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Single level hierarchy how can we get over it ?



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Transisto

Posted: Sep 17, 2012
Score: 1



It seems to me that Toodledo will never be scalable enough for me because of it's single level hierarche, Task and sub-tasks.

The only way arround require some hardcore mind bending and the use of detours with folders, tags and so on.

Even then task and subtask do not have the same attibute and behavior. I'm still juggling between using Toodledo or MLO.

Thanks for your thoughts.


This message was edited Sep 18, 2012.
Salgud

Posted: Sep 18, 2012
Score: -1



If MLO does it better, stick with it!
Transisto

Posted: Sep 18, 2012
Score: 0



Unfortunately Toodledo does many other things better, and I've invested much more time in learning to use Toodledo. Moving to MLO would take me a lot of time.

I was asking "How can we manage to work around lack of hierarchy ?" Other than by having low number of tasks or quitting T altogether.

Thanks
ElynnWQ

Posted: Oct 02, 2012
Score: 0



A couple ways I've contrived deeper hierarchy. These are very effective as long as you're comfortable with the full range of searching & sorting abilities.

Tags
Either mulitple tags, or connected with "."
ABC Proj, Part 1, Section 1
or
ABC.Part1.Sect1

Inside of Task Name & Note
Task: "ABC Proj> Action 1" with attached note, "-> Action 2, -> Action 3, etc"
Especially useful if there's really only one actionable item at a time. When action 1 is complete, clone task. Check off one copy. Edit the other copy to now show "ABC Proj> Action 2".

I've also used this with multiple parts:
Task: "ABC Proj> Part 1> Action1", again with attached note with more items.
Then I can do searches for "ABC Proj>" or for "Part 1"
wksims86

Posted: Oct 02, 2012
Score: 0



One very quick trick I use to add a couple levels of hierarchy is to cannibalize the "Context" tab to make that Hierarchy #1.

Context > Folder > Task > Subtask

E.g. "Law School > Evidence > Outlining> Outline Ch. 3 - Relevance"

This is usually deep enough to cover everything I need. If I have a folder or a task that requires more depth, I'll usually promote it to a context or folder respectively. I try to find a sweet spot between "too few tasks to get an accurate picture of scope" and "too many tasks so that I'm constantly checking off tasks."


This message was edited Oct 02, 2012.
ChristianDiscer

Posted: Oct 03, 2012
Score: 0



Posted by wksims86:
Context > Folder > Task > Subtask

E.g. "Law School > Evidence > Outlining> Outline Ch. 3 - Relevance"


Apologies for jumping in, but that's exactly how I use toodledo. Where my hierarchy is:

Location > DepartmentName > Task > Subtask

Where location is Work, Personal, or Church.
Transisto

Posted: Oct 04, 2012
Score: 0



Posted by wksims86:
One very quick trick I use to add a couple levels of hierarchy is to cannibalize the "Context" tab to make that Hierarchy #1.

Context > Folder > Task > Subtask

E.g. "Law School > Evidence > Outlining> Outline Ch. 3 - Relevance"

This is usually deep enough to cover everything I need. If I have a folder or a task that requires more depth, I'll usually promote it to a context or folder respectively. I try to find a sweet spot between "too few tasks to get an accurate picture of scope" and "too many tasks so that I'm constantly checking off tasks."


Thanks a lot for your reply, but this add only one level of hierarchy while removing the use of Location / Context.

I don't think it's going to scale very long with me.

I just realized the most common use of added hierarchy is when you realize a sub task require to be atomized into smaller subtasks. This is at the CORE of the GTD system.

At witch point I would use the TXT field.

I will be looking for a way to code a downgrade from :
task1, sub(a) + txt X,Y,Z
task1.a with sub X,Y,Z

to :
create task1.a with sub X,Y,Z
loop for all task1 subs
delete previous task and sub

Scanning whole task DB for a specific string and use the text afterward (one new task per line) as the input for new subs.

This would be launched manually and shouldn't take more than a few seconds to process.


