I see your point.
I’m afraid we can’t accept the proposed solution since by the core logic the action that is Due should appear on the Next list. And only actions of type Active can appear there. (Though, we may consider some settings for the custom behavior on the Due Date).
But as only the Focus option is enough for your workflow, I may suggest a different approach.
You may set up an action as Scheduled with the Start Date set-up instead of Due Date. Also make the action Focused at once.
The Scheduled action with the Start Date in the future won’t appear on the Focus list. But when the Start Date comes the Action becomes Active and it appears on the Focus List. If you need then to move the action for later again, just switch it to scheduled again and select the new Start Date.
Btw, the latter approach is more GTD-like, since in GTD the actions with the Due Dates must be done at the Due Date. For the actions that can be delayed Start Dates suit better.
thanks for the quick answer, i appreciate that!
Your suggestion cuts down on the Focus-toggling, that’s good.
But with your solution i still loose the information, that this is an item i was originally waiting on.
So, it is still not a good solution for my use case.
Right now i work around that problem by additionally tagging these items with @wait, but with Waiting items that feels horribly redundant and wrong…
@sergio I do not understand your explanation, but dates and their implementation can be very confusing.
It sounds as if you are referring to GTD calendar actions. These MUST be done on the specific date, e.g. appointments.
Due dates in the normal sense of deadline dates is not a core concept of GTD at all, but GTD honors “the hard landscape” so if someone has given you an ultimatum to finish something no later than a certain date, or if you have promised someone to finish it by that date, then such a “hard” deadline would be acceptable. It represents the last permissible day to get it done, not necessarily the day you will actually do it (if it is an important task you will typically try to have some margin). And conversely, if someone has promised you to finish something no later than a certain date then that would be a Waiting For action for you (and a Next action for him) and it would have a hard deadline. The action as such will not be a Next action for you just because the other guy is late, but there may be an implicit Next action to call him, remind him, cancel the order etc etc. I can see no reason at all why the app could not flag for our convenience that someone is late.
Can be delayed?? The GTD term is Tickler. This is something that you use when you cannot start before a given date - objectively, “hard landscape”, e.g. buy a Christmas tree now. GTD does not condone “scheduling” as a means to spread your burdens.
Question: Why are you so intent on not allowing the Focus list to be used as an “attention” device?. For example, why, if you Focus a “scheduled” task, does it not show on the Focus list ??? Or why is it so bad to have a Waiting for task auto-focused on its due date? And why do you insist on calling Next actions Active??? But by all means, then go ahead and call Waiting For actions “Thrilling” and Someday actions “Chilling” if you really want to turn this into a non-GTD carnival
Thanks for explanation, I guess I see the main problem this time.
Seems that tagging so far is the only solution for that.
In general that is an interesting problem, we’ll think on how it may be resolved in the app.
I don’t care too much about terminology discussions.
Nevertheless i like @Folke point of using the Focus list as the attention device.
Right now GTDNext uses Focus and Next Action lists for that. Overkill?
In hindsight i mildly disagree with @sergio’s premise, that any item that is due has to be on the Next Action list.
For me it would be perfect, that a due item stays on the list it is on, and additionally is put on the Focus list, so that i can decide what to do with it, that is put it on Next Action or wait/schedule some more.
@sergio, highly appreciated!
Believe it or not, but I actually agree with that
If everything worked as it should then terminology would not matter much at all. But I have seen - in the world, not just in this app - that the terms that are actually in use do give rise to associations and assumptions that can lead very far astray, in many different directions.
Let me give you all an example where I myself am to blame: I think I was the one who introduced the term “parallel” to this forum. That was a bad move. The term itself is actually quite misleading - and it totally misses the main point, the fact that these actions are not in any way sequentially dependent and therefore can be done in any order. The reason I used the term “parallel” was it is a familiar term from Nirvanahq. But I realized as late as yesterday that my uncritical use of that term might be one of the main reasons why a misunderstanding has developed in this forum. I came to realize that some people here have interpreted some of my opinions as if I meant that these tasks must be actually carried out concurrently. No wonder they disagree! Who knows, maybe we agree on everything.
I have to say that the set up suggested by @Camelorn is logical and would be best also for me. At the same time I think it goes not againt GTD. I really do not like the behavior when the app changes the Waiting for items to Next items!
Hi @zdeno and thank you for your comment.
I’ve been thinking about the proposed solution after your’s and @Camelorn’s posts. And now it makes much more sense to me
I’ll discuss it with James and if we don’t find strong reasons not to do it, we’ll implement that shortly.
That’s great, @sergio
The way I see it, a Waiting For action is simply somebody else’s Next action. There is no other difference. No difference in timing, importance or anything.
