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How Far Ahead Do You Look
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Posted: Sep 22, 2016
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I'm curious how far out in the future you look when determining what tasks to do? In other words...well read below it will hopefully make sense...

[NOTE: For those with a 3-4 line attention span, go to the very bottom to read my question. ;-) Details below if needed]
Keeping with the spirit of GTD, for the past few years I was able to create views showing ONLY the tasks I can possibly be doing. Forever, my daily work flow started as follows:

1. Run a view showing ALL tasks I want to complete that DAY. I would then group them by:
-Day parts (four hour sprints)

2. Then during the day I would a view showing ONLY the tasks I can be doing at that moment in time. Among the things I had to consider:
a. Location
b. Available time
c. Whom I am with
d. How much energy I have
e. The time of day

I could then build different cubes with this data, and again it was limited to only what I could be doing.

I will give the gory details to anyone that wants them, but the net-net is that it worked, and worked well. Unfortunately, other aspects of the system did not, and I'm back with Toodledo as it seems the best all around for my current needs.

Now I AM able to recreate this in Toodledo, but it's a cluster... I would have to create a slew of different views, and it's really not a viable way to go. The sticking point is "e." above (time of day).

Here is an example: as I write this, it's 4:55am. I have four tasks today
1. Take out the garbage
2. Grocery shop
3. Call my sainted mother
4. Post this question to the forum.

When I run my "what can I be doing now" view, I would expect ONLY the following;
1. Take out the garbage
2. Post this question to the forum

This is because the grocers does not open until 8am, and I don't want to call my mom until after 9:00am. So I don't want to see those tasks in my view.

**But Wait, I CAN Create that View**
Yes, I am able to filter those out by instructing the view to exclude any tasks that aren't due YET, per the due date/due time. Those are "due on" or "due after" type tasks. Works great!

Here is the problem: "due by"
When adding that argument to the query (exlude any tasks that aren't due YET) the system cannot deduce "yet".

So let's go back to my example and look at some due dates/times:

1. Take out the garbage: Due By 8:00am
2. Grocery shop (Due After 8:00am)
3. Call my sainted mother (Due After 9:00am)
4. Post this question to the forum. (No Due Date)

Using my query, I only get the following:
4. Post this question to the forum

In other words, it also excludes anything due "BY" which of course, is a bad thing. I validated with Jake these modifiers are not considered in the custom searches (and hopefully they will soon as it strengthens that module something fierce, IMO).

***My question***
So do you filter out tasks that are due "on" or "after" a time within that day, and if so, how? Simple example, "Go shopping" (you would ONLY want that to show at times you can actually go shopping). As noted, yet I realize there are ways around it i.e. bucket it as an 'errand' and run an 'Errands' view, but again...I'm talking time-based right now as this will reduce my views 10-fold. Thanks!

Posted: Sep 23, 2016
Score: 0 Reference
To really be useful to me TD should allow me to SCHEDULE my day i.e. allow me to arrange my Custom Search Hotlist by Time of day or Intended Sequence of doing.

My Hotlist is currently sorted by Location, Star, Importance.

Star is important to me cos it allows me to decide which task I want to do today even if the other setting suggest it is less important. It also allows me to quickly bump up a task without wasting time fiddling with other variables.

The last sorting variable "Importance" however does not take into consideration that a task with an earlier TIMING is more important that a task with a later timing (even if all other variables are the same). This is a logic which needs to be corrected quickly to make TD more useful in scheduling.
Note: The "Start Date" and "Due Date" variables have this logic, but I would rather sort by the all encompassing "Importance".

Also, I would like the Priority numbering system to allow label changes at the user end so that I can use the Eisenhower system of "U&I, INU, UNI, NUNI".

Posted: Sep 23, 2016
Score: 0 Reference
Posted by coolexplorer:

Also, I would like the Priority numbering system to allow label changes at the user end so that I can use the Eisenhower system of "U&I, INU, UNI, NUNI".

This request has been made many times and has been on "the list" for years. Obviously not a priority.

Actually, you can do this now with a bit of imagination. Just consider "Top" priority Q1, "High" prioriy Q2, etc. I've done it and it works just fine. Within a week you'll be translating the existing priorities in your head without thinking about it any more. And TD will still have a near universal priority system that can be adapted to this, and many other, priority systems. But it does take a bit of imagination.

Posted: Sep 29, 2016
Score: 0 Reference
I love TD's feature set, but I am switching out. Since TD doesn't sync to Outlook without expensive and iffy 3rd party conduits, I am switching to a different solution. In the process, I think I've developed a method that is very service-portable.

I have two task accounts. One is my work Exchange account that I sync to my phone and iPad. The other is my home account that I also sync to my phone, iPad and Outlook on work computers. The main reason I selected is that it doesn't need any special tools to sync with Outlook program.

I use Onenote to plan all of my work and home projects, and generate tasks as I brainstorm them. I also create tasks from emails within Outlook. These tasks are automatically synced to all of my devices and computers.

I use three priorities to break tasks into three categories.

1) High priority is "Today" and basically works like a star in TD . I am trying hard to never have more than 3-4 tasks in this category.

2) "Normal" priority is "Next action". Again, it only contains 5-6 tasks.

3) All other tasks are automatically assigned low priority.

The other important thing is due dates and alarms. Due dates are self explanatory. I don't use the "four quadrant" method because to me, there's no such thing as "Urgent but not important". If a task has a hard deadline, i.e. it absolutely must be done by a particular date, then it must be done and it doesn't matter if it's important or not. If the date can be skipped, it doesn't matter how urgent or important that task is, either. The due date, and starting on time to meet it, is the king.

The final important feature is the start date. It has two functions. One is to remind you to start working on your task on a given date. Another is to filter out the tasks from your calendar or task list.

Since Reminders and Google Tasks and most other online services don't support Start date, and I wanted to have a method that would work with most services, I am using the combination of priority filters and alarms instead. The alarms remind me to look at the task, and priority filters keep it off my mobile calendar and task list.

I use Outlook on the desktop and Pocket Informant on mobile. Both of these programs allow great flexibility in creating custom filters and views. My "Today" filter in PI shows high priority tasks (regardless of due date) on current day, followed by due tasks, then overdue. Outlook on the desktop is equally flexible.

With this setup I could switch to Google Task or Todoist or Wunderlist without having to change a thing - except none of them at this point sync with Outlook as easily and seamlessly.

This could be also accomplished using Categories / Labels, but they take longer to assign, and are not supported by all services. Due date, priority, and alarm are guaranteed to work almost everywhere.

I'd love to come back to Toodledo but I am tired of constantly copying and emailing stuff.

This message was edited Sep 29, 2016.
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