This message was edited Oct 04, 2012.
wksims86

Posted: Oct 09, 2012
Score: 0



Posted by Transisto:

Thanks a lot for your reply, but this add only one level of hierarchy while removing the use of Location / Context.

I don't think it's going to scale very long with me.

I just realized the most common use of added hierarchy is when you realize a sub task require to be atomized into smaller subtasks. This is at the CORE of the GTD system.

At witch point I would use the TXT field.

I will be looking for a way to code a downgrade from :
task1, sub(a) + txt X,Y,Z
task1.a with sub X,Y,Z

to :
create task1.a with sub X,Y,Z
loop for all task1 subs
delete previous task and sub

Scanning whole task DB for a specific string and use the text afterward (one new task per line) as the input for new subs.

This would be launched manually and shouldn't take more than a few seconds to process.


Personally I don't mind cannibalizing contexts (doesn't cannibalize location, though) because I find GTD contexts to be completely artificial. @computer and @home or @work are conflated for me, so any division is arbitrary and prevents me from properly referencing contexts for their intended purpose: to tell me where/when I can do something. My personal solution is to build GTD-context into 1) my hierarchy system and 2) my phone application. One could accomplish the same result by using tags as contexts instead, so that @phone and @home can be assigned to the same task.

Of course, YMMV with GTD, so my solution may not work for everyone. I highly dislike fractal GTD, where a task can be fragmented into any number of subtasks indefinitely. For me, this devalues the "leveling" of tasks and can make "Check the mail" look as important as "Finish decompiler for work project" where it might not be, simply based on what "sub-task" level each discrete action rests on. I more strictly enforce my task hierarchy, but that's what works for me, so I never run into the problem of having to break my task into more subtasks; I already plotted that out before I put it down, and I might have to redefine a task once or twice a year, if ever.

But your automation process is an interesting concept and definitely could tackle the issue for those who don't keep as strict a hierarchy. One thing to keep in mind when building this, if you do, is that certain 3rd party applications require the notes section to work (i.e. Ultimate ToDo using "loc" on the first line to set a location-based reminder), or people might need the notes to add in actual notes. I'm sure you could create a bypass based on syntax filters, such as only processing "st.'this is a subtask'."

I completely agree that Toodledo needs more hierarchy levels and that any workaround will cannibalize some built-in function. For those who have a ton of branches and subtasks, it might be worth looking at larger task management suites and mind-mapping utilities.
B.S.

Posted: Oct 13, 2012
Score: 0



Posted by ChristianDiscer:
Posted by wksims86:
Context > Folder > Task > Subtask

E.g. "Law School > Evidence > Outlining> Outline Ch. 3 - Relevance"


Apologies for jumping in, but that's exactly how I use toodledo. Where my hierarchy is:

Location > DepartmentName > Task > Subtask

Where location is Work, Personal, or Church.


Isn't location, such as Law School, a context, here? As would be Church?

And wouldn't Work or Personal just be tags? (Could be location, subverting it - or reverse context and location meanings, here.)

Pardon me for jumping in. Have been investigating Toodledo somewhat intensely the last few days, or, at least, the ecosystem.

Without having Pro, yet, understanding that Pro has subtasks, have been poking about before pulling the trigger on that.

Do you mean to tell me that sub-tasks in pro don't permit an infinite number of levels?

Task 1 -> Task 1.1 -> Task 1.1.1 -> Task 1.1.1.1 -> Task 1.1.1.<ad infinitum>.1????

There is folder, task, subtask, AND THAT'S IT???

No sub-tasks of subtasks?

Thanks for any clarity.
pjlewis

Posted: Oct 13, 2012
Score: 0



You are unfortunately correct B.S. There is only 1 level of sub-task supported at the moment. I.e.

Task 1 -> Task 1.1

Which is why the good people in the forum are being imaginative about working around this constraint.......
wksims86

Posted: Oct 14, 2012
Score: 0



Posted by B.S.:
*snip*


Isn't location, such as Law School, a context, here? As would be Church?


