Routine App Comparison: Tiimo vs. Routinery
One of the annoying contradictions with my autistic ADHD brain is that my ADHD craves novelty and my autism requires predictability. I need my routines for my life to function. And as much as my demand avoidance hates to admit it, I need a routine app - specifically one that is visual. Although I have the same routine every single morning, if I don't have something to remind me what to do then I forget at least one thing.
Checklists and to-do lists don't work for me. I will inevitably stop looking at them. I need technology to remind me and prompt me what to do next. I've looked into several routine apps, many of which I deleted right after downloading because I knew right after opening the app it wouldn't work for me. In the sea of routine apps here are two that seemed to be the most compatible for meeting my needs: Tiimo and Routinery (both are available on iPhone and Android).
Tiimo is a routine app billed as a visual daily planner that I hear about most often within the neurodivergent community. With Tiimo you are able to create routines as well as add single activities to your planned day. I originally started using it about a year ago (then stopped using it because for some reason it stopped notifying me about my routine so naturally I forgot about it). With the addition of three adopted cats between June and September, I realized I desperately needed a routine app more than ever. So I began using Tiimo again a couple of months ago. Here's my thoughts on Tiimo:
Things I like about Tiimo
- There are a wide variety of icons to choose from for an activity and you can also upload your own. Having a real life photo of a thing can be helpful on a visual schedule
- You can have multiple profiles which is nice if other folks in your household are using Tiimo as well
- Tiimo added the ability to add more time to an activity in your routine while it's running. This way it won't jump to the next activity if you aren't ready
- The checklist feature they added for activities is handy
- I like having the option to switch between a Right Now view (routines or activities happening now) and a My Day view (an overview of the activities or routines planned for that day)
Things I don't like about Tiimo
- It's such a pain to edit an existing routine because it won't update the routine that's already in your planned day. As of this writing you need add the edited routine to your plans and delete the previous one from your plans. It's too many steps for my brain
- There isn't an option to not automatically go to the next planned activity within a routine. There is an option to have a routine set to be "any time during the day" so it won't automatically start, but I forget about it if I have that option set
- I had a heck of a time getting it to work properly with my Apple Watch which was the reason I ended up deleting the Tiimo app
- It can be cost prohibitive for folks since there is a subscription fee after a free trial period (*here's your reminder to cancel the free trial if you don't want to be charged!)
After searching through discussion forums I saw Routinery mentioned a few times. Everyone who mentioned Routinery had great things to say about it. The focus of Routinery is exactly what it's name says - to create routines for your life. Unlike Tiimo it does not have a focus as being a planner where you can add single activities to your planned days. Here's my thoughts on Routinery:
Things I like about Routinery
- It has a clean and minimalistic design. It clicked with my brain right away
- Creating a new routine is a quick and easy process
- You can update an existing routine without any excess steps
- Everything is clearly labeled. The font and buttons are large enough to navigate with ease
- You are able to duplicate a routine. This is handy for me when my routine changes by one activity on a given day. For example, on Sundays my closing duties routine is the same but with the addition of filling my pillbox for the upcoming week. It's nice to not have to create a whole new routine from scratch
- There are a variety of settings to make it customized to my needs - timer settings, settings for improved concentration, and add-ons like haptic vibration and status bar
- There is a timer setting under Push Notifications called "Pause Timer Notification" that you can turn on. If it's on it will notify you 5, 10, and/or 20 minutes after you pause an activity in a routine to remind you that it's paused
- There's an option to not automatically go to the next activity(!!!)
- It has worked seamlessly with my Apple Watch thus far which is a must for me
- Routinery has a free version that allows you to create up to two different routines and offers a limited selection of activity icons to choose from
Things I don't like about Routinery
- I'd like the option to view individual days rather than just Today
- There isn't an option to upload your own photos or activity icons which may be an issue for some folks. But if you are using the app on an Apple Watch then this isn't a big deal because (at least on the watch I have) the icons aren't used on the watch itself
- Can be cost prohibitive for folks who would benefit from the premium subscription which allows you to create unlimited routines and access to all of the available activity icons
Side-by-side comparison of Tiimo & Routinery
Here are some screenshots comparing different aspects of Tiimo and Routinery.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of what the day's overview looks like in Tiimo versus what it looks like in Routinery. With Tiimo you are able to scroll through different days of the week and see the full calendar. With Routinery you are limited to the current day (you are able to view all activated and inactive routines by clicking the dropdown box in the top right).
Creating a Routine in Tiimo
These are screenshots of the process of creating a routine in Tiimo. You label the activity, duration, and have the option to add an icon, note, or checklist.
For the routine itself you can choose whether to have it scheduled for a specific time of day or can be started at any time during the day. You can also choose what day to add it to and whether it is a reccuring routine.
Creating a Routine in Routinery
These are screenshots for creating a routine in Routinery. You are able to choose what days the routine occurs on and select reminder settings. When adding an activity to the routine you label the activity, choose an icon, select the duration, and whether you want the activity to automatically go to the next activity once the time has lapsed.
Overview of Routine
Below are screenshots of what the overview of the routine looks like in Tiimo versus Routinery. In Tiimo you are able to check off activities without starting the whole routine. In Routinery you are able to add another activity (press the plus sign) or delete an activity (swipe the scheduled activity to the left) to the routine for that day.
I thought it might be helpful to show some of the setting options available in Tiimo and Routinery. In Tiimo the settings are more about notification settings, whereas in Routinery you can adjust the timer and display settings, as well as push notification settings.
After using both apps Routinery is the clear winner for me personally. Which routine app you use comes down to personal preference, what features are most important to you, and what works best for your brain. I am grateful to live in a time where there are options for neurodivergent brains!