Comments on New Builds

Cool! It would be really nice to have the version number on the main interface link to the release notes :slight_smile:

Good idea rotuami - We implemented that in today’s build Thanks for the idea!

Two questions:

“Meta” question: I unpinned the thread, because I do not want it at the top after I have read about the latest release, but why does it then appear so very low on my list? Number 13 only. This is one of the threads most recently updated, so it should be maybe number three from the top. (I’ll see how high it comes after this comment)

“Bug”/comment: I noticed you introduced green switches at all levels - great; that’s exactly how it needs to be! :slight_smile:
But they appear to have no effect yet. Do you want details here in this thread, or have you noticed yourselves? For example, all “subprojects”, even the first one, are now shown as “off” (gray), but they all still get their first child on the next list. And flicking the switch off and on makes no difference. You still cannot switch them off. And the first regular task in the projects that comes after the subprojects is green automatically.

And it appears that Waiting for actions do not block next actions as they should (or vice versa).

Action/Info: Great!
But noticed a strange irregularity/glitch - but have not detected a pattern for why - that sometimes the option is not available (the mode is frozen without a dropdown) for items in some subprojects. It seems to affect entire subtrees and seems to have nothing to do with the other settings (Next, Waiting etc, or green/gray, or position in the project if I drag them around).

We fixed some problems with this today in 1.3.8 - can you check again?

I still have the issue, but it seems to affect only one project in particular, one of the first ones I defined in the app. The same kind of glitch also affects the new Force Next feature for this particular project. Maybe it it is not worth digging into - maybe some “old invisible data” in this project.

Okay thanks for checking. If you see it happen in any new projects please let me know. If you want to fix it in the existing project, you could try logging out, deleting all cookies from and and log back in. thx!


The way I see it Focus is a general-purpose attention mechanism, uninhibited by anything, overriding everything. Some things you focus because you aim to do them today or right now, some you focus because you want to double-check something about them today, or consider modifying something about them later today. For example, if you had written “Buy theater tickets”, starting July 1, and you suddenly doubt the accuracy of this date and feel you may need to check again when the tickets will actually start selling.

If the intention was to offer users the choice whether on the start date the task should appear focused or quietly “sneak” quietly into its destination list (e.g. Next; see other threads); I would recommend a special checkbox in the task edit pane for this purpose (possibly along with other choices, e.g. inbox, next, waiting).

The way I see most users use it is as a place narrow down my list of next actions to something I can work on now. For example let’s say you have 1 hour of time to do work. Many people will review their next action list and pick 3 or 4 items they can focus on right now. They click the focus icon to allow them to see it. One example of this is @proximo setup here. Having 20 or 30 scheduled items on their list would detract from this experience immensely

Working it this way also allows users to set an scheduled item as a focus item if they wish, so when the start date occurs the item will automatically appear on the focus list. Instead of just the next action list.

I prefer to regularly review the schedule list to make sure I don’t want to buy theater tickets any sooner than July 1st. This seems more natural a way to handle that situation to me than to have to deal with potentially dozens of scheduled items on my focus list.

As always - thanks for the feedback!

Absolutely. And that’s what I said, too (“Some things you focus because you aim to do them today or right now”)

But it is also common to use Focus as a short-hand for certain obvious implicit next actions. For example, if you focus a Waiting For task, you do not mean literally that you will focus on the waiting process as such; what you meant was “keep an eye open” or “consider calling them and ask what the heck is taking them so long”, i.e. an implicit unwritten next action. And if you focus a Someday or Scheduled task you probably mean “do a micro-review and amend as necessary” etc.

I appreciate you giving us the option to get them “announced” in some way. Personally I do not think I would even need the option to let them “sneak” in unnoticed, because I like to see the new arrivals clearly and it is so easy to just un-Focus them.

If you want to offer this kind if “delivery choices” I still think the appropriate place to define these would be in the bottom “schedule” section of the task edit pane, along with any other delivery options you may plan to offer, e.g destination list - for example, I have quite a few recurring Waiting for actions, such as expect this and that report or statement etc at the beginning of every new month, every new year etc. It would be neat to get these delivered as Waiting+Focus. And if it were possible to set a personal default, I would set mine to Next+Focus.

And to have the option left open to Focus the scheduled task as usual for “micro-reviews” etc. (e.g. see if anything can be done to split this into several actions and get some of it done faster, or just double-check the date, whatever).

But at least now I know how you are thinking. Thanks for explaining.

Some nice touches there with the indicators. Good thinking.

As far as the background “type” colors go, the ones I no have no problem with on my screen, regardless of viewing angle etc, are green, yellow, and blue. The ones that tend to sometimes look the same depending on how I hold my head and screen are gray (Someday) in relation to blue (Scheduled) and now also purple in relation to blue and gray.

Other comments:

I noticed that scheduled actions stay as scheduled (blue, but without a date) even on/after their start date. Actually I think it would be great if they stayed blue like this (Calendar actions) so that I can see these appointments etc clearly even afterwards (e.g. if I missed them or forgot to check them off), but in that case I would need to be able to set a future start date also for Next, Waiting and Inbox items, and see these on the Scheduled list. (Discussed extensively in other threads, though.)

I noticed that the start date is now visible on the Scheduled list, and that even those tasks that do not have a start date are still neatly aligned under Scheduled (despite the empty date field). Good. I like alignment and fixed positions, as this makes lists easier to read. However, the start date is not visible under P&A, which makes it harder to plan projects. This is more of a challenge, I guess, since the inclusion of a date field in this indented view could confuse the indentation. Maybe having two fixed columns on the right for start date and due date would be the easiest to read? The start date column could then also (optionally) be used for since date (in a very discreet color, e.g. light gray) for tasks that are not scheduled.

