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Re-ordering tasks



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lisaqbowden

Posted: Aug 29, 2013
Score: 0



I'm sure you've dealt with this question before but I can't seem to find the answer. Whenever I try to move a task up or down to prioritize, it insists on becoming a subtask. Is there a way to re-order tasks without this happening? Thank you!
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Aug 29, 2013
Score: 0



This will explain: http://www.toodledo.com/info/help.php?sel=103
lisaqbowden

Posted: Sep 09, 2013
Score: 0



May I ask what the reasoning is behind not being able to quickly reorder tasks? It is usually a main feature of task management programs, is it not? I'd like to rearrange my tasks so I can have an order to follow for my day. As it is, I have to transfer the tasks to a different app to do this.
ukz_

Posted: Sep 09, 2013
Score: 0



I have the same problem and am dealing with it by starring the tasks I want to work on today and then assigning a priority only to those items.

Therefore once I sort my Starred list by priority I have my plan of attack for the day.
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Sep 09, 2013
Score: 0



Toodledo works differently that other task managers. Instead of manually reordering the list, we allow you to sort your list by any of the columns. This approach is fundamentally at odds with manual ordering. For example, if you set your list to be sorted by due-date, but you then drag and drop a task to a different position, what does that mean for the date of that task? Should the date be changed, or should the list no longer be sorted? Its just a different way of handling tasks. We fell like our approach is more powerful and flexible than having to constantly drag your tasks around as priorities shift.

My suggestion is to use dates, priority and star to set the importance of a task and then sort your list by importance so that the important ones are near the top.
dhbryant13

Posted: Oct 02, 2013
Score: 1



Developers: here's why long-time users of Toodledo still yearn for - and consider leaving Toodledo for -- a list that can be sorted manually. While Toodledo provides marvelous functionality to assign importance, urgency and due dates to tasks, it does not give users any way to order their "today" list the way real humans often do. Not everyone can tackle particularly difficult tasks first thing; or several "big" things right after each other. We need breaks, variety, and down time...decisions made by even more complicated criteria than Toodledo can capture given how fickle human mental and emotional states are. An ordered list helps us move through the day, change our mind for irrational reasons, and ultimately accomodate the way we best work...whether that's rational or not.
Scott

Posted: Oct 02, 2013
Score: 0



Posted by dhbryant13:
Developers: here's why long-time users of Toodledo still yearn for - and consider leaving Toodledo for -- a list that can be sorted manually.


Wait - did we have a vote to have you speak for all of us? I must have missed that. Maybe change the we to I and the us to me and don't assume that everyone's needs are the same as yours.
Salgud

Posted: Oct 02, 2013
Score: 0



I agree, Scott. While a number of users have been clamoring for manual ordering for a while, to others, it's not a particularly desirable feature. It would be a waste of my time to order my tasks each day since I am at the beck and call of so many, that my day virtually never goes the way I would have thought when I sat down at my desk. I look at the tasks currently due, pick the one I feel is most urgent, using criteria that are too complex for software to know, and get to work on that one. And then another. But one phone call or visit from someone can turn everything inside out in an instant. So taking the time and trouble to manually order my list would just be a waste.

I don't believe that everyone else works in the same world as mine, and don't oppose manual ordering as a reasonable enhancement, but then, I don't consider myself the Most Important User either.
Scott

Posted: Oct 02, 2013
Score: 0



Absolutely Salgud, with the filtering capabilities available I can easily get a reasonably manageable list of tasks that are appropriate for me to choose from, and then based upon my current situation I can choose the one among them that I will work on. Putting them in some sort of anticipatory order is completely counterproductive to me. In the time it would take me to manually order things I can just pick the next one and start working on something.

And absolutely, the beauty of this is that everyone does work differently and some people's needs differ. Everyone should feel free to use this forum to ask for what you want, just don't assume it's what I want as well.
Purveyor

Posted: Oct 03, 2013
Score: 0



I think that there are two ways of looking at "re-ordering tasks".

One way is to re-arrange all of your tasks in the order that you expect to do them during the day. I think that this approach is time-consuming and counterproductive.

The other way, though, is to look at your tasks and identify a few tasks that you want to put "at the top of the list" and just drag them to the top.

Yes, in Toodledo you can filter by using Priority and Star, and perhaps Status, along with Start Dates and Due Dates, and Folders, Contexts, Tags and Goals, and you can sort your list by up to three fields, in ascending or descending order. Far from simple, and it seems to me that all that complexity is needed to offset the lack of a simple way of re-arranging tasks.

