Legend

Forum

Unread topics or posts

Topic

Unread posts

Locked

Announcement

Forums > Questions

What do you use outlines for?



AuthorMessage
Peter Scott

Posted: Sep 17, 2013
Score: 1



I'm having a hard time seeing the utility of outlines in their current form. They seem to be restricted to defining a hierarchical list that can be seen in a task attachment. There doesn't seem to be anything there that couldn't have been done with tabs at the beginning of task note lines.

I wonder if I am missing something. I have wanted for a long time sub-sub-task capability for GTD so I could fold projects under larger scale initiatives. I don't need to see multiple levels in one view but I need to define them so I can group parent tasks under another parent. I've also wanted sequencing, where completing one sub-task would move the next one into a different state, although that's less critical (I could write something to do it via the API if I was motivated enough). Both of those things look like outlines might help except they apparently don't.

If nodes in an outline don't have any functionality (like task metadata and actions) then an outline is just a note with indentation. The only functionality is checking completion, but I can't see what use that is if it doesn't integrate with tasks at the node level.

Not trying to gripe here, I just want to know what use cases people have for outlines in case I'm missing something useful.
safire

Posted: Sep 29, 2013
Score: 0



I'm also interested in the motivation behind the new outlines feature. Adding a new feature like this must have started with some unique set of requirements that is different from the tasks model. Can you share?

I also have long wanted a sub-sub-task capability, so it's extremely frustrating to see that it showed up 1) in another feature entirely, and 2) still unavailable via the API.

Seems to me that outlines are really just specialized interface to tasks (with support for unlimited hierarchy). I think it would be fantastic to be able to view and add tasks via this interface.

For example, I'd start a new project via the simplified "outline" interface in a brainstorm session. Quick, easy, simple view to get started. Then, when I'm done I can go back to the normal task view to formalize it, add priorities/due dates/etc.

As it is the outline feature is really a toy. You have the example of "How to buy a house" -- which is actually quite perfect. But that's just the starting point. Where do I take notes? When was that task completed? How do I know what the important next steps are for the coming week?

As a developer, I'd think the underlying data model of outlines would be *precisely* the same as the tasks model, because as far as I can tell an "outline" task has a subset of the fields and capabilities of a normal task (with the sole exception of unlimited hierarchy). As such, "Outlines" should be just UI sugar on top of a filtered set of tasks.

My suggestion:
1. Add unlimited hierarchy to tasks
2. Make "outlines" basically a special UI for interacting with a saved search of tasks

One key benefit of this approach is that you need to do *nothing* to support this via the API because you already have all the info in the tasks, including parent relationship for tasks.


This message was edited Sep 29, 2013.
Salgud

Posted: Sep 30, 2013
Score: 0



I am still confused by the Outline feature. Even if it did somehow connect to the task list, how would one use it? But this is moot since it doesn't.

I created a couple of test outlines to try this feature, and they work ok in and of themselves, if I just want an outline. Maybe it's just that my memory, not getting any better as I get older, isn't good enough to do an outline, then go and choose some of the outline items to make into tasks, and then remember later that they are part of an outline. Even if I could, why is that any better than an outline in Word? I guess I could put a reference in the Notes field that this item is from an outline, but that seems like too much of a kludge.

So how do people use Outlines in conjunction with their task list?
acc.mcpherson

Posted: Sep 30, 2013
Score: 0



It's pretty simple for me, I use it to list my projects and subprojects. I like having it separate from my tasks because of the GTD methodology that you can't do a project. Previously I kept my projects in the task area and it was kludge to keep them separate, too many work arounds and quite frankly it never worked for me in the three years I have used this product, so the outlines are perfect for this.
Salgud

Posted: Sep 30, 2013
Score: 0



Posted by acc.mcpherson:
It's pretty simple for me, I use it to list my projects and subprojects. I like having it separate from my tasks because of the GTD methodology that you can't do a project. Previously I kept my projects in the task area and it was kludge to keep them separate, too many work arounds and quite frankly it never worked for me in the three years I have used this product, so the outlines are perfect for this.


