Trevor Lohrbeer


Founder of @DayOptimizerApp. Swing dancer & barefoot runner. Live part-time in #Asheville and #Berlin.

Hi BetaList crowd.

I created Day Optimizer to help me with my own time management. I use it (almost) every day now, and am way more effective on the days I use it than on the days I don't. I hope you're able to give it a try and it works for you too.

Any questions, either about Day Optimizer or time management in general? Post 'em below and I'll do my best to answer them.
Someone messaged me privately a question that I thought it would be useful to answer here...

Q: What makes Day Optimizer different than an app like Things?

At a high level, the key difference is Things is a task management app, while Day Optimizer is a time management app.

What that means is that Things focuses primarily around managing tasks, with time being a secondary consideration, while Day Optimizer focuses primary around time, with tasks being a secondary consideration. While there’s definitely overlap, Day Optimizer isn’t designed to compete directly with task management apps like Things. Ultimately, I plan to support integrations with different task managers, so tasks can be synced into Day Optimizer.

More specifically, Day Optimizer (DO) introduces a few new concepts that task management apps don’t have, and uses a workflow-oriented interface rather than a data management-oriented interface.

For instance, DO has 4 different types of todos to track everything that takes up time in your day:

- *Tasks:* Things that have a defined completion, usually tracked in a task manager
- *Appointments:* Things that are scheduled for a specific data & time, usually tracked in a calendar
- *Activities:* Things you do regularly that take up time in your day, like eating, exercising, commuting or other habits, usually kept in your head
- *Time Blocks:* Placeholders for setting aside time for tasks you keep track of in another system (Things, Asana, Github, etc)

Most tasks managers only have tasks, while some like Things have appointments imported from a calendar. Activities and time blocks can be entered as tasks, but because they act different within a day-to-day workflow, task managers aren’t ideal for those.

Part of the issue is that most task managers are data management focused, while Day Optimizer is workflow focused. So, while Day Optimizer allows you to manage tasks, it’s more concerned with the workflow of creating a schedule and the flow of tasks from day to day.

For instance, Day Optimizer has the concept of a Commitment as separate from a Todo. A Commitment is the decision to attempt to do a todo on a specific day. This adds a psychological benefit (committing makes you more likely to do it) and a tracking benefit (a single todo can have multiple commitments, so you can track when you attempted to do something vs when you actually did). It also allows you to schedule an item for a specific day, but then decide not to do it based on your priorities today, not your priorities when you scheduled it.

Another concept is that tasks can be marked either as Done Today or Done Forever. Unfinished tasks and tasks marked Done Today roll over to the next day as options to be added to your schedule. This creates a flow from day-to-day. Likewise, activities disappear and can never be overdue--if you miss exercising one day, it doesn’t generally mean you need to exercise twice the next day.

Finally, the other big concept difference is that you don’t estimate how long todos take in Day Optimizer (that’s a future feature); instead you allocate how long you plan to spend on them today. This eliminates the need to be good at time estimation (which, for big hairy tasks, is almost impossible), and puts the focus on managing your time within your day to ensure you're focusing on your highest priorities. You still may need to estimate the total time for a task from a project management perspective, but right now that’s outside the scope of Day Optimizer and is better handled by a dedicated task or project management tool.

In the end, the two are conceptually different applications: task managers help you track your tasks, while Day Optimizer helps you organize your time.
@ianmayman Not anytime soon. A large part of the procrastination and focus benefits of Day Optimizer come from consciously deciding and committing to what you're going to do today. Auto-scheduling is definitely easier, but reduces the cognitive commitment, and with it, many of the cognitive benefits.

If auto-scheduling works for you, but Sorted3 doesn't have what you need, check out SkedPal and Focuster, which both will automatically create a schedule for you.

For the foreseeable future, Day Optimizer is aimed at people who want to consciously be deciding what to work on each day, rather than having an algorithm decide that. I'm definitely working to make that process more streamlined, but it will remain a manual process.
How does this differ from
@FastFedora, supercan, 1degree - these are similar platforms however on anyone - everyone puts a price on their time. The premise is to give back value to each individuals' minute which is really hard these in an always-online world. We pay telecom services for minutes and data, voip services like Skype for Skype credits - these are all middlemen - so let's also directly pay the people we are talking to. Of course there are industries where professionals would want to keep themselves free so as to get the client for their paid services (plumber, electrician, etc.) so thats where our crypto token comes into action - please do read the white paper :)
@callanyone Maybe I'm not understanding the difference. You are saying that on AnyOne people charge for their time. But that's how it works on too. You pay someone on a per-minute basis to talk to them. Sorry if I'm not understanding the difference.
@callanyone Maybe I'm not understanding the difference. You are saying that on AnyOne people charge for their time. But that's how it works on too. You pay someone on a per-minute basis to talk to them. Sorry if I'm not understanding the difference.
Any plans to track individual bonds?
Does this work with Firebase authentication?

Also, could you update your web site to work with a smaller resolution? Right now I'm on a MacBook with a 1280x800 screen size and some parts of your web site and documentation are off screen for me, and I imagine for many others.
I was looking for something like this 2 years ago when I started my last project. It's too late for me, but I'm glad this exists. I'll recommend others try it out.

