Hooked on your smartphone? We have a productivity and concentration Lifehack for you!

I am a 25-year-old student from Berlin and I develop Apps (surprise!). Even I totally agree that smartphone usage is becoming a huge problem.

Largely known newspapers around the world like The Guardian or The New York Times are writing about a huge problem in society right now:

So, here we are in 2018. The society is getting “sick”, there is no place where people are not using their phones constantly. Are they to blame? That’s a whole different story for another day. But here is the thing: we can fight our phone addictions! We can change our individual habits. I can’t promise you that it will be easy… but at least it will be fun. I developed an App for that and it got featured by Apple as the App of the Day & New App We Love!

Introducing the gamified productivity timer “Donut Dog App”

Whenever you want to accomplish something and you don’t want to let your phone come in the way, open the Donut Dog App and focus. Start the timer and produce donuts with the donut machine as long as you don’t use your phone. Level up, upgrade your recipes or machine and compete with friends. Wow!

The problem with productivity apps in app stores

Before I dive into Donut Dog, let me first explain why I even saw the need to build it. I think there are plenty of well designed and good time tracking, Pomodoro or other habit building apps out there.

But… they are all implementing the same thing again and again in a slightly different but similar look. Not many app developers in the productivity niche really think about a different design. They copy each other. I always delete productivity apps after a few days because they look and feel like a productivity app: boring.

Why Donut Dog is different… and better

First of all, Donut Dog does not feel like a productivity app. It feels and looks more like a game.

In other words, it’s a game where you level up just by running a counter clock. It’s a game that rewards you for not using your phone and focus.

Why did I design a productivity app as a game? Well, games are always fun and thus motivating, right? Who needs another boring productivity app on their phone? I don’t. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

To undergo the change from a boring productivity timer app to a fun game I needed to do a lot of work. I could and did not want to use the standard UI components that you see in every second app. Every screen, every component, everything you see is “handmade” and designed by myself. You will find tons of details packed in the app like little celebration animations, fun Focus (the dog) images, and sounds. Also, the UI text, notifications, and popup messages are always changing. Making it even more fun to use.

Donut Dog does not only need to look like a game but also feel like one. So I had to come up with some motivating game mechanics! For that, I designed a user-level system, a social component (add friends), daily challenges, quests, a virtual currency with gems and coins as well as some stores to spend them.

The rewards, animations, and notifications in the app act as simple endorphin triggers. They should condition people to not use the phone too often. Like Pavlov’s Dog from the 1890s ;)

The gamification behind Donut Dog

Let me walk you through the game system and features of this special app. You will see, that it is far more than a productivity app. It is indeed a game… but with a productivity purpose ;)

  • Every X minutes you run the machine aka timer, you earn donuts

  • Each donut you produce earns you XP (experience points)

  • You need a specific amount of XP to reach the next level

  • If you add friends, you see your friends current Level and can compete

  • A daily challenge board shows you available challenges and their rewards

  • Achieving challenges earns you special donuts, coins and/or gems.

  • Quests reward you for producing specific donuts with gems

  • You can spend coins or gems to:

    • buy new donut recipes that enable you to produce new kinds of donuts

    • upgrade the donut machine to produce donuts faster

    • buy one time upgrades for the machine to increase rare or epic donut drop changes

    • upgrade your donut recipes so that each donut gives you more XP when you produce it

    • customize the look of the app with new app backgrounds

So, curious to use it yourself? Download Donut Dog, test it out and let me know what you think!

Best, Patrick

Download Donut Dog on the Apple App Store Download Donut Dog on the Google Play Store