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Folke X

Posted: Dec 07, 2012

Yes, I agree that a "hotlist" or "Now" list is probably the most important one (like Salgud's).

Also a complete "possible" or "could-also" list (a GTD Next list) is also very useful - a list where all firmly booked future appointments or still-too-early tasks or "unsure" (Someday/Maybe) tasks have been excluded. This is useful for quickly finding tasks with special contexts etc, say finding additional errands you could also do when going to Suburb X or additional things to do when in Office 2.

An errand list may be useful to have as a dedicated saved search.
Folke X

Posted: Sep 25, 2012

I think you forgot to mention Michael Linenberger's MYN, which Toodledo already supports.

For a standard MYN preset in Toodledo, visit http://www.toodledo.com/systems.php

This message was edited Sep 26, 2012.
Folke X

Posted: Sep 09, 2012

And meanwhile, until all this has been figured out, wouldn't it be quite a big step forward to have a 3-in-1 quick edit operation just like I suggested? Implemented as an "emulation" of manual sorting (drag-and-drop)? Something that requires no underlying manual sorting structure whatsoever and which therefore does not incur any of those complexities?
Folke X

Posted: Aug 12, 2012

Yes, Purveyour pointed out the same thing. But at least this is "just a little UI thing" - if I may call it that. It introduces no new ambiguities in the data or the underlying structure.

UI-wise, for me personally, I would have no problem at all with using shift-drag or something like that, and I do not think I would have any problems with a regular drag either - it would just work a bit differently compared to when you reorder subtasks (the subtasks have a "real" manual sorting order that gets affected).

But this was just an idea. If you can make something useful of it, which I believe is possible, then be my guest. If there are unsolvable problems with it, or too much confusion with it, then you'd better leave it alone.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 12, 2012


Posted by Folke X:
Manual sorting has been suggested by many people many times. Although I am personally an enormous fan of having a manual sorting order I have always argued that in Toodledo it is probably well nigh impossible to implement due to the open structure of its other sorting options - where and how would it fit in?

That is how I started my initial post, remember? It mirrors what you say quite well, doesn't it? In fact, I would almost say we agree completely. The filtering aspect you brought up is yet another complication factor that speaks against manual sorting.

Hence my initial suggestion in this post: To implement something that for all (or at least most) practical purposes looks and feels and behaves like "manual sorting", but which is in fact just a convenient 3-in-1 quick edit operation (taking advantage of the 2-3 tier automatic sorting already available in Toodledo).

No manual sorting orders would then need to be maintained either openly or behind the scenes, so there are no new consequences. It would all behave exactly as if user had changed those three fields manually, just in a quicker and more convenient way (which resembles manual drag-and-drop sorting).

This message was edited Aug 12, 2012.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 09, 2012

You're right. The competitors generally speaking are no better overall. Each app has countless flaws from your own perspective. Toodledo is by far the best general toolbox and also has the best quick filter I have seen so far, and this is why I am still considering Toodledo as a possible alternative.

What I meant by watered-down compromises was that if you read the forum of any app - Toodledo or any of the others - you will probably notice that you agree with only maybe 10%-20% of all the other users' feature requests. If it were all based on voting or democracy, or obeying all the customers, you most likely would end up with some incongruous hodgepodge - a very much watered-down compromise.

Toodledo is not like that at all. It is the best todo toolbox available in the market as far as I know. And most likely that was what Jake intended. And as I understand it Toodledo has been commercially successful. And it is one of my top 5 picks, too.

Thanks to you, too, for a very rewarding conversation. As always.

So, 'til next time then, cheers :-)

This message was edited Aug 09, 2012.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 09, 2012

Everything Jake says there makes perfect sense. And only he knows what can be read out from the overall user statistics.

On the other hand, nothing in what he says demonstrates why these features we are discussing in this thread would be any less critical or interesting for the general user than any of the improvements that actually have been made in the meantime. So it remains a bit of a mystery.

