I have almost always turned to technology for assistance with my goals. Way back in 2004, I wanted to use blogging as a way to keep track of my thoughts and comments on online news and web sites. And I used blogging to help me stay accountable for writing my dissertation. I’ve been using various to-do apps for years (current is Any.do, but I’m trying out TickTick right now as well). My RSS reader (currently feedly) has been a great tool for keeping up with my field, the news, and even friends. And Mint has helped with setting financial goals. No tool is ever perfect, and as my needs shift, I’ve had to turn to new tools. Periodically, I evaluate what I’m using to see if it’s still working for me. My favorite tools tend to work across platforms–web and phone, maybe even a tablet–so that no matter what device I have on me, I have a way to access the tools I need.
As I’ve been thinking about what I want my goals for 2015 to be, I’ve been keeping an eye out for useful tools. I started by evaluating a new to-do app. Jury is still out, but I’m still with it. As luck would have it, I ran into this MakeUseOf article* on apps to help with various goals you might have. The very first app on the list immediately appealed to me. There are two things I know about myself: 1) I do not like to do housework (but I like a clean house; go figure) and 2) I love playing video games. The main thing I like about the video games I play is the element of randomness and change in them. Housework has none of that. It’s all about doing the same thing over and over, which annoys me. Why is there not an automated loop for it yet! Unfuck your Habitat is the perfect answer for me. I’ve tried other methods of gamifying housework: Chore Wars, FlyLady. But they don’t last because either I have to make my own list or the lists they have just don’t match what I need.
The very first item in the app is a random challenge. You can choose a 5, 10 or 20 minute challenge. If you don’t like the one they’ve given you, just click new challenge, and voilà, a new one appears. A 5 minute challenge might be to wipe down the shower walls and throw out empty shampoo bottles. A 20 minute challenge might be to do the ironing or do the dishes. They also have random challenges by room, so if you’re determined to deal just with the living room, you can do that. You can make your own list, and there’s a built-in timer. You can also earn achievements and get (un)motivational messages. There’s a companion web site with so much more. How sad is it that I’m now excited to start cleaning the house? I guess that’s the point.
So one possible goal facilitated by technology. Maybe I’ll find some more.
*Though the site is overwhelming, I find enough useful stuff there that I keep it in my feed.