Feature ideas based on my experience

Some of these may be bugs or future features. These are ideas from other apps I have used over the years that I have liked.

  1. Allow items from the inbox to be dragged to the next action list.
  2. Allow multiple action to be acted on at the same time. Select multiple actions and assign tags, areas, etc for example.
  3. When dragging to scheduled have the date picker pop-up automatically.
  4. SMS or pop-up notifications for due dates and times
  5. Allow the option of having focus items appear in the next list also, but highlighted also. Makes it easier to move items between those lists.
  6. Allow dragging of tasks to tags for assignment to those tags.

I love the way projects are handled. Best implementation I’ve seen.


I agree with much of this, and I also have some additional comments:

I agree that dragging tasks is a convenient way to apply “values” of all kinds. You probably still always want a complete “entry form” as the basic method, but dragging is a very nice complement that I use a lot in apps that have this.

Agree. If I remember correctly, RTM does this beautifully. When multiple items are selected, the entry form’s fields will typically be dimmed or blank if the items have different values, and unless you enter a new value they will keep their old values. If you do enter a new value, they all change in the same way.

Yes, that’s handy, but that’s not all:

What I miss in ALL apps I have seen is proper differentiation (both at task entry and in the list) between GTD Ticklers (“hide until”) and GTD Calendar actions (“do on”). App developers generally fuse these two entirely different animals into a single feature, usually called “Scheduled”, I don’t mind if both are called “Scheduled” and share the same list, but I would like something in addition to that. For example, there could be a checkbox called “Calendar” which you check for tasks that must be done ON that date (calendar actions), and leave it unchecked in the more common case (tickler items) that the task will just become relevant to consider from that date onwards but does not necessarily need to be done on that first day.

Another way to implement such a differentiation (even better, IMO) would be to simply let the existence of a future start date signify that this is a “scheduled” action in some form (either calendar or tickler), and let the “list/type” be called Calendar for calendar actions only, but for Tickler items simply call it by the whatever “list/type” is ultimately intended, i.e. Next, Waiting or Inbox, depending on which list you will want it on on that day (usually Next for things that you know that you yourself must do; Waiting for things that you know you should start to expect to receive, e.g. reports from people, and Inbox for things that you have not even analyzed and decided about yet, i.e. not “processed” yet, which is the original GTD meaning of the Tickler file).

All of these actions (both Ticklers and Calendar items) could still well be listed under Scheduled, but there should then be some appropriate graphical differentiation between them, and possibly a filter button, such that you can easily see which of these “scheduled” items are actually appointments or other firmly scheduled Calendar actions that have been booked in advance to be done on that day, and which actions are just “ticklers” that will become relevant to consider from that day onwards.

Even on the Focus list I think it would be very handy to see this graphical distinction between tasks that have been actually “booked all along” for being done today and those other actions that I have focused for other reasons (usually focused Next actions, sometimes with a deadline).

It all begins at task entry time, in one way or another having the ability to make Ticklers look and behave differently than Calendar actions.

I don’t mind having such a feature, but I can honestly say that I hardly ever use this feature in apps that have it (e.g. Doit), especially not for due dates in the regular sense of “deadlines”. All important tasks I have usually done well before the deadline, and for those less important ones that remain I usually find it sufficient to have them show up on the Focus list. And if they are not important I do not want them to cause any beeping or other disturbance to the important things I am currently doing.

SMS or pop-up notifications is something I use mainly for Calendar items (meetings etc), but unless these are dealt with separately as per my previous comment I tend to keep these in my calendar, not in my todo app, and I rely on the calendar’s notification features for such reminders.

But still, I agree it can sometimes be a minor plus to have a reminder feature built in.

Isn’t that how it already works? If you have a Next action marked with the red Focus indicator, it will be visible on both lists (Focus, Next), and the red Focus indicator will be lit on both lists. Please explain how you mean. Are you saying that if you focus, say, a Waiting For action (e.g. an expected delivery) you would like to see this on all three lists (Focus, Next, Waiting)? I am not sure I would like that.

