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Automatic Next Actions



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gregmay82

Posted: Nov 13, 2009
Score: 1



I am currently trying to get going with GTD using Things from Cultured Code on my Macbook & iPhone. Since I have been doing a lot of work (and hope to be doing more) in-house at a client on their PC, I have been thinking of switching over to an on-line to do manager early, while I'm still getting up to speed on GTD.

Here's the thing.

I can't find a single one, not even the ones dedicated to GTD (like Nozbe, GTDagenda, Vital!st), that does the following two things:

1. Allows you to manually sort the order of your tasks, AND
2. Automatically posts the top task to a NEXT ACTIONS list

I'll keep reading on this forum to see how people implement alternatives, but it seems to me like building in functionality like this should be a no-brainer for an on-line to-do app (at least those, unlike Toodledo, dedicated to GTD). Here's how it would work.

Let's say I have a PROJECT with the following tasks identified:

1. Call catering hall for dates available in August
2. Call Jim to find out which of the available dates works best for him
3. Call catering hall back to book date.

I want a system that has a NEXT ACTIONS list that displays "Call catering hall for dates available in August" and, when I check that off, AUTOMATICALLY displays "Call Jim to find out which of the available dates works best for him," and when I check that off, AUTOMATICALLY displays "Call catering hall back to book date."

All the programs require you to actually go through your project lists and designate next actions. If you're like me, and you try to capture as many action steps as you can at the beginning of a project, this is a pain.

Having to go back to a project to identify or tag next actions so they show up in a next actions list seems so inefficient to me and creates the danger of forgetting to do so until your next weekly review, when you might really wish you had done it earlier.

As for Toodledo, the lack of manual sorting seems to take it out of the running almost immediately. I have considered how one might accomplish what I want using the status, priority, or tag fields, but I don't see a way of doing it.

It seems to me that using priorities seems to be the best you could do. Designate all next actions as top priority and have a smart list that displays just top priority items. But that still means going back to your project every time you check off an item to designate the next action as top priority. (or, in Toodledo's case, identifying the next action status flag).

I'll keep reading what's on this forum but, in the meantime, if anybody has a good workaround for the issue I've raised, I'd love to hear it.
Proximo

Posted: Nov 13, 2009
Score: 0



@gregmay82

I am sure you know this by now, but Manual sorting has just been released. YES>>>>>>>> It's true.

Now back on topic. From my experience Nozbe and Vitalist allow for manual sorting of your task. You are correct that the next task in your project would not automatically become the Next Action, but the sorting does work.

I think this would be a great option but I know some people would not want this functionality and that includes me.

Here is why.

When I have a Project with several sub-task, I identify what the Next Action would be to move it forward like most people. But when I do complete that task, I may not be in a position to do the Next Action on the list.

I have many Projects and I am not always working actively in all of them. So for me, the Next Action on the list may not be something I can actually do right now, so I would not want it to become a Next Action automatically.

I would rather designate when I am ready to tackle the next step in the process and it could be 2 months before I can jump back on that particular project.

I still think the option would be nice, just like we now have the option for Automatically sort sub-task or Manually sort sub-task.


This message was edited Nov 13, 2009.
gregmay82

Posted: Nov 13, 2009
Score: 0



Actually, Proxino, I did NOT know manual sorting had been released. Thanks for the tip.

Manual sorting alone is a big step forward. It allows me to look near the top of the list for next actions instead of having to scroll through everything.
dc-toodledo

Posted: Nov 13, 2009
Score: 0



Automatic next actions would be a HUGE feature. Obviously it would not be for everyone. I would hope it gets implemented as an option on the parent task, and then it would only apply to the sub-tasks of the parent. Even I don't want it on every task, but I do on some and when I do, it's a huge time saver.

Bonsai does this and it is an awesome task manager. Unfortunately it does not have a web interface and does not work on the Palm Pre, so I am finding it hard to keep using it. I too am looking for a tool with manual sorting and automatic next actions. I also want sub-tasks and filtered flat views.
Proximo

Posted: Nov 13, 2009
Score: 0



I would love a trigger for task that would automatically activate when the due date is the current day.

