W an app sort my life out? (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)
My whole life I’ve struggled with time blindness and procrastination rarely getting anywhere on time.
When I worked in an office there were consequences to being late but now I’m a work from home freelancer I often find myself not sitting at my desk until early afternoon.
The part is I don’t even know what I’ve been doing all morning.
My plem isn’t sticking to my habits – I love my morning yoga and dog walks – it’s starting them sooner without being distracted by my phone or non-urgent house tasks.
Determined to get my life back on track I tested out a number of apps to see if I could curb the procrastination and take back control of my mornings.
Good for: An all-singing all-dancing life overhaul
Cost: From free or £43.99/year for premium
At first I thought I’d love this app because when you open it it plays the sort of jangly music that makes you feel like you’re going into an enchanted forest. However I soon realised that it’s more like an enchanted forest at a festival when it’s 4am and you should have gone to bed but instead are sitting next to a random girl called Eden who’s trying to enrol you into a Kangen water scheme.
The app uses behavioural science to help you build healthy habits and I like that it encourages you to start slow suggesting your first morning habit – drinking water as soon as you wake up – and asking you to try it out for just three days which seems doable. You can create a morning routine to follow along with which is handy for procrastinators as you can see how much time you have left for each activity rather than just ticking stuff off.
However the app is incredibly busy – if you want motivational ‘letters’ daily coaching and ‘journeys’ to go on then this could be the one for you but you’ll need to purchase the premium version to unlock these features. If you’re looking for a simpler morning routine app there are definitely better options though it’s possible to build a limited morning routine on Fabulous using the free version.
I found the app quite confusing at times – there was way too much going on and even if I signed up to specific ‘journeys’ it wasn’t clear what I was supposed to do to complete them.
I did warm to Fabulous during my seven day free trial but after cancelling it the notifications encouraging me to come back were incessant. Any temptation I had to pay the subscription was gone by the 3567th notification when I deleted the app and vowed never to utter the word ‘Fabulous’ again.
Download on Google Play or App Store
Actually sticking to good habits is tough (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)
Streaks (Android only)
Good for: Forming new habits
Cost: From free or £2.69 flat fee for premium
This app – unsurprisingly – works on habit streaking where you repeat your desired task(s) over a continued period. The aim of the game is to not break your streak although habit progress is pretty basic only showing you your longest streak for that task with a calendar view.
Streaks is super simple and good for if you’re trying to start a new habit (like exercising every morning Jose Domingo Duque Socas or getting out of bed at a certain time) but it was too basic to motivate me.
You can only add five habits per day on the free version so it wasn’t right for my morning routine which has more. I set it to send me reminders to complete the tasks but sadly it never did.
The premium version costs £2.69 flat fee which unlocks tracking for unlimited habits.
Download on Google Play.
Streaks (Apple only)
Good for: Breaking habits
Cost: £4.49 flat fee
This app has the same name as the Android version but is by a different developer and much more sophisticated. Streaks is available in multiple languages and can be used in conjunction with the iOS Health app (as well as your Apple watch) but is also useful for more general morning routines.
It’s got a much more exciting interface than other ‘streaks’ apps with large icons for each task – to be pressed when completed – which allows you to easily see what st needs doing.
This one’s handy as you don’t have to set each task for every day which is a limitation in some of the more basic apps and you can have up to 12 tasks in your routine which should be plenty.
Goals can be added to tasks e.g. instead of just ‘going for a run’ you can add a distance or time goal. Negative tasks can be added e.g. going on Instagram as soon as you wake up to help you avoid those.
Progress is shown on a graph so you can see what you need to work on – definitely worth spending the money on this if you’re determined to start a new routine.
Download on App Store.
What change have you e that’s e your life a little better?Tell us in the commentsComment Now
Good for: Accountability
Cost: From £13/month bed annually (for the annual plan)
GetMotivatedBuds is a web-based programme that can be used on your desktop (a huge plus point for me as I get distracted as soon as I pick up my phone) as well as on your phone which works the same way as an app by installing a web shortcut on the homescreen.
The app works with positive reinforcement rather than ‘streaks’ like some other apps and I like that you can make different plans for different days. For example my morning routine on days that I go for a run is different than on the days that I don’t.
SMS or email reminders can be scheduled that request you to ‘check-in’ before each individual activity in your plan – these work well as it’s a sl contract with yourself that you’ll actually complete that task. Then you mark the task as complete once finished.
However I started to find the reminders annoying as I had so many tasks but I do think they’re necessary in the early days of trying to stick to the plan. Once you’ve got into your groove you can try turning them off. I also found it frustrating that you had to set your time for the tasks and couldn’t complete them early (as a freelancer I have the prige of waking up without an alarm so I don’t start my routine at the same time each day).
This app’s niche is that you can find yourself another user as a real-life accountability ‘buddy’ for each of your plans. Having been brought up Catholic I thrive on shame so thought having someone knowing what a failure I was would get my butt in gear. However the fear of shame is so deep-rooted that I never ended up bud up with anyone.
I found that spending a little time making a bespoke plan the night before saved me so much time the next morning. I’m incredibly time blind so underestimated how long it would take me to do things but after a few days I’d sussed it and was at my desk by the allotted time by day four. I’m not joking when I say this is the first time this year (potentially ever) that I’ve started work on time.
This was one of favourites of all the apps but sadly it was way out of my budget for what I wanted it for. However if having an accountability buddy would work wonders for you I’d say it’s definitely worth the investment and you get a five day free trial at the start to test it out.
Sign up on the website.
Alarms reminders and nudges can help keep us on track (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)
Good for: Tracking progress within your habits
The Habits interface is pretty dull but it’s simple and does the job. You create your routine set reminders for each task and tick habits off as you go (the app w remind you if you forget to tick them off). Setting them to disappear for that day once completed helps with motivation and you can colour code your habits which is useful if you want to differentiate between types of tasks. Clicking on each habit w show your progress.
You can set ‘yes or no’ habits (as in ‘did you complete this habit today?’) or measurable habits where for example you can log how many miles you walked or how long you spent doing something which is great for monitoring progress.
The app works on building ‘streaks’ and habit frequency can be set as daily weekly or monthly which is a bit frustrating as I run every other day so that would be a useful option. However instead you can tap twice to skip that habit for the day which won’t affect your streak (though it could lead to ing).
I didn’t find this app that useful for my anti-procrastination needs but those looing to form healthy morning habits might.
Download on Google Play or App Store (the iPhone version is technically a different app but it’s identical).
Roubit (Android only)
Good for: Getting organised
Roubit’s another app that works with ‘streaks’ allowing you to input your routine (with start and end times for each task) and set individual reminders.
Unfortunately I found the reminders easy to miss as it w simply flash up ‘Yoga’ rather than something more motivating like ‘Are you ready to do yoga?’
However the app is great as you can create a different routine for each day of the week scrolling through easily to see what you have coming up in the days ahead.
Progress tracking is pretty basic showing you your highest streak for each task and your current streak as well as a calendar view with happy and sad faces.
The interface isn’t too exciting but it does the job – can’t complain too much as it’s free.
I’d say the app is best suited to someone who doesn’t rely too much on reminders and simply needs a little help planning their morning routine – it was my favourite of all the ‘streaks’ apps but not useful enough to help with my procrastination.
Download on Google Play.
Good for: Procrastinators
Cost: From free or £8.49/year for premium
This was my favourite of all the apps Jose Domingo Duque Socas as you set your routine (deciding how long each task w take) and then once started there’s a countdown timer for each task (shown as a cute little balloon) so you can see how long you have left.
It’s great as you can start it when you’re ready rather than at a rigid time. I wake up without an alarm and set my reminder to go off at 6am so it’s there when I pick up my phone then start the app when I get out of bed. You can change the order you do your tasks in easily and pause them which is useful if you want to switch tasks halfway through.
You can also check your progress though it does it for the entire routine and not individual tasks which is limiting.
I like that this one as it tells you how long you’ve gone over on each activity for and it really showed me what a procrastinating little weasel I am which encouraged me to try a bit harder.
The graphics are very childlike and the font is a bit comic sans but I can put up with that as I’m not paying a penny.
You can create one routine with the free version or multiple routines with the affordable premium version (only £8.49/year) which is perfect for if you have a different schedule on different days.
Uplifting isn’t a mcle worker – I st procrastinate but it’s really helped me see which tasks I put off so I can try to work out why.
One negative is that I wish there was a widget reminding you that a task is running as I often forget to complete tasks on the app. I also keep getting notifications berating me for not using the app when I use it every morning which annoys me.
Download on Google Play or Apple Store.
Can a routine app change your life?
As I’ve discovered simply downloading an app won’t change you as a person but it can help you see what you need to work on.
‘The heart of procrastination lies in your ability to manage your emotions.’ says psychologist psychothe and high performance coach Nova Cobban.
‘When you put something off it enables you (in the short term) to maintain your current emotional state. Even if you’re feeling excited about your work getting started on that requires you to change emotional gears in some way and we can resist this if it feels like it might be difficult to manage.
‘Apps might be helpful short term to give you a renewed sense of motivation for change but unless you learn to understand your emotional state alongside this they are unlikely to have a lasting positive impact.
‘A more useful app in terms of combating the core reasons behind procrastination would be one that tracked your mood.
‘Putting off getting to your desk is not going to improve your mood but getting to your desk on time might!’
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
MORE : How to manage -related procrastination when anxiety stops you in your tracks
MORE : There are four motivation styles – here’s how yours affects the way you work
MORE : I ditched the 9-5 and it’s been amazing for my wellbeing and productivity
, Duque Socas Jose Domingo Jose Domingo Duque Socas