Two quick things:

1. You can/should charge a higher price. The number of hours a framework like this can save is substantial, so the value is there. And if you're going to keep developing it and supporting it, it'll be helpful if it brings in enough to at least cover those costs.

2. The key piece that I also needed was what component library to use. I eventually went with Material UI after trying out Ant Design. Having an opinionated component library either built in or as a plugin option would be useful (especially the boilerplace UI already uses specific components).
@FastFedora Thank you for your feedback, I really appreciate it!
Love the simplicity, and that you've integrated skip and a don't miss 2 days notification.

One other feature I'd love to see is partial days. This can be hacked with Skip right now, but is different. A partial day is a day you did a lower level of your habit.

I often describe this technique as Green-Yellow Goals. Your Green goal is the goal your aiming to reach, while your Yellow goal is a lower goal that allows you to maintain your streak.

So, for example, my Green goal is to do 30 minutes of yoga a day, but my Yellow goal is to do at least 10 minutes. Provided I do at least 10 minutes a day, I haven't broken my streak (haven't hit Red), but I'm ideally aiming for 30 minutes.

Likewise, my Green goal is to do yoga 7 days a week, but my Yellow goal is to do at least 5 days.

I currently track this with a Google Spreadsheet, but I like the ease of use of your application more. The combination of web app, mobile app and Chrome extension is the exact combination I'm looking for in a habit tracking app.

I used to use a custom Chrome extension to show Don't Break The Chain on my New Tab, but that wasn't ideal on mobile.
@FastFedora Thanks for your thoughtful feedback Trevor! My short answer to "partial goals" would indeed be to use the skip. The nice thing about "skip" is that everyone can use it as they please. For some, it's a way to "save a streak" and have a second opportunity, for others it's a "couldn't do it but it was out of my control, i.e run on a rainy day" and finally, for some others it's a partial goal "I didn't get to 30 minutes of yoga" so that's "half a day". I myself use skip for each of these depending on the habit. I like the flexibility as if it were on a piece of paper. If I start defining too many use cases it might become confusing and hard to communicate. Finally, I want to focus on the idea of doing it every day no matter how little. So doing 10 min yoga, is already a big win from my point of view. Using skip as a "half the goal" is really for more advanced users/habits.

I'll, however, give more thought to this use case since it's important to "minimize the lows" ;D

Hope the app helps!!
Feedback for the product:

As someone who subscribes to HARO, even $41 a month seems a bit high just for the ability to respond. In my experience, most HARO requests are not anonymous and show you the publication and journalist. And HARO is free to respond.

Realistically, the ability to search for me is not a feature. I want to respond to timely requests from journalists, not bug a journalist who might have written an article on the subject a few months ago.

So, overall, I would say the value isn't clear to me on how you improve on HARO.

Personally, rather than de-anonymized requests, I want a machine learning engine so I can mark requests as Ignore / Might be Interested / Interested, and it can learn over time to not send me the ignored ones. The vast majority of requests I read on HARO are not relevant for me, and a waste of my time. Timely relevant requests would be a value.
The market for decision-making tools is sorely lacking. I did a bunch of market research a few years ago when planning a different type of decision-making tool. There's a few successful companies out there, but not many. The product category as a whole is not well-developed or well-known. Good luck with Prenario.

In case you're interested, I have a project called Lean Decisions ( ) where I'm working on a pattern language for decision-making, as well as publishing other tips related to good decision-making. It's currently on hold while I'm working on my current startup, but the content is pretty evergreen.

Looking at the Prenario web site, it looks like the types of decisions it helps make are path-based decisions (versus a multiple-choice decision like buying a new car or a portfolio decision like how to allocate assets across different asset classes).

If you ever want to chat about ideas for Prenario or decision software in general give me a shout. My last company sold heat map software to help people do portfolio analysis. During that time I developed strong interest in helping people make better decisions, and have done a lot of thought around software solutions for decision-making.
@FastFedora , great to hear your story!

It's good to know I'm not the only one who's puzzled by the lack of decision making tools, especially when you consider the 100s of task/project management tools out there. My hope is that Prenario will change that!

Lean Decisions looks interesting - I will check it out for sure!

The approach I've taken with Prenario is based on the field of decision analysis (, which provides a framework for making sense of risky decision problems, and enables calculation of rationally optimal decisions based on expected utility.

I'm planning to launch a blog soon to explain the science behind Prenario in plain English, because the principles are remarkably simple once you wash away all the jargon.

Thanks again!
I just talk to friends last weekend who were trying to figure out how to manage money flows among a slew of personal and business accounts. This looks like a great tool to help them automate it.
@FastFedora Good to hear! I see you are based in Berlin. Germany is on the top of our list to go to after we launch in The Netherlands.
@daanriver I live part-time in Berlin, part-time in the States. Germany definitely is a good market after The Netherlands. Though hope you get to the US soon too.

When you're ready, maybe reach out to someone like Transferwise who has already figured out the international banking business and could help accelerate you into several other markets.
@daanriver I live part-time in Berlin, part-time in the States. Germany definitely is a good market after The Netherlands. Though hope you get to the US soon too.

When you're ready, maybe reach out to someone like Transferwise who has already figured out the international banking business and could help accelerate you into several other markets.