Community & Communications
Community & Communications
We are so excited to launch our new routines feature - here is a bit of an advance look at how it works
Ahead of the launch of our new routines feature next week, we wanted to delve a bit into what makes routines so useful for neurodivergent brains, as well as give you a bit of the background as to how the new feature has made us rethink the relationship between activities and routines within Tiimo.
A routine is a sequence of activities that are performed regularly to bring some kind of order to your day. It might be that you do the same kinds of activities at a certain part of the day or when you are in a particular environment. For many people, transitions between activities are hard. Routines help because your brain gets used to the regular cycle of activities, and soon the brain doesn’t even have to think about what comes next, as it becomes a habit. Routines also help you to make good use of the time you have, as they are a plan for a set amount of time (duration). This can prevent you from trying to do too much or from adding in extra activities which can delay you or stress you out.
For those with executive functioning difficulties, routines are useful as they take out the effort of making decisions, or getting trapped in decision or task paralysis. For Autistic people, these predictable, ordered segments of time can really help with making your day progress smoothly. For ADHD’ers, you might also benefit from having a routine but your routine might need to have some freedom in the order or choice of activities to help with the novelty and interest seeking part of your brain.
We know that our users like using both our premade routines and also organising their daily activities into a routine. In fact users who have routines in their daily schedule are much more likely to use Tiimo on a regular basis. However, until now routines have just been a way to group activities together. So users would create a routine made up of their activities, but other than making it easy to copy the routine over into multiple days, you couldn’t really do that much with it. When looking at your ‘My Day’ schedule there was no way of knowing that your activities were part of a routine - they weren’t linked and they acted like individual activities. The whole process of creating routines wasn’t that intuitive or user friendly. This became more and more apparent when we added flexible activities and saw how much users benefitted from being able to have their schedule reflect the rhythm of their daily life. This was also clear from user feedback and reviews. Consistently, the biggest items on the suggestion board were things related to routines - how to make them easier, more flexible, more consistent. We have really tried to encapsulate all of that and give you the tools to make routines but with a Tiimo flavour!
This new feature really shines the spotlight onto routines. Instead of being a loose group of activities, now routines act like their own component in your schedule. They have their own duration, which is the length of all the activities within the routine. Visually, while you can still add icons, colours, descriptions and checklist items to your activities within a routine, the routine itself will appear as a compact part of your ‘My Day’ schedule, and show you which activity is currently running, and which one comes next. You can expand this view to see the full details of the routine.
Building routines is easier and more intuitive. When creating a routine, you can find suggested activities, search activities both within your own and the premade activity library or quickly create new ones for the routine. You will be able to create and save possible routines to your library, without having to place them in your schedule or commit them to a date. They are saved in your routine library for when you need to use them. This makes it easier to create similar routines for different needs, such as weekdays or weekends, or low spoon or energy days, instead of having to create different profiles for this purpose. When you build your schedule, it is as easy as adding your chosen routine and placing it.
As the routine is now it’s own component, a whole routine is able to be inserted as a planned activity (with a set start time) or can be flexible and start at any time. In both cases, you can pause and restart your routine, as these changes affect all later activities within the routine. Activities within the routine also appear as a checklist, so when you have completed any activity in the routine no matter where it is in the routine sequence, you can check it off. When a later activity is checked off before it’s start time, the routine just jumps to the next activity. It won’t give you extra time to complete the routine if you finish things early, but it will give you a better idea of how long it took you to complete your routine. This can help to manage your time better (or at least let you know if you have time for an extra coffee before you leave the house in the morning!)
The good news is that they are all still there and you don’t have to remake them from scratch. Routines that have already been placed in your schedule won’t change and will still perform as before. However, as routines now look and function differently, it is a good idea to double check the ones currently in your library before adding to your schedule in the future. In previously created routines, many activities were set to start at a particular time (a good example is morning or bedtime routines). Now that routines are not time based but duration based, when there is a time gap in the old routine, our system has autogenerated a free time activity. Remember that in this new routine feature, activities automatically follow each other as opposed to starting at individual times, so you probably need to look at your previous routine and work out whether you need to keep the free time buffer, or whether you can delete it. You might prefer to add the buffer time into one of the activities instead.
We hope that this has whetted your appetite for the new feature! We think that routines have so much potential to structure your day in a way that makes it feel more calm and organised, and this feature will allow you to really build your day in a much more accurate way. We are very excited to launch it next week and look forward to hearing your opinions on it!
Note for Android users: Thanks as always for your support and patience. As is common with all development for Tiimo, we start with building new features for iOS as opposed to Android. This allows us to bring new features out faster and also learn quickly what works and doesn’t work. As Android development and debugging is much more tricky (you are essentially developing for over 13k different devices), creating on iOS first helps to shortcut a lot of the process and lets our Android developer build faster. This feature will be added to the Android roadmap and we hope will make it into the app early next year.
A huge thank you once again to everyone who provided feedback and ideas on how we could improve routines within Tiimo. An especially big thank you to our amazing team of super users and testing panel who made sure that this feature not only made sense, but more importantly, worked!
This blogpost is part one of three looking at routines. Next week for the launch we will break down exactly how you add, edit and delete these new style of routines - so head back here to learn more. We also recommend keeping an eye on our socials (@tiimoapp) for the next month as we share ideas and tips on how to get the most out of this feature. There will also be screen recordings on our saved stories which can help you see how the feature works.