This is the beauty of free competition. It is not a democratic exercise where watered-down compromises is all that comes out. Companies need a strong vision and stick to it. Everybody has the right to try. Some survive, some don't. Jake must follow his vision, whatever it is. It is his enterprise. We are all free to go anytime we want.

This message was edited Aug 09, 2012.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 09, 2012

I agree with the Black box view. But this does not really explain the problem here. Saved sort orders are:

- important: Yes, expressed in the forum by many people and moreover their importance can almost be "deduced logically" if you stop for a minute and consider how they can be used.

- interesting: Yes, for all these users obviously (but maybe no fun for Toodledo to program, though, I cannot tell).

- doable: Although I cannot tell what this particular black box looks like inside I cannot imagine that there could be any major obstacles.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 09, 2012

I had not seen that thread, sorry. I think all those suggestions sound good, both yor first and second set and Salgud's.

One of the really old and obvious and super-important suggestions is being able to save the sort order with each saved search. I cannot for the life of me understand why that is not in place yet.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 09, 2012

Hmm. I can be a bit sloppy at times.

Enabled by user:
What I meant was just that for those who do not even want to know about the manual sorting, and don't want to see it as a sorting option, maybe this should be switchable in the Settings just like the other fields. But I could be wrong. Nothing very important.

More than one global field:
What I meant was that if one single global order is not enough - I cannot really picture all this completely - then it would still be easily doable to have say two or three global sorting orders available and make it possible to select which one of these you want to use for a particular type of list. Still easy and clear. If it is needed or or not I cannot really tell, but it would cover the case where you have a Next list or Hotlist list ordered manually according to one kind of principle and a Waiting For list also ordered manually but according to some other principle.

As long as the number of manual sorting orders is limited and manageable I can grasp it in my my brain and see that it is doable, but when it begins to smell of having unlimited or totally hidden sorting orders for every variety of every main view I confess I get totally lost and cannot really say anything.

As for multi-edit without a search: Yes, that is very useful too, but I see that as a different thing. Multi-edit is for editing many tasks at the same time without repetitions. My 3-in-1 quick edit suggestion is for setting three values at the same time for one single task without having to even open any field values (just drag the task). These two features do not exclude or overlap each other.

Linenberger: I am not using his method. I am using Nirvana which has native drag-and-drop, which I actively use and depend on. I sometimes reassess my choice of tools, though (Nirvana, Zendone, Toodledo ...) and I am just trying to be clear about how I would best implement simple "manualish" dragging-sorting if I were to go back to Toodledo; I cannot stand having to fiddle with field values just to move a task up or down the ladder or not getting the tasks closely enough in the order I want them. Chances are quite low that I will go back to Toodledo, but the main attraction here is the Show filter. The others have extremely minimal quick filtering options. What they do have is a more "premeditated" usage system out-of-the-box - you do not have to create your own system using saved searches or anything; just sign up and go; you do not even need saved searches at all. And they both, especially zendone, have more powerful project handling.

This message was edited Aug 09, 2012.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 09, 2012

Hmm. Yes, we probably misunderstand each other here and there, but that's alright. (For example, I did not mean that the user should be able to edit the "hidden" field, but never mind.)

What I believe we are beginning to see clearly is this:

1) There seem to be at least a couple of approaches that would be directly doable, as well as approaches that would seem to require a "feasibility study".

2) It is becoming obvious that there are perhaps two quite different aims or main priorities with all this "manual sorting"

a) quick movement (recategorization, reprioritization etc) of a task - by just dragging it off to some other region of a list instead of having to manually adjust a bunch of fields

b) fine-tuning of the sorting order beyond what the auto-sorting permits

I like both of these. Obviously my original "3-in-1 quick-edit" suggestion was aimed at the first of these only. It would allow, for example, people who use Linenberger's method to avoid all the clicking involved in manually adjusting the Priority and Start date. Or moving a task from Hold into Next action etc.

