Three to-do apps and types of task management

This post hasn't been updated in over 3 years.

As the preparations for B:READ’s Mabohai Bookswap were in full swing last month, I found myself using managing tasks using not one, not two, but three to-do apps in that same period. I admit that I enjoy keeping lists, and they help me keep track of things in my head; but at one point, it did occur to me: “Why am I using three different apps to handle my tasks? This is kind of ridiculous.”

So I took a closer look at the apps, and as it turns out, there wasn’t a problem of redundancy – the tasks recorded in each app were mostly different. Each app served a different purpose, depending on what tasks I wanted to achieve.

1. Weekly goals

I am terrible at keeping to any weekly goals – yes, I find my day job a challenge, thanks for asking – but I keep trying!

Workflowy is a web app and an iOS app. Its specialty is that you can have tasks at different levels, which I can break down or move up as I wish.

For example, here I have a list of things I meant to do within a week:

Screenshot of Workflowy app, shows higher level tasks under 'By 16 June 2013'. One of the tasks is called 'Finished Documentation for [x]'.

If you have ever found it difficult working towards such high-level tasks, you may understand that vaguely defined list items like “Documentation” just aren’t helpful when you’re panicking or procrastinating, because they seem like such big tasks. Read more…

12
Jun 2013
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Information Design: Cyber Safety Tips, 1st Page

This post hasn't been updated in over 3 years.

I dropped by the AITI Cyber Security Awareness Week this weekend, and picked up this year’s booklet. (They’ve had other brochures and booklets before, in their online safety campaigns from previous years.)

[Edited 13-Nov-2012: There were actually two similar booklets distributed at the event. The covers are shown below. The rest of this post refers to the one on the left, which was published by AITI. The other one is from BruCERT.]
Cyber Safety Tips

Booklet by AITI

A Parent's Guide: Online Safety for Children

Booklet by BRUCERT

Maybe I’m nitpicking, but even with the playful fonts and the colourful cartoons, I feel that the information in the booklet could be a lot clearer with better layouts and less specialised IT terms. This is about “awareness”, after all.

Here is the “Introduction” page:

A long introductory paragraph; No illustrations or anything else to break up the text; Disclaimer in same font size as above paragraph

Introduction

That introductory paragraph may sound great as an opening to a speech, but this is the first page of a booklet. With nothing breaking up the text, it just looks like a text dump. Someone had made the effort to write it up, but its purpose didn’t amount to anything more than a dull block of text.

The paragraph probably isn’t even necessary, as most people are likely to just skip through to the different sections. I mean, it’s a booklet of “tips”! Let me get to the tips, already.

So I decided to redo the text to improve readability:

Blocks of text positioned in various spots; Illustrations; Sentences are shorter for better emphasis

Obviously it could be prettified even more, but I hope you can see my point.

I placed the text in a different layout so that text is broken up and allowed to “float” around the page. I also threw in a few drawings.

You may have noticed that I not only used shorter sentences, but changed the types of words used. This was not so much to dumb it down, but to create a better flow for the reader.

It felt unnecessary to be told that ICT has “changed tremendously” or that the wonders of the Internet is available “all around the world” at “the click of a button”… we know!

“Every good thing has its flaws” – yeah, OK; the “exponential growth” of the Internet is a factor – well, yes. But I feel like the only purpose of the these sentences, is to justify why there are “bad people” on the Internet. I don’t see why it has to be said.

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Lastly: No offense to AITI, other organisations participating in the campaign, or even the graphic designer that was involved. I’m also not directing any criticism to the Cyber Security Awareness Week itself, as I didn’t hang around long enough to experience its activities. My points are made in the interest of making information more accessible.

11
Nov 2012
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Participation

This post hasn't been updated in over 3 years.

(This is not a post about volunteerism. This is my speculation about viewpoints that other people may have, their motives and feelings, i.e. being all sensitive to other people and stuff.)

You’re starting a new club… well, you know how it is. These days, it’s a club in the form of a new group or page on Facebook. You’re looking for people with a common interest, or to rally people for a cause you believe in. You wait for people to join. And then, when you’ve reached a good number of group members or “likes”, you find yourself not wishing for more people, but for your 50 (or 100, 200, 500) members to be more responsive to your posts.

I reflected on this a few weeks ago, during a dialogue I attended. There was a girl in her late teens, who had tried getting her friends and peers from school involved in volunteering for various causes or events. She felt frustrated; they didn’t seem to show interest in volunteerism. And thus followed some discussion about how to encourage local youths to volunteer.

Are teenagers apathetic? The answer was “yes yes, and how do we solve it?”. But I’m not sure I agree. I wouldn’t say her peers are apathetic; perhaps they can’t get involved at that point in their lives.

When I was at school, I didn’t have an urge to join any sort of student council, and had to be forced into positions of authority. (That was fun.) Participation in school competitions was usually initiated after nomination by teachers. School clubs were a sad affair at the time, with many club activities not lasting for more than a few weeks.

A few years later, however, I was in university and I found myself signing up for the “executive committee” for a student society. After avoiding sports for half of my teenage life, I started playing netball in a team. Being a bit older seemed to make all the difference in my confidence and willingness to try to new things. You’re more comfortable with your “identity”, and you have a more solid sense of your aspirations, with a consciousness of the type of person you want to be. You’re also more at ease with interacting with others.

Read more…

14
Sep 2012
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LegCo 2012: Thanks for the Update

This post hasn't been updated in over 3 years.

(I originally wrote a much longer LegCo post, but felt that I was making two different points, so I separated them. The other post is about the public expectation of LegCo to be about “debate”, and the response from concerned citizens on Twitter about the relevance of issues raised.)

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As a young opinionated citizen with no background in politics, I would like to share my personal opinions and observations regarding the ongoing 8th Legislative Council proceedings in Brunei.

I write without having ever sat in a LegCo proceeding (yet!), or being in the shoes of a Minister.

I am also secretly (cough, cough) a civil servant.

Here goes. Read more…

10
Mar 2012
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LegCo 2012: Word of the day is “Expectations”

This post hasn't been updated in over 3 years.

(I originally wrote a much longer LegCo post, but felt that I was making two different points, so I separated them. The other post is about LegCo becoming a platform for updating on progress, and I felt that I would prefer more meat to such updates.)

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This year, the 8th Legislative Council (LegCo) session got a Twitter hashtag: #legco8As noted on ProjekBrunei.com, the Bruneian Twitterverse was keen to take up on this. The comments in the #legco8 feed on Twitter this year show concerned citizens being skeptical, snarky, sometimes appreciative, but most likely frustrated with the reports on the LegCo proceedings.

I have a feeling that there may be a disconnect between what the Government expects LegCo to be, and what the public expects it to be.

Expectations of “Debate”

There is a perception that LegCo is about “debate”. From the official website of Jabatan Majlis-Majlis Mesyuarat, the functions of LegCo are given as:

  • Merundingkan dan meluluskan undang-undang
  • Mengenakan sekatan-sekatan kewangan
  • Meneliti polisi-polisi Kerajaan dan lain-lain perkara berkaitan dengan perjalanan Majlis Mesyuarat Negara

(Source: Fungsi Majlis Mesyuarat Negara)

Read more…

09
Mar 2012
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