A deadline date may have been imposed or promised, but this does not change who is responsible for actually getting the task done, i.e. which “list” the task is on - next or waiting. A delay can however necessitate entirely new actions on my part (next actions), e.g. reminding the person who is late.
Therefore, it is useful to be able to track the task over time. If a deadline has been promised/imposed, then this date is obviously essential for determining whether any new such actions are required, and automatic focusing on the last day can be an added convenience. But even if no such deadline exists, the task’s historic start date (the “since” date) will always provide very useful guidance. I always try to remember to write this down.
Depending on each person’s work, the number of Waiting For actions can be very large. When I have “flow” I can sometimes have over 200 Waiting Fors and maybe as little as 20 Nexts. Then it is important to be able to track the Waiting Fors just as effectively as the Nexts. And sometimes it is the opposite situation - everyone else is waiting for me
Yes, @Folke, we have also come to a conclusion, that there should appear a new Next action, when the Waiting is due/overdue (if we leave it in Waiting state). The question is still, how it should be resolved?
The options I see are:
- the user will remind the person he/she waits for right away (not always convenient) and sets the new Due date
- the user adds the Next action (to remind the person) manually
- the reminder Next action generated automatically (seems a little weird for me right now)
- no Next action is created, the waiting action stays overdue until the action is done, delayed or cancelled
All the options seem not perfect, so we’ll think more on it.
Which one seem more convenient to you? Maybe some other ideas?
My personal preference would be that the app should do absolutely nothing at all when the due date arrives (except focus it - convenient if I have missed it in the long list). But nothing more.
The correct additional next action, if any, can be very different from one case to another and I believe it is impossible to have a generic solution for it. Sometimes I will decide that it does not matter that the person broke his promise - maybe the task was not super important or I have no time to talk to him today anyway. And sometimes I will just send a quick email to remind him (< 2 mins; no action listed; but in this case I would manually make a note of this reminder). And sometimes I will just keep the task focused for later today and I will “know” that I need to call him (without writing a separate action). Sometimes I will write a new action or even a whole new project (“terminate agreement” etc). It is best if the app does not assume anything, because it can be very different.
I would appreciate having the ability to un-Focus the task and leave the due date intact (and possibly that the task would then automatically reappear in Focus the next day). The reason is that if I am too busy to do anything about the task on the day that it became due, then I typically will have no time to re-process it that day either - so I just want it out of the way for now without having to fiddle with it at all and aim to deal with it during my next daily review when I hopefully have more time to figure out what to do about it - and at that time I want to see the original due date that the guy had missed, all intact.
I absolutely agree with @Folke’s post above!
Exactly how i what like it to work, for exactly the reasons @Folke has given:
The app does nothing, except puting Focus on the task.
After a small discussion we’ve decided to support the initial Camelorn’s proposal.
Many thanks to everyone who made an input to this topic!
Now that Waiting For actions (other people’s Next actions) seem to be getting fair treatment as far as due dates are concerned, maybe it is time to also bring up the possibility of “scheduling” these actions, just as we can “schedule” our own? This would definitely also be a very useful feature.
(The easiest solution is probably to let all types of action have a future start date, but I’m sure there are many ways.)
While i see your point @Folke, and there are probably use cases for this, personally i do not need to schedule Waiting for items. The Waiting for does that already implicitly for me: I forget about the item until the Due date hits. Scheduling would add nothing for me there.
Well. We are all different, I guess:
- I never “forget” about my Waiting For items; on the contrary, I review them every single day in the same way that I review my own next actions. Many of them could happen any day, any second even, and could/should perhaps already have happened. They are every bit as “imminent” as my own next actions (and every bit as important), and in my daily review I briefly consider whether there is anything extra I could/should do to ensure that this item does not slip. For example, I might decide to give them a friendly “social” call long before they would be expected to be ready.
- I only seldom have objective due dates for anything, and I never invent artificial due dates (or “target dates” etc). I use a Priority system to guide my daily review (I review only Medium and High every day, but Low only weekly).
- I have plenty of recurring things that others must do “for me”, i.e. Waiting for, e.g. reports etc that people are supposed to send me every month. These I need to “schedule” one way or another (and then move them to Waiting if they arrive in the “wrong” place.)
I think feature preferences are also largely a matter of what we find simple and elegant. I have observed that we humans tend to find simplicity and harmony in the most different kinds of things. In this case I find it simpler to just be able to set a future start date for “anything” than to have next actions and “scheduled” stand out as some kind of odd pair of exceptions - especially perhaps since we all know that as per GTD these things should go to the Inbox for processing, not automatically to the Next list.
For now we are just looking at implementing the original suggestion. Thanks!
With the last version deployed the initial proposal is implemented (When a Waiting item reaches it’s Due date, just set it on Focus and change nothing else.)
Please, check if it works as expected with the new version. Thanks.
Already noticed it and it works as i would have expected!