Do (pt 3)

Being able to complete tasks was a success. Kind of. It didn’t clear out as many tasks as I was hoping. And it would be nice if the UX was more rewarding. But mainly I’m just annoyed by the sheer abundance of tasks that I have to do. Looking at my todo list feels overwhelming instead of inspiring. So version 3 is going to be about thinning out the task list.

Ideally when I open the app I’d like to see two things:

  1. Some way for me to add tasks
  2. The five (or so) most important tasks for me to see right now

In order to restrict all of the todos to only the five most important, I would like to introduce the following features:

Snoozing todos #

Snoozing todos is a way of saying “I acknowledge this todo exists, and I will deal with later.” Snoozing a todo removes it from the visible list for a duration of time. A new todo will rise to fill its place. An open question is the duration of snooze on a todo.

Categorizing todos #

Todos are categorized using Twitter style hashtags. Once categorized, todos will not show up in the standard task queue. In order to see these todos, a search feature will be added. Now the same input for adding new todos will also act as a search for existing todos.

Scoring todos #

Todos will always be ranked by an internal scoring system. The top five scoring todos will be displayed. Externally, users can change bump the score of a todo up or down. It would also be nice if users could change the score of todos relative to one another (e.g. drag a todo into the visible queue).

There are many open questions relating to ranking todos. For example, how do deadlines play into the ranking? How does the input date? Or the number of times a task has been snoozed?

Also, obviously, completed todos won’t show in the five most important.

It’s an open question as to what should happen when less than five todos satisfy the constraints. Should more todos rise to fill their spots? Does this app have a state where all visible todos are completed? This reveals a larger question of how todos interact with “free time”. Is it demotivating to see an endless list of things to do? Is it more practical?

I don’t necessarily think that interaction is a bad thing. When I look at my todo list, I don’t think I mind interacting with it liberally. Perhaps to acknowledging each todo. Or re-affirm the importance of each task.

That being said, it’s also quite difficult to see progress. Completed todos just disappear. There’s no record of how much stuff you’ve completed. Ideally it would be great if every todo had an associated value that measured how much effort it required. Then we could sum these values, and visualize them over time. Unfortunately, I think this would be difficult data to acquire. Some tasks take an undetermined amount of time. Some tasks take so little time it’s not worth mentioning. And nobody likes filling in additional data.

I think I’ll have to think more about this.


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