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sort by *decreasing* length



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Werner

Posted: Dec 28, 2010
Score: 0



One of the first things any time management book tells you is to start with big (long) tasks - but Toodledo does not seem to support sorting by decreasing task length. What am I missing?

This is just one example of the many, many things in Toodledo that seem haphazardly designed (consider saving, for another example). I already start regretting the upgrade to pro.


This message was edited Dec 28, 2010.
Salgud

Posted: Dec 28, 2010
Score: 0



Posted by Werner:
One of the first things any time management book tells you is to start with big (long) tasks - but Toodledo does not seem to support sorting by decreasing task length. What am I missing?


Actually, not so, at least one I can remember doesn't say that. (Can't remember which right now.) He recommended a technique that, if feeling daunted by so much to do, start with something small and easy, and if possible, urgent, just to get the feeling of success and making progress. I still use this method frequently, and it works well for me.

This is just one example of the many, many things in Toodledo that seem haphazardly designed (consider saving, for another example). I already start regretting the upgrade to pro.


I don't use the Length field normally, but just to test your claim, I added it to my list, added some lengths to a couple of tasks, then sorted both Forward and Reverse and it worked fine. Including setup time, maybe 3 minutes to to the whole thing.

Probably better to start a slowly with TD and work your way into it. Sounds like you might be rushing a bit and not getting what's there. I've seen a lot of criticisms of TD since I started using it, expressed a few of my own, but "haphazard" is a new one. Maybe it better describes your approach to learning it? :)

Maybe you should hold your judgements and the resulting regrets until you've used it for a while. TD is not a simple task manager, but it's not a difficult one either. Give it a fair trial, at least a couple of months, get to know it, then make your decision. Right now, you're just jumping to conclusions based on one failed attempt to do something in an entirely new environment, not a very good way to start.

And remember, these forums are some of the friendliest, most helpful, positive forums I've been in for a long time. There's always help available, usually within hours. And the TD staff respond themselves, usually within a day or two. That's excellent turnaround where I come from.

Best of luck!
Werner

Posted: Dec 29, 2010
Score: 0



Fine if not everybody agrees on the importance of doing big tasks first. Those who don't may want to ponder the advice I got a decade ago (and followed ever since with much success): given sand, pebbles, and rocks to put in a jar, starting with the sand or pebbles will not get you very far...

Regarding your test, you may want to repeat it in a setting where sorting for length is not the only criterion. In my case, it is the third (after due date and context). I am looking forward to positive test results and concrete advice on how to do it!

Those who know about usability engineering may share some of my concerns about "haphazard" design. Consistency is one of the rock bottom rules, and it is lacking all over the place in Toodledo.

But do not get me wrong: like democracy, Toodledo is the worst, apart from all the other options. I have used it for several years now, after giving up on half a dozen other systems before, over the time of 30 years. Yet, I am always looking forward to learning things that I "did not get".

Friendliness is really important and includes, for some, not telling others that they are not getting it or learn haphazardly. It is much appreciated, as long as it also contains some actual help. I apologize for not stating my problem (multi-criteria sorting) more precisely before.


This message was edited Dec 29, 2010.
Purveyor

Posted: Dec 29, 2010
Score: 0



Posted by Werner:
Fine if not everybody agrees on the importance of doing big tasks first. Those who don't may want to ponder the advice I got a decade ago (and followed ever since with much success): given sand, pebbles, and rocks to put in a jar, starting with the sand or pebbles will not get you very far...
I'm not disputing the success that you have had over the years but it seems to me that you are being too literal in your interpretation of Stephen Covey's rock/pebbles/sand analogy.

"Big" tasks don't necessarily take the most time --- they are just the most important. Sorting by decreasing task length does not necessarily bring the important tasks to the top of the list.

Also, you say: One of the first things any time management book tells you is to start with big (long) tasks. (Emphasis mine.)

One of the most popular time management books is David Allen's Getting Things Done. This book does not say to start with the "big (long) tasks". It says to pay attention to what has your attention, and to determine the next action for those things that you think are important.

Hope that helps.
Salgud

Posted: Dec 29, 2010
Score: 0



Posted by Werner:
Fine if not everybody agrees on the importance of doing big tasks first. Those who don't may want to ponder the advice I got a decade ago (and followed ever since with much success): given sand, pebbles, and rocks to put in a jar, starting with the sand or pebbles will not get you very far...


