Nov 30 2010
Symbyoz completely relaunched into a different service- “Meaningful ideas for your social life.” Props to them for keeping up the good fight. The below article is in remembrance of what the site used to be.
Sticking to one’s goals can be challenging. Life gets busy. Various projects can pull you in every direction. The secret to getting ahead is to stay focused, stay on track, and keep going. The reality is that there’s an ever increasing amount of pressure to procrastinate or work on something else.
In order to stay on target people employ any number of tools. There are organizers, flow charts, task lists, and my personal favorite- a pen and notepad. A former coworker of mine taught me a power user tip on productivity. Make a list of tasks, identify what the current task is, work on it, and then cross it off when done. This is actually the model for the purist agile developer. (True purists use 3″x5″ cards and throw them away upon task completion.)
Probably the strongest motivator to staying on task is accountability. Telling your friends, partners, or clients what your goals are can have a profound effect on your psyche. There’s nothing more compelling than a little peer pressure. Symbyoz, whose name is derived from symbiosis, is a site to help you stay motivated and finish those goals you’ve always wanted to work on. It combines the best of all the task managers, organizational planners, and social impetuses to ensure your success.
The way Symbyoz works is by letting you create a goal, set a deadline, and then notify people. They can be notified via Facebook, Twitter, or Gmail. The deadline is helpful in that you can define it down to the minute. More helpful, (or daunting), is that there’s a clock counting down by the second when you’re looking at the idea page. To test the system I came up with the easily attainable goal of, “Become a rock star.”
Once the idea is set there are multiple ways to help progress towards the goal. You can share your idea with everyone, just your followers on Symbyoz, or keep it to yourself. If it’s shared with people then they can comment, contribute or encourage you on your path to success. One of the ways they can push you along is by the point system. Each user is allotted a set amount of points. They can give these out to ideas or comments that they like. They can get more points by making posts to social networks or by upgrading. The upgraded accounts also come with more storage. As users gain more points by the voted support of those around them, their Symbyoz ranking increases.
The idea page has a Facebook-esque feel to it where people can discuss and approve of the idea or comments. It also comes with a dynamic set of resources that can be added to the page as well. These include images, video, text summaries, maps, tasks (aka, honey-do lists), and boards. Most of these are self explanatory but the board is particularly interesting. Here you can create basic visual flow charts. These can be used for any purpose including drawing a work flow of all the steps you’re taking. See the map to success for rockstardom in the screen shot below. Here’s a list of other resources that can be added to your Idea page.
- Affiliate Ads
- Web app. You can embed a widget or an entire web page.
- Contests. Here you can create a competition to keep people on track and motivated. Rules can be established along with its own deadline.
- Surveys and Polls
- Tracker which allows you to create a chart documenting your progress.
- A PayPal button to accept money to your account.
- A search tool to browse the web for additional information you may want imported to your Idea page.
Symbyoz also comes with a Suggestions utility. Here it searches Google Images based upon your idea. This brings back a series of pictures which can be readily imported in the idea page. If you like, it will also sift through your Facebook history or Tweets for potentially relevant information. This can be helpful because you can find all the times you thought about trying to become a rockstar but put it off. All these tools combined allow you to create a complex menagerie of all the inspiration and effort that’s been put into your idea. Seeing it organized in one place can have a powerful effect.
As the page grows and the deadline ticks, the glue that holds everything together is the accountability wrought by social networks. It’s having people cheer you on as you make steady progress. It’s electing to spend a couple hours on that guitar solo, or that book you’re writing, or the canoe you’re building in the garage, instead of playing an endless stream of videos games. (Not that any SlapStart writers have severe, if not job eliminating gaming addictions). This is done by pressing the Share button on the top right. Here’s where the rubber meets the road, where the proof is in the pudding, where you are no longer all talk, you’re a doer. You’re making things happen and want to share it with your supportive network of friends, family, and associates.
In their own words, Facebook stores your past, Twitter tracks the present, and Symbyoz holds the key to your future. Or in someone else’s words, it’s a good way to, “Kick your own butt.” In any case, Symbyoz is a great tool to bring your long inspired but little perspired ideas, to fruition.