Recently, I've started using Todo 7 by Appigo on my iPhone and iPad. The app has only three ways to sort: "Due Date, Priority", "Priority, Due Date" and Alphabetical. At first I thought that this would limit my ability to work my task list but the app offers a nice Focus List, along with an easy way of changing the order of tasks within a list. The order is automatically updated on all devices. Just create a Focus List and start working. No need for complex Filters, Sort Orders, or Saved Searches.

Simple, quick, intuitive.


This message was edited Oct 03, 2013.
Robertbergeron

Posted: Oct 04, 2013
Score: 0



I also want to be able to reorder main task the same way I can manually reorder sub-tasks. If it is available there, why not "promote" the function to the main tasks panel.

This way, I will be able to not only see the tasks I have to complete for the day but will be able to manually order them instead of tweaking with priority, locations, and what not.

Intuitive and simple. That's what I need.
lisaqbowden

Posted: Oct 10, 2013
Score: 0



I totally agree with you, Purveyor. Why do I have to categorize the heck out of a task to get it where I want it? I should just be able to reorder it. I understand not everyone wants to do it this way, but I certainly do!
Scott

Posted: Oct 10, 2013
Score: 0



I just don't know what happens to the manual ordering if you change the view? Subtasks are easy because the just fall under the parent task so they can stay in order, but if you manually adjust tasks and then view by folder what should happen to your ordering? Say then you view by due date, how do you get the manual ordering back? It sounds good in theory to manually view but I have no idea how they could make it work in conjunction with the other options.

If you don't do any of those other filters or views and really just want a manually ordered list - make one master task and make everything else a subtask. Then you can drag and drop them in any order you want.
earthabbey

Posted: Oct 24, 2013
Score: -1



Jake, many many other task management apps have found a way around this, I'm sure Toodledo engineers are smart enough to figure it out too. For instance, you let us change the sorting for every type of list we are looking at, why can't "manual" be an option for at least one of those lists? Let's say starred items, when we look at the starred item list, it would be pretty fab if we could turn on manual sort. Then all of your USERS would have a feature they could greatly use and YOU wouldn't have to compromise the functionality of your product.

The problem with your approach is maybe I have like 30 tasks and they all need to be done this week. I want to do 12 of them today, how do I make that list? I can't use the scheduler because it chooses for me (that's the point of it, and I love it, it's great) but I can't use due date either without going through and changing the date and time to today, plus estimated times for when they will get done. This is a HUGE amount of additional time. Then what if I only get 9 of them done? Now I have to go back and change the due dates on 4 of the items. So that's option 1. Option 2 would be to use a subtask list but what if those tasks are already subtasks for several projects? You want me to break it all up and move them all around and possibly really confuse myself as I mess up my very organized lists. Option 3 would be to star items and then have a starred list which is what I'm doing now to isolate the tasks so it's not so confusing looking at my huge lists but there is no order unless I go in and enter times but then we're back at the problem of Option 1.

I mean, it's just really confusing to me why you would think that this is a feature that is better not to at least OFFER your PAID subscribers who are used to getting this service for free from other companies.


Posted by Jake:
Toodledo works differently that other task managers. Instead of manually reordering the list, we allow you to sort your list by any of the columns. This approach is fundamentally at odds with manual ordering. For example, if you set your list to be sorted by due-date, but you then drag and drop a task to a different position, what does that mean for the date of that task? Should the date be changed, or should the list no longer be sorted? Its just a different way of handling tasks. We fell like our approach is more powerful and flexible than having to constantly drag your tasks around as priorities shift.

My suggestion is to use dates, priority and star to set the importance of a task and then sort your list by importance so that the important ones are near the top.


This message was edited Oct 24, 2013.
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Oct 24, 2013
Score: 0



If you want to take your list of 30 tasks for the week and make a "today" list of the 12 you want to do, I would use the star, or if you are using that for something else, make a tag or goal called "today" and give it to all of those tasks. Now you'll have a list of the 12 tasks for today.

I understand that you then want to drag and drop those 12 tasks into an order that you want to do them. My argument is that it is a better use of your time to just scan the short list, pick the next one and start working on it. Spending time manually ordering 12 tasks isn't really going to gain you much in the end.

