CLEARING the CUBE

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The average person can hold around seven tasks in their working memory 

 
IT

Clearing the Cube is a tangible performance tool for managing the tasks on a to-do list. It discourages personal preference and bias so that items don’t drop off our list by introducing random chance into our decision making process. By giving attention to multiple tasks each day without hesitation or over thinking, we manage our time and momentum towards productivity. It doesn't matter what we start with– what matters most is that we clear the cube before adding new tasks to the list.   

It doesn't matter what we start with, only that we give equal time to each task

The average person can hold around seven tasks in their working memory, plus or minus two. Beyond this number, our storage capacity wanes and tasks on a larger to-do list inevitably will be ignored. To reduce cognitive load there are three main ingredients; too many choices, too much thought required or lack of clarity– all of which disrupt our ability to quickly turn thought into action. Furthermore, this interactive cube adds random chance to the decision making process and discourages personal preference or bias in favor of action and diplomacy. When looking at a to-do list people generally begin with the fun tasks and avoid the unfavorable or difficult items. What matters most is that we clear the cube before adding new tasks. This method can be used to promote diplomacy and action; a family of six people can reach consensus on where to eat dinner by writing their favorite restaurant on the cube– everyone has equal say.

Random choice reduces bias

To refine the interaction and the resilience of the cubes, prototypes were tested using cork, basswood and a gloss surface for dry-erase markers. The post-it cubes were most successful when the written notes needed to be placed elsewhere for design iteration. 

The cross platform artifact is a smart cube and app pairing. Contained within the 3” smart cube is a Li-ion battery, Bluetooth chip, 3-axis directional sensor, and vibration motor. The user can simply arrive to work, roll the cube on their desk and their phone will display the timer. If the start button is not pressed within 3 minutes, the cube will begin vibrating as a reminder to begin the sequence.

As a stand-alone digital platform, the Clear Cube app broadens the interaction allowing an unlimited number of tasks to be entered by speaking, writing or syncing with the calendar. A timer and alarm can be set to each task and in lockout mode, the phone freezes push notifications and the use of other apps. With an arm gesture like skipping a stone on water, the user sends the cubes bouncing the cubes bounce around the smartphone screen.