As for the fine-tuning of an existing list, I must say I would appreciate that, too. Just like you, I can also find it disturbing to have "equal" tasks appear auto-sorted in the "wrong" order. Even though they are "equal" in many ways, they still "belong" closer to some other tasks than to others, or maybe there is a subtle sequence involved etc. In theory maybe such fine-tuning could be accomplished by other means, too, than just dragging? Perhaps some kind of adjustment field (+1, +2, -1, -2 etc)?

Since the two purposes are so different, it opens up the possibility, at least in theory, for having two different solutions in place.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 08, 2012
From Topic: My Trusted System


I think your system seems good :-)

I saw already the first time that your Start date is used for a good purpose, so the reason for my question was not really related to your system but to your person. You seem to have given all this quite a bit of consideration and I wondered if you have any practical experience of using "fake" manual sorting using a data field, which I have not tried myself.

I totally agree that soft dates are to be avoided. Constantly rescheduling personal target dates and intended dates etc as soon as something new comes in the way is a great pain, and they cannot be taken seriously. Worst of all, they obscure the "real" external dates that you cannot change unilaterally. I totally agree with you.

FYI, in Linenberger's case the Start date field is not really used much as a date, mainly as a mechanism upon which to base the automatic sorting such that the relative order remains "manual". By default new tasks are added with today's start date. This means you get the newest tasks on top, and older ones further down automatically. Only when you want to change this default relative position of a task do you need to fiddle with this "phony" historical date to move the task up or down. (But for future dates the field represents an actual "defer review until" date). I would have listened to your practical experience with great interest, knowing you have a sharp mind.

Regarding projects, yes, this is roughly what I figured. Seems good, too :-)

This message was edited Aug 08, 2012.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 08, 2012

Although I do not know quite what it was, there was something in your first post that made me think more clearly than ever before of one single global sorting order. I think this is what made it seem more feasible than it has ever seemed before. I think I have probably always got lost (and scared) in the wild forest of endless manual sorting orders everywhere :-)

But one global sorting order, an extra hidden field that can be enabled by the user, is very straightforward, and it will probably go a long way already. It would even be quite easy to have more than one - Man1, Man2, Man3 if users need more than just one for different categories of lists. Still simple and transparent. And those who use them probably use them a lot, so maybe the problem of degraded "unsorted" lists is not all that serious, after all. Very good.

I still like my own idea, too, though. I like them both, in fact, and for two different reasons. Mine is actually a super-quick quick-edit operation that you can use directly on all (well, most) auto-sorted lists. This is also very useful and simple.

As for your manual exact fine-tuning of an automatically sorted list, I would love to have it, but is it really doable? I would want to leave the sorting in place, not have it disappear every time. Is the disappearing act the price for making it feasible?

This message was edited Aug 08, 2012.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 08, 2012


Thanks for your response and I agree that an elegant solution is desirable. But either of these two fundamentally different solutions would bring a lot of value to Toodledo even if neither of them is perfect.

Purveyor's suggestion is a "true" manual sorting order, just one single global sorting order but still probably quite useful.

My own original suggestion is not even a "sorting order" at all. Technically speaking it is just a 3-fields-in-one-shot quick-edit operation :-)

This message was edited Aug 08, 2012.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 08, 2012


Thanks for the detailed response, and for your very interesting countersuggestion.

Yes, you are absolutely correct that some fields are not editable (Date Added, Importance etc), and I must confess I had not even thought about that :-(
I suppose, if this were implemented, that those fields would then simply have to be left unchanged, or dragging could be auto-disabled when such sorting is used. A bit ugly, but probably no real dealbreaker. Most of the views I ever used were not sorted by these non-editable fields, so it would still be a very useful feature.

As for the "discreet" (irreconcilable) fields (Folder, Priority etc.) I think there is just a case of miscommunication. What I meant (and had actually said, but perhaps unclearly) was that there would need to be some default rules for which task to copy the value from if you place your task in between, for example to then copy from the upper of the two tasks (I gave some more examples in the first post).

As for possible conflict or confusion with the existing features for dragging subtasks, again I have to confess I had not thought about that either :-(. But I do not think this can be impossible to solve. If necessary, this new kind of dragging could be in conjunction with some suitable meta key (Shift etc).

