As an entrepreneur, you give everything in your work your best. But it’s also important to be the best ‘you’ in the rest of your life. That might sound flowery, but it’s solid advice, because if you’re not happy with your life and wellbeing, it’s hard to be in an optimum place for funding, growing, and scaling your business.
Often, it’s the little things, ideas, and aspirations that slip – through not being completed, or with you not getting started in the first place. Those little niggles can result in you feeling down, not taking the best care of yourself, and wondering if even the slightest bit of self-improvement will ever happen.
Fortunately – to use a well-worn phrase – there’s an app for that.
In fact, there are several apps, called habit trackers.
What is a Habit Tracker App?
The Streaks statistics screen
A sub-genre of apps is dedicated to the task of tracking self-improvement, isolating this aspect of your life from the clutter of your work calendar. Habit trackers enable you to infuse good habits into your daily routine (and eradicate bad ones), by way of basic gamification.
You define some habits – a daily spot of mindful meditation; making sure you take lunch; avoiding checking email after 9pm – and aim to keep the streak going for as long as possible. As successes rack up, the reward part of your brain is twanged and wants more. Before you know it, these habits become a part of who you are.
At the very least, infusing good habits – and removing bad ones – will make you feel better in a general sense. But this can also free up cognitive load, reduce stress, and provide space for you to work on more habits, until the point that you don’t need to track them any more.
The Best Way to Track Habits
When you first start tracking habits, don’t go overboard. You might like jumping in at the deep end, but that can end in failure, leaving you in a worse place than where you started. Instead, start simple and think small.
Rather than adding a dozen new habits, start with a maximum of three. Have one be something you can achieve with little effort. This ‘guaranteed daily win’ could be taking a vitamin, or spending 30 seconds doing breathing exercises. Similarly, don’t try to squash a daily hour at the gym into your already packed routine; start out with a habit aiming for a brisk walk three times a week.
Early wins of this type will boost your confidence, and you’ll become more invested in the habit-tracking system. Your stats will trend towards 100 per cent, and you’ll no longer break streaks. You can then add new, more ambitious habits, and potentially remove older ones from your app.
By that point, your phone will have been transformed into a force for good and self-improvement, rather than something that mostly means your work never leaves you.
5 Great Habit Trackers for Android and iPhone
Habitca, running on Android
There are dozens of habit trackers, and you may need to try a few to find the best one for you. This selection should cover most bases.
1. Streaks ($4.99, iOS)
This iPhone/iPad habit tracker mostly exists as a screen that displays six huge buttons. The app supports positive and negative habits, and buttons can also be timers for session-based habits. Tap the star and the interface transforms into stats mode, detailing your efforts as wiggly lines and bar graphs.
2. Grow (free, Android)
Minimal and simple, Grow displays habits as cards. Your current streak is outlined as a green bar, but also as a tiny sapling that eventually grows into a tree. The app’s stripped-back no-fuss nature is appealing, although be mindful it’s only suitable for daily habits.
3. Productive ($3.99 per month, iOS)
A more conventional iOS app than Streaks, Productive resembles a streamlined calendar. Once you’ve added habits, the app lists those scheduled for the morning, afternoon, and evening. Wins can be tracked in each habit’s calendar, brightly colored spots identifying successes.
4. HabitHub (free + IAP, Android)
This is the best Android habit tracker for those who require a combination of smart looks and plentiful options. For each habit, you can write a description and outline why it’s important, and schedules can be fixed, flexible, or repeating. Graphs and stats subsequently chart your progress.
The quirkiest app in this selection, Habitca makes a game of habit-tracking. As you meet goals, your avatar levels up, acquiring armor, pets, skills, and quests. Throw in your lot with friends, and you can keep each other accountable, while using swag from self-improvement success to beat up monsters.
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