iPhone and iPad

CARROT: A To-Do App Gamifying Productivity or a Sadistic Robot With a Sense of Humor [iOS]

Saikat Basu 25-03-2013

carrot to-do listThere are to-do apps and then there are to-do apps. The universe of GTD (Getting Things Done) and task productivity has seen all kinds. Looking for a simple one? Get a pen and paper or for our digital lives make the most of the Notes app 5 Tips For Making The Most Out Of The Notes App [iOS] In any application round-up - mobile or otherwise - about work, education or GTD, you'll see the most advanced conglomeration of note-taking applications. Often, the applications already present on the operating system are ignored. Likely,... Read More . Looking for a neater solution across platforms? Let me recommend Wunderlist Wunderlist - The Best To-Do List Application On The iPhone [iOS] Wunderlist is one of the simplest ways to keep track of what you need to do. It has an elegant user interface that just makes sense. Anyone can pick it up and figure out how... Read More .


But what if all this seems so ho-hum and what if you are looking for something that really pushes you…forces you to get rid of the sloth in you and turn you into a productivity beast?

Then, there’s CARROT. Available on the App Store for $0.99. The best way to describe this iOS app would be to call it a productivity app with a quirky sense of humor. It is definitely a fresh take on the way we look at the things to do and our weaknesses that makes us look to an external application to motivate us towards that end.

The To-Do App with Mood Issues

Did I write this right? You bet I did because the developers themselves think that Carrot (dropping the all caps name from here on) is cyborg, and I think a female one. As they say in their blog – CARROT is just as much a game as she is a to-do list.

Carrot is definitely one of the more unusual productivity apps out there. The only one I can remember that was unusual in this category was Randone and I don’t think it exists anymore. But Carrot is a nice successor because the makers have spent some effort to give her an individuality all of her one that makes her stand apart from the crowd. Guess I have fallen under her spell because I am gender defining her here.

But does she live up to the build-up and like my wife pushes me to live a better more efficient day? Let’s find out.


Slackers Beware – Be On Carrot’s Good Side!

carrot to-do list

Carrot starts off like any other minimally designed app – appealingly simple and without any learning curve whatsoever. The instructions in the initial few screens give you an insight into her personality.

carrot todo app

Carrot comes with three basic instructions. To create your first to-do list you simply have to swipe down and release to open the Command line where you can type your tasks in one by one.


As you start completing or delaying the tasks on your first to-list on Level 1, you come to know that Carrot has six different moods, ranging from joyful to wrathful. The premise is simple – you complete your tasks and Carrot is happy. You slack off and Carrot starts to get cranky. The idea always is to complete your tasks as you have outlined in the to-do list and keep her happy.

carrot todo app

Completing tasks also moves you up the levels as Carrot starts awarding you points. Points vary according to tasks and her mood.

Clearing tasks also entitles you to rewards as you climb up the levels. Initial rewards are simpler…like wisdom on how to prioritize tasks and not get overwhelmed with too much to do.


carrot todo app

As Carrot unfolds her story, rewards also get more promising – there are nearly 300 unique rewards according to the developers. They say the rewards are of different kinds and are tailored to the situation. For instance, reaching Level 15 could unlock mini-games.

You can check out the list of rewards by going into the menu and tapping on Unlockables. At present, Level 100 seems to be the benchmark of peak achievement. Achieved rewards are indicated by a check. There are some mystery rewards indicated by ‘???’. Rewards keep the to-do list interesting. The list will be updated periodically, so if you are on a roll expect to enjoy a variety of rewards as you level up.

carrot todo list


But it’s not always hunky dory because Carrot has a sadistic streak in her. She is rude to a fault and can take you down a peg or two. And that too when she is supposed to be in her jolly mood!

carrot todo list

Carrot has a fun side too. For instance, you can make her dance and sing – seriously! Just type “dance for me”, or “write me a poem” on the command line (preceded by the qualifier CARROT) and watch Carrot obey you, if only for a minute.

carrot to-do list

Carrot also has stories…and we as characters are supposed to play it out and get work done in the process. Presently two chapters have been released and more will be in future as the app evolves. The story also morphs according to your achievements on the to-do productivity side of things.

