Projects vs Habit Building

hey MPU,

I wanted to contact the hive mind and see thoughts on this. I usually put everything I need into Omnifocus for projects, bill tracking, tasks, etc. Lately for whatever the reason, it’s difficult to utilize that for things like:

Day One Journal Entry Completion
Work-Out Completion

Does anyone use 2 apps for this approach? i.e. one for projects and another for habit building/tracking. Please share your thoughts and suggestions!


I used to, but I ended up not doing much of what my habit app told me. I found having everything in one place (OmniFocus) helped me much more in terms of mental overhead.
If you find you struggle to complete everything on your list, it usually has to do with overwhelm. The questions that usually follow are:

  • Are you indeed overwhelmed and need a breather to renegotiate on some commitments?
  • Is it just a matter of presentation? I batch some of my quick habits together in one task to make the list shorter and more accessible (I just mentally know that “do your moves” actually covers a batch of different moves I have to do several times per day to safeguard my back, for instance)

What @anon85228692 said.

I’ve tried a few times to separate out the habit tasks from the project tasks and it’s never worked. I only seem to be able to handle one place to go look for stuff.

There are people who have had good luck with Due or Streaks. I’m just not one of them.

1 Like

The habits that stick best are the ones I track in my head.


I feel your struggle as I failed many times to find one app that does it all.

That’s why I am experimenting with a new setup:

  • Streaks for habits (at max. 4) shown in widgets on all devices + my watch face as a visual reminder. I also use their smart reminder notificiations feature. I like the motivating streaks counter and the calendar view in the app.
    Why a separate app?—It’s not a drama if I fail to accomplish them and it therefore doesn’t have the same urgency as tasks.

  • Calendar 366 for fixed appointments and hard deadlines. A second calendar set for “big picture” planning, where I use multi-day/week entries to visualize project phases

  • I recently added GoodTasks iOS app for time-bound nagging reminders (water plants, take out trash, urgent bill to pay, call to make etc.), because similarly to Due you can create quick actions like “+30min.”
    I also use it for location-based reminders (again adding the location reminder can be done by quick actions like “@supermarket”) and for shopping lists that pop-up when I’m near that store.
    Why a separate app?—Since GoodTasks hooks into Apples Reminders app I can add urgent things using Siri. This never worked reliably with third party apps. However, I dislike that this creates a second inbox. Also Things 3 still doesn’t offer location based reminders.

  • Overall Things 3 got degraded, but remains my primary task tracker. I used to store all my “someday” tasks/projects, which was a clear mistake. It got way too cluttered and I lost oversight. It also made the review process tedious.
    It now acts like my easy to use (best UI and UX) inbox. Everything to capture quickly goes into Things3 from where I move it to the other apps if necessary of schedule.
    I also manage all the tasks for the day and the upcoming week/month in Things 3 and freely reorder tasks in my Today view. I value to be able to set soft deadlines (when I should finish something) and start times for tasks and projects.

  • The new addition to my workflow is Craft and I strictly only use it as a backlog of tasks/projects. Why?—Copy and paste works flawlessly from my Things inbox to Craft on macOS and on mobile I can use Share Sheet shortcuts to append to my handful pages. In turn the Craft app has a Things 3 export that creates tasks. If you copy an item with sub-items from Craft to Things it will conveniently create checklist items in the newly created main task.
    For every hat I wear (areas) I have a backlog-page in Craft and I use toggle lists (fold/unfold) and separators to create structure within them to lay out projects/tasks. It’s easy to move tasks around by drag and drop or with keyboard shortcuts (similar to Things 3) and that even works across multiple levels. Craft and Things really complement each other well for me. It feels like a drafting mode for Things, where I can dump everything in, which might become relevant in the future or is still too imprecise to become actionable.

I’m not sure if this is helpful, but maybe it serves as some inspiration. :ok_hand:


I’ve found that OF is great for any habit that occurs infrequently enough that I have a chance to forget about it and that the additional work of managing the task in OF doesn’t build up resentment. That’s about every 4-5 days for me. For everything more frequent, I either just remember to do it as a daily chore, use a laminated sheet I can write over with a marker, or use a specialized app (e.g., the InPen app manages my insulin intake with 3-4 daily prompts that would be burdensome in OF, but aren’t in InPen because of the design and because it integrates with Apple Health, assists with math and rewards me with data. :slight_smile: )

1 Like

Streaks never really stuck for me, but I track these sorts of things manually in a notebook which works for me.


How do you remember (or rather get into the habit) to go to that notebook and do what it says? Do you solely use it for that purpose or you simply already have a firm basis of motivation and enjoyment for doing that? :slightly_smiling_face:

Same issue, but I found an awesome solution with Strides. It’s primary purpose is as a goal tracker, but it can be used for habits as well. I find it a better place than Things/OF for things like tracking my reading, workouts, etc. It’s prime function as goal tracker makes it superior to Streaks, which didn’t stick with me, because it gives you a progress bar comparing your progress to your chosen deadline. Really, really excellent app I’d highly recommend. I’ve paid for the lifetime upgrade, which is $80, and absolutely worth it.

Just FYI, the developer is going to be running a giveaway with my site, MDM Deals in a couple weeks; it’ll be 5 unlocks of the full premium lifetime package ($80 value), so, shameless plug, but you may want to give a follow if you’re interested in entering the contest!

Not Stephen, but apparently we do something roughly similar—I just keep my notebook sheet on my desk or the counter. Ultimately, I have to care enough to glance at it every day and mentally compare what I’ve done to what it says before checking off. Using a nagging reminder system won’t motivate me any more than inert paper, over a long enough period of time. I try my to only use digital tools to organize and inform me, not motivate, for that reason.

1 Like

I have kept a running “daily log” in a series of Field Notes notebooks for the better part of a decade. I added habit tracking about a year and a half ago and it’s worked out well enough. If I miss a day of tracking, I don’t sweat it too much


I started something similar and I love it. I use Field Notes for this as well, with a landscape spread, and it stays open on my desk for me to remember. I can also quickly add tasks + notes for things too.

1 Like

Thanks @ismh and thanks @cornchip. Agree that delegating motivation to a digital device seems ineffective; reminding, yes, but nagging to do something, not sure this works. Motivation comes from within; it seems important to be mindful of the thin line between a list of things to be done (externalizing memory) and hoping the device will give you the will to do something. :slightly_smiling_face:
(Even though gamification works for some people; to each his or her own.)


I find doing both works best for me:

  • Digital tool to track daily, conveniently having a widget / app on all platforms.
  • Copy daily performance over to a whiteboards in my home so that it’s also staring in my face in my physical environment.

I’ve previously used Streaks, Strides and a combination of both. Currently using just Strides.

1 Like