pretzelhands

#pretzel2018

Going from zero to fifty dollars per month.

Current earnings: 0 USD per month

Day 2

Working with more focus and clarity

TL;DR: A fancy to-do app with simple project management features

Here we are, the first proper blog post after the introduction. Since writing the introduction on New Year’s Eve I’ve been mulling over those two ideas I proposed. After a bit of refining, I decided to start with a zen-esque tool: TaskZen

Entering a task on TaskZen

Yet another todo app? Really?

Yes. Really. The idea here isn’t to be innovative and disrupting entire industries with my pinky finger. It’s just to get the ball rolling. To gain momentum at building and launching. Marketing pretzel2018 for the past few days has taught me much about getting the word out there, and I want to practise this. I’m not a marketing person; I grew up writing code!

The idea here isn’t to be innovative. It’s to gain momentum in building and launching products.

So this is an exercise in generating hype for a product. Because building a product is the easy part. Getting the word out there is lots of work!

So what’s the idea?

The idea here is something that I personally love in all of the products: Zen mode. As I’ve mentioned previously, I write all of my long-form text on Tim Holman’s ZenPen. It’s truly a wonderful tool that provides me with an empty canvas and a non-intrusive word counter. That’s all I need. And it’s so enjoyable!

I also tend to use Zen mode in my text editor - VS Code - so I can focus on programming, instead of various status bars and file trees and whatever other information is provided to me. Sometimes that is useful, yes. But 90% of the time, keyboard shortcuts are enough.

If I look at my Trello board there’s just so much going on. Finished tasks, open tasks, tasks that are being worked on and so much more. TaskZen helps you focus on one task at a time.

Now, if I look at my Trello board, there’s so much going on. Tasks that are done, tasks that are work-in-progress, planned tasks. It’s a flood of information that I don’t want to always be dealing with. Sometimes I just want to focus on a single task. And that’s where TaskZen comes in.

You enter your tasks, you arrange them by category and order them in whichever way you need to be done. Then you take a deep breath and start. You finish the first task and click to get the next. Then you focus on that and finish it. Grab the next task and repeat. It allows you to really focus your efforts on a set amount of goals for the day and work on them piece-by-piece.

Entering a task on TaskZen

How do you plan on monetizing this?

My plan for monetizing is based on three seperate tiers:

  • Anonymous use
  • Signed-in accounts
  • Pro accounts

Anonymous use

This allows you to use the app without any signing up or sharing any of your details whatsoever. The task list will be stored in your browser’s storage (e.g. localStorage) and is completely client-side. It’s just to get your feet wet.

Signed-in accounts

If you sign up for an account, you’ll have the bonus of having your tasks stored in a database. Hence you can check them from anywhere, whether it’s your phone or your tablet or your grandma’s old computer from 2002.

Pro accounts

Pro accounts will be charged a small monthly sum (somewhere between 3 and 5 dollars) for extra features. These features will allow for things like time tracking and project-based work. All of these will then be prepared into a nice overview of time spent doing what.

Summing Up

I again repeat that this is not the most innovative app. It’s walking on a very well trodden path. Almost a highway of project ideas, really. But it’s something simple that can be done very quickly with a lot of polish. And it gets the ball rolling!

I hope to get out a first version by Friday, depending on how much time contracting allows me to work on it.

Perhaps there are other zen fans out there that love distraction-free work environments. Maybe there are not. The first response to the screenshots on Twitter has been very positive! And since we’re talking about this goal of mine being 50 USD, maybe this can help jumpstart it!

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and if you’d like to follow the progress of TaskZen live, you can either sign up for my mailing list below or follow me on Twitter, where I will post screenshots and the like as I am developing!