Carrot Gamifies Productivity with Humor

If you remember, James told you about tools that use gamification to make your life better Tried And Tested: 3 Gamification Tools That Try To Make Your Life Better I'm a big fan of gamification, truth be told. I'd even go so far as to say our entire society should be gamified, with pleasures in life reserved as rewards those who actually contribute. Apparently... Read More and Justin showed you how HabitRPG HabitRPG Makes Improving Yourself Actually Addictive Change your habits for the better by tying them into challenges in a role playing game. Level up for doing things you know you should and lose hit points for indulging in habits you know... Read More works. Carrot also follows the same principles but I think with a lot more personality and verve. You don’t expect to come across a rude, bossy app especially after your PAY for it! But that’s Carrot for you.

As a to-do app, it is minimalistic with barely any features – no checkboxes, no time slots to tick off and no feature to look at your completed list and gloat till you reach a certain level. But it’s about a push turning into a shove so you can get off the seat off your pants and do something about your procrastination.

I am betting here that you will enjoy Carrot more for its nasty side rather than its good one. I am not going to reveal much more…go to the App Store, swipe your card for $0.99 and get Carrot to kick off your productivity. Oh, do come back and tell us how you find this ‘really different’ productivity app.

Related topics: GTD, Procrastination, To-Do List.

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  1. MustDoToday
    June 17, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Hi :) What about Must Do Today?

  2. macwitty
    March 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Seems to be worth a dollar!

  3. Dhruv Sangvikar
    March 26, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Please please find something such as this for android! :)

  4. null
    March 26, 2013 at 3:23 am

    Heh, search images of "with the force of 1000 suns" to see where that reference 'came' from, NSFW!

    • Saikat Basu
      March 26, 2013 at 5:37 am

      I do see your point :)

  5. newrum
    March 26, 2013 at 2:10 am

    It's appearance and swipe system reminds me Any.do. I really love that app however it doesn't get mad at me for postponing something at least 10 times:) So want Carrot on Android too; I need some discipline, I think.

    • Saikat Basu
      March 26, 2013 at 5:36 am

      Oh yes, Any.DO is excellent. One of the best apps on Android. But it is very "gentle" and "polite" :)

      • Max
        March 26, 2013 at 10:32 am

        Any.do doesn't have many options for lists, so I'm stuck with wunderlist :/

  6. Antriksh Yadav
    March 26, 2013 at 1:46 am

    Might as well call it GLaDOS.

    Also, why do you describe it as "cyborg"? The sentence seems unclear to me. Anyway, doesn't cyborg mean part human part machine?

    • Saikat Basu
      March 26, 2013 at 5:34 am

      It is a word play...it "seems" to have emotional intelligence...I hope you catch the drift.

  7. Max
    March 25, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Android! Web! Mac! Every single platform BESIDES IOS PLEASE!

    • Garris Rago
      March 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      Perhaps you were searching for it on the iPad? I was, and couldn't find it. If you select iPhone apps it's under that, its the same when you make it larger but the graphics become worse, it doesn't really matter much though with this sort of app that doesn't have any fancy graphics.

      • Max
        March 26, 2013 at 10:33 am

        Um.. no.. I never mentioned any of that in my comment. Maybe if you scroll down, it would clear some things up \/ \/ \/

    • Antriksh Yadav
      March 26, 2013 at 1:45 am

      Why "BESIDES IOS"?

      • moaex
        March 26, 2013 at 1:47 am

        I phrased that semi-incorrectly. I mean that along with iOS, no exclusivity to iOS.

    • Saikat Basu
      March 26, 2013 at 5:35 am

      Ha..ha..don't I wish! But I use both Android and iOS, and it may be a personal opinion, but iOS apps look far better as finished products.

      • Max
        March 26, 2013 at 10:31 am

        Meh, that's just because iOS is fully developed and there are multiple design patterns android devs have to keep up w/. But this app is so cool all the same, I feel jealous!

        • Saikat Basu
          March 26, 2013 at 1:45 pm

          I don't think it's because Android is fragmented. If you look at the two companies and all their products, it's very clear that Google does not pay so much attention to design. Apple under Steve Jobs were fanatical about it.

        • Max
          March 26, 2013 at 7:15 pm

          Not very true at all. I think that is a matter of opinion.

          Android's roots started very technical and google has been working hard to make it even easier and slicker to use.

          Remember, android is an open-source project, not as closed as apple and apple might use lots more of its profit to soften the sharp corners.