5 min read

Habit Tracking and Accountability (Learning Habit Building with Pixel Art, Part Five)

Hello there! I'm Brennan Davis, the creator of CreaDev Labs, a place of learning and experimentation on productivity, creativity, and personal knowledge management. If you're new around here, be sure to check out my archive of previous newsletter editions. If you enjoy this newsletter, please consider sharing with a friend!

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Welcome to the final part of my Learning Habit Building with Pixel Art series! I hope it's been helpful to see how I'm implementing the lessons I learned from the book Atomic Habits, and that it gave you some ideas on how you can start building the habits you want to build. To be honest, I'm kinda glad the 30 Day Pixel Art Challenge is over. I got a little burnt out on drawing Pixel Art animals 😜.

I wanted to spend this last part in the series talking about some tools you can use to better stick with your habits. The first is Habit Tracking. I utilize Habit Trackers inside of my Bullet Journal:

A small piece of my current month's habit tracker

James Clear in Atomic Habits talks about how habit tracking makes your habits:

  • Obvious
  • Attractive
  • Satisfying

Having my Habit Tracker inside my Bullet Journal puts it in a place where I'll see it every day (Obvious). Seeing a long chain of X's provides a visual of the progress I'm making and is an encouraging sight (Attractive). Marking off each habit as I complete it provides a little jolt of excitement and a sense of accomplishment (Satisfying).

What happens when you miss doing a habit? Clear advises not allowing a habit chain to be broken twice in a row. The longer you go without doing a habit the harder it is to start it back up again.

I made the mistake of not tracking my 30 Day Pixel Art Challenge, and there were several times when I forgot to do it. The thing that helped me get back on track was the second tool I wanted to talk about, which is to have an Accountability Partner, someone who knows what habits you're working on and can follow up with you to see how you're doing on them.

I didn't have a specific person as my Accountability Partner during the 30 Day Pixel Art Challenge, but knowing I was sharing my results each week in my newsletter helped motivate me to stick with it. In a sense, all of you, my readers, acted as Accountability Partners for me during the challenge.

I feel my Pixel Art skills have improved as a result of this challenge, and I'm excited to continue building on not only my Pixel Art skills, but my habit building skills as well. Just no Pixel Art animals for awhile 😆.

How do you track your habits? Do you have an accountability partner? Please share with me by sending an email to brennan@creadevlabs.com, or if you're viewing this on the website please share in the comments section below.


Things I'm working on to improve my productivity and personal knowledge management practices

Many years ago I discovered something called the Pomodoro Technique, a way of getting things done through short, focused working sessions. You spend 25 minutes working on something, then take a 5 minute break. Then you work for another 25 minutes, followed by another 5 minute break. You go until you've worked four 25 minute periods, then you take a longer break, 15 minutes or so. It's been years since I've used this technique, but a recent difficult with having focused working sessions inspired me to give it another try. I'm using a Time Timer, which I got off of Amazon to time my work sessions. They also have a free app if you don't want to have to buy a physical timer. I like the physical timer as it keeps me off my phone, which also helps when trying to have focused work sessions.

What I'm Reading / Watching / Listening to:

Resources and ideas from others to explore

Article: How To Redefine What It Means To Waste Time
I really like this perspective on the usage of one's time: time spent doing what you enjoy and being with those you love most isn't time wasted. It's important for all of us to have time to relax and recharge our minds and bodies. It's counterproductive to push ourselves to the breaking point. Sure, we might get a bunch of stuff done during a day where we push ourselves to our very limits, but our productivity is greatly decreased the next day. So don't feel guilty about kicking back after a good day's work and playing some video games, reading a book, watching some TV, taking your significant other out on a date, etc. You'll be far more productive in the long run.

Video: Self-Compassion; Be Kind to Yourself
When a friend is struggling or feeling down, you wouldn't berate them or put them down, would you? So why when we're down do we beat ourselves up so much? Why is it so hard to not be overly critical of ourselves? I really liked how they talked about being a friend to yourself in this video. I think a lot of perfectionists are attracted to the world of productivity because we want to maximize the amount of things we can get done, but then we tend to beat ourselves up when we still have tasks on our lists at the end of the day. This video provides a good reminder that none of us are perfect, and it's okay. Beating ourselves up doesn't make us humble or motivate us to do better. Quite the opposite, actually. So try being kind to yourself instead. You'll make a lot more progress that way.

Questions or comments?

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