Hey you, procrastinators! If you are on the lookout for a fancy way to procrastinate while training yourself to stop procrastinating, try Fabulous. Seriously. It can do a lot more, though.
Fabulous – Motivate Me!
Developer: The Fabulous Health & Fitness
Download from Google Play
Price: free, offers in-app purchases
Think of the word “routine.” Does the very look and sound of it make you want to yawn? Exactly. However, there is a useful part to it. In the normal world, it’s called functional. Routines can be functional, and can help you be functional. But they can help you be functional only when they’re routines, i.e. something you do routinely, on a regular basis.
Think of that lesson in biology when you studied classical conditioning in a Russian doctor Pavlov’s experiments, as he switched on the lamp for the dogs and then fed them. He repeatedly lighted that lamp before meal time, so that eventually the dogs would start salivating and anticipating a meal just from the sight of a light bulb turned on. You get the idea. It’s the same thing my parents did to my younger brother, except for they did not light a bulb before meal time. His problem was going to sleep, so they created a routine – a bath, a glass of warm milk, a cuddle and a song. Over the course of time, it actually started working, so by the time he was in bubbles he would start yawning. Behaviorism. Or something.
Fabulous seems to be based on the same principle – instilling functional routines that would send your brain a signal to follow the same path every time a routine is initiated. For example, write a to-do list before getting down to work. It is worth trying to actually start working right after you write your to-do list for a more or less prolonged period of time. Not opening Twitter to see the Notifications and new followers. Not launching Facebook to see the ads. Not launching WhatsApp to see if your new crush has responded to your message. Not drifting off with another doodle from the Google search results. Of course, it takes a little self-discipline, but when you do it to score some points in an app, it’s so different from just committing to a healthy habit for yourself. Right?
So, if you make it a routine to write your to-do list and then getting to at least 25 minutes of meaningful, focused work, you actually might be on track to being productive. If you do it for two weeks straight, you might instill that habit well enough to keep being productive. Add in a few useful routines more – block distractions, define the three most important tasks for today, and be grateful as an evening and night routines, and keep being productive as you complete the routines.
The same scheme works for everything else. Trouble having sleep – Fabulous has routines that will set your mind at rest and help you sleep better. Want to work out more, but constantly fail to stick to a schedule – Fabulous will keep you motivated. Want to commit to eating healthier food – Fabulous will offer the related routines and remind you to complete them and follow through.
Fabulous has a wealth of healthy, functional routines that will help you stick to your goal little by little. The important thing is to “glue” a routine with performing at least a part of that goal for a more or less significant period of time to produce the effect of classical conditioning.
In theory, there might be a goal that does not fall in any of Fabulous’ categories – Feel more energized, Lose weight, Sleep better, Focus and Concentrate More. For example, if you constantly feel like having a snack, Fabulous will send you meaningful advice on your nutrition habits. Eating substantial protein-filled breakfast will keep you feeling full until midday, the regular lunch time. Drinking a glass of water instead of munching on marshmallow or chips before lunch time is a good one, too.
If your goal is to lose weight, Fabulous will begin by helping you instill a routine, a ritual, of drinking a glass of water the first thing you do in the morning when you wake up. So, Fabulous will remind you to place a bottle of water on your bedside table the night before, so that it would be the first thing you see in the morning.
Fabulous is more than just one useful tip for the day. Every once in a while it will “send” you meaningful letters that explain what you’re doing with the rituals and why. For example, it suggests I should use a pen and paper note book to write my to-do lists. These classical tool inspire creativity and help you view all the meaningful tasks and their completion rates better. Fabulous, ironically, does not recommend you do it in an app. And I agree. I used to do it with paper sticky notes, now I am doing it with a paper notebook. For one, jotting down a to-do for the day in a paper notebook definitely cuts out all the possible distractions I could drift into if I do it on mobile or using some desktop software.
Depending on your goal, Fabulous will suggest a helpful set of rituals based on the time of day. Once you create a set of rituals, Fabulous offers a nifty way of completing them. See that spaceship icon at the bottom of the screen – tap it to initiate the routines completion. And here comes the fun.
Fabulous estimates the approximate time needed to complete each routine, and once you tap that rocket button, it will offer one routine after another complete with the countdown timer, a dedicated image and a neat soundtrack.
Take a glass of water, 1 minute, graphic image of water drops, sound of the pouring water. Meditate, 12 minutes, landscape with a moon, oum as the soundtrack. Be grateful, 10 minutes, some inspirational music and a neat image. And so on.
Moreover, the app has a voice to go with the UI, so certain crucial parts of it are voice-enabled. The app guides you through the rituals completion, and calls you by name. Neat.
Another nifty feature is Motivation – Fabulous will send you short, snackable quotes from famous people and sources that encourage or explain the goodness behind your routine.
Fabulous tracks your completion rate and makes fancy charts – calendar view, success rate view, timeline view and shows you where you are in your journey with percentages completed.
Tap the spaceship button when all your routines are completed and see a Make Me Fabulous icon – it opens to a list of suggestions to help you stay on track. Internet connection is required to load this library. Other than that, the app works in offline mode just fine.
You can remove or edit your habits, reorder them and adjust their duration. It is easy to add too many routines when you set up the app initially, but it does not mean you are stuck with the bad list forever. Just tap at things and see how easily the app is customizable. Long-press the icon on the left of each habit to move it up or down the list, tap the three dots menu to edit or delete a habit.
Visually, Fabulous is perhaps one of the apps that adheres best to Google’s Material Design in Android. In fact, it was nominated as one of the apps that make the best use of the Material Design. I would say there is a little more pink than I like, but the vibrant, bold colors make it look lively and attractive.
By default, you can choose only one journey (Feel more energized, Lose weight, Sleep better, Focus and Concentrate More). If you made a mistake by choosing the wrong category, go to the app’s settings → advanced settings → re-start journey. Alternatively, go to your device’s settings → Apps → Fabulous → Clear Data.
Once you complete the set amount of rituals on your first journey, you will unlock the second journey. It depends on the challenge you have first accepted how many days you have to complete the ritual before you can unlock the new journey.
Finally, the app is free, with optional IAPs, but the core experience is available for free, and it works offline, with minimum app permissions. It’s fun and it has the potential to help you achieve your life goals.