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Show HN: Jobs Done – A ritual app for ending the work day inspired by Deep Work (github.com/skidding)
263 points by skidding on Oct 30, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 56 comments

Hey, Ovidiu the author here.

So how could this be interesting to you?

The app

I read a book called Deep Work to improve the quality of my work and found the simple "shutdown ritual" idea powerful. I started with a dead simple list that I went through every evening to clear my mind and disconnect from work.

Then I decided to build a simple app and keep iterating in small increments every day I also use the app. After about 2mo I use it daily and it looks good enough to draw a line. So I made it public in case anyone else finds it useful.

The codebase

Meanwhile, I wanted to learn React Native and try react-native-web. I also wanted to see how well styled-components behaves "unversally" and how to do server-side-rendering with RNW. It worked pretty well (for the most part...) and I learned a lot.

If you're interested in this tech stack I encourage you to dig through the codebase and maybe run it locally to get a feel.

If you have any questions related to the app or the codebase, fire away. I'll answer gladly!

How are the animations done? They are pretty janky and horrible on Firefox 63, so I am guessing they are not using normal CSS animations?

I've not used react or react-native so not sure how it handles this.

Yes. This is what I meant with "for the most part".

So I first made the app web-only, which is what I know best. Used CSS animations and they were smooth!

Then converted the project to React Native (because I wanted to learn how to make a RN app). But because I wanted to keep using the web app I used react-native-web, which had also been intriguing me for some time.

Result? Animations became much slower! react-native-web basically polyfills RN's Animated library [0], so maybe it's not very optimal. But to be honest, even when running the native app the animations seem janky (tried on Android via Expo and on iOS simulator).

So react-native-web is a great project, but I'll likely not use it again for a similar project. I'm a web believer anyway, so I'll probably do just web apps going forward unless some use case really benefits from native APIs.

[0] I never looked at the source but I assume the code for web animations is here https://github.com/necolas/react-native-web/tree/3fa18becc76...

Thanks for the rundown. I've been considering react-native-web, and I'll still give it a look personally, but I had concerns that this is how an app would turn out (minor jank in hard to fix spots).

I'm very excited for Capacitor's support for React coming soon! It seems pretty awesome with Angular, so I'm hoping supporting React provides the same experience.

You should definitely give react-native-web a look. I've had a good experience with it and the only issue is animation. I don't know how any UI animation lib can match the performance of hardware accelerated CSS transitions btw. As soon as you have to run user code on every frame things go south.

Of course I'd love to be proven wrong and shown what animation optimizations I missed in my code.

I haven't heard of Capacitor yet, but I've used Cordova in the past. Is it a big improvement?

Update: I made some perf optimizations unrelated to animations. Essentially preventing needless component updates. Feels smoother on my end.

Let me know if you see any improvement: https://jobs-done.now.sh

Hey, cool project!

I haven't read the book. Is that possible to understand the idea without reading the book?

The book is worth a read. Don’t forget about your local library!

The end-of-day shutdown is just that. You put your work day in order, you make sure your papers are tidy, you check what you need to do tomorrow (no nasty surprises) and perhaps a few days ahead, then you actually say, out loud, “shutdown complete”.

It’s supposed to help separate your day of (deep) work from your time off. I like the idea but – ha! – never remember to do it.

OP: cool looking app, it’s really nicely done. Was this a “teach myself a language” sort of project? If not, what was the motivation? [Edit: just seen your comment below.]

I agree that Deep Work is worth a read. Quite a few meaningful ideas in quite few pages. The end-of-day shutdown is one of the ideas that stuck in me. After a workday my mind is usually buzzing a bit too much for most activities. Focusing on winding down helps very much. Having accepted the point made by the author in combination with it being such a small thing to say the phrase when walking from work means that I often remember to say the phrase and then instantly accept that I should focus the last drops of work-related attention on disconnecting from work in a good way. Helps me a lot!

I agree the book teaches many useful concepts!

> OP: cool looking app, it’s really nicely done. Was this a “teach myself a language” sort of project? If not, what was the motivation? [Edit: just seen your comment below.]

