Thursday July 11, 2019

There is a bunch of activities in my life which I highly value and look forward to see myself being engaged with them on a daily basis. Recently I decided to improve it by paying more attention to these things.

Habit tracking: know and motivate Yourself.

There are various habit tracking apps out there. At first glance You might perceive them as a motivational tool to actually build a habit. Is there any activity which You find valuable, worth investing Your time and attention? Would it be attractive (benefit-wise) to be engaged with it on a daily basis? If so, let it be a habit, performed, say, virtually every day.

Or maybe not? ...

How can You tell what time interval could fit You most?

Every day, or several times a week? How many times exactly?

I decided to take a slightly different approach here, which You could call “Let it speak by itself” :) . It works like that:

  1. Within Your habit tracking app set Your activity as a daily habit, don’t bother with wondering how often You should do it.
  2. Be engage in Your activity whenever it suits You: pay attention to it, keep in mind why You find it valuable - but don’t put any goal on Yourself, just do it whenever You feel like doing it - and check within the app whenever You did it.
  3. Over the time - say, a couple of months - You will be provided with a tangible insight on how credible and efficient You were in terms of following Your desired activities. Moreover, such a habit of checking the days in which You actually did any of those things - may act as a motivation itself: it doesn’t matter if You will be doing it each and every day - what do matter is that a sole habit of asking Yourself every day Have You done that?, may actually stimulate You to do it more often. And this is the most important trick I discovered in all of those things - which may lead You to more productivity and efficiency than putting any artificial goal on Yourself, without being 100% sure that it’s the best for You.

Another important thing is that the insight You gather after a while will give You a real idea of how often it would be the best for You to be engaged with some activity.

Back to the actual app: one day I’ve stumbled upon a recommendation of such a thing, called HabitHub, I gave it a try.

The app disgusted me by its unethical philosophy of reserving even such an essential feature like dark theme only to its paid version - but I stayed with it for a while (from February to early July 2019), until the other day (the day before yesterday or something like that) when I’ve discovered a really good alternative, called Loop Habit Tracker. It has a nice, clean interface which makes it pretty readable and even elegant-looking.

Loop Habit Tracker - main screen.

Furthermore, it’s much easier in use, stays more intuitive and user-friendly. There are actions which I’ve found difficult to perform within HabitHub (especially the first time when You need to figure out how to do it, app-wise) - while with Loop Habit Tracker the same things I've handled with no hassle at all:

How to preview or edit all the past entries?

Although the app allows You to handle the current week (check habits as “done” or “failed”) right off the bat - when it comes to reach all the past history, things get complicated. There is no straight indicator where to tap in order to preview the archive. Days are not scrollable. So You find Yourself confused.
A good while have passed until I finally have managed to find out how to do this pretty essential action (!). It is designed in a completely non-intuitive manner: You need to tap on a habit name (which is pretty small area) in order to see all the past months.

Here is how it looks within Loop Habit Tracker:

Loop Habit Tracker - main screen.

Checking philosophy.

Using HabitHub You can’t just leave a day unchecked, because the philosophy behind checking is much complicated (indeed, I suppose there should be no philosophy at all here): You should always check Your day someway: as “done” or “fail”, or You can even “skip”, it, add a “step” or “delete”.

Using Loop Habit Tracker the thing is much simpler: it comes down to the “check - or not to check” dilemma ;) . In other words, in case You haven’t managed to do Your habit today - it will be enough just to do nothing in the app (!) or to postpone the notification reminder by tapping Later (till it won’t display any further ;) ).

I don’t remember exactly what score I’ve accomplished during those months spent with HabitHub, and unfortunately I can’t check this out because recently I’ve had a factory reset on my smartphone, haven’t done any screenshots on this earlier on. But, based on my earlier check, I suppose it was something like this:

  • pure expression: around 30-35%,
  • reading books: around 20-35%,
  • Anki: around 35-45%;

Using a new app I’ve decided to add one more habit to track: writing (articles, blog posts, etc.) - because of definitely too many ideas lost due to putting them on the long finger...

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