An App For Your Bucket List, Not Your To-Dos

Full is an app for tracking meaningful things, rather than getting things done.

If you think about it, many catchphrases of lifehacking and productivity–like “inbox zero” and “getting things done”–are built on a framework of subtraction. You clear your to-do list, you cross things out and tick boxes, triage your email. Then you do it again, and again, and again. But what if there were an app that flipped all this around and focused on helping you add experiences to your life? That’s what Full promises. It’s not a to-do list, it’s a bucket list.


Well, sort of. Full asks you to input “goals you want to accomplish” for each month, and then gives you reminders and tracks your progress. Its user interface isn’t particularly snazzy, and there are no surprising features. It isn’t free to download, either. Everything about it is designed to encourage “building toward your goals,” says John T. Meyer of Lemonly, the studio behind Full. “That is all it does, but it does that very well.”

Full tracks these goals in a simple but handsome set of circular visualizations that “fill up” as you make ever more progress. That’s exactly the opposite of a to-do app, which presents items as chores to be “crossed off.” This basic reframing is surprisingly powerful. It makes you rethink what you’re doing with your time–are you filling it with meaningful experiences, or just getting through it?

Even the 99-cent price is part of that design. “To use Full, you need to make a commitment. Not just a commitment to use the app frequently over the course of the month, but also a commitment to achieving your goals,” Meyer says. “You have to want it, and you have to be willing to work for your goals. We felt this attitude and the needs of this type of user fit making the app a paid app. We felt if people commit to paying for the app, they will commit to using it, which will result in completed goals.”

Meyer says that he’s planning to add weekly and daily goal-tracking to Full soon, which will make it seem more like the list-making apps that it’s trying to stand apart from. But the app’s name still works as a reminder of Full’s true purpose. It’s not about getting things done. It’s about filling up your life.

[Read more about Full]

About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets.