Ways to gamify hygiene
September 27, 2022 6:12 AM   Subscribe

There are some hygiene tasks I don’t like doing. How can I make them more fun?

Here are the things I dislike, and the reasons why. I still do these things; my overall hygiene and oral health are fine. I just don’t like them and I always feel resistant to doing them.

Peeing in my workplace bathroom: the bathroom smells, it’s not very clean (this is not fixable - it’s often a port-a-potty at a job site), and at some sites, the stalls are so shallow that my pants touch the toilet bowl when I’m opening and closing the door, gross.

Brushing my teeth: I don’t like the taste or chalkiness of toothpaste, or the gagging feeling of brushing my tongue. (I still do it - I just hate it). I dislike mint but I also dislike the other flavours of toothpaste I’ve tried - they’re either too chalky (Japanese flavour toothpastes), too tongue-stingy (toms), or too sorbitolly (kids fruity gel toothpaste).

Washing my hair: this requires a time consuming detangling process which is very boring, and I hate the slimy feeling of cold wet hair afterwards. I also hate the noise of a blow dryer. My hair is happiest when it air dries which takes several hours. I clip it up or wrap it in a microfibre towel for as long as possible during the drying process.

Basically, I’m a cat- I like to be warm and dry and clean. Anything that feels wet or cold or dirty or “ruffles” me feels unpleasant to me. I have a bit of germophobia so I don’t like touching public bathroom surfaces. I’m also very attuned to my senses and reactions to things and like to optimize my experiences.

My overall mental health and hygiene habits are fine, and I still do all these things. I just notice how I feel and I don’t like to feel gross while doing such frequent and unavoidable tasks.

I’d like suggestions to make these experiences more enjoyable! Anything from practical (wear gloves) to external (pay yourself $5 every time you pee) to mental (you aren’t owed a pleasant pee, that’s just how life is and thank goodness you have plumbing instead of an outhouse). Open to all.

posted by nouvelle-personne to Health & Fitness (44 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
This boka toothpaste isn’t minty, too sugary or chalky in my opinion. Might be worth giving a shot. Also if you really can’t handle brushing your teeth, you can get away with flossing and some mouthwash (or brushing without toothpaste honestly).

If you can handle it/it makes sense, wiping down some of the port-a potty with some Lysol wipes may help. Consider putting Vicks under your nose and wear a mask- I hear it’s what medical practitioners do when up against particularly awful smells.
posted by raccoon409 at 6:20 AM on September 27, 2022

Do you have a Bluetooth speaker or shower radio or anything? Distraction might be good for getting through the tooth brushing, detangling, hair washing things. And generally making your bathroom as pleasant as possible, whatever that means to you. Fluffy bathmat, candles, space heater, essential oils?
posted by chocotaco at 6:30 AM on September 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

I don't know if this is helpful or not, but have you considered cutting your hair to make washing and drying simpler and faster? I cut off most of my formerly waist length hair a year ago, and it's made dealing with it so much easier. It isn't long enough to really tangle anymore, and even when wet it isn't really touching me. Having to go get it cut more often is kind of a chore, but it's so nice not to have to deal with seaweed hair.
posted by Akhu at 6:31 AM on September 27, 2022 [12 favorites]

I effing hate, hate brushing my teeth. I don’t know why. I’m having a pleasant evening reading and I remember that I have to brush my teeth, and everything is ruined. I bring my phone into the bathroom and blast whatever current music I’m into, since I haven’t yet figured how to read and brush at the same time; sometimes I’ll turn on the radio. Anything to distract me from the tedious, tedious task at hand that requires way too much concentration.
posted by Melismata at 6:36 AM on September 27, 2022 [3 favorites]

Detangle your hair in the shower with a wide-toothed comb while the conditioner is in. You can also do it with your head under the stream of water as you rinse the conditioner out. It will detangle easily and since you''re still actively getting wet you don't have that damp-hair-touching-me feeling.

But also, what's your haircut? I assume you have long hair, but do you have any layers? If you don't want to cut your hair short, you can get a long haircut with layers and it won't tangle nearly as much. I don't know why this is, but it's absolutely true. Also, layered hair feels less "messy" against your face. I don't know how to explain it, but when my hair is down and it touches my face, it just feels awful with no layers, but layered it is just much lighter and less gross feeling.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:44 AM on September 27, 2022

Post-surgery my hair washing took forever, so I bought a tiny waterproof speaker and made a playlist.

