I need a very simple habit tracker
February 5, 2020 6:03 AM   Subscribe

Is there an IOS habit tracker (with bonus points for an Apple Watch version!) that doesn't use the calendar-streak method?

Here's what I want: an app that will let me set up some tasks that I want to complete every day. When I wake up in the morning, the icons for those tasks will be yellow (or, in some other way, show that they're not yet complete.)

If I complete a task, I can click, causing it to turn green (or indicates in some other way that the task is done.)

If I fail to complete a task, it turns red (or displays some other warning sign), but I can instantly make it turn green again by clicking it.

I don't want to be told I have a successful 19-day streak going, and I don't want to be told I've skipped 3 days. I find that sort of info discouraging and anxiety-making. If I break a long streak, I feel like I've ruined something and lose the will to continue. I just want to know if a task is pending, done, or overdue.

I actually built something like this for myself with an arduino, but it's not very portable. I'd love an iPhone version or, better yet, a watch version, and I'll code one myself if I have to. But I'd prefer to just buy one if it exists.

Example, in case it's unclear: I forgot to meditate yesterday, so the LED (which is what I use on the arduino app) is now red. But if I meditate today and click the button next to the LED, the LED will turn green, and everything will be good. There will be no record of me ever having lapsed. So my universe can go out-of-whack by me failing to do something, but i can completely restore it by doing the task. My goal is just to keep all the LEDs green--not to keep endless streaks going.
posted by grumblebee to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
And you specifically want the green/red thing, so Reminders is out?
posted by zamboni at 6:16 AM on February 5, 2020

Best answer: So, I kind of made something like this? Not exactly, but I'll describe it in case there's some way here that it can be made to be more like you want.

I have a Fitbit Versa Lite, which is smartwatch-ish. There's an app for it called Webhooks which, as the name might imply, provides me an easy way to hook into If This Then That tasks. With the Webhooks app, I made 4 buttons for my watch: meditation, logging food, going to the gym, and turning my screens off at 10pm. I used ITTT to create tasks whereby when I tap one of those four buttons, it creates a record in Airtable just logging that that task is complete and the date. I have slightly incentivized myself here, so Airtable increments a count by 1 every time I complete a task and then it sends me a text message when I get to $number. And then I buy myself a video game :D
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:19 AM on February 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I don't specifically care about red/green. What I care about is not seeing any indication of how many days I've been on a good or bad streak. I just want to know whether or not it's overdue. Something like this:

Exercise - Pending
Take Pills - Done
Meditation - Overdue
Healthy eating - Pending

If I click a task, it changes from Pending or Overdue to Done. Pending means it's not yet done for today. Overdue means some number of days have elapsed since I did it. It could be one day. It could be a thousand days. It doesn't matter. Clicking the task will immediately set it to Done, and the next day it will be Pending again.

I don't care how the app indicates Done, Pending, and Overdue. It could be colors or whatever.
posted by grumblebee at 6:37 AM on February 5, 2020

Best answer: I use TinyBlu for something like this. It has the red-(yellow)-green light you mention. You can set how quickly a task will go from green to red. For example, I can set a lifeline so if I do not feed the dog it will go red in one day (and I'll get an email)*. Or if I were to set a lifeline for "clean the car" it could be green for a week, yellow for another, and then turn red when it gets to "okay Gray Duck you need to do this".

It's a website, not an app, but it works very well on my phone. I just put a link to it on my phone desktop and use it like an app.

* I would never actually forget to feed the dog
posted by Gray Duck at 6:38 AM on February 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think many apps that do this will be marketed as to-do list apps rather than habit trackers.

Todoist has a combination of features that I think will do what you want. You can set recurring tasks. You can view which tasks are due or overdue. And there is a special kind of recurring task whose behavior is "Each time I complete this task, schedule a new one for X days later." (If you want a daily habit-type task, X=1, and you'd write this as every! 1 day.)

This special kind of recurring task is useful because it keeps overdue tasks from building up. If I have floss every! 1 day as a recurring task, and I skip a week of flossing, I won't have seven overdue tasks telling me to floss — just one. But as soon as I complete that one task, it will be put on my schedule again for the next day.

Does that seem like the kind of behavior you want?
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:43 AM on February 5, 2020

You could set these up as every day recurring tasks in ToDoIst and it will work exactly like you want it to.
posted by bleep at 6:44 AM on February 5, 2020

Best answer: This is pretty much what I use the built-in Reminders app for. I have a separate list called "Did you...?" filled with things I want to get done every day, and if I don't do it by its scheduled time, that item turns red, and I can just shrug, mark it done and hope I do better tomorrow. Definitely works with Watch, one less third party app to deal with.
posted by sageleaf at 8:45 AM on February 5, 2020

Best answer: I used to use Aloe Bud on iOS for this. You can set up a list of habits you want to track, and it doesn't track streaks at all... it only tells you if you did something today, yesterday, or last week, and the only other indicator is that the icon for a given habit within the app turns a "faded" color if its last completion was more than a day ago. You can configure reminders as you please (I didn't use them at all because even well-meaning notifications drive me up the wall, if they're not messages I absolutely need to see.) There is no record of habit lapses and you can instantly "repair" it by just doing the thing, so, there's no sense of loss that comes with the other habit-tracking apps where your 78-day streak or whatever is gone.

The downside is that I don't think it's being maintained anymore, so it may eventually stop working entirely. No Watch app, either. But I had similar needs to you and I found it useful for those.
posted by Kosh at 8:51 AM on February 5, 2020

Best answer: Due is what you want. The reminders are gentle and repeat, and you have to get stuff done. I use it for routine things that need to be done daily/weekly etc. On android, Regularly is pretty close but more guilt inducing with days overdue - Due just keeps gently alerting but no tracking.

Todoist could do this but you’d have to do a bit more setup and Due really does exactly this without the scolding.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 12:43 PM on February 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

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