Thanks! A combination of learning RN and adopting Deep Work principles by building something around it --- my favorite type of learning, albeit time consuming :).

You can find notes on the book (most relevant ideas really) at https://sivers.org/book/DeepWork

I've printed my own custom notebooks to track my planned vs. actual daily activity in 30 minute blocks, inspired by Deep Work.

This would make an excellent companion to that. The lessons I've learned from that book have been incredibly valuable in helping me work more efficiently and happily. Thanks for building this.

I'm glad people are interested in my notebook! Here's a thread I just put up with a link to the PDF and photos of the notebook in action:


The front page has an unmarked calendar so you can write in any three month period. It's meant for the Jerry Seinfeld chain method. Write the one thing you want to do every day at the top, and X out the days that you do it.

Inside, each day has one page broken into 30 minute blocks, with a column for "plan" and one for "actual." Next to that is an open area with a dot grid for planning. (I also put a full page of dot grid on the back, for random notes.)

Use your shutdown ritual each evening to make a list of things you want to do the next day in the dot grid area. Then assign them to 30-minute slots in the "plan" area.

As you go through your day, write down what you really did with your time in the "actual" column. Then you can review in the evening, and see how your plans differed from reality, to help you plan more accurately as you continue to use the notebook.

I hope this is helpful to someone, it's been a great tool for me.

If you feel like sharing your notebooks I'd love to see them.

Those custom notebooks sound cool!

Deep Work reads like a lightweight book but impact of its practices are huge. Glad to see other people who found it useful.

Would you be willing to share your notebooks?

Very nice! I have added your project to Awesome Humane Tech [0], in the Mindfulness section. Thank you!

[0] https://github.com/engagingspaces/awesome-humane-tech

That is a list worth checking out, Thank You.


I think I will try doing this. It's a bit embarrassing to admit but I really struggle to go to bed at a regular hour. It's really bad when I'm "in the zone" and working hard on a project. I'm based overseas and all of my clients and customers are in the US, so I already stay up very late (usually at least 2am so that I have enough overlap with PST/EDT.) But then 2am turns into 3am, 4am, and eventually the sun comes up.

Maybe this will help. I think I'll schedule an event on my calendar to visit jobs-done.now.sh and go through the checklist. Then it would be good to relax for an hour or two and read/watch something before sleeping. The problem with my weird schedule is that I usually go to sleep immediately after finishing work, so I don't think that's very good.

No shame in admitting this. I still struggle with it. Computers are very effective at messing up our sleep function.

Happy to hear you're giving Jobs Done a try. Note that you can customize the steps, set phrase and suggested activities by cloning the repo, editing data.js, building and publishing the static build with a service like https://zeit.co/now or https://surge.sh (free).

Good luck!

It also helps to use a app like f.lux that dims the screen to emit less blue light. The blue light mess with the sleep cycle.

Set a go to bed alarm. Most people have a wake up alarm. You can set an alarm on your phone for bed time. The same way you have a wake up ritual, you need to set a strong go to bed ritual.

Once alarm rings, shutdown TV or computer, take a shower, change into sleep wear.

This layout immediately reminded me of a Typeform form, and then got me thinking that if this were a Typeform form it would automatically log your responses and you could have historical data on your tasks, thoughts, and actions.

> So how could this be interesting to you?

Dumps all work related ideas out of my head for me to feel like I can leave work at work.

Hmm, nothing seems to happen when I press the Start button.

Windows 10, Google Chrome Version 70.0.3538.77 (Official Build) (64-bit)

It works on Firefox Quantum though!

EDIT: It seems on Chrome I need to press on the Start text itself; clicking the button doesn't work.

Do the official react-native-web examples work OK on Win10/Chrome70? http://necolas.github.io/react-native-web/examples/

The linked examples work fine here.

I fixed some Firefox & Safari issues in the meantime, and added more browser polyfills. If you have the chance let me know if you see any improvement on your side after clearing the cache. Thanks!