I also dislike most toothpaste's flavor strength and ultimately settled on cheap Aim brand because it seems to have less flavor. On the other hand, I bribe myself to floss with Cocofloss because those are better flavors. (Except the chocolate, that was a mistake, very chalky.)

As for work filth, do you change when you get home from work? Dedicate pants to Work Only? I get to wear scrubs so I accept they will have horrors upon them at times. The acceptance that some of my clothes are dedicated to Being Dirty goes a long way for me.
posted by cobaltnine at 6:48 AM on September 27, 2022 [3 favorites]

With respect to dental hygiene, I have never enjoyed manual brushing and have loathed flossing (mostly because I have very narrow gaps between my teeth which causes the floss to snap frequently). My solution has been a WaterPik cordless water flosser and a Sonicare electric toothbrush. They both have timing (an actual timer on the brush and the tank capacity on the flosser), which is handy for knowing when I've done enough. I've found them easier and more pleasant to use compared to the manual equivalents, and the fact that they do the job more effectively makes it even better. Both producers make shower-safe models, which may better fit your routine (Mrs. slkinsey uses hers in the shower).
posted by slkinsey at 7:13 AM on September 27, 2022 [13 favorites]

Have you considered brushing without toothpaste? The primary purpose of brushing is to dislodge any stuck food and any biofilm that's building up. That's a mechanical process the bristles can achieve without toothpaste. Toothpaste helps with certain aspects of it but if it doesn't work for you...afterwards perhaps use some mouthwash that is also designed to address specific concerns if you have any.

I never detangle my hair in the shower but afterwards with the help of detangling spray.
posted by koahiatamadl at 7:17 AM on September 27, 2022 [5 favorites]

Oh, also, CloSYS Sensitive is a very mildly flavored and gentle flouride toothpaste.
posted by slkinsey at 7:19 AM on September 27, 2022

Reward yourself. Put a check mark on the calendar for every unpleasant task you complete. At the end of the week, if you did every task, put a sticker on the calendar. 3 stickers - buy a book or music or your favorite xylitol gum.
posted by theora55 at 7:21 AM on September 27, 2022 [4 favorites]

Do you get bad breath when you don't brush your tongue? If not, or if you don't care about having bad breath sometimes, just stop! Tongue brushing is more of an aesthetic thing than a health thing.

I second the electric toothbrush - even though I probably actually spend more time brushing my teeth (because of that two-minute timer), it goes by faster.

I also second brushing with no toothpaste or, like, a borderline-homeopathic quantity of toothpaste. The toothpaste is for polishing and for covering up the gross taste of the food and plaque you're dislodging (and for fluoride, but you can get that elsewhere if you really need it).
posted by mskyle at 7:22 AM on September 27, 2022

Try looking for fancy hipster or ethnic toothpastes. Indian ones with neem or cloves have completely different tastes, Himalaya is a popular brand here in Europe, and Dabur is a common Indian one. Herbal "natural" toothpastes can also come in different flavours, like lavender or cannabis or birch buds or camomile. Might need special order, but frankly my neighbourhood chain drugstore stocks all of these except neem.

I've also gamified disliked hygiene chores by chaining them to other habits. My toothbrushing distraction is practicing standing on one leg to strengthen my ankles.

Hair-wise, letting it dry in a cotton turban is good for you! I wash my hair before bed and let it air-dry flipped up on the pillow, because yes, wet hair is yuck. I detangle in the morning with a Tangle Teezer.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 7:22 AM on September 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

I wash my hair before bed. Basically just wash it and put it in a microfiber turban for 15 minutes and then comb it out and go to bed. I pile my hair onto the pillow away from my neck, and never notice while I am sleeping that it is still damp.
posted by nanook at 7:23 AM on September 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

I'm with you on brushing my teeth. I have a tiny mouth and had lots of dental work as a kid and the idea of doing anything in my mouth is just really uncomfortable for me. Agreed on trying toothpastes/mouthwashes that are interesting to you. I really like toothpastes from Marvis because they have lots of interesting flavors and they're easy to get on Amazon.

For hair, not being glib, but I shaved my head in 2020 and it's changed my life for the better. Not having to worry about my hair at all – especially since I had very long, difficult to manage curly hair for the better part of a decade – has been amazing.
posted by anotheraccount at 7:26 AM on September 27, 2022

While it's true that brushing (especially with an ultrasonic brush) is effective at disrupting plaque without toothpaste, I would be wary of forgoing fluoride entirely. Fluoride is important for remineralizing tooth enamel, which is critical for cavity prevention. Potentially this could be provided with a fluoride rinse rather than toothpaste.
posted by slkinsey at 7:28 AM on September 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

I hate minty, sting-y toothpaste too, but I quite like Dr. Bronner's anise-flavored toothpaste. You could also make brushing your teeth about something else, like practicing balancing on one foot while your Sonicare does its job.

