Focus on one task at a time with Stack Planner

Last week I launched a little side project I’ve been working on for months. It’s called Stack Planner (dot com!) and it’s a one-at-a-time task tracking system designed with my own brain and thought process in mind. I figure if I would find it useful, others would too!

There’s tons of task management systems out there, but they attack the problem from a management point of view rather than a psychological one, which is what I wanted. With systems like that, you just end up wasting time on managing the tasks instead of actually completing them. You also start getting stressed when things are added quicker than they’re completed, and it grows with no sign of stopping. So that’s where Stack Planner project comes in.

I’ve tried heaps of systems but nothing electronic worked for me. I’m actually a big fan of whiteboards and sticky notes, which then led me to make my own system based on a stack of sticky notes, which went something like this:

  • Have a block of sticky notes ready to go
  • Whenever someone asks me to do something, write it in short hand on a note and stick it to the bottom of the existing notes
  • If something is urgent, stick it to the top
  • Then, just focus on doing whatever is on the top note
  • When complete, take the top note off and chuck it in the bin
    • (This evolved into “put it on the top of a new stack of completed notes” later because I wanted to see the stack grow, and be able to read back through them)

That system worked well for a while, but it lacked portability. So, I left it for a while and moved on the the new Google Tasks system inside of Gmail.

I really like Google Tasks because it’s the quickest and easiest system to add things to, but it still struggles with the same problem as all the rest – it thinks that seeing all the tasks is a feature instead of the psychological deterrent that it actually is. Yes, you can separate lists and hide things you’ve done, but it’s essentially a top down view still. It also has no API even as of writing this, as far as I can find. So… back to the sticky notes and whiteboards for a while before it dawned on me that I could make a smartphone-friendly website and system based entirely on my sticky note stack idea.

Now it’s live and ready for some testing! Please give it a go and let me know if you have any issues, or feedback.

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