Brief Note on Shifu: Checklists for the Lazy

For some, mostly computer illiterate but highly-educated professionals, Atwal Gawade’s The Checklist Manifesto is their first introduction to checkboxes, at least as they relate to work tasks. For those of us in IT and other tech areas where project management, workflow organizer, and data management software are just part of the work environment, the recently converted Checklisters have come a little late to the party.

As a long-time fan of what was once called PIMs, or personal information managers, I’ve embraced and then abandoned several apps that I thought would make me a maestro of multi-tasking. For awhile I was addicted to a PIM called Zoot, but simply became tired of having to enter every last detail of my work status. I realized I was destined to be a casual checklister, one who needs a minimal app that is focused on the essentials.

And then I learned about Shifu, a stripped-down Android-based PIM, but with a difference. As a mobile app, it’s very much aware of your current GPS coordinates. It has a geo-based checkbox function that lets you set up a task or reminder based on a specific location. With its Google maps integration, I can associate messages with pinpoints, and then forget about them until I’m at, say, the super market or visiting a client. Shifu will then trigger an Android-style alert.

It’s just the right level of checklist rigorousness for my purposes. There’s also a way to trigger a message based on phone number, which can be useful as well.

The app is currently in public beta. It’s worth downloading and trying it for yourself.