivity and time management skills, then watch this free video about the 9 productivity habits you can build at work.