One thing that I struggle with is the feeling of being overwhelmed when there is a lot to do. To break out of that cycle for the Notic Meet project, my plan today is to make a list of all things that need to be in place so that I can focus on building the app and do those things needed to promote it and build a community.
Overwhelm, in this instance, comes from a few places in this app challenge. One of them is not knowing SwiftUI as well as I knew it a couple of years ago. This causes me to want to start but not quite know how to start, so I feel overwhelmed, then procrastinate and think I’ll try again later. The fix for that is in place by doing a quick refresher on SwiftUI to remember how it works so that I can focus on building and not trying to remember how to build. Another element will be planning all the features that need to be included in the MVP. Knowing what needs to be done and primarily knowing how to do it should remove friction and help me focus on actual work.
Another reason for overwhelm is not having everything set up to document and blog about the progress with Notic Meet. Yes, I can write notes in an app on my Mac or iPad, but I need to publish those words online either in blog post form or via an email newsletter. Although I’m blogging the process here on newill.dev, I also have a couple of Notic domains, one of which will be for the Notic products and the other to be the home for a weekly newsletter sent out by email.
I intend to only spend a small proportion of time on writing content, perhaps an 80/20 split between building the app and documenting. Still, I feel documenting the work is an essential part of promoting it and might have the bonus of helping some of you to launch your product.
For the content, I have already purchased the needed domains. One of them is this blog which is my personal space for writing about this project and sharing other programming and productivity ideas. Other domains are for Notic Meet/PKM, the products and another Notic domain for the weekly newsletters I want to start sending out.
I plan that once all of the technical sides are sorted out that I can then focus my time where needed, which is designing and building Notic Meet.
Regarding the app, I don’t have specific deadlines for when features of the Notic Meet app will be finished except for a product six months from when I wrote the introduction post a couple of weeks back.
Before I begin, here’s a quick update of where I am at with Notic Meet. Last week I mentioned that I was studying how to use SwiftUI. It has been a couple of years since I last looked at it, and even then, I hadn’t built any production-ready apps with it. Most of my previous efforts were in Objective-C and then Swift. I am still studying SwiftUI, probably about a quarter of the way through. It all makes sense so far and is easy to follow. I still don’t know what problems I will hit with using it for Notic Meet, but I’ll tackle them as I reach them. I expect to be finished a basic overview of SwiftUI in the coming week.
What Needs to be Done
Several things need to be in place so that I can make this project work. A lot of it is just setting up and mostly forgetting about, such as creating a GIT repo with the new project, setting up WordPress, setting up an email list and so on. The items below are in no particular order.
One of the first things I have done is get this blog, newill.dev, up and running. This is where much of my blogging will go and will be a mix of information about how the Notic Meet project is going and other technical-related things. Now that the blog is running, I have a quick and easy place to write my content. At the moment, I don’t care about design. The theme used here is Twenty Twenty-One and comes as standard with WordPress. I made a couple of tweaks but left it primarily as is. This will do for now. At some point in the future, when I have a more healthy amount of content, I will start putting up menus with links to categories to make navigating it more accessible. Still, because this is only the fourth post, there isn’t much sense in me trying to guess how users will navigate the site.
Another important step, which I took a while back, was to register the domain names. One domain will be a place for the products, both Meet, PKM and others that might happen in the future. When a web-based version comes along, it will also be home to the login and product pages for each product. The other domain will be used for my general interest in meetings, planning, and personal knowledge management. It will likely be used for a weekly newsletter about those and will link to any products in this field.
Speaking of weekly newsletters, I need to plan a way of tracking interesting articles and products in this space so that I can write about them. Although I will compete with some of the products, I am a firm believer that there is more than enough room in the market for competing products. My product might not be a good fit for many, but I hope some will gel with it and become regular users. To keep a weekly newsletter going, I need to schedule a time to read related articles and automate a way to get articles into some kind of tracking system, potentially a product like Instapaper, where I can just click a button to “read it later”. Of course, with email, I can also schedule newsletters in advance so that in the weeks where things are a little too busy, I can have a newsletter mostly complete so that all I need to do is write a paragraph and hit send.
Back to the domains, both of the domains will need to have WordPress installed as well as a decision about where WordPress will be installed. Will the newsletters be on a subdomain, a domain in a folder, or mixed? I haven’t decided yet, but I will do so this coming week.
Like newill.dev, the two Notic domains will initially start with a very sparse and free theme, and as the product ramps up, I will consider spending more time on their design.
Learning SwiftUI is on my list of things to finish this coming week. When I say learning it, I don’t mean becoming a pro at SwiftUI; I mean knowing enough about the mechanics of it that I can almost comfortably build an app and understand the architecture of how it works. Given that I have known iOS development for around 10 years, mixed with Objective-C and Swift, I don’t expect to spend too much time learning the basics of SwiftUI and catching back up to where I was with it a couple of years ago.
Task management and issue tracking will be one requirement. Having worked on two types of projects, those that are just made up as we go along and the other where each feature is planned, I much prefer working on features that are planned. So much time is saved by spending a short amount of time planning what a feature does and what it shouldn’t do. This helps to avoid scope creep as well.
For task management, I have been a long-time OmniFocus user on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. I will continue to use this to track more significant parts of the project that are non-programming such as weekly tasks to find content, prepare content, and so on as well as reminders of when to publish content.
For issue tracking, I will be using Linear. I came across this a couple of years ago and like the experience, which feels lightweight. It will also help me keep tabs on features and the tasks that belong to the features.
Another step I need to take is finalising what MVP will be for Notic Meet. At the moment, I have too many features, many of which need to be bumped to a future version of the app, but before doing that, I need to simplify what the app needs to function well and benefit those that use it.
I plan to finish all of the smaller tasks this week by getting the domains hosted, set up with WordPress, and also setting up signup pages for ConvertKit, which I will use for sending emails.
I’ll post an update this Friday with my progress.