Build a Habit Streak With Productive

graffiti of habit

Jerry Seinfeld has a well-known piece of productivity advice known as “don’t break the chain.” The idea is simple: you visibly mark on a calendar every day you perform some task–write a good joke, work on squats, write toward an article, learn TEI, whatever–and make sure you do it for several consecutive days. Then, you rely on the power of momentum: just don’t break the chain of days. Keep the streak going, and you will build a habit of prioritizing what’s really important–such as your academic resolutions!.

Smartphone users have several different ways to track such streaks: Anastasia’s written about Way of Life, and Amy’s covered Good Habits and Habit List. And those are good apps! Today I wanted to mention an app I learned about recently, slightly annoyingly called Productive (via MacSparky).

Productive is a well-designed app by Jaidev Soin, and it offers a very simple interface for adding and tracking habits, as well as setting reminders. Here’s what it looks like:

productive screenshot

This gives you an overview of your habits for the day. When you want to configure a particular habit, here’s the interface:


And if you want to look at statistics:


I happen to prefer the interface of Productive to, for example, Way of Life, as well as the simplicity of its presentation. Behind that simplicity is a pretty good array of fiddly options for customizing: habits can be scheduled for morning, afternoon, evening, or all three; can recur daily, weekly, or monthly (and on individual days in a week only); can have any of a slew of icons; can have reminders, or not, and can have recurring reminders (“boosts”) or not) … it’s nice. And you get a nice range of statistics about your habit streaks, as well.

Productive’s not a social app, but, as Anastasia pointed out in her discussion of Way of Life, that might not be the worst thing. One thing I genuinely regret is that–unless I’m missing it somewhere–there’s no way to export your statistics to, for example, a CSV file or something. If you were interested in doing a quantitative analysis of your habits, for example, this would not be the habit tracker for you. (It does back up your data as part of your regular iPhone backup.) But if you just want a clever, attractive goose to your motivation, Productive will do nicely.

It’s free-to-download with a maximum of 5 habits. A $3.99 in-app purchase unlocks infinite habits (the horror!), a light theme, and one or two other goodies.

Do you have a preferred habit tracker? (Especially, perhaps, one for other platforms?) Please share in comments!

Photo “Habit” by Flickr user Craig Paterson / Creative Commons licensed BY-ND-2.0

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