HabitRPG: My New Favorite Task Management Application

Oh dear, it has been a while since I have written.  I have been deeply immersed in my Japanese studies lately, which has not left a lot of time for keeping up with my blog articles.  Time management has always been a bit of a difficulty for me, as I have discussed in previous articles, such as Where Did the Time Go and Developing a Routine.

I have found that I really do need the assistance of a computer program or app to help me keep track of my tasks, even rather basic ones.  I am terribly forgetful, I am afraid, and I would be a complete disorganized mess without some sort of computerized task list.  Even with a computerized task list, I can be a disorganized mess, but I think I would be worse without one!

I have been on the search for the perfect task management program or application since my very first Handspring Visor became obsolete.  (Handspring was a competitor of Palm, which is also quite obsolete now).  When I had my business, I did use Microsoft Outlook, which worked well for a time.  Once I got a smartphone, it became more difficult and complicated to keep the smartphone synched properly with Microsoft Outlook.  I was able to manage the calendar through Google, but the tasklist was a bit of a mess.  That does seem to be the way of things, doesn’t it?  I still have not found a word processing program that works nearly as well as WordPerfect 5.1 did.

I have been using Toodledo recently, which is a very nice application, and syncs well with all of my devices.  A few weeks ago, a dear friend casually mentioned HabitRPG, and it seemed intriguing, so I investigated.  The premise of the application is to treat a person’s daily routine as a role playing game, complete with a class system, experience points, gold, and equipment to buy.  It is quite fun, and I have found it quite motivating!

My HabitRPG avvie, with current stats

My HabitRPG avvie, with current stats

Aside from being motivating and fun, HabitRPG has been working well for me as a task management application in its own right.  I find the visual layout clean and attractive, and it works really well for daily tasks.  One of the difficulties with daily tasks on a regular task management program, is that if there are days one can not get to ones tasks, they start to become overdue, and really creates a bit of a visual mess, which makes it difficult for me to get back on track.  HabitRPG unchecks one’s daily tasks at the end of the day, with consequences in terms of Heath Point loss for the ones that are not complete.  If one is unable to do her daily tasks because of illness, vacation, or any other reason, she can check herself into the Inn, which freezes all the daily tasks as is, with no consequences.  The nice thing about that (at least for me), is that when one checks out of the Inn, all of her tasks are there, still visually clean and neat…without messy overdue dates!

There is are social options, such as a party and guild system, which is another really nice feature.  Sadly, it is quite limited with respect to managing monthly and weekly tasks, so I still need to continue to use Toodledo for those.  I do have coordinating HabitRPG with Toodledo as a daily on HabitRPG though…which ends up being an nice rather easy daily to obtain experience and gold!


Stitch by Stitch

I learned (or relearned) how to crochet about 6 years ago and then learned how to knit about 5 years ago.  Looking back, I think that this may have been an unconscious step on the journey that I am now consciously undertaking.  For myself, there is something deeply feminine and purifying about making something beautiful with my own hands.  Knitting and crocheting have also taught me some valuable lessons.

One of the more important lessons that I have learned from yarncrafting is patience.  Everything that can be created in this fashion must be created one stitch at a time.  There is really no other way to do it.  Even something easy like a basic dishcloth takes several hours.  Making something larger can take weeks, months, or even longer.  There is no real way to rush it along.  My fingers will only move so fast.  The project will take as long as it takes.  Eventually, though, if I keep working on it, the project will get finished…one stitch at a time.

On the other hand, even though I can not rush the project along, it will only get completed if I keep working on it.  To my chagrin, I have many abandoned projects and yarn that I have purchased for projects I have never started, which are cluttering up my back porch.  One question I have often been asked by people is how long a project takes.  That is a really hard question to answer.  Only the very easiest projects can be completed in one sitting.  Most projects involve working on it in snatches of time over a much longer period.  While some of it depends on the difficulty and size of the project, but some of it also depends on how many snatches of time one devotes to it.

The nice thing is, though, that even though projects can not be complete unless one is actively working on them, one can start again at any time.  I just started a sweater.  I purchased the yarn for the project a few years ago, and I had chosen the pattern.  I just never started it.  Yet, when I decided to start it, the yarn and the pattern were all ready for me.  So, I have finally begun the project, to be completed stitch by stitch!


