I dislike todo list apps. Every single one of them. How many times have I eagerly hit the sign up button convinced my days of unproductivity are behind me for good to inevitably witness my initial excitement quickly die out in a smoldering pit of neglect?
Yup, from Todo, Remember the Milk, Evernote (yea, yea, not just a todo list app I know), TeuxDeux, Omnifocus, Put Things Off, Wunderlist…shall I continue? None of them have ever worked for me. It’s not you guys, it’s me.
And then there was iDoneThis. I came across this nifty app today on The Next Web, where it was listed as one of the top ten best productivity apps of 2011. Yes, I have a natural affinity towards reading top ten lists as much as I do towards writing them.
iDoneThis asks you a simple question: what have you done today?
Through daily emails at the end of your day, you record what you’ve accomplished.
Ran a marathon? Check!
Got a promotion? Check!
Met an important deadline? Check!
Survived your chemistry exam? Check!
iDoneThis believes that by recording your achievements every day, it will provide a good motivator towards staying on task and being productive. Everything is saved to a calendar where you can admire(and showoff perhaps?) the sea of check marks indicating that you’ve done something.
Although I can’t attest to the effectiveness of iDoneThis since I’ve only started using it today, over 500,000 “dones” have been recorded in its first year. Maybe positive reinforcement does work.
I thought it would be interesting to share the story behind how iDoneThis was conceived.
In an email sent between the founders Walter Chen and Rodrigo Guzman late last December, the idea of iDoneThis was described as follows:
A daily “what did you achieve today?” email. We send the email and expect a response.
Y’know there is this:
http://lifehacker.com/281626/jerry-seinfelds-productivity-secret (he gets a big calendar and marks an X on every day that he’s written jokes, the long chains of Xs get him to write more jokes)
Based on the emails that people send, we’d have some kind of graph/calendar like Seinfeld’s.
When we don’t hear from people we send them an angry email and show them their calendar with their string of Xs broken the next day.
I can likely put some rudimentary version of this together in a couple of days.
I love stories like this. Although I’m dubious about how diligent I will be answering daily emails deploring me to explain what impact I’ve made on the world that day, I’m confident it will fare better than any todo list app I’ve used.