Now to the really interesting thing - your countersuggestion:

I like it very much and I always have. I have contemplated this before, but I have always ruled it out. I am now hoping you can show me where my thinking drifted astray.

Let me begin by saying: Yes, certainly doable and quite simple. That is why I like it. And it gives an exact placement of the task, too, which my suggested method generally will not give you if all three fields match a neighboring task.

But here is one of my concerns: What happens if you work alternately in a manual view and one or more auto-sorted favorite views? What I am picturing then is that if at the outset you have your manual list in perfect order, and then work in an auto-sorted view for any length of time - add tasks, change tasks etc - and then revert to the manually sorted view, then it will be in disorder, worse and worse the longer you have left it. But maybe this is not as bad as it might seem? Maybe if you use the manual view often enough it will be OK? Especially perhaps if the yet-unsorted tasks (all new or modified tasks?) are collected at the top under a divider heading called Unsorted? Maybe that would work?

My other concern is this: What happens if you want to have different manual sorting for different views? Is it really sufficient to have just one global manual sorting order? What I am picturing is cases such as Waiting For items, which you may wish to see in some kind of manual "priority" order overall in one view, but when viewing those same tasks in their respective project you want to see them in the sequence in which they will happen in the project? There are so many possible views in Toodledo and so many ways that users use these, that I have (perhaps prematurely) always shunned away from these seeming complexities. But maybe this, too, is not as serious as I had always imagined it? Maybe one global sorting order will go a long way and cover at least the vast majority of use cases?

All in all, I think either of these two solutions would be a massive step forward for Toodledo.

This message was edited Aug 08, 2012.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 08, 2012

Manual sorting has been suggested by many people many times. Although I am personally an enormous fan of having a manual sorting order I have always argued that in Toodledo it is probably well nigh impossible to implement due to the open structure of its other sorting options - where and how would it fit in?

But now I have this "great" idea for the Toodledo team, a way to implement something that for all practical purposes looks and behaves like manual sorting but which is in fact just a convenient way of changing three fields simultaneously in one drag-like mouse gesture.

Imagine, for example, that you have your list sorted by Priority, then Start date in descending order (as in Michael Linenberger's MYN, where Start date is used as the semi-manual sorting order adjustment parameter).

Then imagine you grab a task somewhere and drag it to a position near a task with Priority 2, Start date June 25. When you release the task Toodledo would copy those 2-3 fields (the sorting order fields) from the list position into your task all at once, which means that from then onwards your task will appear in approximately that position in the list, simply because those fields now have those values. (No hidden manual sorting order is required under Toodledo's hood.)

I am sure Toodledo would need to complement the above with some simple rules for borderline cases etc. Examples of such complementary rules might be:
When dragging to a point between two categories, e.g. Prio 2 and three, then consider the divider position, if any; if no divider then copy fields from task above; if no task above then copy from task below. For dates, length and other "continuous" values I believe interpolation would probably be the most appropriate, wherever possible, e.g. when dragging to a point between start date Jun 25 and Jun 27, put Jun 26.

It might even be possible to do all this in a more precise manner if it is possible in the UI to distinguish where on a task your are pointing the mouse. If you are pointing in the upper or lower 25% of a task's height then this could be seen as a wish to have the moving task placed in between that task and its neighbor, and therefore to interpolate or reconcile the field values as described above. But if you point in the middle 50% of a task's height then Toodledo could simply copy all three fields from that task without any adjustment at all. In both cases it would be convenient to have some form of visual confirmation on exactly where you are actually pointing.

And in the end, if you are not entirely happy with where the task eventually landed, you can still always adjust any of the field values in the "good old" manual way, just like today. For the most part, though, that will not be necessary and this feature would save you a lot of work overall, quite possibly not only for manual sorting per se, but also for quick field entry in general when adding or moving or recategorizing tasks - be able to set three fields simultaneously in one simple operation.

