Hey everyone, this is Jill from the Northwoods. If you listen to me here or on my podcast, you know I love productivity. I love productivity books and applications. I also like habit tracking.
A lot of times, when I fail at my habits it tends to be because I forget about them and not because I lose interest in them. Or I’m willfully trying not to get them. I settle down at the end of the day and say, “Ah, work is over. Now. Which TV can I watch? What video game can I play, or book can I read?” It never strikes me that I had a list of things I wanted to do as habits.
Todoist is a great app, and it is what I put my big projects in, my daily tasks, taking out the trash and ensuring I complete these podcasts and get them uploaded in time. I also track things around the house and the obligations I have with my friends.
Even though you can create daily habits inside of Todoist, I find it clutters up the fundamental goals and big projects I’m trying to work on in Todoist. <habits.png>
So instead, I take my habits and use an entirely different app. And this app has been around for a long time, and I’ve used it for a long time. This app is called Streaks. It’s available for iOS and Mac, and it’s available on the Apple Watch too, either through the application on the watch or complications.
First, it’s a very pretty application. You have all sorts of choices of icons and colors when you’re creating a new habit to track. Notifications are involved because it wants you to stay on top of things. It will do it in a friendly but only in a slightly pestering way. It has that perfect balance where you don’t feel annoyed by it, but you feel like you’re reminded about it.
Streaks Integrates with HealthKit
One nice feature of Streaks is that it can automatically track specific goals that it’s taking right from the Apple Watch. For example, events like how many steps have you taken, measuring your heart rate. In your HealthKit, if you’re recording things like your blood pressure or other statistics, it can also track those.
Do you want to run five miles three times a week? It can follow that too. It’s very good at figuring out what it can gain, either by taking in data automatically recorded through the Apple Watch or HealthKit or by writing data so that you can track it in the HealthKit.
Are you interested in making a particular habit every other day or every other month, once a month or once a year? Would you like to do it multiple times a day? <Burn.jpg> <HealthKit.png>
Reminders and Statistics
I like to do stretches twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening before I go to bed. I can easily set those two targets. It reminds me of the morning and the evening.
It does long presses so that you can get to settings. It has a very nice layout, so you can see your stats to check how you are doing.
Are you improving your habits? Are you declining in your habits, or maybe you just maintain a steady pace? It’s very visible and very easy to read. <stat.png>
Syncing and Negative Tasks
It syncs across all your devices.
There’s even this concept of negative tasks. For example, a negative task might be I want to stop drinking coffee. The task is automatically checked from the beginning of the day. Then if for some reason, you had a cup of coffee when you were trying to quit, you can uncheck that task, meaning you broke your streak by doing something you should not have done.
It’s handy when trying to get that reminder to keep up with your daily items.
There’s a light mode and a dark mode. It is also possible that you can share tasks and create an owner. There are several shortcuts inside the tasks if you want to do some automation with them. That’s neat. I haven’t gotten into automation yet, but I’m excited to try.
The tasks kind of fall into three different buckets. The first type of task is related to things that your Apple Watch or HealthKit should pick up. For example, it could record if you got your minutes of exercise, burn energy, and energy deficit (how much did you eat versus how much did you burn). Did you work out? Did you stand up enough? Did you climb a flight of stairs? Did you swim today when you promised yourself that you’re going to swim three times a week? All that stuff picks up from the Apple HealthKit.
Other HealthKit Tasks
Then there are some other habits which are based on health activities. So those will be tasks like brushing your teeth, washing your hands, weight, blood pressure, glucose score, or other measurements you will record in the app. It will go right to your HealthKit so you can track it in Streaks too. If you’re entering your nutrition data using another third-party app, I happen to use MyNetDiary.com. But other people like My Fitness Pal. When you accomplish them, they are automatically checked off. If you decide that you want to exercise three times a week, it’s keeping track through your Apple Watch and checking that off automatically when you accomplish it.
The third type of task you can create is basically unrelated to healthcare. Timer tasks help you keep track of getting a minimum amount of effort completed. For example, let’s say that I want to read a book for ten minutes a day. You will set the timer when you’re ready to begin that task, and the app will let you know when your time is up.
Change or Pause Your Tasks
There’s also an easy way of converting your tasks. For example, if at the time you created a task, you weren’t recording something in the HealthKit, but now you are, you can switch that task over to be the appropriate kind of task.
You can even pause a task. For example, if you were running and hurting yourself, you would break your streak of exercise! So, you can pause that task knowing there’s no way to accomplish it. Then when you’re ready to go back to running on the beach, you can start it again, and your tasks will pick up right where you left them.
Create New Tasks With A Template or Without
It also makes it easy for you to create new tasks. It has a bunch of prewritten tasks like walking the dog, common exercise, and other habits people commonly like to do when measuring their habits. You can always create your habits and make them something unique. Because it has so many suitable icons, it’s very easy to see exactly what it is you’re trying to get done.
