Lately, I have been feeling quite guilty of the mistakes I have made over the past many months and I thought I would write about them here if for no other reason than to get it off my chest.
First of all, to set the scene, here is some context. During an app's development, majority of the time is spent on the front-end compared to the back-end. In software development, by front-end, we mean the coding of the interface the users interact with. By back-end, we mean the db (database), the server and the communication between the db and the front-end code.
My biggest mistake has been to rewrite major portion of the front-end code over the past six months, partly because of not searching for an experienced UX designer and party for not defining the strictest scope for the first version of the app.
Secondly, I wanted to add features. I added features upon features into the app only to strip them away later. I am humbled as I write this, I coded two major features into the app, only to remove them, and in a few months, add them back again. By adding them back, I mean rewriting the entire code for these features.
Thirdly, the responsive design. I am a bit behind this trend however its crazy to me that nowadays, so many users are exclusively browsing the web on their mobiles. My app was not responsive though it is now. A bit.
Forth, not working on marketing. A brand strategy or a brandy history should be created from day one. Not releasing it earlier is a major lesson for me however this is connected my confidence which deserves its own blog post.
I have had a site open on my Firefox browser for few days now. Every second day or so, I open one of the link from that site and read/ explore as I think about this new thing called 'build on public'.
Here is the gist, 'build in public' is about developing your app in front of the world. The conventional software development is about hacking away till you have a prototype ready to show the world. 'BIP' pulls the public bit right to the start of the software dev cycle. Example of this includes using Twitter/ FB/ LinkedIn to share progress or asking questions to engage potential users. Making use of Youtube/ Twitch for sharing dev process.
'BIP' has a few benefits:
- Other people/ potential users get to know about the product earlier & share feedback.
- These potential users can direct the development of features most.
- As developers, we can directly ask the community for help/ feedback.
On the flip side...:
- Time consuming. You really have to schedule this into your life. As someone who is fairly private, this is big deal for me.
- It makes you vulnerable, you can't hide behind excuses anymore. Afterall, even silence means something.
- Amplifies your insecurities, still sometimes struggle with React-hooks? Yes, me too.
I have decided to explore this in the coming days/ weeks/ months for aimhigh.life. I can see the benefits, its my own insecurities that hold the strongest argument against it.
As I have previously shared, on Aim-High, tasks are treated as sub-goals. They are the steps towards achieving your goals. To put it as an analogy, tasks are the atoms in a goal molecule.
On Aim-High, there are two types of tasks:
Frequent Tasks: Frequent tasks are those tasks that are repeated. Generally, they are of shorter duration & once done, you tick them off for the day.
One-off tasks: One-off tasks are tasks that have a continuation. Your progress from one of these tasks on to the next. In that sense, they are the steps towards the whole (the goal).
When I break a task into smaller steps, I find that invariably some of these tasks take much longer than others & this coincides with my motivation, which makes sense. That is to say, I lose some motivation as I work on the bigger task because of not having a sense of progression (even if its false). And this is where my solution comes in.
On Aim-High, each of these one-off tasks has three states:
These terms are self-explanatory. So. I will summarise the benefits they bring.
1 - First, this will help us to use psychology to motivate you. More on this in a future post.
2 - As, perhaps the main point of Aim-High is to facilitate communication, so if you notice your team-mate is taking too long on a task, that's a cue for you to step in and talk with them.
3 - It will help you to analyse your performance at the end & see how you could have done better & I hope this will help you to create better goals next time.
There is quite a bit more I want to say. More on this in the future. Feedback would be amazing, as always. Best,
I wanted to share what the initial version of the app looked liked. I worked really hard and it was an wonderful learning experience, however, it had its usability (UX) flaws and eventually I decided to ditch it.
Now that the app is ready for beta, I want to elaborate on how I envisaged the usage of Aim-High. The books James Clear's 'Atomic Habits' & Atul Agrawal's 'The Checklist Manifasto' have been transformational because they emphasised the basics so well. Not only are both of them, fun and engaging reads, they hit home because almost all of us have used these concepts, atleast to some extent in our lives. We just forgot the basics and ran for the next solution whoever proposed.