I'm clicking away and everything works fine now! Best of luck to your project & future projects :)

>I extended the original shutdown ritual with the last step because I've often found myself clueless about how to spend my evening after a day fully immersed in work.

This must have been the most depressing thing I've read in a long time.

That's my big dilemma most days. Do I relax and recover or do I grind it out on my long-term plans? Today me will appreciate the relaxation, but I will never reach the future I want for myself that way.

Side note: The future I want for myself is not hard-hustling multimillionaire tech executive. More like local small business owner.

I guess it's sad but true :)

Probably only applies to single people, though.

I have to say I've gotten much better at avoiding overworking myself lately, but evenings are still an issue (again, probably only relevant for single people).

The suggestions I've added help but not entirely, as evenings usually have to be planned in advance (you can't just summon friends at 5:59pm).

Going through these activity suggestions daily helps me in two ways: 1) it reminds me what a true afterhours activity looks like (ie. not more work stuff desguised as leisure) and 2) it reminds me to plan ahead my evenings in the near future.

I am very single and this is never true for me. I love my work, and then I go hang out with a friend or two for dinner or dessert, explore neighborhoods, cook myself some interesting food, play some games, work on some serious side projects, talk to my housemate, scribble notes for an essay or blog post, and generally find myself not having enough time to enjoy the things I would like to do despite not investing any time in a romantic relationship. This when I'm not keeping myself busy with traveling out of town.

That sounds just exquisite, and I hope to someday have a similar set of habits. It's been a real challenge though so far.


When I travel my life looks more interesting, but when I settle in one place for a while to focus on work (current situation) I often fail to schedule my personal life. Definitely an area I can improve.

Google Calendar is my savior. Pre-book tickets/restaurants/friends RSVP months/weeks in advance.

I usually do it in periods where I'd have a few weeks fully booked and the other two relatively free except regular ones.

Uh. Why is Google Calendar necessary for this?

To keep track of events and not overlap them. Also helps to set time for yourself if you just want to disconnect.

Right, so you meant to just say "a calendar".

Physical activities can well go into calendar, and I don't get how it is our call to find a friend to hangout instantly. That leaves only "leisure", which is not that hard to pick up?

Pretty much.

The activities part is very experimental. I basically realised that I suck at planning my evenings and it's hard to disconnect unless a pasttime activity draws you in and shifts your focus.

That said, definitely looking for suggestions. Maybe a reminder to "plan evening activities for the following days" might be more suited than "ideas for what to do NOW".

See my related comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18339840

Maybe have a reminder every monday after work to look for things to do this upcoming weekend and the following week. Include some events pages so you'll also find events that are months out, and sell out quickly, that you may want to see (bands, comedians, etc).

That is interesting way of hassle-free thinking :) As a suggestion, two day plan may work better for social events with secondary option in case it couldn't get planned with exact people etc.

I think it's especially a problem for those who work remotely and maybe don't have a separate office setup.


Does it play the sound from Hearthstone? That would be fun!


The first version did! But I removed it because I didn't want Blizzard to take me down for copyright infringement, haha. And to be honest it was getting annnoying while I was working on the app cause I heard it dozens of times a day.

But Heartstone? Ha! Go back in time another 12 years.

I used to play Warcraft III in highschool and that sound stuck with me for sure.

I realize that the web version works fine, but I'd love to have a local version for iOS.

Is it not possible to bookmark web pages on the home screen on iOS?

PWAs play nicely like this on Android, which is what I'm using atm. I'm actually planning to switch back to iOS soon but not being able to have web app shortcuts on my home page would be a bummer!

> Is it not possible to bookmark web pages on the home screen on iOS?

It is possible. This is actually what they had in mind before the app store... every app was just going to be a shortcut to a webpage.

Yay! Thanks for including WorkFlowy in this, very cool.

Oh I love Workflowy. I manage my life using it!

Awesome! Any plans to monetise?

Thanks! I think the scope of this app is too limited to monetise. Happy to see it grow as an open source project for now. But hopefully this sort of exposure (and building experience) will increase my chanses of finding customers when I focus on a paid app/service.

I'm working on something in that area too.

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