I wanted to take some time to write about a project I’ve been working on called Accounta-Billie. Accounta-Billie is a productivity and goals app. The concept is simple: you and your friends make up a group within the app. When one person in the group creates a task, such as “complete Accounta-Billie V1”, the whole group can see it. Once you’ve made this commitment to complete your task, your friends can help hold you accountable, and you can help hold your friends accountable to their goals as well.

It may seem counter-intuitive to try to make big goals (like building an app) during this time of COVID. I’ve seen tweets about how much people have “gotten done” during this time, and other tweets imploring people to “use this time wisely”. I find that kind of gross. Life is so much more than just checking items off a checklist. During a time like this, I really think we should just let everyone be. There’s no need to use this time to complete all of your life’s accomplishments if you’re having trouble right now - or any time for that matter! Life is too short to spend your time doing anything that you don’t want to be doing.

If you’re wondering how I got from the previous paragraph to “Let’s build an accountability app,” let me tell you a bit about my own quarantine experience. I started quarantine thinking, like a lot of people, that this wouldn’t last too long. I can remember thinking back in March that I only had to get to the summer, and then my kids would be in daycare, and I could I get some work done and also have my sanity back. And then when summer came and cases were worse, we made the decision to keep them home. I told myself that I only needed to get through the summer, and once school started back up, everything would go back to normal. Since then, the tough decision was made to keep my kids home and do virtual school. And even since that decision was made, my kids’ school district has decided not to have in-person classes at all.

During this never-ending (and also somehow always changing) quarantine, I adopted some pretty unhealthy habits, with the idea that I was just coping with a short-term situation. I justified it, telling myself that it was only until, only until, only until…. But the habits weren’t the kinds of habits that even made you feel better. Sure, they might have helped in the short term, but, if anything, they just compounded the depressed feelings even more in the long term. So once we decided to keep my kids out of school, I knew something had to change. In that moment, I suddenly snapped out of my short term thinking and started to accept this situation as a long term sort of “new normal.”

I wanted these new habits to start small, so my goal was to begin exercising regularly (of course, I didn’t know then what “regularly” meant to me), in hopes that exercise would help lift my spirits. I mentioned this to my sister, and she was really excited about the idea of us being accountability buddies. This made a lot of sense, both to help us each stick with our goals, but also because right now, we can’t see each other. We hoped that this would help keep us in contact.

But we couldn’t find an app that was quite right. She suggested the typical fitness apps, but they didn’t allow you to share tasks. I suggested a spreadsheet, but she said she probably wouldn’t use anything that she couldn’t access on her phone (she also called me lame for suggesting a spreadsheet). Since we couldn’t agree on what to use, naturally, the next step was to begin building my own app. I’ll detail everything over the next few blog posts, so stay tuned!

I hope you’ll check out Accounta-Billie. I’m looking for people for the beta, which is launching really soon. If you head on over to accountabillie.com, you can sign up there. I would love for you to use it, check it out, and then to get your honest feedback. Check back soon for my post about my first weekend working on Accounta-Billie and finally conquering auth.

Let me know what you think on Twitter!