I’ve always had miserable success with tracking habits until I found an app called Done. I would always start off strong, then the number of days in a row I would log would taper off until I stopped completely.
I’ve tried spreadsheets, a pen and planner system, and a variety of apps, but I couldn’t stick to any of them (until Done).
Why track your habits at all? Because seeing your progress and not wanting to break the number of days (or weeks) in a row you’ve done your habit is a strong motivation in and of itself.
Making progress is satisfying, and visual measures provide clear evidence of your progress. As a result, they reinforce your behavior and add a little bit of immediate satisfaction to any activity.
James Clear, Atomic Habits
So obviously the most important thing in a habit tracking system is one that you can stick to — no matter how it looks or how it works.
The other systems and apps didn’t work because they were either too much work to fill out each day (friction) or weren’t fun to use (not rewarding).
Done Is Everything I Needed In a Habit Tracking App
- Great design (I’m attracted to using it)
- Easy to use (there shouldn’t be unnecessary friction to track habits)
- Fun when completing habits (rewarding)
- Robust reports to see + feel good about my progress (also rewarding)
First, Done has dark mode. Already a huge winner there.
The app has an awesome design. I like the icon, I like the bright colors, and I like how the home screen looks on both my iPhone and on my Apple Watch.
You can customize the color of your habits, too. If you want to use all the same color or groups of colors to signify a type (e.g. good vs bad habits), the app lets you do that.
I rate the design an 8/10. It’s great, especially compared to competitors. It’s more than good enough to keep me comfortable using it.
Ease of Use
It took me a few minutes of exploring to get used to how the app worked, but was pretty intuitive once I learned the overall structure.
There are a ton of different options to set up how you want to track a habit. You can set a goal for x number of times per day, week, or month, which gives you the flexibility to track daily habits or a habit you want to do 3x per week.
It’s also easy to track bad habits you want to limit or all out quit. For example, you can add a bad habit and set the limit to 3x per week (what I do for video games), or to zero times per day if you want to quit it.The Apple Watch app is also a great way to quickly mark a habit as done while on the go + right in the moment (unlike a spreadsheet or handwritten tracker).
Done Apple Watch App
Once you set up your habits on the iPhone app, you can use the Watch app to mark habits as done while on the go and at the moment of completing the habit.
So if you set up Habits for work, you can mark them done while at work right from your watch. The app lists your habits in the order you choose on the iPhone app and always displays the goal for each habit.
As for complications, Done only has the small icon complication for quickly opening the app from your Watch face. It would be nice to have a larger complication show you the next habit you have up to complete for the day.
It doesn’t do anything else, but it doesn’t really need to either.
How It Works
To mark a habit as complete, you tap the habit once on the home screen. The habit will turn from a light gray to the bright color you selected. This small subtle change does feel rewarding in itself. Everyday I want to turn all my habits their bright color.
For habits with a goal of 3x per week for example, Done thought of a neat little trick that looks like a progress bar. Only a portion of the “habit bar” will turn a color signifying there’s still some way to go (see my Gym habit below).
On the app’s home screen, Done gives you two different customization choices to display the information you care about most: 1) the big number on the left of the habit to display streaks, count, or left-to-goal, and 2) a line of text below the habit name for motivational notes or time since last completed.
For me, I care most about my streaks so I display it in a large number. Streaks are the number of days in a row you complete a habit (weekly habit streaks are counted as weeks in a row). So each day I complete a habit, I can see the streak rise by one which is also pretty rewarding.
I also care about how long it’s been since I last completed a habit. This is better for habits that are set up as an X number of times per week so I can see how long it’s been since I last did it. I also switch every once in a while to displaying notes at the bottom of each habit to reinforce that each habit is contributing to my desired identity — an important technique for sticking to habits I learned from the book Atomic Habits.
You have both a calendar view of your habits and a chart view so you can see when you did or didn’t do your habits, how many times a habit was completed in any given period, and your current and longest streaks.
Their reporting system makes it super easy to compare how I did week-over-week and month-over-month. And it’s all in there automatically.
Without Done, I don’t think I’d be able to keep up my habits, because visually seeing the progress is extremely powerful. I rate their reporting features a 9/10.
Luckily, Done is not using a subscription model. They have a free tier that lets you track just a few habits and the premium tier for only $5.99 lets you add unlimited habits.
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No other app comes even close.