Being a productive person is a function of how well you manage your time between tasks. We all have 24 hours in a day, and if you want to grow as a person, it will be important for you to manage those hours to make for maximal productivity.
Goal-tracking is like creating mile-markers. You’ll be more motivated to complete the journey when you know how much you’re already accomplishing. Plus, big goals seem less overwhelming when you break it down into smaller steps.
Table of Contents
- 7 Best Goal Tracking Apps to Keep Track of Goals
- Bonus: Advanced Strategies to Keep Track of Goals
- The Bottom Line
7 Best Goal Tracking Apps to Keep Track of Goals
Getting productive is never particularly easy. However, the following goal tracking apps will be able to help you achieve what you want sooner:
Strides is one of the most powerful apps out there, but perhaps its greatest quality is the fact that it is really easy to use. You can set the app up so it reminds you to keep those daily habits you want to cultivate, thus helping you to achieve your goals.
With Strides, all you need to do is pick a goal (the app also suggests goals, so you can check those as well), set your target, and specify the action you will need to turn the goal into a regular habit.
With the app, you get to keep track of your goals on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. All of the data collected is synced to your account, so you always see the latest statistics regardless of whether you access it from a mobile device, a computer, or any other platform.
With premium flexibility and a dashboard that lets you see everything at a glance, you can rest assured that this app is your partner in productivity.
Available for iOS
2. Way of Life
If you are a fan of getting statistical presentations that show your progress, then you will love how Way of Life works.
With this app, all you have to do is pick a goal action, tell the app whether the action will be good or bad for you, and you will get a daily reminder to keep records of what you did or didn’t do to meet those goals.
As time goes on, the app will be able to provide you with proper statistics that will show bar charts, chains, and trend lines that contain your progress rate.
For actionable accountability and a simple interface, Way of Life is the perfect fit.
3. Goals on Track
Goals on Track provides a web interface and a mobile app, both of which will help you build and stay committed to certain goals base on the SMART goal setting framework (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely).
However, perhaps the biggest benefit that this app has is the ability to help you break large goals into smaller chunks so that you get to take things one at a time and ultimately achieve that level of success.
You also get awesome animations for easy interfacing, as well as offline tracking, so you can track how much time you spend on getting certain tasks done.
Lastly, you get a journal in the app, which proves the opportunity to write your experiences as you work towards an objective. Although you will need to sign up and pay before joining the app, you will find that every penny spent will be worth it.
Available for iOS
A lot of us hate having to set goals and determine what we want to achieve in our lives. The process can be quite strenuous, and there is a lot of work involved.
However, Habitica takes this process and makes it a lot of fun. The app makes it easy to build habits and stay productive by taking an approach that rarely fails; turning everything into a game.
Habitica offers rewards to keep you incentivized, and it also comes with its own social network platform.
With the app, you track and monitor your habits, use the to-do list, and join other users to play exciting games.
Coach.me lays the claim to being the leading app for tracking habits, and while that is definitely debatable, what no one can deny is the fact that this app has one of the best interfaces on the market.
With Coach.me, all you have to do is select a goal, track how far you are moving, and earn rewards for keeping on track.
In addition to all that, you get access to a county of people trying to reach their goals, and you can ask questions and network from there.
If you find that the app is just too good, then you could as well upgrade by paying $15 to hire an actual coach. Now, that is some efficiency right there.
The main point that ATracker tries to drive home is its ability to prove insights into how you are spending your time. When it comes to some of the repetitive things you do everyday, the app helps you to manage time, so you don’t just go on doing all the wrong things.
When you start tracking your time and how much of it you spent on the daily things, you see them all in a pie chart, and you can understand where adjustments need to be made and where you have to be better. You can also get a bigger picture of things by viewing your activities on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.
The name might be fun to say, but the power of Toodledo is definitely no joke at all. This app provides a sense of flexibility, as it makes it possible for you to set and reach your goals easily.
Toodledo is a great time and task manager, and it provides you with features to customize it and fit all of your needs. You can rest reminders, set due dates for projects and other tasks, put tasks on repeat, and do so much.
If you want to achieve your goals successfully, pick one of the recommended apps above and start to keep track of your progress.
Bonus: Advanced Strategies to Keep Track of Goals
In addition to the above apps, these strategies can help you keep track of your goals even more effectively:
1. Visualize the “Chain”
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld popularized a goal-tracking concept called “don’t break the chain”.
The idea is that every day you stay on track and work toward your goal, you mark the calendar (or your journal or whiteboard), and then you keep going until your goal is met. Your only job, according to Seinfeld, is not to break the chain.
Remember: One day’s success might not seem all that important. But people meet goals little by little, one small success at a time. By keeping your progress visible, you’ll gain motivation and build momentum toward the finish line.
It’s rumored Seinfeld used this system to meet his goal of practicing writing jokes every day, marking a large calendar with a big, red “X.” But you can use whatever system that makes sense for you.
