The Apps That Trick You Into Being 50% More Productive

Playing Angry Birds can actually be good for your brain. Here's how gaming apps can make you more productive.

Discipline is a vicious cycle.

The Apps That Trick You Into Being 50% More Productive

So many of my personal and professional problems could be solved if my willpower was stronger… The catch is that the only way to become more disciplined is –well– to become more disciplined.

My brain is like a big fat guy who walks straight past the fresh veggies section in the supermarket in order to stock up on salty, fatty, favorites. It’s not that I don’t know what’s best for me, it’s that I’ve already established bad habits and the only thing harder than starting a habit is breaking one.

But what if you could trick the fat guy in your head into thinking that the healthy food he needs to eat is actually a juicy cheeseburger? What if you could take away the pain of transitioning from one set of habits to another, turning discipline into a game?

The good news is you can (otherwise this would be a really short article), and there are a number of mobile apps specifically designed to make this process easier. They tap into the concept of gamification; turning mundane tasks into a game increases participation and motivation. And gives you a physical level of achievement.

Here are the apps you’ll need to get the job done.


Formerly known as Habit RPG, Habitica, is a browser game with a smartphone app that turns your everyday activities into a role playing game.

Just like a traditional RPG, players design their digital avatar, customize his/her weapons and armor, and add skills and abilities as they progress. Unlike battling the monsters you’ll find in a traditional RPG, Habitica users succeed by crossing off items on daily to-do lists and investing in desired habits. It’s a different kind of monster…

Players can form parties (perfect for workplaces) and work together to take on enemies. The whole party benefits from a win — but they’ll also suffer if someone is lagging behind. This creates a built in sense of team accountability; something that’s perfect for startups. And they integrate with Slack and Trello – bonus!

Super Better

Super Better is an app to help you achieve your sweat inducing, gigantic life goals. Giving up smoking or losing weight would fall under that umbrella. This app functions similarly to Habitica, but here the “bad guys” are your own bad habits. Your allies are friends you’ve enlisted to keep you accountable.

Super Better places emphasis on tracking your physical and emotional health as you progress. You earn points by completing your to-do items in smart and practical ways. This game is all about overcoming weaknesses and becoming an everyday hero.

Game Effective

Habitica and Super Better are good choices for achieving personal or professional self-discipline. But Game Effective was designed with business productivity in mind.

The idea is that setting team and individual game goals will harness the intrinsic competitive urges people have. Studies have shown that this boosts overall performance – for everyone. The style is similar to the other two; using a narrative (a Formula One race to the finish line, a battle where you want to defeat everyone else) goals are achieved by finishing real world tasks.They use dashboards with detailed metrics to motivate teams.

Game Effective also integrates with most business enterprise apps. This means you can attach it to the CRM your sales team uses and watch them square off as their data gets synced. It’s also compatible with Yammer, Salesforce, Zendesk and more.

Companies currently using this include Microsoft, eBay and Yahoo! Microsoft achieved 100% engagement by using it at a sales engagement summit. “The user statistics were amazing” said Gabriel Morgan, Director of Strategic Planning at Microsoft. “It’s a simple and fun method to motivate participation in events where we need the full focus and cooperation of large teams.”

Check your compass

These apps might seem simple, but the gamification effect is real, and if you give them time you’ll see rewards. For instance, Spotify and Living Social noticed a 90% increase in employee participation when they added gaming elements to their end of year reviews.

I know that getting started is difficult, but I believe it was the acclaimed modern philosopher Shia LaBeouf who once said, “JUST DO IT.”

That first step is tough, but hopefully the destination on your horizon is big enough to make it possible. If you’re having trouble motivating yourself then perhaps your destination isn’t somewhere you really want to be.

Once you’ve figured that out, these apps will help you on your journey.

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