To answer your suggestion about making a sort option called "manual". Essentially a special mode that you would switch into. This is the best solution that we have come up with also, however it has a few issues that we have not resolved yet. Here is the main one: Suppose you are viewing your "Folder X" list and you have manually sorted the tasks just the way you want. Now you switch to "Folder Y" and manually sort those too. Super. Now you switch to the "All Tasks" list which contains a mixture of Folder X and Folder Y tasks. How is that list supposed to be sorted? Should all Folder X tasks be on top of Folder Y? Should Folder X and Folder Y tasks be interleaved? Should that list have its own unique manual sorting? If you can think of an elegant solution to this problem we'll have made a big step.
earthabbey

Posted: Oct 24, 2013
Score: 0



See I think the disconnect here is that because it seems like a waste of time for YOU, you are finding it difficult to understand why others wouldn't want to just look at a list and pick too. I will give you a specific example.

I have ADD, and a lot of creatives do too...that or OCD. For someone like me seeing that 12 items for example is really overwhelming if I am not TOLD what to do next. I become completely and utterly overwhelmed and paralyzed and won't do anything at all. My anxiety overtakes my desire to be productive. There is no way I can explain to you why, nor "just pick one". If I don't write down, in order, what I am doing that day, it could mean not doing any of the things at all(since switching to Toodledo a few days ago I am just making a paper list).

I'm sure every person who is posting this suggesting, and being so adamant about it being a necessary feature, has an equally good reason as the example I just gave. Another example: I am really excited about your collaboration and public sharing options. I can use this to provide lists of tasks for volunteers to do and update it myself on the fly. Volunteers are notoriously difficult to stay on task however, especially artists. If I don't tell them step by step what to do and in what order it's doubtful much will get done.

As for your programming problem, which I understand and I don't think it's the right option to allow manual sort across all lists either (unless you come up with some way of saving the sort order for every list, which could become really complicated for the end user when they forget that they sorted one list one way and another that way and then complain to you that it's not working properly, etc). What about if manual sort was ONLY available on one list. Starred for instance? Starred makes the most sense to me.

If this wouldn't work can you explain why? Maybe I can think of another suggestion if I know the limits of your system that are stopping something like this from happening (I used to program websites and databases a couple years ago so I do understand there are limits.) My understanding is you could create a new row in your table to assign a manual sort position number and then have the option to use that sort method only in the Starred list view and have the actual field hidden from view of the user even when "all details" are enabled in any list. That way it would be impossible for anyone to sort it into a different sort order on another page and it would appear to the user as though "only the starred list can be manually sorted", they wouldn't even see the value assigned for the manual sort and it would just be "magic" instead :)



Posted by Jake:
If you want to take your list of 30 tasks for the week and make a "today" list of the 12 you want to do, I would use the star, or if you are using that for something else, make a tag or goal called "today" and give it to all of those tasks. Now you'll have a list of the 12 tasks for today.

I understand that you then want to drag and drop those 12 tasks into an order that you want to do them. My argument is that it is a better use of your time to just scan the short list, pick the next one and start working on it. Spending time manually ordering 12 tasks isn't really going to gain you much in the end.

To answer your suggestion about making a sort option called "manual". Essentially a special mode that you would switch into. This is the best solution that we have come up with also, however it has a few issues that we have not resolved yet. Here is the main one: Suppose you are viewing your "Folder X" list and you have manually sorted the tasks just the way you want. Now you switch to "Folder Y" and manually sort those too. Super. Now you switch to the "All Tasks" list which contains a mixture of Folder X and Folder Y tasks. How is that list supposed to be sorted? Should all Folder X tasks be on top of Folder Y? Should Folder X and Folder Y tasks be interleaved? Should that list have its own unique manual sorting? If you can think of an elegant solution to this problem we'll have made a big step.


This message was edited Oct 24, 2013.
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Oct 25, 2013
Score: 0



I understand your need for manual sorting and I know that this is a popular request. If it made sense for Toodledo, I would add it.

If manually sorting only existed as an option for the starred list, I think this would be inconsistent and confusing to users. Someone is bound to want it on the hotlist, or the top priority list, or the next action list and once you've picked one list for it to work on, you can't ever change it or add more because of the reasons I mentioned before.

If you need to be told what to do, please consider using our scheduler, in the Tools section. It does a good job of telling you what to do based on the task's priority, due-date and other factors.

If you really want to manually order those 12 tasks and you are ok spending the time arranging them, my suggestion is to prepend a number to the front of the task and sort alphabetically. This would probably take as much time as manually dragging and dropping the tasks and would accomplish pretty much the same thing.
earthabbey

Posted: Oct 25, 2013
Score: -1



Jake, you asked me to come up with a solution and then you just said "no" and simply repeated your reasons for before. Just as easily as you reply to all these requests asking for manual sort you could reply to requests asking for it in other lists by explaining the limits of the system. The only difference is then at least there would be an option for your users.