On preview, what I claim sanctuary said! Are we toothbrushing soulmates?
posted by HotToddy at 7:29 AM on September 27, 2022

On the "external" tip, I'm finding the Loop Habit Tracker Android app helpful for learning / tracking some new daily routines (at age 50!). You set up some tasks like "brush teeth" and then check them off when you do them. It tracks and displays scores, little charts, etc. Mostly I find the positive reinforcement of pressing the button useful. Also nice to look back and see how well I did.

There's a zillion apps like this. I like this one because the UI is clean and no bullshit and it's open source. I found a simple one works for me but there are also baroque gamified apps like Habitica.
posted by Nelson at 7:44 AM on September 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Oranurse unflavoured toothpaste (disclaimer, haven’t tried it yet).
posted by lokta at 8:10 AM on September 27, 2022

If you are able to have one installed, a little bathroom heater for the hair and for just being warmer when you’re hanging around in there has really improved my experience when I’ve stayed places that have one. They tend to be placed high up.
posted by lokta at 8:13 AM on September 27, 2022 [3 favorites]

Things that have worked for me as a person who is particular: 3M Aura N95 mask for situations where the air is not very clean (mainly because it reduces virus transmission, but it also reduces smells), very short hair, Kristen Ess unscented shampoo and conditioner (available at Target); electric toothbrush (tells me when I'm done with my two minutes), Tom's of Maine cinnamon clove toothpaste (not minty, includes fluoride), DrTung's Smart Floss (not minty, soft).
posted by dreamyshade at 8:14 AM on September 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Seconding Marvis toothpaste. The licorice mint flavour is delicious. It's much more aniseedy, not very minty at all, and definitely not chalky. I too hate mint flavours, so paying a bit extra for this is worth it for me.
posted by Orkney Vole at 8:19 AM on September 27, 2022

I read while I brush my teeth (I sit on the toilet or the edge of the bath and have the book on my lap). As long as my toothbrush (manual or electric) is narrow enough that I don't end up drooling, it's very rare for anything to get dripped on, and when it does, relative positions of head, arms and pages mean it's me not the book that ends up extra-minty.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 8:31 AM on September 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

I just cut my hair from mid-back to chin-length and will never go back. I don't even like my dry hair touching the back of my neck. I love that it dries quickly and doesn't tangle.

This may or may not help, but I have dental problems that have led my dentist to give me some prescription strength mouthwash and toothpaste. The mouthwash is antibacterial and also something else that helps prevent plaque buildup and gum problems. The kind I have is strongly minty, but what I like about it is that, at times when I don't feel up to brushing my teeth, I know that rinsing with it is actually doing a little something more than just covering up bad breath.

I keep dental floss picks in the drawer of my desk, near where I spend most of my waking hours. If I'm reading, writing, working, etc, I can just quickly floss after a snack or meal. They're small enough to carry in my bag as well.

My dentist has also recommended those between-teeth cleaners that are like little bottle brushes, for doing a better job between my teeth, especially where I have an implant. They don't taste like anything, and they do a great job cleaning in between teeth where your brush is always going to have trouble, and where most cavities are likely to develop. They are also handy to keep in a drawer, pocket, or bag, for using whenever and wherever they are most needed/easiest.

Sometimes, if I'm really, really not up to brushing, I wipe my teeth off quickly with a bit of cloth, like a bandana or something.

My other prescription item is a toothpaste that I am to use a very small amount of before I go to bed. Very small amount, brush with it, and don't rinse, to let its magical medicinal properties do their thing overnight. Mine is very mildly minty, but I suspect there are other flavor options, including no flavor at all (my dentist now offers no flavor as one of the scrubby options for cleanings, and I love it).

I have also sometimes brushed without toothpaste. Fluoride is important; it's in my mouthwash, so I am getting at least some even if I'm not brushing with fluoride toothpaste on a certain day.

I do try to brush twice a day. Given my poor dental situation, I should probably do more. I just like having a lot of options in case brushing just isn't in the cards.