Not sure what filling a jar has to do with getting tasks done, seems like a poor analogy to me. YMMV.


Regarding your test, you may want to repeat it in a setting where sorting for length is not the only criterion. In my case, it is the third (after due date and context). I am looking forward to positive test results and concrete advice on how to do it!


As you must know, the third level criteria often has little or no effect on a sort, particularly if there aren't enough tasks for it to have an effect. If you've actually found a bug, you need to report it.


Those who know about usability engineering may share some of my concerns about "haphazard" design. Consistency is one of the rock bottom rules, and it is lacking all over the place in Toodledo.


It's hard to defend TD's UI. I still don't see it as "haphazard", but certainly as butt ugly. But then, I'm not a UI expert, just used a lot of software over the last 30 years and have a pretty good feel for what works and what doesn't and also to appreciate an eye-pleasing design. I guess that's pretty much just a matter of opinion and I respect your right to yours.

But do not get me wrong: like democracy, Toodledo is the worst, apart from all the other options. I have used it for several years now, after giving up on half a dozen other systems before, over the time of 30 years. Yet, I am always looking forward to learning things that I "did not get".


This is my second go around with TD. I tried it almost 2 years ago, but just didn't like the interface. I tried others, but eventually came back for two reasons. TD has most of the features I want, and it has great development and support, which counts a lot for me.

Friendliness is really important and includes, for some, not telling others that they are not getting it or learn haphazardly. It is much appreciated, as long as it also contains some actual help. I apologize for not stating my problem (multi-criteria sorting) more precisely before.


Sorry for accusing you of a haphazard approach. This is the first time I can remember seeing you post, and you started with a pretty nasty attack on what I believe to be a very good program. Of course, you may not agree. I tend to be loyal to people and organizations that are trying their best to deliver a great product and to keep their customers happy, which I believe, the TD staff do extremely well compared to a lot of others I've dealt with over the years. So I go to their defence, which is probably unneccessary, they seem to do well at defending themselves.

I hope you solve your problem - I was unable to duplicate it, but I'm sure I don't have the complexity in my little test that you have across your task list. Maybe others who use that feature can help you better than I. Best of luck.


This message was edited Dec 29, 2010.
Werner

Posted: Dec 29, 2010
Score: 0



So many words - and still no answer to my question: How do you sort tasks by decreasing length as a secondary criterion? (Declaring the problem as unimportant is always worth a try, thank you.)

Should I concluded this is a bug, then? Any opinions from Toodledo?

Anyway, I am grateful to have learned to use the friendly "butt ugly" rather than the nasty "haphazardly designed" ;-)
alexandremrj_1419238567

Posted: Dec 29, 2010
Score: 0



Hello,

because the second and third criteria don't have the ascending and descending options then these two are only used as descending.

I just tried with my task list and sorting by context as first and then lenght gives the ones with the biggest lenght on bottom. I know it's not ideal but instead of staying on top of the page you may have to scroll down.

Hope it helps
Purveyor

Posted: Dec 29, 2010
Score: 0



Posted by Salgud:
Not sure what filling a jar has to do with getting tasks done, seems like a poor analogy to me. YMMV.


Here's the relevant link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VDxKLSyksI


This message was edited Dec 29, 2010.
Salgud

Posted: Dec 29, 2010
Score: 0



@Purveyor

Thanks for posting the link. I only had to watch the first couple of seconds, and I recognized the presentation. I've seen it done a number of times, live and on video.

Virtually any analogy I can think of break down sooner or later. To me, one of the things that make for a good analogy is that it breaks down later rather than sooner. As someone else stated about this analogy, something very small time-wise could be the most important activity of your day. A 20 sec phone call could save a life. What would you have to do that day that's more important than that?

I get the idea of wasting your time with piddly little things instead of attacking the bigger task that needs to get done. But I don't think size is a good measure. As others have stated, the longest task could well be the least important thing on my list for today. Duration doesn't impact importance or urgency at all. So I just don't care for the analogy, it tries to reduce priorities to one factor, and my experience is that that is just not possible. YMMV.
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Dec 29, 2010
Score: 0



You can sort by decreasing length, but only if length is your first sort criteria. The second and third criteria don't yet support bi-directional sorting, but this is coming soon.
Werner

Posted: Dec 30, 2010
Score: 0



Thank you, the "coming soon" is good news!
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