I've got a spreadsheet and a web browser open and I'm doing some research. I keep having to click back and forth. It'd be a lot better if I could take notes right on top of the web page, maybe have the spreadsheet transparent on top of the site I'm looking at.
1. Does anything like this currently exist?
2. If not, how hard would it be to do technologically?
I'd use it. A lot, actually.
For the same reason I use Evernote + Afloat on a Mac. Evernote is the best note taking system (thanks to multiplatform sync and tags) while Afloat enables window transparency + "always on top" in OS X (it's possible with Compiz on linux out of the box, I think, on Windows there some ugly hacks to achieve the same). No spreadsheet here, of course.
Also relevant to its merit as a business idea. Your form of a spreadsheet overlay (with a "layer toggle" ?) might be slightly better than Googles. But you're up against a free, quality product from the start.
Heh. This conversation is so common I almost feel like I'm trolling. But it's a very real one today. While we're on it, and I'm getting my fingers loosened up for the day, here's my current thinking about ways to differentiate:
1. Service and Customer Support. If you're not answering all your emails in hours, you're not trying. Customer feedback is Easy Money.
2. Integrating with your customer's ecosystem better. Huge room to grow here these days, with a huge number of different ecosystems. If your app lets me post notes to my Twitter account as I go, while Google only supports Buzz for corporate reasons, and I'm a heavy Twitter, I go with you.
3. Solve a hard, niche problem really well. This doesn't have to be as groundbreaking as you'd think. I know a good number of people who keep talking about upgrading from their Blackberry to a more user friendly phone. But they don't. Because Blackberry, while ugly and unfunctional in my hands, are productivity machines. You know what the feature the last guy I talked about cites? The ability to text message a preset group of people, with easy additions or subtractions. Running a small business, he does this constantly. My Android struggles here. My iPhone did as well. Blackberry figured out what a business user would be doing often, and does all those things well. This allows them to, at the very least, lag behind the bleeding edge in most other areas.
So, I record my time tracking by hand, and later I sum it up and divide it out by hand.
It takes me about an hour a week. I regularly get the suggestion that I should get it into a spreadsheet or an application to cut that time down.
By doing it by hand, relatively slowly, I'm forced to turn the implications over in my mind of the numbers.
For instance, I slept 8.2 hours on average over the last 13 days.
For as long as I can remember, I've struggled with procrastination.
Sometimes, it's easy to spot. The book is open on my desk and the notebook and pencil are laying right there, but the TV is on and blaring the sounds of Kingdom Hearts or Midnight Club or Ratchet & Clank, or the speakers on my computer are blasting music while I pull out a snack and then just like this run-on sentence, I've been constantly doing something, and nothing productive.
Other times, it's more insidious. One of the biggest forms of procrastination I engage in is what I call 'procrastimizing'.
Rather than getting stuff done, I fuss over cleaning my room, cleaning the apartment, cleaning in general. I do laundry, I reorganize my desk. Then I start brooding about if my organizational setup is optimal, so I start doing research about others' systems of organization and task-completion, from GTD to having a specific notebook setup.
Rather than working out, I wring my mental hands over whether my routine is optimal, how long I can stick with it for (hint: long enough that I don't need to worry about it when starting), what exact times I need to eat.