ForumsQuestionshandling long-term projects and short-term tasks

handling long-term projects and short-term tasks
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Posted: Aug 11, 2011
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Hi all,

I am a professor, and my work tasks include a variety of long-term projects with no mandatory due date (or at best, fuzzy ones -- e.g., I want to submit this paper by 10/1) and short-term tasks with hard due dates (e.g., prep tomorrow's class).

I want to have a setup where my long-term projects display by their rough due dates in addition to my immediate tasks that are sorted by priority. Right now, I display my tasks by context ("Work" includes the research, teaching, and service folders), due date, and priority. I handle the long term projects with a task that repeats daily called Projects -- all of the long-term projects are subtasks. This is a pretty unsatisfactory way of handling them -- especially since I have to manually sort the subtasks rather than have Toodledo do it for me automatically.

Anyone have any suggestions for how to better handle this? Thanks in advance for your help!
Folke X

Posted: Aug 11, 2011
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What I do is this:

I have two special Contexts for two different kinds of project. One of these is "single-task" project, which I treat them as a single long-term task even if implicitly there are many steps along the way. They can have a due date or not.

If these projects are such that I want to work on them now, I set their Status to Next Action, which is the highest. In your case you would probably use Priority, and set that to 3 (apparently you are using priority instead of status for choosing in what order to do dateless tasks and long-term tasks).

My hotlist (i.e. my favorite saved search) would list your kind of tasks like this:

- Short-term tasks, such as those due today, are chosen by due date only, regardless of priority (Status in my case)

- Long-term tasks, such as your projects, by Priority alone (Status in my case), regrdless of due date.

In other words, the saved search includes both a "due before tomorrow" and a "status equals next action", (and in my case I have some checks for finding tasks with insufficent data also in my hotlist).

The reason I use Status instead of Priority is:

- it has more different values, including Waiting etc, which I find handy.
- the field (the names of the values) seems to have been put there precisely for the purpose of sequencing, i.e. determining the relative timing etc of dateless and long-term tasks.
- it allows me to use priority in the classical sense of "importance" (as opposed to "urgency"), which then becomes a "clean" and stable attribute of the task. If I want to move the task backward or forward I change the Status setting, but i never lose sight of the importance=priority.

Posted: Aug 12, 2011
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This is very helpful -- I'll check it out. Thanks, Folke!

Posted: Aug 12, 2011
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Thanks -- very useful for me too -- a helpful way to think about those long term ideas as well as the next week. I use two different apps on my iphone, one for short-term dates (todo) and one for longer term projects/ideas (toodledo) and toodledo for web interface for everything
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