As far as the bathrooms at work: it is also totally OK to carry nitrile or latex gloves like doctors use. My partner and I buy these for sex purposes, but the entire family puts on one or two for various reasons, all of us having sensory issues and/or germophobia to varying degrees (someday the kids will wonder why we keep the supply in the bottom drawer of my dresser in the bedroom, but that's OK). If you had a couple in your pocket, you could at least avoid touching the porta-potties with your hands. In some settings where handwashing is difficult, I do like knowing that when I take off a glove, whatever germs/decaying matter/hacked up cat stomach contents, etc, is coming with them.

I also use them to avoid getting odors on my hands, for instance from cutting onions.

Tissues, handkerchiefs that can be washed and re-used, the looser vinyl gloves you'll see employees at the deli use, and so on can also be used, depending on your comfort level and need.

I do plan to get both a waterpik and a fancy sonic toothbrush very soon. Recommended by my dentist, and by all my friends who use them. For me, they will be another tool in my toolbox, not necessarily the only thing I ever use.

Decades ago, my sensitivity to fragrances meant that I often wore cheap surgical-style masks in public. I always had one or two with me in case I needed one. There's nothing wrong with having one you can put on before you go into a bathroom; these are the places where smells are the strongest, both unpleasant body-related smells and eye-wateringly perfumed air fresheners and cleaning products.
posted by Well I never at 8:41 AM on September 27, 2022

I hate all these things (except maybe bathroom/peeing stuff). I don't know if any of this is helpful but this is what I do.

- tooth brushing - I only brush my tongue when I visit the dentist otherwise I don't do it. They say you have to brush your teeth for 2 minutes, so I find a song that is two minutes long that I like and play it on my phone. When the song is done, so is my responsibility. I use very little toothpaste and I use a gel that isn't chalky. In the past I've enjoyed easier-to-grip toothbrushes like the radius flex that I feel brushes more teeth at once.
- hair washing. I have hair down to my waist which I otherwise love. I get the best smelling shampoo and conditioner I can and a drain trap so that my drain isn't a hair clogged nightmare. I (and I admit this is weird) make little hair balls out of the hair in my drain and I keep them in a box and threaten to put googly eyes on them and mail them to my sister. This makes me amused when I am doing an onerous task. I have a shower speaker and listen to LOUD FUCKITALL music in the shower.
- hair drying. I don't know if you are somewhere where it is cold but I try to stay in a warm room while my hair dries, or I lie down and read (I usually shower at night) and fan my hair out on a pillow that I put elsewhere to dry after I am done with it. Or put a towel on the pillow and then same deal. I can not abide hair dryers and don't own one. I often put my hair in braids while it dries but this may not be your aesthetic.

Generally: I use a habit app to remind me to brush my teeth and I like to keep a streak going. I don't know about where you are but where I am hand sanitizer is basically free because there was so much of it made during early COVID times so maybe you can carry some with you (spray stuff especially) and bring it into the porta potty with you so it masks the funky smell and you can make sure your hands are clean. Possibly this stand-to-pee thing would be helpful if your plumbing lines up with it?
posted by jessamyn at 8:43 AM on September 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

As far as the gamification goes, like others up-thread, I do like habit trackers. I don't even need a reward. Just the pleasure of checking off a box is enough for me.
posted by Well I never at 8:44 AM on September 27, 2022

For hair drying, a blow dry brush instead of a blow dryer (this is the one I have and use, they go on sale all the time). It turns post-shower hair maintenance into a one-step easy process and is so much faster and less skill/attention requiring than a blow dryer.

I've also switched to the Ordinary's shampoo and conditioner and they basically do the detangling step for me in the shower and are unscented.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 9:13 AM on September 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

For drying your hair, have you considered using two microfiber towels? One for the first 10 minutes, then swap and squish a new one to absorb even more water? I know microfiber is good at absorbing but in my experience, it still can only absorb so much. You might also get a thick fluffy towel, fold it in half hotdog-wise and drape it over your shoulders so the wet hair doesn't touch you.
posted by purple_bird at 9:34 AM on September 27, 2022 [4 favorites]

I’m black with really curly hair and this Wonderbrush has made a huge difference is making it far quicker and easier to detangle my hair.
posted by girlmightlive at 9:40 AM on September 27, 2022 [4 favorites]

I am white with thin, fine, straight hair; apologies if the below is not applicable to your hair type.

I will be the nth person to recommend using a lot of thick conditioner and a wide-tooth comb (acetate, preferably) for easier and faster detangling in the shower. I have very fine, thin hair and was always told to use little to no conditioner, but my hair is sooooo much healthier now that I use a luxuriously heavy one, every shower, root-to-tip. (I also use a tiny amount of leave-in conditioner, but my hair is so fine that the trial-and-error process to find one that works was kind of onerous. YMMV.) I have much less breakage now, which means way less tangling. It’s incredible, and I can’t believe I was 36 years old when I figured it out.

