ForumsQuestionsFeature request: scheduling tasks at precise times in the calend

Feature request: scheduling tasks at precise times in the calend
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Posted: Apr 07, 2008
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I've subscribed to my Toodledo calendar in iCal and it works great.
But some improvements could allow me to use Toodledo to schedule my workday hour by hour, in an awesome way that's not possible right now.

Here's my understanding of how calendar sharing works now:

1) It seems tasks only show up as events when they have a due date (Would it be possible to have them show up as iCal tasks too ? Those don't require a due date.)

2) Even when they do have a due date, tasks show up as whole day events unless you also set a due time. Ok, this one is unavoidable I guess

3) A task's "due time" translates in iCal to the START time for the event, and its length is used as the event duration.
That's a little odd : how about calculating the actual needed start time, given the task length and due time, and use that as the event's start time instead ? Or maybe just add a "scheduled start time" field as well, when you get around to implementing start dates :)

So, here's how I HOPED it would work, when I first read about the Scheduler functionality :

Scheduler asks you for your "context times" (i.e. "work" from 9am to 5pm on weekdays, "home" the rest of the time, oh and I have time for "shopping" maybe from 6 to 7 every day, and the whole day on saturday, etc, etc).
And maybe it also allows you to set some limits (I don't want to spend more than 3 hours at once on any given task)

It then uses this information to automatically build a daily/weekly task plan by assigning appropriate start date/times for tasks given their context. When it's done, it allows me to manually adjust them if needed, and all I have left to do then is to print out my weekly plan in iCal and start getting stuff done :)

I think this is how it works on (but they don't have the awesome iCal/Google Calendar integration you guys have).
That would be totally, totally awesome, and turn Toodledo into my one-stop time management system.

Toodledo Founder
Posted: Apr 07, 2008
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Interesting ideas. Thanks for the input.

In response to #3 from your post, the "due-time" is used as the start time on the calendar. This is because (we have found) that most people that use the due-time field are doing so to mark the start of a meeting and the length to signal the length of the meeting. So "Planning meeting, 2:00pm, 60mins" means that an hour long meeting starts at 2. Not that an hour long meeting ends at 2.

We understand that you are using this in a different way, "Project due by 5:00pm, length: 6hours" In this case, the time is the end time. I acknowledge that for this scenario, the task is incorrectly represented on the calender.

Many people have suggested having a separate start date/time in addition to the due date/time and this would solve your problem and is something that we will probably add in the future.

Posted: Apr 08, 2008
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Thanks for your answer.

I'm a little confused with the idea that people are using a task to represent a meeting, though : I agree a separate start date/time is the right solution, but I think it works differently for a task, and an event/meeting :

Meetings/events: you usually know the start time and have a planned length ("due" really only makes sense for a task, doesn't it?). They should be represented at that time on the calendar, obviously.
However, I'm not sure if they really belong inside a todo list manager like Toodledo.

Tasks :
The way it works in most GTD software I've seen is that, when I choose to give them a start date, I absolutely, absolutely need them to be out of sight until that date arrives (automatic negative priority, or better: a filter that hides future tasks).

For one thing, this can be a workaround to the current absence of a task dependency/next action concept : if I can't do a task because I expect a response from Bob next week, I can manually set the task's start time to next week and free my mind from it until then.

This is especially crucial for repetitive tasks, such as paying the rent monthly, doing repetitive chores, etc.
I have set-up 4-5 of them and right now, as soon as I'm done paying this month's rent (marked high priority) or cleaning the kitchen, the current occurrence of the task is replaced immediately by the next, still as prominent, green and bold on the list as ever.

This is extremely annoying, and it's the #1 handicap right now for me to completely switch over to Toodledo.

What I used to do with iGTD was to manually set a start date that was 4 days before due date and ask it to only show "current" tasks.
With Things, that was even better because it has a concept of "scheduled/repeated tasks" where you ask it to create a new copy of the task every xx-th day of the month/week/whatever, with a due date yy days after.

So, I'm eager to see Toodledo add start dates for tasks, and after that a "next action"/dependency concept for subtasks that keeps non-actionable tasks out of sight and out of mind (which is the point of GTD)

This message was edited Apr 08, 2008.

Posted: Apr 08, 2008
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sorry for sounding a bit too gtd-ish, but is toodledo really the right place for meeting appointments? i think this belongs into a calendar. i prefer having "real" tasks in toodledo, and i guess in most of the times it´s enough to define the day when the task has to be accomplished.
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