Thanks for your reply.

So how do you track what comes from an outline and at what level it was, and what doesn't? Or do you just remember? Is the outline hierarchy reflected somehow in the task list? Are the two tied together in any way other than your memory?
Jason Bushell

Posted: Oct 01, 2013
Score: 0



I use it for areas of my life where I have a defined goal, but i'm not sure how I will go about achieving it yet. So its basically a planning/brain-storming tool.

For example, I play Chess, and would like to improve my rating.

In my Chess outline I have main nodes for areas I want to improve, and then sub-nodes for things I could do to improve that area. These are more general things than tasks.

I also run a website.

In my website outline, I do a similar thing where I can make a note of things that I would like to do or improve. Its more flexible than notepad, and a good way of grouping things.

It might not be for everyone.
shelbyp

Posted: Oct 01, 2013
Score: 1



Since the outlines have come I have :

1. moved all my tasks which do not have a hard due date to the outlines. I am a musician, so this can be a list of jazz pieces I would lke to learn at some point in the future, CDs I would like to buy etc, I also develop software at work, so any ideas which I can implement later are stored in outlines.

2. Leveraged the feature to store all my ideas which are not real tasks.

3. Store lists: I also use it like the lists section, but I realize that lists allows you to strictly define the strucutre, however, for my needs I don't really need the structure and as others have said I prefer Google docs for lists.

the advantages I see with the outline:

-the shortcut keys, once mastered, allow you to add/remove tasks very quickly
-change/reorganize the tasks wth a few keystrokes , also very fast
- export of hiearchy: very useful, I often export and then email the list.

adding /organizing tasks is much, much slower than working with outlines, but in some cases I do need the full task feature, however for me these are now mostly repeated tasks or urgent tasks (due in a week).


Jake: if you are reading please vote +1 for a multiline feature, we would then no longer need the notes section, for me it is mainly the notes which is redundant, NOT the outlines.


This message was edited Oct 01, 2013.
Michael V

Posted: Oct 01, 2013
Score: 0



I use it to plan out my weekly 1 on 1 agenda with my employees and my boss. Each employee has their own outline. Clone tool helps too.

However, would I rather have a more colorful, click and drag to do list? YES!!
acc.mcpherson

Posted: Oct 01, 2013
Score: 0



Sorry I am not sure what you mean by track what comes from an outline. The outline is just a list of projects its subprojects. The tasks are tied to these project via my weekly planning. Here's how I plan - I print out the outline and determine the next steps I need to do to move that project along for the following week. I enter those items into the task section. That's it. This way I get to complete the tasks and the project stays open until it's done. Once it's done I can check it off and it can stay hidden, but it's there for reference when I need it.

I tried to have projects and tasks in a hierarchy connected via the subtasks etc. and in the end it was too much maintenance. I keep these two lists separate and as flat as possible so it's very easy now. This only works for me because I had a tendency to spend too much time in project-planning mode and not enough time in task-doing mode and this separation has helped.
Salgud

Posted: Oct 01, 2013
Score: 0



Thanks for your reply.

So the tasks are entirely separate from the outline, that is, don't appear in the outline. The outline only goes down to the level above tasks. So you look at your outline, take the lowest level item, decide which tasks are needed to complete it, and create the tasks in your task list. And apparently, you can remember which tasks in your flat task list are associated with the outline items.

That's my problem, I would eventually get confused as to which items in my flat task list "belong" to which items in my outline. I would need at least one level of redundancy, so that the lowest level in the outline would correspond to a parent task in my multilevel task list. Might be worth a try though.
acc.mcpherson

Posted: Oct 01, 2013
Score: 0



Yes, you are correct, but I forgot to add that I always start the task with the abbreviated project name. In my case it would look like this:
Marketing Speech: determine the topic

Hope that helps.
Salgud

Posted: Oct 01, 2013
Score: 0



Thanks again. That makes more sense. I was thinking you must have an amazing memory!
You cannot reply yet


To participate in these forums, you must be signed in.



Toodledo Forums > Questions