The problem with adding numbers to task items is, simply, I shouldn't have to. That is a work around, and a paid product shouldn't require work arounds, especially ones that take away other features (for example, being able to sort alphabetically unless a person were to go in and delete all the numbers now).


The problem with the scheduler is that it doesn't let you choose what goes on it. I love the scheduler and I think it is a really great feature but it is not at all a solution for when you have SPECIFIC things that need to be done because it chooses the items for you -- that's it's purpose. Also it doesn't let you specify the order.

You said yourself it is a popular request so I'm not sure why you are so unwilling to brainstorm ideas. I'm not trying to be critical, I'm trying to brainstorm with you. After all you did say that if there is a solution that works, you're interested in that.

Okay, here is another solution: You could have a whole new list that showed up in the main listing tab where the link to the starred list is, called the MANUAL list. Then no one will ask "why can I sort starred and not ___." Instead it would just be "oh, I better use the manual list for this."

Or a MANUAL tab if you want to remove the mental association people have with the lists.

Or a fourth solution: you could allow tasks to populate a list on the Outline tab. It doesn't even need to be linked / 2-way, it could just be an action that takes the task and puts it on an outline and then add a sort option to your outlines (which actually would be handy anyway for when a person wants to move a line up several lines, faster than copy & paste). Instead of providing a checkmark/sync between the outline and the task list (to me this sounds like a lot of programming work) you could just do that one way import and append the end of the line with the permanent link to the task so someone can check it off very fast.

Fifth solution: have a manual sort field that needs to be selected (much like how you must click if you want something starred). Then within that we can use your numbers idea instead of adding numbers to the title and only items with that field filled in would sort. This doesn't even need to be elegant or syncable with 3rd party apps because you can explain it was only added to try to find a solution for this. You could have this sort number field only visible when manual sort is turned on as a sort option and if people duplicate sort numbers you'd just pop to the next sort option to decide which is displayed first. That way when people change lists the sort order would remain and users would be able to see the sort number so they'd understand how the manual sort number is global and not list-specific. If you're worried about people getting confused you can also limit the number of items possible for sort, let's say 10, then provide a drop down list for the sort number so that they could not possibly duplicate numbers. Like I said, it wouldn't need to be elegant, just functional. Though my previous ideas sound like a lot less work for your developers, this one sounds pretty complicated, but it IS a solution.

I honestly can go on and on. I have not been dealing with this problem for years (?) as you and your team have so I'm not as frustrated with and tired of it as you guys probably are. I've got fresh eyes here! :) I'm sure my messages are a bit of a thorn in your side lol but I love your product, have already gotten 2 colleagues to switch over in the week I've been a user, and am not trying to imply otherwise. The thing is I just don't think there is no solution and I feel like not including this basic and common task management feature makes your product look incomplete.


Posted by Jake:
I understand your need for manual sorting and I know that this is a popular request. If it made sense for Toodledo, I would add it.

If manually sorting only existed as an option for the starred list, I think this would be inconsistent and confusing to users. Someone is bound to want it on the hotlist, or the top priority list, or the next action list and once you've picked one list for it to work on, you can't ever change it or add more because of the reasons I mentioned before.

If you need to be told what to do, please consider using our scheduler, in the Tools section. It does a good job of telling you what to do based on the task's priority, due-date and other factors.

If you really want to manually order those 12 tasks and you are ok spending the time arranging them, my suggestion is to prepend a number to the front of the task and sort alphabetically. This would probably take as much time as manually dragging and dropping the tasks and would accomplish pretty much the same thing.
Purveyor

Posted: Oct 25, 2013
Score: 1



Posted by earthabbey:
Jake, many many other task management apps have found a way around this, I'm sure Toodledo engineers are smart enough to figure it out too.
Just wondering: What are, say, three online task managers that "have found a way around this"?
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Oct 26, 2013
Score: 0



Thanks for the additional brainstorming ideas. We will keep thinking about it and try find a way to work this elegantly into Toodledo.

In the meantime, your fifth solution is possible now. You can use the tag field to store numbers (assuming you don't use tags for something else). You could also use folders, contexts or goals to make the fixed number of sort numbers like you suggested. For example, make contexts for (1,2,3,4,5,....) and assign them to tasks to manually order them.

We'll keep thinking of other solutions.
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