Some people use graph-style journals to create their own goal-trackers. If you’re artsy, you can create a fancy bullet journal spread for your progress chain. To keep it simple, just grab a poster board and use Post-It notes, stickers, or a colorful marker to reflect your progress. Then, keep the progress chart somewhere motivating.
If your goal is to eat more nutritiously, hang a calendar in your kitchen. If you want to hone your graphic design skills, keep track in your workspace. If you’re not an analog person, then enlist the help of a dedicated app. There are plenty of goal-tracking apps on the market.
The only detail that matters is visibility. Without visible wins as your “mile markers,” you may start to feel lost on the journey, making you more likely to give up altogether.
2. Celebrate Your Wins
What’s the point of tracking your progress if you don’t even notice it? Once you start building your chain, don’t neglect to reflect on, and celebrate, each step towards your vision. Noting how far you’ve come (and, in turn, how little you have to go!) can be a major motivator toward whatever you’re aiming to accomplish as you learn how to keep track of goals.
When Harvard Business professor Teresa Amabile studied the daily habits of workers, she discovered making progress in meaningful work to be the most important component of motivation during the workday. According to her research, the more you experience a sense of progress, the more productive you’ll be on a long-term basis
Most of us don’t count “small wins.” We save the celebration when the end goal gets checked off the list. According to author Jocelyn Glei, that’s a problem: “Most of us make advances small and large every single day, but we fail to notice them because we lack a method for acknowledging our progress. This is a huge loss,” she writes
To feel more productive, and therefore be more productive, take time every day to celebrate how far you’ve made it. When you realize you’re a step closer than you were yesterday, you’ll be filled with fresh motivation for the rest of the process.
3. Create a Reward System
My fitness tracker sets me up for success with a simple, built-in feature. Every time I reach my goal for the day, the watch face explodes into a miniature celebration, complete with a disco ball.
It may sound silly, but this reward keeps me going. If I would have checked my fitness app to see I’d reached my daily step goal, I may have felt a sense of accomplishment. But a more tangible—and honestly, fun—incentive reminds me how good it feels to stay on track, and makes me want to get up and do it again tomorrow.
For some people, the rush of crossing something off the list (or in this case, marking the calendar with a nice, big “X”) is enough motivation to keep going. However, if building in your own rewards to your goal process will boost your inclination to keep going, then find a way to put a little “bait” in your line of sight.
Maybe you buy yourself something you’ve been eyeing if you stay on track for a month. Maybe after a week of daily walks, you order takeout from your favorite restaurant. Either way, the premise is to incentivize your progress. When you have something to look forward to besides the goal itself, you’ll be more likely to attain the goal.
4. Find an Accountability Buddy
Sometimes, self-motivation can only go so far—and you have to invite someone else into the process if you want to keep track of goals you’ve set.
By sharing your goals with someone else, you’re essentially making a commitment. You’ll be less likely to make excuses that derail you when you know someone is going to check in with your progress. That’s because having no progress to share feels like letting that person down, and it never feels good to disappoint someone. Plus, when you’re expecting someone to check in with you on a regular basis, you’ll have all the more reason to keep track of your goals.
Choose someone you trust, ideally someone who has similar goals or a shared perspective on success and growth, and invite them to check in with you on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. You may be surprised how much you achieve.
5. Start Every Day at Zero
You probably already know that breaking up your goals into smaller chunks—say, shrinking your monthly sales goal into daily metrics—makes them less intimidating and therefore less attainable. But there’s another psychological component involved.
When you start each day at “zero” instead of building on another number, you’ll more easily see where you started and where you are headed. The so-called “middle zone” of a large goal can feel nebulous and difficult to measure, which can result in wasted time and lost progress. Plus, feeling like you have 80% of the work ahead of you makes your daily contribution feel less important.
Starting at zero also boosts motivation through a phenomenon called the “fresh start effect.” You know how you’re so motivated to do new things at the start of a new year? The same principle applies when your FitBit resets at midnight or when you create a fresh to-do list in your notebook.
The brain registers “new days” as temporal landmarks, which are known to increase aspirational behavior by disrupting one’s daily routine
The good news is, you don’t have to wait for a new year or even a new week to start meeting (and tracking) your goals. Getting the motivation you need to move forward could be as easy as downloading a new app or buying a new journal. All you have to do is decide that today’s the day to start.
The Bottom Line
Learning how to keep track of goals can be a tricky process, but it can be made easier by incorporating a few simple tools and strategies.
Find which one works best for you and your goals, and see where it takes you. You may find that your goals start taking care of themselves!
Featured photo credit: freestocks.org via unsplash.com
|||^||Develop Good Habits: Don’t Break the Chain: Jerry Seinfeld’s Advice on Sticking to a Habit|
|||^||Harvard Business Review: The Power of Small Wins|
|||^||Jocelyn K. Glei: How to Feel Progress|
|||^||Fast Company: 5 Ways You Can Figure Out How You’re Wasting Your Time|
|||^||Management Science: The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior|