Waiting actions with checklist

It seems if I create an action that includes one or more “info” elements (e.g., to create a checklist) and put the action into a “waiting” state, the action does not show up in the Waiting list.

But now that notes can appear inline, I’m wondering if an alternative approach for creating a checklist would be to embed it as part of the note.

Ah, I discovered if I manually change the action from “AUTO” to “Action” it will show up in the Waiting list. But I can’t find a way to make the checklist appear in the Waiting list. (I also noticed the checklist doesn’t appear if the action is active.) But the notes do appear. So again, I wonder if it would make sense to embed the checklist within the notes section.

And would it make sense for the tool to be smart enough to know if a “project” only has info elements that it should be treated as an action?

Of course you could make a checklist in the notes section (like in Nirvana), but it would seem like a step backwards, in my opinion. Having them as subtasks that can be directly seen and conveniently reordered in the outline, would seem to be the only natural way in an app with unlimited hierarchies like GTDNext.

Even an app like Doit - that has only four fixed hierarchical levels - has both notes and subtasks, both of which can be seen in all the regular lists (focus, next, waiting, someday, scheduled), and can be seen there even for repeating tasks, which is a frequent use of checklists.

It might, but I also wonder then if some people would then have the opposite complaint… “you are automatically turning my project into an action!” But I do see the point!

Yes, we are thinking about this experience and may change it in the future. For now you have to click back to the P&A view, which we realize is not as convenient as it could be.

I agree with Folke here - there are several advantageous (over using notes) to using the unlimited outline feature of GTDNext for your checklists.


Glad we agree :slight_smile:

Another thing that occurred to me: Would it be possible somehow to use the “project approach” to previous instances of repeating actions only under Completed/Archived, but not in the “uncompleted” lists?

If that would be possible, it would be a nice way to keep all past instances neatly gathered, as you intended, and at the same time keep the current instance of the task look perfectly “normal” - like a task, not like a project, and have subtasks etc just like any other task?

Actually, I also agree. And I like being able to easily reorder things. Although I struggle a bit with trying to think of a use case in which I’d want a mix of actions and info or why I might need a hierarchy of info. But could be I just haven’t done enough thinking.

But I do wish the checklist was more “attached” with the action so that I could see it in the Next list, Waiting list, etc. Hopefully, you’ll come up with something clever for this.

I also noticed when I create a recurring action that that includes a list of info elements, the info elements are only associated with the “folder”, and not replicated for each instance. But I’d like the checklist to also be replicated for each instance. (And perhaps getting off topic, but being able to have a recurring project could also be helpful.)

And a minor comment: When I manually select an action to be an action (instead of AUTO), might it be possible to change the icon to be that of an action rather than being a folder indicating a project? Although if it includes a checklist that might be confusing. Maybe a different icon? Or maybe a different icon when all the sub-items are info? Or maybe the bold/non-bold text is sufficient…

I agree with that, to a large extent. I think the main use case for the checklist functionality is regular checklists, usually repeating ones, for example (a silly-simple example) you may have a “Daily review” task, which then contains sub-items such as

  • check gmail
  • check xmail
  • check ymail
  • check gcal two weeks ahead
  • check whyteboard in the corridor
  • copy today’s calendar events from calendars to today’s focus list
  • check voice memos on mobile
  • check voice memos on desk phone
  • check sms
  • etc etc etc

All of these are actions (or implicit actions, depending on how you have worded them - to check or do something about each item) and I totally agree with you that there is no real need (not for me, anyway) to distinguish between “action” and “info” in these lists. I simply want the whole list conveniently embedded within the task, such that the whole list is brought as a single collapsed unit across to the main lists (next, waiting etc) where I can click and expand it as I please, and check the items off as I go.

(Maybe the distinction between info and action would be useful if you would have pure reference info interspersed on separate lines in the checklist, e.g. “gmail password is xyz123”, but normally I would not write my list like that.)

A hierarchy of checklist items is nothing I have ever actually dreamed of, but I do not see why it could not be included. It would tally well with the whole “unlimited” concept and would actually allow you to structure your checklist a bit if you would like to, e.g in the above case you could have a subtask (a checklist item) called “check email”, and then indented sub-items under that for gmail, xmail, ymail etc. For long checklists this could probably be handy and make the list more easily readable.

I think the serious shortcomings of the current feature is the fact that repeating actions cannot have subtasks, and that the sub-items are not carried across to the normal lists.

But I do agree that the icons and options could also be streamlined quite a bit in order to be more easily understandable (e.g. just a checkbox called “Checklist” instead of the mode switch? and maybe the info type could be simply removed completely?).