In this doc, we'll cover a few big topics around Habits:
What are Habits, and how are they different from normal recurring events?
How do Habits get scheduled on my calendar?
How do I create and customize Habits?
What are Reclaim Habits, and how are they different?
Habits are the foundation of any healthy workweek. If you're a busy person trying to stay organized, you probably already use recurring routines on your calendar to make sure you get time for doing important work and life stuff regularly. But if you've tried blocking time for recurring routines, you know there are a few big challenges with them:
They're not flexible: most of our routines are things we can do in a given timeframe for different lengths of time. But our calendars don't know how to give us that flexibility, because they don't know what our preferences and rules are.
They're not adaptive: with our calendars changing all the time, our routines need to be able to adapt to those changes. Recurring events don't have that kind of intelligence.
They can make scheduling harder: if you fill up your calendar entirely with routines, it's very likely you're going to make it hard for others to meet with you. It may even invite more chaos on your schedule.
Habits solve all three of these problems by giving you a better way to make time for your routines -- more flexible, more automated, and more adaptive.
A common example: Lunch
Perhaps the most universal routine that people put on their calendar is a lunch break. In traditional calendar systems, you can say something like:
I want to eat lunch Monday - Friday between 12p and 1p for 1 hour.
But if 12pm gets booked, suddenly we have to worry about moving that break around, and before you know it, your lunch is gone. With Reclaim, you can offer a much more flexible set of rules, and say something like:
I want to eat lunch Monday - Friday, anytime between 11:30am and 2pm, for no less than 30m and no more than 1h, and ideally I'd like to do it at 12pm.
In addition to providing these kinds of rules, Reclaim will automatically reschedule your Habit events as stuff comes up and dynamically flex your availability to keep you agile for meetings -- so you get the time you need, but in a much more intelligent and adaptive way.
How do Habits get scheduled on my calendar?
Habits schedule events on your calendar just like any other recurring event, but use your preferences, rules and priorities to determine how and when they should be scheduled. If they get overbooked by another event, they'll automatically reschedule and adjust to make room and ensure you still get time for the routine.
Additionally, Habits automatically toggle between Free and Busy events to keep your schedule flexible. For example, if you have lots of time in your window to eat lunch, Reclaim may put the event down initially as free -- meaning it will show as available time to others who want to book time with you -- but then flip it to busy as your schedule fills up, or as time draws nearer to the event's start time.
This "free" / "busy" behavior is a core concept in Reclaim, and you can learn more about it here.
Creating a new Habit
You can create a Habit from the Habits page by clicking the + New Habit button, or by selecting one of the 100+ customizable templates under the templates tab. This will open a form with the scheduling settings Reclaim will use to start automatically scheduling your routine on the calendar.
Customizing your Habit
Reclaim just needs a few rules to start blocking flexible time for your routines. When you create a new Habit, you can set your scheduling preferences:
The title of the Habit event that will display on your calendar.
Set the priority level for how you want your Habit to schedule around other events from Critical-Low priority. Higher-priority Habits will schedule sooner than lower-priority ones.
Learn more about prioritizing your Habits in this doc.
Color & category
Set what color to categorize the event as, and what kind of event the Habit is (Work or Personal) which informs your calendar analytics.
The minimum and maximum amount of time you want to spend on the Habit at a time, to keep the event flexible depending on the availability in your calendar. This is the equivalent of saying "I need no less than x time and no more than y time per day".
Your preferred days and hours that you want to complete your Habit. Select from use your Working, Meeting, or Personal hours (learn more about setting your scheduling hours here), or create custom 'One-off hours' for how you want this specific Habit to schedule.
For example, you may want a Lunch Habit to only happen between 11:30am and 2pm Mon-Fri.
What cadence you want the Habit to schedule on — daily, weekly, every other week, monthly, or quarterly. If selecting 'Weekly', set how many times per week you want to complete the routine.
The ideal time you would like to schedule the Habit. Note that your ideal time must overlap with the scheduling hours you have selected. Reclaim will try to schedule the Habit as close to this time as possible, and pick the next closest time if not.
How soon you want the first instance of the Habit to be scheduled. By default, Habits begin scheduling as soon as possible, or you can select a date at which Reclaim should start scheduling time for the routine.
Optionally add a description to your Habits for quick access to links or notes you might need for that routine. This description will be added to each scheduled event for that Habit on your calendar.
You can use markdown to further customize your Habit description (learn more on markdown formatting here).
Opt to hide details of your Habit from others viewing your calendar so the event just appears as "Busy" on your calendar, or include the title and description for more context for your team. Reclaim will pre-populate a default description, or you can add your own.
Time Defense settings control how aggressively Reclaim will defend a Habit on your calendar by marking it as either free or busy depending on your availability, preferences, and priorities. To learn more about Time Defense for Habits, check out this doc.
Reclaim will use your default Google Calendar notification preferences to send you a notification before the event begins. Learn more about how to manage event notifications here.
Advanced customization options
You can invite other people to your Habit as additional attendees on events
Avoid duplicate events
Add words or phrases Reclaim should check for on your calendar, so you don't schedule time for a Habit if you're already getting time for that routine.
For example, if you have a Habit for Lunch, you might add keywords like
restaurant, so that Reclaim doesn't book the Habit when you have other 'lunch' events scheduled on that day.
Just like an Out-of-Office event in Google Calendar, you can opt to decline invites automatically if they interrupt your Habit. You can set the default message to send to others when an interruption is declined, or customize a message.
Start auto-scheduling your Habit
Hit 'Save' at the bottom of the page and Reclaim will start automatically scheduling your Habit around the preferences you set.
You will be navigated to a Details page for your Habit with the details and an overview of upcoming days/times when the Habit is scheduled on your calendar.
You can manage all your Habits from the Habits page in the app.
Search your Habits
Use the search bar on the Habits page to find a specific Habit from your list.
Edit Habit settings
Update settings for existing Habits at any time by clicking the pencil icon on a Habit event from anywhere in the Reclaim app (including the Habits page, Planner, Priorities page, or even right in Google Calendar from the free Reclaim add-on sidebar).
Disable, snooze, or delete Habits
You can enable/disable Habits to pause scheduling them in your calendar, snooze Habits to resume at a later date, or permanently delete Habits you no longer want to make time for. Learn more in this help doc.