A couple of years back when I was looking to up my lifehacking game, I came across this article at Lifehacker of all places, mischievously titled “Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret.” Since then I’ve come back to this article every now and then because Jerry’s advice here is pure gold.
He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.
”Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.
Even though the “21 days to form a habit” thing might be a myth, there’s clearly a benefit in doing the same task every day that helps it convert to a habit – however long it takes.
It can be anything between going for a walk, lifting weights or waking up early. Jerry has a huge calendar up on his wall that covers the entire year. He puts a cross across each day when he’s written his joke. Soon he has a streak going that he doesn’t want to break.
But let’s be honest. The idea of a calendar covering an entire wall sounds a little preposterous. Thankfully, there are apps to take its place.
Streaks is a barebone Android app where you add a task and then tap “Complete” when you’ve done the task for the day. If you have a streak going, the app will tell you about it.
Tap a task for options like setting a reminder (very helpful) and to delete the task.
The free version of the app lets you add up to 5 tasks. You can pay $1.99 as an in-app purchase to unlock unlimited tasks.
2. 7 Weeks
7 Weeks for Android takes the Seinfeld method of creating or kicking a habit. Once you’ve set up a habit and how long you want to track it and the reminders, the app will show a large 7×7 grid which is basically a calendar of sorts.
Much like Seinfeld’s huge calendar, hopefully seeing a streak on such a large scale will keep you going. Plus, the app also has a handy widget for quickly marking a task as done for the day.
3. Habit Streak
Habit Streak is probably the most feature-rich Android app for habit tracking. It has a great onboarding tutorial that explains the importance of habit tracking and maintaining a streak. Much like other apps on the list, you add a habit to track, and the app will remind you about it at the set time.
Unlike other apps on the list, Habit Streak will also show your performance in the form of graphs and charts. You can also manually add details for previous streaks. The paid upgrade will let you back up your data via Dropbox.
When it comes to habit tracking, HabitRPG is in a league of its own. If you’ve ever played a Role Playing Game you know you have to choose a character and complete tasks to earn points, then upgrade your character and so on. Now imagine an RPG game, but one based entirely on the premise that you complete the tasks you promised to build up habits. HabitRPG is available on Android as well as the Web.
Sounds fun, right? Of course, this is the kind of stuff that you can’t just jump in on. You’ll need to do some reading and spend some time setting up your profile just right. If the idea of HabitRPG intrigues you, check out the guide here.
What Habit Are You Trying To Form?
I’m trying to write every day and do at least 20 crunches. And I’ve also given up soda. What about you? Share with us in the comments below.