Welcome to our new weekly spotlight on helpful apps. We’ll focus on a variety of products that are useful for work, personal use, or both, providing our own thoughts on the apps and what you can do with them. This week’s spotlight: Streaks.
An intro to Streaks
Available on iPhone and Apple Watch, Streaks is a to-do list app that encourages you to turn tasks into daily habits. It sends you gentle reminders throughout the day to complete tasks, which you can do by pressing and holding the task’s icon until the circle completes. When you mark something as complete, your streak extends. If you don’t mark a task as done, your streak resets to zero.
The app comes preloaded with common tasks people want to turn into habits, such as eating a healthy meal, going to the gym, or walking the dog. It even integrates with the iOS Health app to track the goals you set there. You can also add your own task, which makes it useful for work. If you don’t need to complete the task on a daily basis, you can change the frequency to remind you whenever you want.
I picked up a voucher for a free download of Streaks a few months ago (thank Starbucks for their app of the week cards). At first I only used it to remind myself to eat a healthy meal every day as punishment for my overindulgence during the holidays. As time went on, I added more tasks – drink the recommended amount of water, read for 10 minutes a day, be active for 30 minutes.
Extending my streak wasn’t the main motivator for me to begin with – it was trying to avoid the annoying push reminders the app would send me throughout the day. But then I had the opportunity to use the app for work, setting it to bug me if I didn’t update certain parts of the website on a weekly basis. Over time, I found myself competing with me laziness, striving to keep my streak going and looking forward to pressing the icon every Monday.
The design of the app is pretty simple, so it’s incredibly easy to navigate and you can customise the look of it with your favourite colour. There’s a variety of icons available to use for your own tasks – I found that at some point I stopped seeing words on the screen and simply looked for the right icon on my task list to complete. It’s perfect for busy people who don’t want to be bogged down with complicated apps.
While Streaks falls short on collaboration compared to other apps such as Wunderlist or Flow Tasks, it’s great for individuals who need a bit of motivation to build up good habits. A testimonial reported by developer Zervaas Enterprises says the app helped a user quite smoking. I’m not sure if I’d rely on Streaks for something that important, but it did help me up my water intake so it’s worth giving it a try to see if it works for you.
If you hate push notifications, I’d advise you to turn them off for Streaks. I found them to be slightly annoying and a bit taunting, as if they were saying “shame on you for not completing this task yet” – but that did mean I was less likely to simply mark a task as complete even if I hadn’t done it.
Overall, I think Streaks is worth the £2.99 price tag if you want to get into the habit of doing something good for yourself. For health nuts, there’s also the new Streaks Workout, which helps you create a customised workout you can do anywhere, complete with a timer and demonstrations of different exercises.
Do you have a favourite new app you’d like to review for us? Send it to Deputy Editor Molly Dyson at email@example.com.