Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mindbloom Review: Grow Your Productivity

I just did some floor exercises. Usually, I would continue surfing abyss of the internet, not even really reading anymore, but scanning, but I was smart enough to recognize the diminishing marginal returns. That, and I wanted to water my poor tree.

You see, in Mindbloom, every time you complete a task that you've set yourself, a little rain cloud hovers over your tree and your tree gets 5-10% more water. Of course, your tree also needs sunlight, which can be accomplished by you viewing your inspirational quotes and pictures once a day for a 10% sunshine boost. If that's not enough sunshine for you, you can also add inspiration to your inspiration roll.

I like Mindbloom. I came across in lifehacker. It's like a productivity game. When I tried to get one of my friends to try it though, she asked me if I was trying to ruin her life. That's because "productivity game" is an oxymoron, and the danger is that you can sucked into the game part instead of the productivity part. You can also hack your own game. It is fun though, like Sims for your real life (which means that it caters to the superego instead of the id). Why get satisfaction out of making your Sim wash the dishes when you can grow a virtual tree by actually washing the dishes?

My boyfriend would make fun of me for the above statement, but Mindbloom works fairly well for me. I'm not interested in culling through quotes, pictures, and music to find the perfect montage of inspiration (though there are some nice quotes in there). This can actually be a downside, because my tree is skewed in terms of its water/sunshine ratio. I really just want to water my tree though. I get sad when its leaves turn brown (or red), even though I swear I've been more consistent about my goals than usual (maybe I'm just setting the bar too high?).

That's one of the nice things about Mindbloom. It has a built-in calendar so you can go back and check how consistent you've been completing your tasks. It can aid you in your quest to form a habit (research shows it takes 21 days).

Mindbloom can also replace your to-do list, as long as your to-do list has a lot of repetition built into it. You probably need a separate to-do list  though, for more specific tasks or tasks that you'll only do once (unless you just want an excuse to add it and water your tree).

Mindbloom is also tapped into the most motivating factor of productivity: the observation effect.

Okay, there has to be a better name for it. But people do tend to perform better when they know they are being watched. More importantly, if you have a companion who pushes you keep up a habit (as opposed to agreeing with you that it's better to sleep in than go jogging), or even push you to do more, you are more likely to succeed. Plus, it might just look bad to have a dead tree in your backyard. Mindbloom also allows you to send rain or sunshine to your friends if you've accrued enough seeds, which serves as a kind of virtual encouragement.

So that's the good. Now for the bad. Like I said, I don't like the inspiration gathering aspect of it. It might help some people, but it doesn't do much for me. Plus, adding new inspiration is a potential time-waster. My other critique is that Mindbloom doesn't have a button to let you water your tree more than once a day for the same task. For example, when I finish writing this blog post, I get to water my tree again. But what if I write two blog posts? If I work on Chinese for 10 minutes (one of my set tasks), I get to water my tree. But what if I work on it for 3 hours (which is really what I should be doing)? Of course, I can get around that by setting another task, like "write two blog posts," but then my tree might suffer because I never write two blog posts in one day, and the extra task makes my leaves bigger, which means that it needs more water.

Hopefully Mindbloom can add a feature that allows for watering more than once for a task a day soon. If not, it's not a big deal. My main issue is that there is no real ipad/iphone app for Mindbloom. They have a version called Bloom, but it doesn't sync up with Mindbloom on your computer, and it seems designed to get money out of you. I don't grudge them that much for it. After all, the company has to make money somehow. Unfortunately for them I won't be participating in it.

Now, if you'll excuse me. I'm going to water my tree.

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