This message was edited Aug 08, 2012.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 07, 2012
From Topic: My Trusted System

Salgud, this is very interesting, indeed. Thanks for sharing.

The idea of treating areas of responsibility and major projects in a similar fashion, using Folders for both, is worth considering. I have never tried it, but it seems to make good sense in Toodledo's structure.

It is also interesting to see that you and I seem to have arrived at similar conclusions in other ways, too.

For example, I totally agree that having to star tasks just because you want to do them really is tedious, and having to collect them from all over a long list is horrible. Having the list fundamentally ordered in some intrinsically useful way is much better, and to then have the star available as an optional extra marker when needed for extra clarity. I could not agree more.

I would like to ask you a couple of questions:

1) I am very fond of having "endless" priority levels, which essentially coincide with a tentative starting order, and utilize this as the fundamental ordering principle for the tasks, first things first. The natural way to do this is by manual drag-and-drop sorting, which is not available directly in Toodledo, but there are fairly good workarounds such as fiddling a bit with the start dates (Michael Linenberger's method, MYN). I thought this sounded good, but I have not tried it. I am curious whether you have tried it and what your impressions were.

2) When doing projects, what method do you use for moving subsequent actions up the ladder and become actionable? I assume it is done manually, during your review, but do you have some clever tagging or similar means to guide you faster to those projects that need your attention in this way? Or do you perhaps keep it all visible, as tasks and subtasks, and simply ignore the subsequent ("still-not-possible") subtasks based on their position?

This message was edited Aug 08, 2012.
Folke X

Posted: Apr 05, 2012
From Topic: Holidays

I agree that an app capable of all would be perfect. It should not need to be the case that you have to have two different apps for time mangagement.

Generally I like to keeps things as open as possible, so for me it makes sense to have firm appointments in a calendar and tasks somewhere else, almost totally unrelated to time and calendars. I definitely do not like to schedule (pre-program) tasks unless I really have to (appointments being one such case). This means I am probably as close to a "true GTDer" as you you can possibly get - or even more so, it would seem at times :-)

But I agree that everything across the spectrum definitely is possible, and indeed appropriate at times. For example, if you have a day packed with external appointments in different locations I find it smart to create a 'schedule' (or sequence order) for that day which includes errands near those places, even if there are no time factors involved for those errands. Or to 'soft schedule' certain tasks to within a given time window, such as a holiday period.

For a true GTDer I think none of this needs to be a problem. It usually can be seen as a GTD project (more than one related task) which involves creating a particular context for a limited period of time. Let's say you have plenty of excursions you would like to make by car, but you do not own a car. Then you need to create that context (rent or borrow a car for a few days) and consequently also plan your excursions to take place during those particular days.

Like Salgud, I think the differences between an "open" (opportunistic, review-based) time management style (like GTD) and the more traditional scheduling style (rigid time allocation) would be possible to bridge in a smart enough app. And for example, a project meeting (an appointment) may well belong both in the project (todo app) and in the calendar, which means there is a case for careful integration.

But just like cabbage, I really hate to have my todos showing up in my calendar just because they have a deadline or a tickler date (start date). Unfortunately, it is this, the most useless, form of calendar integration that is usually offered in current apps.

This message was edited Apr 05, 2012.
Folke X

Posted: Apr 03, 2012

I have the impression that most GTDers do not take all the contexts from the book all that literally. It is a lot of work to tag everything with all possibilities. What people do, I think, is define those tags that they actually need in order to be able to filter the list for the more typical real situations in their life.

Errands (or Out or Away or Town or whatever you might call it), is one of those things that the majority seem to have a tag for. It is generally very useful.

Phone, these days, is something you have on every desk around you, plus in your pocket. Usually no need to filter for this, hence no need to have a tag. The same goes for email, computer and many of the other example tags in the book. It depends on your own situation what you need to filter for.

This message was edited Apr 03, 2012.
Folke X

Posted: Apr 02, 2012

Create and save custom searches for your lists.

(Oh, and you have to enable the Due Time field, of course, which is done under Settings.)
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