4 min read

What Why Steps is ready for beta testers!

What Why Steps is the hip new todo and task management tool that literally everyone is talking about.
What Why Steps is ready for beta testers!
Woah, it's so .... red!

So I've made a new ... thing!

It's a productivity tool for people who have trouble with focus / attention / motivation. (👀 Looks at huge folder of half-written blog posts.)

A bit of (skippable) background

My intent with this blog is to keep it focused outwards on ideas, trends, business processes, etc. But I need to focus it inwards for just a moment to provide some broader context.

At some point between the beginning of the universe and today, but much closer to today, a medical professional told me I met the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. These sorts of diagnoses seem to be on the rise as we learn more about the many ways ADHD can manifest beyond the stereotypical hyperactive child. Given that the traits that qualify me for the diagnosis are some of the bits about me I like the most, it can feel strange to call it a disorder at all. Disorder? Better than dat order, amirite?

Regardless, where it has been helpful is as a search term. I've found a load of material that has changed my thinking on certain behaviours of mine from person thinking about question mark to person thinking about exclamation mark.

One such area: how I use productivity tools. I've always had to work a little differently to operate at my peak. I tend to look at every shiny new productivity tool that people rave about and make this face: o_O

Where are all the niche tools for specific mental trait sets?

WHAT I've created

So I made What Why Steps. It's a todo / task management tool that works a little differently based on my own practices and other insights I've gathered as I've, uh, done my own research about attention, focus, and particularly ADHD.

Here's a short video that outlines a few of the differences between this and other apps:

Not all of the unique features are outlined in the video. I'll highlight one that isn't included in the video because it's a perfect illustration of the more general concept.

There's a mode in which all of the tasks for all projects are listed in one place ... in semi-random font sizes. Like this:

Anything jumping out to you? (This is test data, though my public speaking could probably use some work.)

You would use it when your motivation is either missing or pointed so far in the wrong direction that you can't even decide on the project that you want to work on. Having every single possible option mixed up like this introduces the opportunity for something that isn't top of mind to jump out at you and redirect that motivation.

This type of unconventional software feature, that's probably not useful for most, would rarely be included in a roadmap. But it's also the type of feature that could be huge for those who would benefit from it.

WHY I created it

The headline feature I wanted for myself, and always found tricky to shoe-horn into existing apps, is the WHY of it all.

Working for myself means that I'm in charge of prioritization. But I also tend to have, and get excited about, a million new ideas every day. And new ideas are so much shinier than the older ones! So without an external force to keep reminding me what's important, I've built the habit of documenting the WHY of whatever it is that needs to be done. Usually, it's some sort of larger goal. I refer back to that document frequently to re-align and get excited about the 'old' ideas again.

It's a fundamental part of my productivity routine. Bringing that right into my todo / project management app has been so incredibly helpful.

I could tell a similar story for all of the other features that set What Why Steps apart. Put simply, I created the thing I wanted to use.

The next STEPs

I've been using What Why Steps and tweaking it for about a month or so. Now I'd like others to try it out and tell me what they think. I'll gather that feedback and see what the next level up looks like.

Is it the full-fat life-consuming business idea that I've been looking for? Not yet, but I do think it could exist as the first part of a larger vision serving the same mission.

Even if you don't think it's for you, you're welcome to sign up and poke around. See if you can find a bug or six. Or send it to someone you think might find it useful.

A few notes, if you do decide to try it out:

  • It's free! I may add some paid features down the line if I start being crushed by server costs. But if you start using it now, you won't suddenly have to pay for it one day.
  • It's desktop-first and web only. It's designed to be used on a computer or tablet sized browser. It's responsive though, so you can use it on your phone browser – just expect it to be a little clunky. Bespoke mobile apps and/or UIs will probably follow at some point.
  • Send feedback. There's a feedback link at the bottom once you're logged in. Any and all feedback welcome!
  • Spread it around. It's open to whomever wants to try it, so you're welcome to share it, post it, make a misinformation-laden YouTube video with a clickbait-y title explaining how it signals the downfall of everything, create a TikTok dance in front of it, write the url on scraps of paper and drop them from an airplane ... whatever your flavour of content is.

That's it. Happy doin'!