Not exactly. Context, as I've seen it implemented, means "This is the tool needed / location I must be in to complete this task." Law School for me is just a life area. I can do homework in the library, at home, at the coffee shop, et cetera. I'd love to include tools needed like "IP Law Textbook," but usually this type of input/output just clutters things and doesn't make me more effective at remembering to bring my IP Law Book.

And wouldn't Work or Personal just be tags? (Could be location, subverting it - or reverse context and location meanings, here.)

Pardon me for jumping in. Have been investigating Toodledo somewhat intensely the last few days, or, at least, the ecosystem.


Welcome aboard! I stumbled across Toodledo about a year ago and have found it to be extremely useful for centralizing all of my tasks. There are plenty of things I wish it could do better, but thus far I've found it good enough to warrant a subscription. Maybe one day when I have a ton of free time I'll work on my own task management product, but until then I've been making due pretty well with Toodledo's less-limited-than-every-one-of-its-competitors limitations.

Without having Pro, yet, understanding that Pro has subtasks, have been poking about before pulling the trigger on that.

Do you mean to tell me that sub-tasks in pro don't permit an infinite number of levels?

Task 1 -> Task 1.1 -> Task 1.1.1 -> Task 1.1.1.1 -> Task 1.1.1.<ad infinitum>.1????

There is folder, task, subtask, AND THAT'S IT???

No sub-tasks of subtasks?

Thanks for any clarity.


Sadly, you are correct, as PJLewis mentioned above. It's been a much-requested feature, but the powers that be say it would require significant recoding. I've tried to re-imagine it not as a bug but a feature -- if I need sub-subtasks, then I'm not classifying my tasks properly into my system. It's a 50/50 pro/con situation, really, but with extra level I've managed to eek out enough hierarchy to support my personal system.
Salgud

Posted: Oct 15, 2012
Score: 0



Posted by wksims86:


Sadly, you are correct, as PJLewis mentioned above. It's been a much-requested feature, but the powers that be say it would require significant recoding. I've tried to re-imagine it not as a bug but a feature -- if I need sub-subtasks, then I'm not classifying my tasks properly into my system. It's a 50/50 pro/con situation, really, but with extra level I've managed to eek out enough hierarchy to support my personal system.


If my recollection is correct, the lack of multiple levels of subtasks is due to interface problems. If you look through these forums often enough, you'll note the issue of how to display/hide subtasks comes up frequently. It's hard for a lot of people to manage them. Adding another level would exacerbate this issue considerably, and until they find a better way to implement this, it is on hold.

I know Jake will correct me if I'm mistaken here. :)
RebDebGordon

Posted: Oct 27, 2012
Score: 2



I'm a little over a week into moving over from OmniFocus, and long before that LifeBalance. For me, as someone said, "fractalizing' subtasks is a great way to waste time in playing with TD that should be spent actually accomplishing things. Most of my tasks are routine or at least familiar, so if I say "collect eggs daily, wash and pack" I certainly don't need 3 separate tasks. "Paint Living Room" just needs a note about what supplies I don't have yet. Or, in another part of my life, "Prep Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah Class" gets a note about what I'm planning to teach next or where we finished last week; they syllabus lives elsewhere, or I suppose could be in a Notebook.

What I've learned is that most of my "Projects" are really "Tasks." If the project is complicated enough to really need to be chunked up into various parts, and I expect to have to look at those parts together occasionally, GOALS is the natural home. I'm surprised nobody mentioned that.

TD's restrictions (and I haven't even signed up for Pro yet so don't have subtasks as I'm exploring) have actually forced me to think more clearly about what's what. My key discovery is that Projects are mostly a way to see whether every major task related to a particular goal has been recorded in TD. Once it's in there, I pretty much never look at the Project again. All that matters is that the tasks show up at the correct time with requisite priority. So levels of hierarchy aren't part of how I filter things when I'm actually USING the to-do list.