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Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

I may be over simplifying this. But the way I handle this is to treat the scheduled date as a tickler date and use a due date for the date that is must be done by. If it must be done on a particular day, I have both those dates be the same. Using that workflow I haven’t seen the need for a way to differentiate with a calendar type checkbox that you suggest. Note that it is also handy to have a calendar type view of upcoming scheduled tasks to help with overall capacity planning and get a future view of what’s coming up.

I think I could use a separate calendar to do this. That is probably a better practice. However at times, I like to keep some of those items in my gtd app.

You are correct. I must have been looking at it wrong when I made my comment. That feature works the way I like it.

There is a lot of promise in this app. I really appreciate that the development is active and involved with the community.

I do exactly the same, and I use that method especially for little things that I do not want to have cluttering my calendar and which typically can be done any time that day.

For more significant and time-specific calendar events, such as meetings, I normally use a separate calendar app, sometimes for collaboration purposes (shared calendars) but also simply because I need to be able to see when I am booked and when I am available for other things (e.g. for new appointments or for working my next actions list etc). What I do, though, is I always carry over today’s appointments from my calendars to my todo app (Focus list). This saves me the flicking between my calendars and Focus list during the day and also reduces the risk of me overlooking something. In fact, I have this process semi-automated to save me some typing work. Most of my calendars (GCal compatible calendars) send me an email 15 hours in advance of each meeting. The special format (the wording of these items) also makes these things stand out a bit on the Focus list.

I like the “booked” items (calendar items) to stand out from the rest. And I would like them to stand out even more and preferably also be filterable etc. This is because they in fact are “different kinds of animals” than the rest - the fact that they are booked/agreed and time-specific, nothing I can unilaterally reschedule, make them very different from the typical Focus actions. A special graphical format would be very nice, and would not be a difficult thing to implement. But of course, as with so many other things, we can also make do even with more primitive tools (I have survived so far).

A further, but more complicated, use for a special calendar action “type” is for future project meetings etc. Most calendar actions do in fact belong in projects, so it would be handy to be able to review these calendar actions, even long in advance, within the project (together with the regular next and waiting actions etc) - and still also be able to have them in the calendar for collaboration purposes. To some extent I keep double notes (one in each place, manually synced) of such meetings, but to make it sufficiently smooth some proper calendar integration would be required. For all such purposes a special calendar type would help us see (and filter) which project actions are “booked/agreed” for a certain day (and visible on the appointment calendar) and which ones are just “impossible before” a certain date.

Overall, I find it a bit remarkable that not one single app that calls itself “GTD” reflects the distinction that David Allen makes between Calendar actions and Tickler file items and the totally different ways these are managed and the different purposes they serve. Developers generally seem to fuse them together as if they were all the same thing. Or perhaps they assume that everyone has an external calendar that they do not mind working with asynchronously, working the two apps constantly in parallel?

I do not have much faith in that method, I am afraid. Most of my actions have neither a tickler date (they would be possible to do even right now) and no specific deadline (the sooner the better, usually, but no distinct “last possible” date). Trying to see my overall “burden” in a time schedule simply is not workable. It would require me to put dates and durations on everything. Not very practical for me, and not very GTD.

Yes, that is why i do it also. I try not to clutter my calendar. Trying to only keep the “hard landscape” there. Typically, those are meetings that involve other people.

Understood, for me I’d rather not have to sync between the calendar and my list and work on my discipline to review both. After thinking about it, if there are critical items (something I feel I need to do this for) on my calendar I will put them on my focus list. That way I see everything at once and can keep a real-time priority in one place.

Yes, I agree.

I don’t have dates on most of my tasks either. Only when they need to have dates. In thinking about it, it doesn’t help with capacity planning. It does give me visibility to what’s coming up on my calendar and can help when I’m scheduling meetings for the same time period so I don’t overbook, if I know I have a bunch of date constrained tasks coming up.

I haven’t read all of the above discussion, but I wanted to voice my opinion that #2 would be very useful. I think that you would need a slighlty different right hand pane to appear when multiple items are selected