It also has some notifications. As I mentioned, they can be based on time of the day, or as x-many times during the week, month, or year, whatever you’d like to track. You can even have it be a location-based habit completion if you’re someone who wants to go to this area and go for a run. If you’re pretty sure when you get to that location, you’re going for a run. You can mark that task automatically complete. Maybe the location is your gym, or perhaps it’s at a place you’d like to volunteer, but sometimes you got to push yourself a little just to get there to do the volunteer work.
Widgets, Screen Integrations and Siri
It has widgets that you can build into your phone and works in the Notification Center on Mac. I can see everything I have not yet done between my watch, my phone, and my MacBook. It helps you focus on what needs to be done. You can also hook it up to Siri to quickly start a task or mark one as completed. You can also protect the app with Face ID if you’re worried that someone will start completing your tasks.
Some habits I like to track – I have bins I’ve been going through and trying to get rid of old stuff. Every day some of those bins must go out in the trash. I make sure that I pray for a sustained amount of time where I have quiet to focus. I make sure that I clean something for at least 10 minutes every day. It helps me keep track of that, along with the exercise, the good eating, and the other habits I wish to keep going.
There’s another app that’s available called Streaks Workout, and it is related to this app, and it integrates with this Streaks. It’s only available on your watch, iPhone, or Apple TV.
The idea is that you will create multiple workouts on your phone. Maybe you would like a light workout or a heavier workout. You program them into Streaks Workout, and it’ll keep track when you start one of those workouts.
For a bodyweight exercise, it will give you timers for each of the exercises. Maybe I must do two minutes of push-ups, four minutes of squats, five minutes of stretches, and six minutes of mountain climbers.
Then it’ll save your workouts to your HealthKit. It’ll count towards your rings and syncs across all the devices. If you have it on your Apple TV, you see your workout on television or look at it on your phone or your Watch.
Create and Use Workouts
If I have a goal of doing push-ups every day, when I do those push-ups, it will track inside the Streaks app that I accomplished the overall goal. That makes the integration nice. You can create new exercises. For example, if you want to row for a specific duration, go for a hike or run. You can create your own if you’re looking to do some sort of kettlebell exercise that the app didn’t have. When you make a workout set, it will pick six of the exercises inside that workout. It automatically has four workouts for you, so you don’t have to think about it. Their difficulty classifies them. But you, too, can create your own workouts.
Random Exercises Without A Choice
What is a little bit weird about the workouts is that it will randomize the exercises, and it will take the duration of how long you say it takes you to do a push-up. Then it multiplies it to give you enough time to do ten push-ups. What if I don’t want it to randomize? What if I want it to be in a set order? I want to do a warmup, and then I want to go hiking for 20 minutes or running for 20 minutes? Then I want to do a cool down afterward. I can’t set up this dedicated plan. But I could create a stretch workout, a running workout, and then another stretch workout and run all three of them in the correct order. It would be nice if it gave you the option of not being random because this is the exercise I want to do, and I want to do it in this order and make the app enforce that order.
The random nature of it can be nice because it can help make exercise a bit exciting. Trainers have the pattern of you working from larger to smaller muscles. If it’s random, you can’t set that pattern. So if you’re looking for something that will enforce a body plan, this might not be the app for you. But, on the other hand, if you’re looking for something that will help you keep track of your habits and give you a bit of random exercise so that you can keep it exciting and a little bit loose so that it never gets boring, this might be the proper workout app for you.
Integrates with Streaks
What’s nice is that as soon as you log into Streaks Workout, it asks you what kind of notifications you want. Maybe you’re looking to be notified every day to remind you to do your exercise, or perhaps you just want to be reminded if you’re going to miss your streak. That way, it’s a little less on the notification side and maybe a little more friendly. It also asked if it’s okay to integrate with an Apple Music account.
So overall, I think Streaks is a fantastic app. I like how it works. There’s nothing I dislike about this app. It helps me keep track of all the goals that I have on a day-to-day or week-to-week, or month-to-month basis. And I like Streaks Workout too.
The Mac app costs $4.99. The iOS app for iPads, iPhones, and Apple Watch also costs $4.99. The Streaks Workout app costs $3.99. Family Sharing is allowed by all the apps. The company is called Crunchy Bagel, and they seem to be good eggs who respond to their customers and have great reviews. I hope this helps you track some of the habits you’re trying to keep on top of. It’s one thing to get tasks done, but daily habits are hard to do and hard to follow up. If you’re anything like me, who just wants to be reminded in a nice, firm, but friendly way, Streaks is a great way to go. Because it’s available on all the devices, it is easy to take with you and track. You can find out more at [Streaks] (https://streaksapp.com) and [Streaks Workout] (https://streaksworkout.com/).
Again, this is Jill from the Northwoods, and as always. I hope you enjoyed the review of the Streaks apps. Please contact me on Allison’s Slack channel or her blog if you have any questions. I’m always happy to answer questions.