Habits strategy

The habits strategy gives you a habit tracker right inside Marvin next to your to-do lists. Whether you want to run 30 miles per week, floss daily, or spend no more than 30 minutes on social media per day, you can track these as a habit to make sure you are not straying too far from your ideals. All your open habits will be shown in your day view so that you can record them easily.

Habits displayed in the main view

If you have habits set up as recurring tasks, we recommend switching them to a habit. Habits have more helpful stats, the ability to easily record in the future or past, and give you much more control for when they should and shouldn't show in your day. It also keeps your task list more focused.

Turning on Habits and accessing them

To turn on the strategy, go to ☰ → Strategies → Habits and when you activate it, you will be asked how you want to access "Habits".

Adding quick access to Habits

Keep in mind that you can always access them by pressing "H" on your keyboard, and additionally, you can add them to Custom Text Links, or Custom Squares.

Using Custom Square to link Habits

Creating a habit

To create a new habit, open the Habits page and on the top-right you will see the "Add habit" button.

Habit type

After you enter the title, you'll be asked to choose the habit type. There are two types:

  • Trying to build
  • Trying to quit

The difference between the two is that habits you're trying to build need to be recorded at least a certain amount of times during the specified period, while habits that you're trying to quit should be recorded that many times at most. For example, you might want to build the habit of going to the gym at least 3 times per week, or you might want to quit the habit of drinking soda by drinking no more than 10 cans per month.

Period

Setting habit period

Here you choose the time period over which you want to track the habit. For example, if you choose to have a weekly habit, then your progress on a habit will be measured for each week.

Showing Habit Stats

Target

Setting the habit target

Here you define how many times you want to work on your habit over the specified period. You're free to set a custom unit name too. For example, you could rename "times" to "minutes" but in that case, it would also make sense to change the target value accordingly. Say you want to walk 5 miles 4 times per week. In that case, you could set up your habit in one of the two ways:

  • Set the habit title to "Walk 5 miles", and have the "Target" set to "4 times" meaning your goal is "Walk 5 miles at least 4 times per week"
  • Set the habit title to "Walk" and have the "Target" set to "20 miles" meaning your goal is "Walk at least 20 miles per week"

If you choose the second approach, you'll probably want to set Click to add option to "Ask Me". That way you'll be asked to enter how many miles you walked. So one day you can enter 5 miles, then enter 6 for the next two days, and on the last day of the week enter 5 again. The total for the week would be 22 which means you successfully completed the habit for that week.

When/where Marvin prompts you to record the Habit

Do Habit on

Do Habit on option for Habits

This option pops up if your habit is not a daily one and it's used to choose the days on which you want to see the habit in your day view or in the "Today's Habits" screen. You can still record a habit on days that are not selected, but you'll have to do that in the table view (All habits).

Optional time range - do between

Here you can choose during which time you'll see the habit in your day view. Keep in mind that it will only be shown during that time, if specified!

Auto-hide settings

Auto-hide settings for habits

Auto-hide after habit success - by having this option turned on, as soon as you reach your target, the habit will disappear from the Today view. You might want to disable this option if you intend to work on your habit more than what the target is.

Auto-hide for the day once habit recorded - this option is only for non-daily habits. It hides the habit from the Today view as soon as you record it, regardless of how much you worked on your habit. So if you have a weekly habit, for example to track how many pushups you did during the week, you might want to disable this option. Having it turned on would mean that it would disappear for the rest of the day if you recorded a set of pushups in the morning.

Show in Calendar

This option is used for displaying your habit in the Calendar. If you have it checked, it will display the habit at the time that's entered in the following option - Show at (in Calendar). The size of the habit in the Calendar depends on the duration that you can set in the Optional Details section.

Day View settings

Unchecking the "Show in Day View" option will hide the habit from that view, but it will still be shown in the "Today's Habits" view.

Optional Details

Settings that you can find here (Category, Labels, Priority, and Frogs) are just used for when you want to group your habits. As previously mentioned, the duration is used to define the length of the Habit element in the Calendar.

Click to add

Click to add option for Habits

This option is used for recording the habit. When you have it set to One, Marvin will record the habit just once. So if your habit is to "Go for a walk", clicking on the "Did It!" button will record it once. However, if your habit is to "Do 50 pushups", it makes sense to have this option set to Ask Me. That way when you click on the "Did It!" button to record a habit, you'll be asked how many pushups you did.

Recording a habit using Ask Me option

Stats

Analyzing stats can be super useful for tracking your progress and seeing that you're on a streak can make the difference between completing a habit and skipping it.

Tracking your habits using stats

The column on the left that has smileys is used as an indicator of how you've been doing over the recent past. For daily habits this is over the last 1-4 days. If you are successful it tends to be in the green 😀, but if you don't do it a couple days in a row it will go down to yellow 😐 and then red 🙁. But once you do the habit you can get it quickly back up to yellow/green.

Grade columns - These are ranked from A-F and are used to let you keep track of how you're doing now compared to how you were doing last month. Mark explains this in much more detail in this article.

Trend - shows improvement in your score in percentage between the last 30 days and 30 days before that.

Streak - the number of consecutive successful periods (where periods are aligned with the calendar). So if you say you want to do something 4 times per month but start on the 2nd to last day of the month, it's quite likely you'll fail the first month!

All-time - the all-time success rate.

Displaying habits as a progress bar

Habits displayed as a progress bar

To display all habits you have for the day as a single progress bar, just go to ☰ → Strategies → Habits (settings) and turn on the "Show Habits in Day View as one progress bar" option.

Clicking on it takes you to the "Today's Habits" screen where you can then record them.

Recording a habit for previous days

If you forget to record a habit, just go to the Habits screen and click on the habit you forgot to record. Then you can click on the "Edit History" button and enter the value for that day.

Editing the habit's history

Best weekday

By clicking on the "Stats" button, you get to see which is the best weekday for the selected habit (for daily habits).

Habit stats - seeing the best weekday
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