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Day Optimizer

Get more done by converting your daily todo list into a daily schedule

Day Optimizer

Get more done by converting your daily todo list into a daily schedule

Day Optimizer is a desktop & mobile web app that uses a 3-step process to help you build an optimal daily schedule. Scheduling your to-dos is an oft-cited productivity technique. It helps you block time out in your day to work on important, but not urgent tasks, so you get the right stuff accomplished. For some people, a daily schedule can also help improve focus, reduce procrastination and manage stress.

Day Optimizer syncs with your calendar, pulling together everything you spend your time on--your appointments, tasks and daily activities--into a single view, so you can prioritize and manage your time effectively. And if things don't go according to plan, you can quickly reschedule.

Hi BetaList crowd.

I created Day Optimizer to help me with my own time management. I use it (almost) every day now, and am way more effective on the days I use it than on the days I don't. I hope you're able to give it a try and it works for you too.

Any questions, either about Day Optimizer or time management in general? Post 'em below and I'll do my best to answer them.
Congratulations Trevor! This looks super useful for all us "time optimists".
Someone messaged me privately a question that I thought it would be useful to answer here...

Q: What makes Day Optimizer different than an app like Things?

At a high level, the key difference is Things is a task management app, while Day Optimizer is a time management app.

What that means is that Things focuses primarily around managing tasks, with time being a secondary consideration, while Day Optimizer focuses primary around time, with tasks being a secondary consideration. While there’s definitely overlap, Day Optimizer isn’t designed to compete directly with task management apps like Things. Ultimately, I plan to support integrations with different task managers, so tasks can be synced into Day Optimizer.

More specifically, Day Optimizer (DO) introduces a few new concepts that task management apps don’t have, and uses a workflow-oriented interface rather than a data management-oriented interface.

For instance, DO has 4 different types of todos to track everything that takes up time in your day:

- *Tasks:* Things that have a defined completion, usually tracked in a task manager
- *Appointments:* Things that are scheduled for a specific data & time, usually tracked in a calendar
- *Activities:* Things you do regularly that take up time in your day, like eating, exercising, commuting or other habits, usually kept in your head
- *Time Blocks:* Placeholders for setting aside time for tasks you keep track of in another system (Things, Asana, Github, etc)

Most tasks managers only have tasks, while some like Things have appointments imported from a calendar. Activities and time blocks can be entered as tasks, but because they act different within a day-to-day workflow, task managers aren’t ideal for those.

Part of the issue is that most task managers are data management focused, while Day Optimizer is workflow focused. So, while Day Optimizer allows you to manage tasks, it’s more concerned with the workflow of creating a schedule and the flow of tasks from day to day.

For instance, Day Optimizer has the concept of a Commitment as separate from a Todo. A Commitment is the decision to attempt to do a todo on a specific day. This adds a psychological benefit (committing makes you more likely to do it) and a tracking benefit (a single todo can have multiple commitments, so you can track when you attempted to do something vs when you actually did). It also allows you to schedule an item for a specific day, but then decide not to do it based on your priorities today, not your priorities when you scheduled it.

Another concept is that tasks can be marked either as Done Today or Done Forever. Unfinished tasks and tasks marked Done Today roll over to the next day as options to be added to your schedule. This creates a flow from day-to-day. Likewise, activities disappear and can never be overdue--if you miss exercising one day, it doesn’t generally mean you need to exercise twice the next day.

Finally, the other big concept difference is that you don’t estimate how long todos take in Day Optimizer (that’s a future feature); instead you allocate how long you plan to spend on them today. This eliminates the need to be good at time estimation (which, for big hairy tasks, is almost impossible), and puts the focus on managing your time within your day to ensure you're focusing on your highest priorities. You still may need to estimate the total time for a task from a project management perspective, but right now that’s outside the scope of Day Optimizer and is better handled by a dedicated task or project management tool.

In the end, the two are conceptually different applications: task managers help you track your tasks, while Day Optimizer helps you organize your time.
This does sound interesting, but is there or will there be an intelligent auto-schedule feature like that seen in Sorted3? I think that is a fantastic feature of Sorted3, the only problem is there's no web app and no plans for one.
@ianmayman Not anytime soon. A large part of the procrastination and focus benefits of Day Optimizer come from consciously deciding and committing to what you're going to do today. Auto-scheduling is definitely easier, but reduces the cognitive commitment, and with it, many of the cognitive benefits.

If auto-scheduling works for you, but Sorted3 doesn't have what you need, check out SkedPal and Focuster, which both will automatically create a schedule for you.

For the foreseeable future, Day Optimizer is aimed at people who want to consciously be deciding what to work on each day, rather than having an algorithm decide that. I'm definitely working to make that process more streamlined, but it will remain a manual process.

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