Aim High emphasises the usage of checklists and breaking the tasks down into as small a number of steps as possible.
I recall coming across a review of a study where they demonstrated that compliance increased significantly, when the instructions given wewe more specific, precise and immediate. This system is what I have been employing in my daily life for a while now. It is not the most elegant, nor the one with the least effort required, however, it has been the only system that has worked for me.
Give it a try and let know your thought. Best,
The previously mentioned focusmate is one of a number of tools I use daily. One of the good things about Focusmate is the interactions one has with strangers. Their interactions are almost spontaneous because, being the introvert that I am, something has to pique my curiosity before I ask a question outside the normal protocol of ‘How are you and what's your plan’.
As I regularly think about what makes a good productivity tool, as soon as I hear someone working on their plans, I cannot resist wanting to know their rituals. And that is exactly what most of us develop. Rituals. What I have realised is that most of us don't want the most efficient system for setting goals. We want a system which is also about management of the burden, stress and the anxiety that the seemingly endless to-do tasks bring. This explains to me, in-spite of the efficiently designed calendar apps, plain to-do list apps, we want something more customisable. Maybe the word customisable isn’t correct. We want something more personal. This makes sense in context to the use of colours, symbols, paper diaries and bullet journals.
I wanted to share my thoughts on why I decided against a calendar based goal-setting design. From the very start, I wanted this app for myself & from my experience, calendar based planning just doesn't work for me. Its not just one reason, there are many. First of all, I almost always either over or under shoot the deadline for a goal, which meant that I would have to redo the schedule because the available hours schedule has changed. And this would work fine until the next time I under/ over shoot my deadline.
Then there is the anxiety. I don't deal well with making detailed plans ahead of time. Whether its the complexity or the fear of failure, the pending tasks just consume my mind. This triggers anxiety which welcomes procrastination. There is also the annoyance that the calendar almost never seems to work when I break down a task into smaller tasks & try slotting them into the timeline. It looks messy and difficult to read.
What does work for me is identifying things to work on & making detailed tasks-list at the time. Stephen Covey's expression 'Sharpen the saw' sums it perfectly. The task list is meant to break the goal into small/ even tiny tasks that wont trigger anxiety. That is why, I decided against a calendar view in app. And also did not want a strict time-lines. In this app, the calendar is used to make the user aware of where they stand, how many days have past & how many days remain before the team breaks & you both go your separate ways.
I would love to hear opinion on the above, so by all means, click on the feedback button & send me a thoughts. Best wishes.
For the first blog post, I wanted to share why I decided to write this app. It wasnt that there aren't many options / apps out there. If anything, when I started to do my research, It was a bit daunting. Simply put, there are so many apps out there, each with its own interpretation of how to help us be more productive. Each week, on product-hunt, there are a number of apps launched on productivity. There are apps by single developers, very much like myself & then there are apps from billion dollar companies, including the likes of Google. Focusing on Google for a moment, Google doesn't even offer a single solution, rather a number of solutions & you decide which one works for you.
And that is, in my experiential opinion, the right approach. There is no single solution that works for everyone. And from the start, I didn't set out to solve the productivity problem for everyone. Just for some. For those for whom having a companion is motivating. And I hope, it will give you insight on what works for you and what doesn't. That is a good first goal to set for myself.
A log of all the latest updates to the app:
Improvement to Home page copy as per user feedback. Added a video to the home page.
UX improvements to the editor page to help users better understand & navigate the page.
In the editor page, goal-form validation fixes & save goals button logic fix.
Improvement to the performance of AimHigh based on Lighthouse recommendations. Lowest benchmark is 88/100 now.
Activity-feed shows the activity of the team-mate for the whole day.
Added my twitter feed on the blog-page.
Edit-a-goal control is disabled when a goal title's comments section is opened.
Edit a goal within the team-page.
Added this change-log to the blog-page.
Numerous bugfixes on the meeting-page.
Team-Messenger scrolls the latest message into view.