There are so many things in life like that.  I am finding that to be the case in reclaiming my hestia.  There are so many projects that need to get done, and it can be really overwhelming!  If I think about all the things I have to do, I will go hide in my room and not do a thing.  Yet, if I slow down and work on my projects, stitch by stitch, they will eventually get completed.

There are several task management programs out there.  When I had my business, I used to use Microsoft Outlook.  Now, I am using a program called Toodledo, which is a free, cloud based program.  The nice thing about it is that I can set up tasks to repeat themselves daily, weekly, monthly, or whatever interval is right.  When I have large projects to do, I have started to make those projects daily repeating tasks.  Each day, I try to work on a least a little bit, even if it is just 5 or 10 minutes.

It may seem like only working 5 or 10 minutes a day on something would not accomplish much, especially when one has a big project.  Often though, I find that once I get started, I spend more time than that each day, and even if I do not…the project still gets done faster that way than if I am not working on it at all!  Last fall, I managed to finish the project of cleaning the closet in this manner.  This spring, I am tackling the project of cleaning the back porch!

Oh yes, and it by starting the project of cleaning the back porch, that I found the yarn for the sweater I had planned several years ago!  I wonder which will get finished first, the back porch or the sweater?

A Productive Day

Yesterday was the second day of our new year, and I am rather pleased that it turned out to be quite a productive day.

My spouse and I started the day by packing up the car with boxed up and indexed files from my former business to take to storage.  We had just enough room in the car for all of the boxes, so we were able to manage to take them in one trip!  The drive to the storage locker was a rather long one, as it is near my former office location, so we went out to breakfast before the drive.

SAMSUNGAside from bringing the old files to storage, I wanted to take an rough inventory of what was in storage.  I have to admit it was a bit overwhelming, and the inventory ended up being an acknowledgment that it was a mess.  Still, almost as a reward for taking the step of bring files to storage, I found some exciting things.  One of which was a book that I knew I had, but had been missing for a long time.  I had been looking for it for over a year, and lo and behold, it was in one of the boxes in storage.  The book was an astrology text by Ibn Ezra, The Beginning of Wisdom.  I am not sure how it found its way to storage, but, I between moving my home and my office in the past few years, and it must have accidentally gotten in one of the boxes that went to storage.  I also found a lovely lamp in storage that I am now using as a bedside table lamp.

SAMSUNGAfter the storage locker, we did some shopping.  I started to get the urge to find a physical calendar/date book.  Now that I am no longer in my former business, which required me to keep close track of the American calendar, I am sensing that it is time to start becoming more attuned with the calendar of my religion.  I had looked online for blank, adaptable electronic calendars, but I was not able to find any.  I did set my Google calendar to Japanese, but that is still not the same.  The only options for the starting day of the week were Saturday (Rhavedi), Sunday (Rayadi), and Monday (Candredi).  None of these options work for this year, as the starting day of the week for us is now Friday (Sucridi), for the Year of Sai Sushuri.

SAMSUNGI was able to find a beautiful personal organizer at the office store that was adaptable enough for my purpose.  The calendar pages are blank with respect to the months and the days.  They do have the days of the week set, but they are not too obtrusive so I can cross them out without looking too messy, and overwrite them with the Janyatic glyphs for the appropriate day of the week.  I had considered using the Japanese kanji for the weekdays.  I decided against that for a couple of reasons.  One of the reasons is that I am not as comfortable handwriting the kanji.  I felt slightly guilty about that, until it occurred to me as an astrologer, it is good for me to frequently look at the Janyatic (and planetary) glyphs.

The personal organizer has a section for a monthly view, which only had room for twelve months, and the Filianic calendar is thirteen months.  On the other hand, it occurred to me that Moura is not truly a thirteenth month in the calendar, but is a month out of time.  Hiatus, of course, is truly out of time, but there is a quality of separation to the month (and season) of Moura as well.  So, our calendar is not truly 13 months, but 12 months + 1 month.

SAMSUNGOf course, on a practical level, the month of Moura is still in time, so I will need to keep track of dates during that time, but the organizer does have weekly pages as well, which I will likely be using much more for day to day planning.  I am going to include the planetary locations on the calendar as well, as I will need to be more aware of the location of the planets on a daily basis now than I had been.

???????????????????On a less serious note, my spouse found a lovely flower tape dispenser to help decorate my home office for my new business.  It might be a little silly, but I do like it!

SAMSUNGOverall, I think that this was a wonderful start to a new year!