Anything else you can do to baby your hair will also keep tangling and breakage at bay: gently squeezing only to dry, sleeping in protective styles, varying your clips and clip placement, never using elastics, etc.

I also found that my hair dries shockingly faster if I comb it upside down after I take it out of my microfiber head wrap. In other words, I gently unwind the towel with my head upside down, squeeze in the leave-in conditioner while still bent over, then gently comb through (starting with the roots and working my way up) while my hair is hanging in front of my face. When I’m done, I gently flip my hair back as I stand upright again.

My hair now dries in literally a third of the time compared to my old method of just combing my hair straight back (because the hair is lifted up away from my scalp and the hairs themselves are more separated), and even better the wet strands are lifted up and off the back of my neck, too, so they don’t hang all heavy and slick against my skin.

Apologies for all this detail if you already do this or it’s not relevant for your hair type! But I never thought I could comb my wet hair upside down because it was so tangly, but it turns out that with proper conditioning my hair handles it just fine. And the reduction in drying time was a total game changer.
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 9:55 AM on September 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Tom's also has a kids' strawberry fluoride toothpaste that's inoffensive. (I can't bear the taste of a sweet toothpaste.) Dr. Tung's cardamom-scented floss is so much more pleasant than alternatives, nice and soft and yet never getting stuck like other flosses, plus cardamom! Tongue-cleaning is better done with a tongue scraper, no tongue-pokey bristly toothbrush, no toothpaste needed, which helps, and it's fine to use it only when needed, unlike brushing and flossing.
posted by metonym at 10:16 AM on September 27, 2022

Also I always read a book while thoroughly brushing my teeth and flossing. I use my ereader so I don't have to hold it open. It's more fun and keeps me from getting bored and stopping sooner than I should.
posted by metonym at 10:21 AM on September 27, 2022

Tom's also has a kids' strawberry fluoride toothpaste that's inoffensive.

My five year old son hates mint and he's asked to try and I've bought him every kid-oriented-flavoured-toothpaste in existence and the ONLY one he likes is the Tom's strawberry. He hates all the colgate and crest etc. strawberry flavours. So here's a second voice that the Tom's may be somehow different than the other non-mint flavours.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:15 AM on September 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Work unpleasantness: Dab lavender oil, cologne, or a scented balm beneath your nostrils before your trips. Carry disinfectant wipes for the front of the bowl, or put one or two toilet seat covers down the front. (I linked to a portable wipe/plastic biodegradable cover kit; if conventional paper covers are ever provided, I think you'd anchor the ends beneath the very edge of the seat to avoid any urine wicking.) Use gloves in either instance.

Dental: No matter the flavor of the paste, a smaller toothbrush with softer bristles might help.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:53 AM on September 27, 2022

I use DIY toothpowder. Salt, xylitol, baking soda, and you're done. Omit any of these three if it means you'll use it. Deliver to your toothbrush with a tiny salt spoon.

Optional: add any flavor you like. I recommend any of the following essential oils (which can be found in Listerine) - mint, thyme, wintergreen, eucalyptus.
posted by aniola at 1:35 PM on September 27, 2022

Oh, and sing "you brush your teeth" (or whatever the chore is) to the tune of a catchy jingle. When you sing the catchy jingle, you have to do the thing.
posted by aniola at 1:36 PM on September 27, 2022

I don't hate showering, but I do find it a time-consuming annoyance. Same with toothbrushing. So I do them at the same time in the morning, and then in the evening I read while brushing my teeth. It can be done! My teeth get REALLY clean - especially if it's a good book. (pro tip: use a soft toothbrush, overbrushing can be bad for you).

