Thoughts on website ideas, PHP and other tech topics, plus going car-free
Procrastination to-do list
Categories: Doodles, Ideas, Uncategorized


As a person who is both scatter-brained and busy, I’ve gone through various ways of organising my time. For over a decade, I have maintained an electronic mobile-phone calendar, so I can get reminders of where I need to be and when. I like this, and plan to carry on doing it; it ain’t broke.

However, for stuff that is less time-bound, or things I’d like to do that are not time-bound at all, it’s trickier to record in a way that will get it done. I admit to rather liking lists in their own right – they are satisfying to write, and satisfying to declare done. They are a bit of a double-edged sword though, since writing lists of trivial things takes time and mental energy that should probably have been spent on doing the list instead.

Back in the day, I started out with NetVibes, which apparently is still a thing. After they had a server catch fire, and lost some of my data by virtue of not having a backup, I moved to the default to-do list app on mobile phones. Then, dissatisfied again, I moved to Trello. When my Trello boards became oppressive by virtue of their size, I moved to a notepad on a mobile phone, which is more manageable, but loses most of the organisational tools I need.

Building my own

I know, building a piece of software to help with procrastination can probably be seen as a spectacular piece of avoidance in its own right. However, my defence is that if it can be done in a few weeks, and done in a way that encourages action, it will pay for itself in time saved. Time will tell!

My vision is that tasks are not merely entries: they contain procrastination scores to gamify getting them done, and fields to encourage the user to visualise how getting them done will feel.

Then, when I have enough data, I will plot scores on a graph every week or every fortnight, and gamify progress by comparing the current period to previous ones. Keeping a diary of why progress was good or bad for a period could also be very motivational.


I like the gamification of Habitica, but I want to be able to record more meta-data per item.

Minimum viable product

Can I hack this together in PHP and JavaScript, with a SQLite database, in a Docker container, in a few days? Eek! 🙂

  • Design main list table in a spreadsheet
  • Write some SQL to create this in SQLite
  • Install phpLiteAdmin in a Docker container
  • Put a hard-coded htauth in front of the app
  • Write a query to fetch the dates/scores for one or more periods
  • Plot the data on a line graph

Upgrades to MVP

  • Decide how to add tags in the ERD and write some SQL to demo this
  • Write a screen to create an item
  • Write a screen to edit an item
  • Write a screen to delete an item

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