Cleaning the Closet

It has taken me a few weeks, but I have finally finished the project of cleaning and organizing our closet.  The way the house is set up, we only have one closet, but it is a rather large walk-in closet.  While walk-in closets are wonderful, there is a temptation to start just throwing things in the closet, and a temptation that we have and do succumb to.  When this happens, a walk-in closet can be a frightening place that harbors closet monsters.  Closet monsters hold one’s clothes hostage out of fear of opening the closet door and letting the monster out.  Or if one braves the closet, one must run the risk of injury when walking in as the monster grabs one’s feet and ankles!

Anyways, I finally summoned up the courage to take on the closet monster.  Rather than trying to tackle it all at once, I tried to do a least a little each day, and I did manage to do some on most days.  I am finding this an effective way to manage larger projects.  While I might get overwhelmed when I think of doing the entire closet, I find I can manage to muster the courage for small tasks.  Eventually, the small tasks come together, and one can see the end in sight.  At this point, I find that I start to have renewed energy, and then one day, I decide to just finish the task!

As a part of this project, I had to sort through my clothing.  Over the past couple of years, I have begun the process of changing how I dressed.  I am now to the point where I only wear dresses and skirts, and I no longer wear pants.  It took me a while, because I had to acquire enough dresses and skirts to manage.  We do not have much in the way of money right now, so I had to acquire these things slowly.  Happily, we have a plus size resale/consignment shop near our house, so this has made things a little more affordable.  Actually, aside from the affordability, I am finding it easier to find clothing in the style I am working towards at resale stores than I can at other stores.  The newer clothing often seems rather poorly made, in addition to the styles being rather unpleasant.  Some day, I hope to lose enough weight to fit into clothing at regular resale or antique stores, but for today, this store has been quite a blessing.

While I have been slowly acquiring skirts and dresses, I still had kept my pants.  I wondered if I might want to go back to them, so I did not want to cross the Rubicon just yet.  With the closet project underway, it was now time.  So, I took the plunge, and I removed the clothing I no longer wore from my closet!  In the midst of this, I also went through my dresser drawers and culled them in a similar fashion.  I took several bags to the Salvation Army dropbox, and I took the nicer clothing to the resale/consignment shop I talked about above to sell.  There are a few stray items that need to be ironed before they can go, but that is in process as well.

So, now I have a nice clean and organized closet, which I am rather excited about.  I can now retrieve my clothing without having to risk injury or invasion from the closet monster, and I have a place for my winter boots.  

Maybe this will give me the courage for one of my next projects…tackling the much bigger and nastier back porch monster! 

Developing a Routine

As I am settling into being primarily responsible for taking care of the house, and all of the tasks and chores that go with it, I am finding time management a bit of an issue.  I am also working on developing an astrology practice, continuing my astrological and metaphysical studies, learning Japanese, and writing for three blogs.  I am considering working on a fourth blog, which would be devoted to an astrology practice.  Additionally, I want to be available to visit and spend time with my grandmother, who lives upstairs from me and to maintain social relationships.  There are also several projects I would like to complete, such as cleaning out the closet and the back porch and writing an astrology book.  Oh yes, I am also working on handmade gifts, and I would eventually like to learn how to sew.  Whew!  Strangely enough, I am finding I have less time now that I have closed my previous business, not more!

To Do ListI wrote a previous article about my time management woes, and I think that part of the difficulty is developing a new routine.  Routines are quite helpful, at least for me.  The reason for this is that it cuts down on the amount of decisions one needs to make.  I know that there have been times that I have wandered about the house from room to room just trying to decide what to do next!

When I was working outside the home, I used time management software to keep me on track.  It finally dawned on me that I can use that same time management software with all of my current chores, tasks, projects, and plans.  I have always liked Microsoft Outlook.  I have tried other programs, but that is really the one that works best for me.  One of the reasons I like it is that I can set up the visual interface Outlook Today to only show me the tasks for each day at a time!  I can also set up tasks on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, and it will pop up on that schedule.  This means that when I open up Outlook each day, my tasklist is all ready for me, without me having to think about it each day.  I also feel a sense of accomplishment every time I check off a task on the list!

I am also learning to feel comfortable with doing a little at a time.  There are some really big tasks like the project of cleaning out the closet and the back porch which seem daunting and overwhelming.  I am trying to work on them a little at a time each day.

I do not know that I am actually accomplishing more, but I may be.  Developing a routine is helping me feel a bit less overwhelmed and minimizing the amount of time I spend wandering through the house trying to figure out what I am doing!