I noticed that scheduled actions do not sequentially block subsequent next actions as they should, and vice versa. Neither do Waiting for actions block subsequent actions as they should. (Maybe I have reported this before.)

thank you, we noticed this as well

For now, rather than add more UI elements to the projects list we would suggest opening up the edit pane to see start date (and other details) while doing planning. TAB+P opens and closes the pane very quickly

1.3.16 cont’d

I also noticed that repeating actions show up as projects, with the folder icon, the bold typeface and even visible in the left menu. I assume all this is unintentional.

About the due and new markers, maybe a good idea would be to show these for the parent nodes only if they are collapsed, in other words only show the marker in one place (the lowest level currently shown) for each new/due action.

The “new” marker could be just a little dot etc, similar to the due icon, instead of text - would be neater.

Yeah, it is probably good enough for now. It is very good that the edit pane can be left open. All you need to do is single-click the task you want to look at. In the future, if even this limited clicking turns out to be too much, I guess it will be a safe bet to have a toggle between a “brief” and a “detailed” display mode.

In the “brief” mode (what we have now) you could (or should) actually drop the due date, too, and just leave the little icon to show that a hard deadline exists and refer the user to the edit pane for the details. It gets a bit cluttered with the irregular length etc in all the colors. Just the existing dot in three colors would be enough - “has due date”, “due today” and “due date has passed”. Objectively fixed due dates are quite rare. In GTD you use neither due dates nor start dates for “planning”, but only to describe the “hard landscape” (as DA calls it), i.e. externally objective facts, not your own decisions. It would be neat and consistent to leave them all out in the “brief” mode.

For the “new” marker you could have similar color coding, with one or two colors - “since today” (either newly created or new from tickler file, sequential project etc) or “future start” (i.e. a tickler file aka scheduled item, if you decide to implement this using the start date, which is probably a very robust and simple solution.)

All in all, this would make it possible to put both the new/since marker and the due marker in two fixed columns to make it look neat and tidy (perhaps to the right of the variable-width area indicator).

Another thought: maybe it would be useful to have some special filters in P&A, e.g. one filter to show all new actions, another to show all actions that have a due date etc, and also one filter to show only those that are visible on the main lists right now, i.e. that are not in any way inactivated sequentially or otherwise.


I have noticed the experiment with coloring the left-side icons by “list type”. I think it was a good and useful experiment. It probably needed to be tested. I am not sure the results speak in favor of keeping it, though. It does perhaps make the colors a bit easier to see, but it also adds confusion; somehow the multiplicity of colors and icon shapes are a bit too much to take in. Also, I think it probably adds confusion that two entirely different “graphical objects” - the icon and the right-hand background - are used for similar purposes. Perhaps you could add a left-side background instead (maybe with a steeper gradient)? (Maybe you could use a steeper gradient on both sides and thereby be able to make the colors stronger and easier to distinguish?)

As for the choice of colors, I think we have seen so far that it is difficult to find colors that are easy to distinguish. Also, both for better and for worse, similarities in color bring about associations.

I think white is the color that best represents the Inbox. It looks different and could be said to intuitively symbolize “unprocessed”. Virgin tasks.

Next and Waiting are both ASAP lists. Green and yellow are reasonably close (both colors are a bit “warm”, indicating life). And a clear blue might look “objectively cool” for Calendar or Scheduled.

That would leave us with finding a really cold color for all the Maybes (Someday). Gray?

In other words, I think you were on the right track with the colors from the beginning. My best bet right now (but I am not an artist) would be to make the initial color a bit stronger, increase the gradient to reduce the width of the affected area, and use this approach both left and right.

One very disturbing thing that remains (also discussed elsewhere) is the fact that the green/gray parallel/sequential indicator looks exactly as the Next list indicator, as if there were some intended connection. I don’t mind the green color, but the shape and the letter N are really too much.

Thanks, we are continuing to “play” with the colors. The one thing I’m sure of is that we will never make everyone happy with the colors. In the end, we will aim for colors that aren’t too harsh, work well with the UI, and can be easily differentiated from each other.

I don’t want to sound harsh, I mean it’s for your/your business’s own good, but have you thought about hiring a professional designer?

Hi @mparol

Doesn’t sound harsh at all. Thanks for the feedback. Believe me, we are aware of the benefit a good designer could provide us. We are bootstrapping this initial stage and plan to hire a designer when we can.

Just testing: Copying the new info to make this thread go to the top. It seems that the editing you always do to the first post in this thread to add information about the latest version does not make the thread jump to the top.

If this works, maybe it would be a good idea for you to always add the info in both places - in the first post to have a good summary there, and in a new post at the bottom, which will both make the thread go to the top and make the new info immediately visible (when you open a thread it always shows the last post.)

This means two out of three absolute dealbreakers have now been removed from the project action logic :slight_smile: :

  • the inability to inactivate sub-projects was removed a while ago (with the Sequential checkbox)
  • the inability to inactivate other actions than next actions was removed in this release
  • the inability still remains within inactive (future, sequential) subprojects to predesignate those actions (or subsubprojects etc) that are to go first (parallel) vs later (sequentially). This makes it impossible to use the sequential logic and hierarchy as a planning tool

Also, the UI (terminology, buttons, icons, switches, defaults) for all this functionality is far from intuitive and would need a major overhaul (simplification) as per our previous discussions. The sheer complexity (confusion, inconsistency) of it may otherwise turn out to be a psychological dealbreaker.

But although there is some work still remaining it is very nice to see that there is some progress being made continually :slight_smile: