Whether it's a calendar, a paper agenda, or a digital organizer, odds are you have some way of keeping yourself from becoming crushed by the weight of responsibility. In grade school you are given a school agenda for this purpose, though in a true mark of irony, I would never remember to utilize it. It's easy to forget about something so boring, but part of being an adult means doing boring things like grocery shopping, taxes, and in this case, keeping yourself organized. This is what led me to discover a growing trend of video game themed organizer apps.
In this article, I'm referring to a mobile app for Android phones called LifeRPG. There is an expansive selection of similar apps for both Android and iOS, each with its own different styles and features; but I don't have the time to try them all, so let's stick with this. The primary purpose of the app is to set tasks known as "Missions" to be later completed. These missions operate in the same way that most video game RPGs do with quests. You complete the task and are rewarded with experience points, as well as a "digital currency" referred to as Gems.
Experience points work towards leveling up your "character," which is you. The more missions you complete over time, the higher level you will become. The amount of experience you are awarded is based on the degree of difficulty, urgency, and fear of the task in question. You can also set skills; missions with a certain skill attached to it mean that skill will also gain experience upon completion. Every time I finish doing the dishes, I get a little closer to leveling up my Chores skill. You can create as many skills as you want, and call them what you want. Right now my highest skill is the Job skill, probably because I work too much!
While there is no in-app reward for leveling up, the freedom of real life means you can reward yourself however you please though if you do require a reward system, the game also has something for that. When you make a new mission, you can set the amount of Gems you will receive.Gems can then be redeemed for Rewards via the tab of the same name. The player can set any number of reward options for themselves to purchase using the Gems. This can range from "go out to eat" for 100 gems to "buy that hackey sack collection you've been wanting" for 300 Gems. This allows you to set a system to reward yourself for being a responsible adult who does all their tasks.
Repeating missions can allow for a recurring sense of satisfaction for completing something that you grow tired of doing. "Grinding dailys" transforms your boring work job into a reliable source of Gems and experience.
These kinds of apps essentially allow people to treat their real-life duties as video game quests. And if the /R/outside community of Reddit is any indication, people enjoy pretending life is a video game. There's a certain air of fun to asking each other when the Dinosaur DLC will be reinstalled.
The merger between video games and personal organization are nothing new. While the idea of LifeRPG may be relatively new, we can see the association as far back as the original Game Boy. InfoGenius released the Personal Organizer for the Nintendo Game Boy in September of 1991. This "game" was a digital organizer program for the handheld console. This is essentially the opposite of the current trend, being an organizer inside of a game instead of a video game themed personal organizer. My favorite feature of the InfoGenius Personal Organizer is the full functioning calculator.
Interestingly enough, there is virtually no evidence of a physical organizer with a video game theme. The trend seems to be entirely digital. This may be because of demographic interest; those interested in video games are less likely to use a physical organizer over a digital one.
While the idea of "gamifying" someone's responsibilities seems like a childish gimmick at first, the reality proved to be nothing but a good thing. It felt satisfying to see my writing skill level up whenever I finished a new article, or to see my mission log clear up as I completed my final task of the day. Having an engaging and relatable way to keep oneself organized can lead to a greater peace of mind and more enjoyment out of completing otherwise uninteresting tasks. If you've found yourself looking for something to help motivate you to get your mess together, then I recommend one of these apps.