Getting Things Done: Integrating Habits

Step 1: Habits are projects, right?

  • Limited goal definition: A project is just a list of definite actions. A habit is at least a set of recurring actions, with changing content, and it encompasses a larger time span (month) or different types of goals like ”read 100 pages”. Expressing these goals merely as a text is not enough.
  • Distraction: The next action for the habit was just one item of my larger to-do list. Every time I browsed my next action list, it forced me to think of the training I was going to do at the end of the day (exercises, sets, amount of weight etc.).
  • No long term tracking: A completed project in your to-do app, like one week of strength training, does not offer long term tracking.
  • Visualization: Expressing Habit goals as texts, and seeing habit “governance” as completed actions, is a weak visualization. How about a progress bar, a pie chart, a calendar showing the number of days you did a certain habit?

Step 2: Defining Habits

  • Give it an actionable title, including the goal statement: “Strength training 4x weekly” is more precise then “Hit the Gym”
  • Define the success criteria of the habit: Is it a daily habit? Do you want to repeat it X-times per week? On definite days? Or is it a goal like “Talk to 30 strangers”?
  • Define guidelines: Give the habit definition some more time to describe in which contexts you want to do this habit, what kind of equipment do you need, or additional goals (for example “strength training” could also include the definition of maximum weight per exercise).

Step 3: Choosing a habit tracking app

Step 4: Integrating Next Action List and Habit List


  1. Identify your habit set and active habits
  2. Clarify and define your active habits
  3. Setup habit tracking
  4. Do and record habit actions




IT Project Manager & Developer

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IT Project Manager & Developer

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