The disconnect between to-dos, habits, and calendar entries

I’m still vexed by the disconnect between these three kinds of commitments, which I discussed in an earlier post.

I still use one app for to-dos (MLO) and one for habits (most recently Habitica, as suggested by Chris Bailey.  I’ve had the feeling with my to-do app that things are somehow converging: I’m getting more and more of the features I want each time I do a kaizen improvement and switch to a somewhat better app.

I don’t get the same feeling at all with the habits apps.  I want two things from a habits app which I don’t care about (as much) with a to-do app:

  1. Fuzzy recurrence.  I’ve talked about that here: basically the ability to specify things like “every 2-3 day” or “at least 6 times a week”.
  2. Accountability.  I want some mechanism in the app that makes me feel good when I do the habit and makes me feel bad when I leave the habit out.

These things wouldn’t be terrible in a to-do app, but they’re not as important.  With a habits app, you’re interested in showing up, in Jerry Seinfeld’s unbroken chain.

Habitica gets a C- for fuzzy recurrence.  There are “dailies”, which are things that have to be done every day and if you miss you get dinged.  And there are habits, where you get + or – (depending on the habit) if you engage in the habit, whenever.  There’s some ability to pick which days of the week the habits apply, but it’s far from a rich set of fuzzy recurrence operations.

But the daily-ness of the app (and maybe its very clunkiness) helps me with the accountability.  I have a drive to check off those daily things, because I know the system has no flexibility, and I know I’ll be punished if I don’t.

Punished how?  The gamification elements in the app help me with staying accountable.   I lose Strength and Health if I don’t do my good dailies or if I do do my bad dailies.  Ditto with the habits, although it’s less hortatory with the habits (maybe because they don’t need to be done every day).

My ultimate PIM would combine some of this stuff with the to-do functionality.  Right now I have some things I want to do every day that are in both MLO and Habitica.  And, btw, perhaps the ultimate PIM could link accountability to bank account or reputation or other stuff that some of the “do or die” apps have.

And then having that stuff project to my calendar would be the Holy Grail.

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