Here are some of my thoughts...

Experience
Feel Lucky

By considering metaphors as replacements for reality you increase the distance between yourself and reality. When used for getting certain tasks done this can be a useful tool however when considering thoughts themselves it probably gets in the way.

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To improve the utility of the Doing widget I should start using it more for personal tasks. I think the task description, which for work items I currently don't read very often, would be more useful and I would engage with the actual content on the widget rather than the colours and the notifications.

To encourage we to use it for personal tasks I think the following improvements might help.

  1. Make it easier to enter thoughts. This can be done by
    1. Making 'Add Card' work offline
    2. Add new cards to 'This Week' or 'Today' depending on which one is current in view.
  2. Notifying the user when 'This Week' and 'Today' lists are empty in certain time windows.
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I recently implemented a 'context service' for the PocketLab web app which has proven to be very useful for multiple reasons.

The service, which is part of an angular web app although assumably could be used in most front end web frameworks

  1. Listens on URL changes
  2. Constructs a context from the new URL
  3. Publishes the context through an Observable.

In the web app I am working on the context consists of the object currently being viewed and the hierarchy it exists in as well as some more broader information such as login status and PocketLab device in use.

Amongst other things this is useful for providing information to UI components that help the user orientate themselves within the app and for sending a lot of rich data to Google Tag Manager.

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Another option for how to link up 'thoughts' is to use something similar to suggested stories on a news site. These suggested thoughts would be related to the current thought using an configurable algorithm. This would reduce the amount of friction when adding thoughts and encourage me to do it more.

Rather than complicating the UI the 'suggested thoughts', which from now on I will call 'related thoughts' because the verb suggest doesn't fit in this context, can fit in to the existing stream of thoughts, above and below the current thought depending on the creation date. This is where 'infinite scroll' would be very useful.

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Writing thoughts where it is assumed I am the consumer seems to be more satisfying.

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I need to tweak the 'More Like This' configuration so there is a higher threshold for the related thoughts.

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The most effective solution to a mental process problem isn't always the cleanest solution. The model that is built in the head as part of the solution needs to resonate in a way that it is remembered and lends itself to being used when such a problem arrises.

Think two crocodiles facing each other.

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All thoughts are now stored exclusively in a Lucene index and managed by Elasticsearch. I am still using Postgres to manage authentication.

The main motivation for using Elasticsearch is the 'More Like This' feature which link thoughts together automatically.

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Although I believe a more liberated engineer (free from excess social, bureaucratic and traditional processes) generally makes for a more for-filled and ultimately more productive engineer it can also be helpful to use self imposed mechanisms to guide behavior where human tendencies can lead us down unproductive paths.

An example of this is a widget I created for android which connects with my Trello boards, sits on my home screen and has the following features:

  1. A Doing section, (scrollable) Today/This Week section and Clocked off section which track corresponding lists on all Trello boards and present the cards present in these lists.
  2. Ability to move the cards between lists as well as into the 'Todo' and 'Done' lists which are present in Trello but not presented in the widget.
  3. Triggers notifications and alarms when amongst other events the following happens
    1. A card sits in 'Today' after the day is complete
    2. A card sits in 'This Week' after the week is complete
    3. A card sits in 'Doing' outside work hours
    4. There is no card in 'Doing' during work hours

The alarms and notifications have a pavlovian effect and can be made to quite unpleasant by adjusting vibration length and sound thus increasing the effectiveness.

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