Scheduled Tasks Functionality Blog Feedback

Sergio recently posted the following blog post on the scheduled, due and repeating functionality.

Questions or thoughts?

Brief initial comment, Sergio: Both Nirvana and Doit use the “clone” approach, which lets you scribble on each clone as much as you want, whereas Toodledo uses the approach where the same task is reused over and over and where any new comments or other changes to one instance will stay on for future instances. I prefer the clone approach, which you have chosen (but it may also mean a bit more work for you to implement repeat after x days - you’ll then need to have the clone linked back to the mother task to set its next “spawn” date only upon completion of the clone, and you’ll need a different way to display these “mothers with uncompleted clones” in Scheduled, since their next scheduled date is not known yet. No rocket science, though.).

Copied from the blog, with my comments added in bold:


  • Due Dates – the action with Due Date has a label indicating the
    number of days remaining to a Due Date. Once the action is Due, the
    action becomes Active and Force-Next (appears on the Next list
    So, a Waiting For action with a Due date (e.g. expecting a report by the 10th) will become a Next action? Not so popular at all, I’d think - ask those who have suffered a similar philosophy over at Doit. I am still waiting for the report.
    And how will people notice easily enough that another task is now due? Why not auto-Focus it on the morning of that day so that you really notice it? But let us un-Focus when we have seen it. And let it stay on the Waiting list or whatever list it was on; just turn the Focus on every midnight.

  • Start Dates – the action with the start date in the future can only
    be of type Scheduled and does not appear on the next list. On the start
    date the action becomes active and acts as a regular action.
    If I translate it to “my” language the task becomes a Next action on that day. Sounds quite reasonable, but what about really noticing it?. Another nice possibility would be Inbox (like Getidoneapp; to make you notice it and decide which list it is going to go to - Next, Waiting, Trash etc; this is the core GTD approach), or Next+Focus (like Nirvana; also makes you notice it much easier) or (more advanced) to have the ability from the outset, when you Schedule it, to decide if it is going to appear in Next, Waiting or Inbox, with our without Focus. Schedule as Next, Waiting or Inbox

  • Repeating actions. If the action has one or more scheduled repeats
    then it is a scheduled action. On the Next Event Date a child action
    will be generated appearing on the Next list automatically. (This is
    actually not fully complete – periodically functionality is missing but
    will be there in a day or two)
    I do not quite see the user benefit of having these child nodes visible, but if it makes it easy for you then I guess we could live with it. Or you could keep them hidden “under the hood”?


  • Due Dates for repeating tasks. We’ll add a checkbox saying: Due In …
    days. If checkbox is checked, user may enter the number of days after
    which the action will become Due.
    Great, but Nirvana has an interval that is way too short (14 days; in reality it could be many months). I think it is better and cleaner to simply enter the two dates separately, like in Doit. This also saves you the trouble of calculating how many days it is from the 8th this month to the 15th of next month

  • Checklists for repeating actions. You’ll be able to bind an
    arbitrary Project as a checklist to the repeating action. Once the
    action is generated, it will be populated with the children of the
    selected Project.
    What is the user benefit of having the list external to the task? To have to have two things for the same thing - both an action and a separate checklist and a linkage, when it could be all in one, like in Nirvana and Doit, or as in GTDNext - a task with info subtasks?

I would like to have the possibility to choose if the sheduled task will show up in scheduled day in Next list without star or the task will get also star and I will see the task not only in Next list, but also in Focus/Today list.

The best solution for me would be if there will be 2 separate lists: TODAY and STARRED. The Scheduled as well as Due tasks will be added to the Today list in the sheduled or due date. If I would like to add some tasks to the Starred list I will have to do it manually. I saw this implementation in Wunderlist and really like it because I have a full control what tasks I will see as Starred - what I want to do now.


I think - but I am not sure - that I understand what you are after:

  • be able to control on what list(s) tasks will show up
  • never be forced to keep an item in Focus just because the date has arrived, but still be able to find it with ease
  • be able to distinguish between GTD ticklers and GTD calendar actions

I can agree with all of that, but am not sure at all that I would like to have yet another list. The most elegant and versatile solution I myself can think of would be to:

  • change the name and meaning of the “type” Scheduled to Calendar (such that you would have the “types”: Inbox, Next, Waiting, Someday and Calendar). The Calendar type would be used, GTD style, for appointments or other actions that MUST be done on that particular day (“the start date”). It would be good to see these with their own background color even when the start date has arrived (since their timing is firmly agreed, compared with focused Next etc). The Calendar type are the primary category of tasks that you would want to sync (manually or electronically) with an external calendar.
  • allow a “start date” to be applied to tasks of any “type” (Next, Waiting, Inbox…). This would put the action on hold (GTD “tickle” it) until that date, i.e. keep it hidden from the main lists. It would show up on its proper list on the start date, and usually also on the Focus list
  • have the option to decline automatic Focus on the start date

All actions that have a start date would be visible on the Scheduled list, which could contain actions of many different background colors (types):

  • blue: Calendar: Appointments etc that MUST be done on that day (GTD calendar actions). Can also be synced with external calendar in the future
  • green: Next: can be started (by me) only on this day at the very earliest
  • yellow: Waiting: can be expected (from someone) only on this day at the very earliest
  • white: Inbox, cannot even be “processed” (GTD term) until this day

Philosophical comment (might affect UI and architecture): Please notice that Tickler file items (with a start date) and sequential actions have something important in common. They are not possible (or at least not meaningful) to do anything about until a certain condition is fulfilled, so we want to keep them off our main lists. In the case of ticklers that condition is a firm date. In the case of sequential actions that condition is the completion of some other task(s) that must have been done first. But both are conditional and both can be of any “type”, especially Next/Waiting i.e. for me to do or for someone else to do.

Due date in the sense of deadline date needs to be managed separately, using a separate mechanism - just as it is today - as these are not necessarily scheduled at all. Any task can have a deadline date, regardless of whether it has a start date or not. I think it is good to have due or overdue items auto-Focused every midnight, as long as you can un-Focus them, and be able to see them easily in their respective lists (as it is now, possibly with some additional filters or grouping capabilities).

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