Work on Idea #165

Work Flow App

Once, when I was struggling real hard with repetitive strain injuries, it seemed that the only way to fix it was to impose myself some rest time. The results were great, I made a good recover from it, in part thanks to a simple program called Work Flow. 

The program is distributed under a MIT license. There are download links at the bottom of this page.

Work Flow is a task scheduler and timer, it is a productivity app. You program it with a list of daily tasks, say 1h Work, followed by 5min Break, another 1h Work, 5min Break, and so forth and it follows the routine keeping track of time. It alerts you with a friendly beep when time is elapsed. The important thing is to add some rest minutes after every time logged in the computer. You just start the program when the day begins, press Start! and leaves it in the background. When you are going to bed, you hit End Day. The next day, unless you change something, it will do the same thing again (if I'm not mistaken). 

It is handy to tell how long do you still have for an activity, but it is not meant to micromanage every single task you do. It is more a macro process thing, work, play, rest, sleep. I've learned over the years that I work by making lists of tasks and cycling them, so it stands to reason that if I was going to do that for the rest of my life I should go more pro. It cuts short those wasted minutes when you are deciding what to do next. 

If you are not careful, however, you might be tempted to look to the clock too frequently and that will bring you time anxiety. Just forget about time, focus on the work and let Work Flow take care of your routine. 

You earn what I can Turnover Tokens for work done. As it turns out, I was also in need to cut back on the nights I stayed up late and this helped me to more evenly space these Turnover nights. When you feel like or need it, you can spend these credits, and turn over a night, guilt-free. Naturally you should not cheat yourself.

It keeps simple logs too so you can review them later and improve your work routine further. 

The program was developed when I discovered the powerful electron framework. I haven't touched in it for quite a while but there was a time when I was really into learning it. I did not master the tool, as it can be noticed that the distribution is quite large. It's status by now is as-is, no maintenance for over two years, but it does the job. There were significant improvements I planned to do, including a button to skip activities, but I never got around to do. 

In order to tailor the program to your routine, you need to edit a standard flow.JSON file in any text editor. I recommend editing it in JSONlint, in order to get the JSON validated right. It is quite straightforward. The file looks like:


    "flowCycles": 18,



"2":["Work 1",50],




"18":["END DAY",0.001],



The number after flowCycles should be the index of the last activity you placed. You can add as many lines as you want with activities, the number being the time in minutes allocated for the task. It just needs to end with the END DAY activity, just leave it there as it is. 

Note that although the program works, I admit I found it demanding to manage the program all the time, and eventually when it was no longer necessary it was abandoned. There are many ways to approach the need to schedule daily activities, and this perhaps just isn't the best one yet. I still need to devise a better way to boost my productivity. 


Work Flow App Files (zipped)

BANNER IMAGE CREDITS: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Filippenko, R. Jansen 

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