Where Did the Time Go?

Where did the time go?  I think I say that every day.  I usually say that about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, when I have not gotten to even half of what I had planned for the day.

Grandmother ClockOne may think that one of the authors of a weblog of this nature would have a perfectly clean home, with dinner on the table right on time, and with all my tasks completed at the end of the day.  The expectation may be even greater in that I do not have children, but only three cats.  Surely, I could keep up with everything.

Sadly, that is not the case.  Right now, I am contending with a dish monster because I did not do them last night.  I had to quickly iron a shirt for my spouse, because she needs at least one to wear for work tomorrow.  I had to leave the rest of the shirts for tomorrow.  I did the laundry last Saturday, and it is almost Wednesday, and I am just now getting to the ironing.  Oh yes, some of the shirts are left from last week.  I still have a closet and a back porch filled with boxes of stuff that has not been unpacked since about 2 years ago, when we moved into this house.

Aside from that, I am struggling to make myself finish with the business I am trying to close.  At some point, I do think I need to get serious about getting my astrology practice off of the ground.  Oh dear, I should probably do the charts that I have promised friends and family first.

Oh yes, I did want to learn Japanese.  I started a while back, and I have a book to learn hiragana, but I have not touched it in a couple of months.  I also have Dr. Lee Lehman’s Medical Astrology book I have been working my way though, but I have been working through it for months.  I also want to read Ptolemy and Aristotle.  I am also trying to work my way through Little Women.  Oh yes, as I mentioned in my last post, I want to get started on my holiday gift making.  I have gotten one and a half fingers done since my last post.

There is a quote from the Christian written tradition, “The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Sadly, that applies to me right now.

If I were a more practical person, I would probably read books about time management.  I have read those books in the past.  I have also received some wise guidance from a wonderful mentor.  The reality is that I am not a very practical person.  I would love to be, but I really am not.

I might not be all that practical, but I do have some knowledge that can help me.  Given that my trouble seems to be time, I know that time is governed by the Janya (or Filianic Angel), Sai Rhavë.  Sai Rhavë’s planet is Saturn.  It just so happened that I just went through a Saturn opposition and Saturn has just crossed my Ascendant, moving from my 12th House to my 1st House.

What all of this means, for those who do not know astrology, who are probably most of the readers of this blog, is that I have been and am still facing the lessons of Sai Rhavë right now.  Astrologers generally consider Saturn a malefic, and so she is, at least on the physical level.   Despite this, I have learned over the years, that while Sai Rhavë can be a rather harsh and severe taskmistress, she can also reward those who learn and practice her lessons.

One of these lessons is that of humility.  I need to accept I can only do so much, and that it may take me time to learn to manage the new routine.  The routine of a housewife is much different than the routine of the workplace.  One generally does not have specific deadlines or anyone giving any guidance as to what should be done when.  Sometimes just making a decision where to start can be a challenge.  I am physically out of shape, and I am not one with a lot of physical energy in general.   My knees can often only handle so much.  I am also not a very organized person in general.  I don’t know how many times I have come up with systems like task lists, only to spend more time on the system than I do on doing the tasks.

Rhavic MaidAnother lesson is that of patience.  Things are going to take as long as they take.  When I started this, I had illusions that in the first month I would have the house completely organized, have my old business finished, and have my new business at least off of the ground.  I guess that was a bit unrealistic.  Sometimes, I feel like I am not making any progress at all.  I think one of the tricks to patience is to be happy with small victories.  One of the small victories I am having is learning to cook.  I am slowly adding new things to my repertoire.  My latest is meatloaf.  I was rather proud of myself yesterday when I managed to have the meatloaf and all of the sides ready at about the same time, and I managed to get everything on the table without a major panic.  It is a small victory, but one must take the victories she can get.  I have also managed to write fairly regularly for this blog and the others I write for.  I think I can take that as another victory.

One of the most important lesson of Sai Rhavë, though, is the lesson of persistence.  I need to just keep going, a little at a time, without giving up or getting discouraged.  That can be the hardest lesson of all.  I am fortunate in that my spouse has been mostly patient with me as I am fumbling through the changes.  She tells me dinner is good, and she is generally supportive of my efforts.  Money is a bit of a worry, but I think that money is always a worry.   I just need to keep plugging away a little at a time and trust and have faith.  I have to do my best, and hope that my best is enough.

Thank you for reading through my worries and woes.   I hope you are all not completely disillusioned by these confessions.