Over the past month I’ve been accomplishing a bunch of little things that I could never seem to make stick before.
I’m talking about elusive little habits like flossing, practicing Spanish, checking my posture, writing regularly, meditation, exercise and more.
In the past, I had tried to remind myself to do these things in all kinds of ways. I tried adding them to my regular to-do list. I built spreadsheets. I sent myself emails. I wrote sticky notes.
Nothing worked for long. Either the things I wanted to do would get lost among other tasks, or I would forget to use the new system I devised.
Finally I found an iPhone app that has made it ridiculously easy to create and stick to new habits.
The app is called Balanced. Here’s a 30-second intro:
This free app ($3.99 to upgrade) makes adding goals and habits simple and fun. The reminders are gentle and well-timed. The design and interface are beautiful and minimal.
Of course, for any habits-focused app to work, you first have to get in the habit of using the app itself. To tackle that, I reorganized my iPhone significantly. I placed Balanced in the persistent bottom bar so I’d be aware of it constantly. Then I turned off all other badges and notifications on my phone. After just a couple of days, I found myself checking in multiple times a day to see what I should be doing.
I’m not one to want yet another to-do list to check, but this exception makes a bunch of sense. Balanced is for recurring habit-forming tasks and goals. I focus on behavioral goals in this app, mostly personal stuff. It’s not a place to add one-off tasks or track projects. This is a different kind of animal.
There’s just one small improvement I’d love to see in Balanced. Some items I only want to do on the weekends, and others during the week. Balanced lets you specify how often you want to perform something, but not on which days of the week. Perhaps saying “5 days a week” is the same as saying “Monday through Friday” in practice, but it seems like I’ve been caught late on a task even though I didn’t even intend to do it during that stretch of days.
I really love this app. It has directly led to many new habits I hadn’t been able to create otherwise. It has made all of my 2015 goals and more seem very attainable. Between this app and productivity journaling, I’m feeling more capable and productive than I have in years.
Have you used Balanced? If not, I highly recommend giving it a shot. I don’t know the developer, I just really believe in the approach and results.