Productivity App Idea


tl;dr I want to write a productivity application that monitors how much you get done and implements various strategies to try to increase that. An individual user could monitor how different strategies affected their productivity. As a group, users could choose to share their anonymous numerical data of their success (or otherwise) so that we can predict which strategies are likely to make the biggest difference to the most people.

The long version:

I suck at keeping on top of my jobs and I suck at motivating myself to get stuff done. I don’t think I’m the only one out there. I want to improve this, and am wondering if technology could help. Here’s my idea.

We write an app that provides basic task management. You tell it what you need to do and when you actually get stuff done. Something like taskwarrior or todo.txt. The simpler and cleaner the better. No tags, no start dates, no context lists, no ABC priorities etc. Most importantly, it would rate your “productivity” from day-to-day i.e. how much shit you’re getting done each day.

Then, people write plugins on top of that core. Plugins could do any number of things to implement hacks or strategies to increase productivity:

[]Store more information about tasks, such as which context they should be done in (like GTD) or what priority you attach to a task (like ABC analysis);
]Note when a task has been on your list for a long time, and add tasks to your list to try to deal with that (e.g “Consider breaking down task X into smaller tasks” or “Journal about why you may be resisting task X”);
[] Remind you to do stuff by sending you SMS messages or IM messages;
]Make a list of rewards and put one of those on your list every now and again;
[]Decide at the start of the day what tasks you want to get done and then promise yourself you will go and play when you’ve finished;
]Remind you to take a break every so often;
[]Add specific one off tasks on an irregular basis (say yearly), such as “Thoroughly tidy your work space”;
] Ask you to write down why you’re doing what you’re doing when you enter the task;
[] Add a daily habit to your list (e.g meditation or exercise);
] Precommit to some task or goal (like Stickk)
[*] And lots and lots of other things for other people to think of…

Over a period of time, a user could obtain statistics on their productivity using different plugins. From there, they could use the plugins that maximised their productivity. They could also develop new plugins based on the most successful of the ones they’d already used.

For those users that wanted to, they could anonymously share the numerical results of using certain plugins. Again, over time, a picture would hopefully develop of the most effective plugins. Further, the app could even use affinity analysis (like Amazon’s recommendations) to say something like: “You found plugin A effective. Other users who liked plugin A, also liked plugins B, C and D.”

The app could even be put on autopilot, adding plugins automagically based upon the anonymously submitted statistics of others.

Gentle readers of QS, what are your thoughts and comments on my suggestion?