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Recurring Tasks: Shouldn't Status Change?



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jpv2112-s

Posted: Dec 02, 2012
Score: 0



Hello,

I have some periodic tasks that should not start until the start date and then once completed, get recycled to the next periodic date (e.g., file quarterly taxes, check propane tank levels). While awaiting for the next time, their status is "waiting" but when that time comes, their status should no longer be "waiting" but something else to reflect the increased urgency.

It would be nice to have the status of these task change automatically to reflect their changing roles. For example, once the "start date" has passed, it would be nice if the status changes from "waiting" to "next action." And then once the user clicks done on these recurring tasks, their status reverts to "waiting".

Do others have this type of task? How to you treat/enter these tasks in to Toodledo?
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Dec 02, 2012
Score: 0



It is not currently possible to automatically change the status of a task on a given date, but thanks for the suggestion.
Salgud

Posted: Dec 03, 2012
Score: 0



Posted by jpv2112-s:
Hello,

I have some periodic tasks that should not start until the start date and then once completed, get recycled to the next periodic date (e.g., file quarterly taxes, check propane tank levels). While awaiting for the next time, their status is "waiting" but when that time comes, their status should no longer be "waiting" but something else to reflect the increased urgency.

It would be nice to have the status of these task change automatically to reflect their changing roles. For example, once the "start date" has passed, it would be nice if the status changes from "waiting" to "next action." And then once the user clicks done on these recurring tasks, their status reverts to "waiting".

Do others have this type of task? How to you treat/enter these tasks in to Toodledo?


That's what David Allen's (Getting Things Done, or around here, GTD) Weekly Review is for. (I should caveat here that I am not a GTDer myself, but I've borrowed in some cases from Allen.)Every Monday morning (in a few minutes in this case), I go through my entire task list in TD and I update the status of all tasks that need it. In my case, I have a series of views in TD's Saved Searches that I review in addition to some other steps that I have in a "project" (parent task, in Pro Version only)which lists all of the steps in my Weekly Review. (If interested, seem a more detailed synopsis of my system in the "Tips and Tricks" forum under "My Trusted System").This mostly involves my updating my various lists of tasks to make tasks that have an "Active" status to "Next Action". Usually, on Mondays, I have too many tasks with "Next Action" status to do in a day, so I Star the most urgent/important 5 and work on those. When they are done, I go back to my personal Hotlist (not the TD Hotlist) and select the next 5. Usually by Tues, or maybe Wed, I don't have to Star them anymore, I just work from my Hotlist.

It's hard to write software to auto-update task status because virtually all of us using TD would want different criteria to determine when to update the status and different ideas on what attribute to update. Should it update Status or Priority or both? Should it be when it's overdue, or 2 days overdue, and should it be only high priority tasks, or...

There already is a field that auto-updates called "Importance". If you haven't already, you might want to look at it. But there's a problem with Importance, which is exactly what I've said above. Occasionally, someone will post a message asking to have the formula for Importance (in the Help Screens) to something different. Everybody has his/her own idea about what is important, and no single formula works for everybody. Many users don't use Importance at all because it just doesn't suit their needs.

I've experimented with quite a few high end task managers, and have yet to see one that auto-updates tasks' status for this very reason. I suggest that you put into your task list a task to review your list at least weekly to both make sure it is complete and to update the status of your tasks. You are the only one who really knows what the status of each task should be. You may well need a few Saved Searches (the heart and soul of TD)to do this. As any frequent flyer in these forums will tell you, no matter what approach they took here, they would be barraged with complaints the next day about it. If you're watching these forums now, you'll see they get barraged with complaints when they change a font size!
jpv2112-s

Posted: Dec 05, 2012
Score: 0



That makes sense. Thanks for the suggestions. I think the weekly review would be a good time for this (and to revisit strategies).

I suppose we would all like to customize this TD tool to automatize our different GTD methods but the complexity would make it uninviting for new people?

That's always a challenge in software design: make it easy to understand to use quickly (e.g., TD would be a simple TODO list), and yet powerful to keep people coming back (with a lot of advanced features). I think TD does this well, but Apple (esp. iTunes) spends a lot of resources on this very issue.
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