For the wet hair part, I have arranged not to have very much hair to bother with most of the time. It's about an inch all around, and dries in ten seconds after I run a towel over it.
posted by invincible summer at 3:25 PM on September 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

When my hair was longer I'd put conditioner in then run a wide-toothed comb or a detangling brush through it, starting at the ends first and working back up in sections. Then gently rinse the conditioner out without using any scrubbing motions. Now wear it a bit shorter and it doesn't require the same attention, although I still prefer the detangling brush and threw out all my regular ones.
posted by Coaticass at 4:40 PM on September 27, 2022

I have the same hair problem! I wash my (mostly straight) hair right before bed, wring it out as much as I can, braid it so it’s touching less of me, and then go to bed and let it dry while I sleep. It’s still damp in the mornings, but not wet enough to set off my sensory issues.
posted by spiderbeforesunset at 7:21 PM on September 27, 2022

Sometimes when I’m brushing my teeth I’ll stand on one foot when I brush the top inside and swap feet for the bottom inside - something else to do. I bet calf raises or squats or something would work too.
posted by Occula at 11:03 PM on September 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Ask your dentist if you really have to brush your tongue. Mine said I did not, as long as I brush and floss my teeth thoroughly and use mouthwash. (I like Tom's Whole Care, because it's not too tingly and has no alcohol.) That stopped my gagging issue almost completely, which makes tooth brushing much more pleasant.

I also bought a $20 space heater for the bathroom any time the ambient temperature in my apartment is below 80°. Turn it on about 10 minutes before you plan to get in the shower, and leave it running until you're done getting ready. Makes everything feel so much cozier, especially when you're wet.

And I agree, speakers anywhere you're doing these tasks. A waterproof shower speaker is like $9, and then you can listen to music or audiobooks or NPR or whatever you like. It's a good distraction, and makes you feel less like you're wasting time.
posted by decathecting at 3:45 PM on September 28, 2022

I had to look up tongue brushing, because it sounds so unpleasant I couldn't believe anyone would recommend it. I tongue scrape on an as-needed basis, which can still be gaggy but is only one direction of motion and you can get an impressive amount of gunk out with only two scrapes.

I have a quip toothbrush, which gives you 30 second warnings for each quadrant of the mouth. That's been helpful in helping me tune out while also ensuring a decent cleaning.

I used to have very long hair and got it buzzed this summer, which I can't recommend enough. Barring that, I have several sentimental T-shirts I've outgrown that I keep around just to wrap my hair in after coming out of the shower (and squeezing it gently with a towel). It keeps my hair corralled away from my neck and captures a lot of moisture. I take it off to finish air-drying. Something I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere in this thread is using warm towels to handle your hair - either straight from the dryer, if you have one at home, or getting a towel warmer. You could wrap the warm fuzzy goodness around your neck and shoulders while your hair is air drying, for some insulation, or see if rubbing with a warm towel would help your hair dry faster.
posted by snerson at 8:46 PM on September 28, 2022

I hate washing my thick, shoulder length hair (well, getting it dry is really what I hate). I’ve solved this by getting my hair washed and dried once a week at a local salon. It’s a bit of a splurge but totally worth it to me, I get so many compliments on my hair now! (My hair and scalp can go 6-7 days between washes, ymmv)
posted by girlalex at 10:37 PM on September 28, 2022

I've been using an app called Finch as a sort of gamification of my to-do list. You're a little bird that goes on adventures and you earn currency to buy clothes and decorate your house. There's a paid upgrade, but they also have a program where you can apply for the upgrade for free. I haven't done that, but did pay for the upgrade. I used it about a week with the basic version and liked it so much that I went with the paid.
posted by kathrynm at 10:13 AM on September 29, 2022

I've been thinking about how to gamify port-a-potty use, so maybe some of this will help. These are all variations on "add up your points during the week, then give yourself a really good reward when you reach X points." (Alternately, you could do levels at the end of each week: x points = level 1 reward, x + y points = level 2 reward, etc.)

--Start by noticing the features of different models of port-a-potty. You can assign each model a certain number of points (worse = more points), or get more complicated and assign points by feature. The more distress for you, the better the reward! (Yay?)
--You might also be able to add points by the day of the week, if you can figure out the cleaning schedule for each job site. So, you can add points for the number of days after the last cleaning.
--You could also just assume that the overall experience will get worse over the week, and make adjustments to your points accordingly.
--For the dealing with the smell, ugh, you could try to predict how awful it's going to be based on whatever factors you like (weather, number of people working on the site, day of the week), then assign an "essential oil level" for that day. Like, a small site in cool weather might rate just a wild orange, and a busy site might be orange + lemon + peppermint.
--To go along with the essential oils to counter the smell, you can get something like this lava stone bracelet; the lava stones hold the essential oils.

The thing I noticed while thinking about this is that some of these ideas involve you observing what's going on more closely, which, yuck, right? But the act of observing might also create a little mental distance, which could make using those port-a-potties suck just a little less. Good luck!
posted by orange (sherbet) rabbit at 8:02 AM on October 1, 2022

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