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This will be a slightly different blogpost where I will tell a story about a young student as she works towards her big end of semester assignment.

Meet Sheila

Sheila is 22 year old student living in Sydney, Australia pursuing an undergraduate degree at the University of Sydney. At this stage she’s in the third year of her degree, with a little more than a year till she finishes university. She’s almost at the end of her semester and has several assignments due which she needs to balance out with her very active social life. She’s a smart girl who’s often let down by occasional forgetfulness due to information overload. In this post we will be talking about the two days in her life leading up-to submitting a major assignment.

Assignments

During the semester, Sheila had several assignments but here we will just look at big one due at the end of the semester.

The end of semester assignment

Her major assignment due had a 5000 words word limit and it accounted for 45% of the final mark for that particular unit/subject.

This assignment had a significant research component that would require a substantial time commitment. She wanted to ensure she gives it her best so she started working on it early and even downloaded a todo list app for her iPhone just to help her stay on top of things.

The day the due date

The day before the due date she put together the entire assignment and edited it to remove all the extra content that pushed it over the word limit (5000 words). She felt a sense of accomplishment after finally preparing the first draft of the massive assignment. However she had to proof read it before any celebration. Just as she started proof reading it…

The door bell rang

It was her friend Chloe who was there to invite her to a university party that she just found out about. Chloe was a dear friend who wouldn’t take no for an answer and managed to persuade Sheila to go to the party.

The party

The party proved to be a little too distracting for Sheila and she got home  by 3:00am in the morning. Feeling exhausted after the party she went straight to bed without remembering to proof read her assignment.

The Alarm next morning

If there was one thing that Sheila did right before going to the party was adding two items to her todo list. Remember she downloaded a todo list app to help her stay on top of this? Well, she added 2 items to it

  1. Proof read the assignment before submitting
  2. Assignment due at 9:00pm

The next morning when the alarm rang, she immediately knew what she had forgotten the night before. How? Well, the todo list app that she was using had a feature whereby she could set an alarm such that after the alarm rings the app would greet her and announce her day to-do. This is how it happened,  the alarm rang and the app said

“Good morning Sheila, you have to do the following things today. One) proof read the assignment before submitting, Two) Assignment due at 9:00pm”

Sheila was now up-to speed of what needed to be done and jumped on her computer and started proof reading her assignment. After a few revisions her assignment was proof-read and she marked that item on her todo list as done. Seconds later she heard her mum calling her. It turns out that her younger brother made a big mess in the kitchen by accidentally spilling the pot filled with soup. They were expecting guests in the evening so having a messy kitchen wasn’t an option, so she needed Sheila’s help cleaning it. Sheila couldn’t say no to her mum, especially when she was in so much distress.

Helping her mum

The kitchen was quite messy and there was a lot of soup on the floor to clean. In an afternoon filled with helping her mum, being a peacemaker between mum and brother, Sheila forgot about her assignment.

It was about 6pm and the food was almost ready and the evening guests arrived and it was up to her to entertain them while her mum put some final touches on the soup. Then something happened…

“Hi Sheila, your undone day to-do”

As she was entertaining the guests, she looked at her phone, it was 7pm and she saw a message. It said,

“Hi Sheila, your undone day to-do

1) Assignment due at 9pm “

It was a message (notification) from the todo list app that Sheila was using. You see the todo list app that she was using on her iPhone was built with the goal of helping her get things done. It had a ‘smart auto-reminder’ feature, which means the app automatically sends her reminders (notifications) during the day reminding her of her undone day to-do. It’s a way of checking up on her and tracking how’s she going with her day tasks.

On seeing the message she excused herself from the living area with the guests, went to her room and submitted her assignment.

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