Example: When I have a task with a due date of 11/15/2009. I would love to have a Star added to that task on 11/15/2009. This way it shows up in my Starred List which is a list of the task I will do that day.
ttorimoto

Posted: Dec 13, 2009
Score: 0



@gregmay82

Wow - I'm in the EXACT same boat. As far as I know, this is one way Actions in Projects (i.e. Subtasks) should be handled - they should automatically be "promoted" to Next Action as the one previous to it is completed. And as you said - there are truly not many applications that I can find that support this - even as an option.

One thing I was thinking about though - if you have Contexts assigned to each Subtask, and those Contexts differ, you'd need a way to know which Context you have to be in quickly to move on with the Project. In addition, some projects MAY have SOME actions that can be completed in NOT in sequence - I'm not sure how a system would handle that... but I DO agree, that what you are requesting originally above is a huge huge HUGE time saver as well as a GREAT way to avoid "forgetting" about a project... and I would think in MOST projects, a person does have a specific sequence of actions that they want to do it in (worst case, they can shuffle the subtasks around, which would change the Next Action based on which is on "top").

yes yes YES - I dont know why I cannot find this feature on the majority of GTD apps - both on the Web and on my Android phone (I think there are 1 or 2 GTD Android apps that do this - but their other features or ease of use is terrible)...

-taka (wishing for a native Toodledo Android app)
Proximo

Posted: Dec 16, 2009
Score: 0



I started using "Start Date" for my Next Action trigger.

My Next Actions are designated by using the STAR. So what I do now is create a task with a start date and already have the STAR turned on. I then set my filters to hide future task.

So if I know I want a particular task to become a Next Action on a particular day for me to start working on it. I use this method and it shows up on my Star list automatically.
Ann

Posted: Dec 30, 2009
Score: 0



I have been using Hiveminder (hiveminder.com) as a todo-app.
In that application, you could make tasks 'interdependent', i.e. you could state that task B had to be done after task A was completed, and task C wouldn't show up unless task B was done.

But I didn't like the interface, so I turned to RTM and then to Toodledo that kept me buzy for over a year now...
german

Posted: Dec 30, 2009
Score: 1



@gregmay82

regarding your coments below

1. Allows you to manually sort the order of your tasks, AND
2. Automatically posts the top task to a NEXT ACTIONS list

I just tested this in Pocket Informant version 1.20 for Iphone released 2 days ago an it does exactly that.
When you check a next action that belongs to a project as finished in the next action view, the action below it in the project pops up as next action .


And also in the projects you just can manually sort the order of your tasks, being the top one the next action.

I think that is what you are looking for, also PI 1.2 syncs directly with Toodledo and Google Calendars.

and you can choose the way to work with it,it has GTD mode, Toodledo mode and Franklin Covey mode.


I am quite new to this prouctivity world an GTD, but I think you would love this PI iphone app.

I have it syncronized to Toodledoo,my work PC outlook , my home MAC iCal and my iphone native calendar.
So actually I can see and add the tasks and events anywhere .


This message was edited Dec 30, 2009.
Mallozzi

Posted: Jan 16, 2010
Score: 0



"1. Allows you to manually sort the order of your tasks, AND
2. Automatically posts the top task to a NEXT ACTIONS list"

Wait when you mean project, are you talking about Folders or Sub-Tasks?

And this task that auto-converts to a Next-Action, does it over-ride the previous status or will it only convert it to a next action if there is no status attached to this item?
Trinity

Posted: Feb 06, 2010
Score: 0



Posted by german:
@gregmay82

regarding your coments below

1. Allows you to manually sort the order of your tasks, AND
2. Automatically posts the top task to a NEXT ACTIONS list

I just tested this in Pocket Informant version 1.20 for Iphone released 2 days ago an it does exactly that.
When you check a next action that belongs to a project as finished in the next action view, the action below it in the project pops up as next action .


And also in the projects you just can manually sort the order of your tasks, being the top one the next action.

I think that is what you are looking for, also PI 1.2 syncs directly with Toodledo and Google Calendars.

and you can choose the way to work with it,it has GTD mode, Toodledo mode and Franklin Covey mode.


I am quite new to this prouctivity world an GTD, but I think you would love this PI iphone app.

I have it syncronized to Toodledoo,my work PC outlook , my home MAC iCal and my iphone native calendar.
So actually I can see and add the tasks and events anywhere .



How did you sync to MAC iCal and the iPhone "iCal" ????
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