If something depends on something else, I number the tasks (later it will be subtasks, I suppose) and make an appropriate sort level "Alphabetical", or make a note about what's next. I don't mind modifying a task to become the next task, instead of checking it off; that way only one shows up at a time. If a task/subtask requires further chunking into pieces, its status is "Planning" and I make sure that "Planning" shows up in many of my saved searches.

So: Tasks are Next Actions and also Small Projects. Short-term Goals are Big Projects that can actually be completed (Plan wedding, Tutor child for bar/bat mitzvah, Winterize yearly, Paint the living room, and also lists e.g. "Blue Van Repairs", "Music for the Choir to learn"). Long-term Goals are Really Big Things I Want To Accomplish That Will Take A Long Time And Which May Be Neverending (Landscape, Keep good farm records, Work with a disabled congregant). Lifetime Goals are guiding values, highest commitments, and un-ending reaching for improvement ("Parent Well," "Be Responsible," "Eat Good Healthy Food)". I don't really need the Lifetime Goals to keep anything organized, but they're rather motivational because they remind me just WHY I am taking kids to open savings accounts, sorting the mail, or buying fresh garlic from the garlic lady. There will be work goals too but I haven't imported most of my work tasks yet from OmniFocus so examples are lacking.

I don't like the way "Goals" are sorted in the pop-up -- I'd rather have it be strictly alphabetical rather than having to remember what kind of goal I decided something was --- but I think that if I preface them with "P" (Personal), "F" (Farm), or "W" (Work), I'll be able to find what I'm looking for easily enough.

Folders allow me to exclude personal tasks when I should be doing professional work and vice-versa; they distinguish between Work, Home, Farm, and Errands, with a special one for Death & Crisis since I'm a rabbi and when there's a crisis I have to track it even if I'm on vacation. So most searches include "OR Folder = Death & Crisis" as part of every search term so that those always show up. Ditto a tag called "Today without fail" which permits e.g. essential Errands to show up on Work and Home searches.

Contexts @Inside @Outside @Synagogue allow me to filter by places I must physically be to accomplish the task; further subdivision is in tags.

At the moment I'm also using Context for Locations (meaning stores) for Errands, but I look forward to the Location functionality.

Tags like CALL, call/email, COMPUTER, DESK, chore/physical, FOCUS needed, easy/mindless, big, routine, before leaving for work, cooking ... allow me to slice and dice according to other kinds of "contexts " -- what am I feeling ready to do right now? I probably don't even need "Computer" except to exclude it, because once I'm on the computer I'm easily distractable. I hate making phone calls so when I'm in a mood to accomplish them I need to be able to find them easily.

So I came in thinking that I needed many levels of hierarchy, and found that that's not really how I work.

Deb
rory_1352021597

Posted: Nov 06, 2012
Score: 0



Would I be right in thinking that using context as hierachy #1 would not be possible on the iPad App. IT seems hierachies are not an option on the app...

R
frdata

Posted: Nov 18, 2012
Score: 0



InstaTodo

The (IOS)app InstaTodo gives the opportunity to use multiple levels. The problem is that you only can use one appliance. When you sync via Toodledo (the only available choice) between two or more appliances the sub-levels will merge together.
jpv2112-s

Posted: Dec 02, 2012
Score: 0



Don't forget (for Pro users) that the Goals are a 3-level hierarchy in addition to the 2-level task/sub-task hierarchy, so there are actually 4-5 levels available which kinda should(?) be plenty for most things.

I often find myself making a new project as a task, but quickly find (given the limited sub-hierarchy) that they would often work better (in Toodledo) being a long or short term goal with many st-goals/tasks/sub-tasks assigned to these goals.

Having said that, it would certainly be more intuitive for TD to offer many levels of sub-tasks instead of one (and for sub-tasks to integrate better/more "live" with the parent tasks, e.g., length, due dates, etc.)

EDIT: Just noticed that another user posted the same solution above..... +1 for using goals.


This message was edited Dec 02, 2012.
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