Matthew Burton

An idea for to-do lists

I just watched Paul Graham’s keynote from PyCon, where he asks developers to replace email, among other things.

His talk inspired me to write about a product idea that I’ve been baking for about three years. Since the night I had the idea, I’ve wanted to realize it, and I’ve been through a few false starts. But I’ve never gotten around to it for real. The worst part is, I really, REALLY need this product, because I think it would make life a lot easier for me. I decided that if I shared the idea with everyone, one of two things would happen:

  • Someone else would make it, and my productivity would balloon
  • The knowledge that someone else might scoop me would motivate me to finally make the sucker myself

So I challenge you to read the below and build this.

Here’s the idea:

Tasket (I’m told I need a new name) is two lists: a to-do list to which others can add items (Incoming tasks), and a list of things you have asked others to do (Outgoing tasks). When you add an item to someone’s Incoming tasks list, the item is also added to your Outgoing list.

That’s the idea. Pretty simple.

Why let people edit your to-do list? Because they already do, many times a day. They just make it extremely difficult for you to manage that list. Every time you get an email, a phone call, or a hallway request, you are being asked to do something for someone else. They are adding items to your to-do list. But it’s your job to collate all of those tasks and put them into an organized list. That’s not fair. You’re doing work for the benefit of other people. The least they could do is make it easy for you. Let them add the item directly to your to-do list.

At the same time, unless you’re a hermit, your own list of incoming tasks is inherently incomplete. We are all waiting on other people to do things for us as well, and many of the things on our own to-do lists cannot be done until someone else does something for us; we have dependencies. I have never seen a to-do list specifically for tracking such outgoing tasks. Tasket accomplishes this while simultaneously building your own to-do list without extra effort.

That’s it. Please make this. I really need it.

I have some screenshots of early prototypes. Maybe I’ll post them eventually. If you want to make this with me, just write to me. Let’s get started.

Categories: Ideas & Thoughts

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  1. I think that both Kibits and Orchestra apps do what you’re asking; also possibly Asana and WorkFlowy…

  2. You’re lookin for Asana: http://asana.comx

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