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Task Management in Knowledge Outliners

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Posted by Luhmann
May 4, 2021 at 01:03 AM

 

So one of the things that both Roam and Obsidian do well (although I am more familiar with Roam) is allow you to filter your backlinks. So, if you have a bunch of meetings with [[Joan Smith]] and half of them are about [[project 1]] and half are about [[project 2]] you can filter (or filter out) the project you want (or don’t want) to see. You can also create custom queries which will generate a list of hits based on search results (such as all blocks which have a certain word, even if it isn’t tagged). You can also generate queries based on date ranges. And there are some third party tools, like Roam42 that let you do even more in terms of pulling this information. But the more you tag the less issue there is with finding stuff, especially when used with filtering.

Regarding performance, Roam currently is slow when handling large numbers. I currently have over a thousand completed tasks (automatically marked [[DONE]] when you check them off). I tried looking at these recently and discovered that it can take over a minute to generate the list of backlinks. However, once generated filtering and manipulating them is fast. Roam Research is working on a new backend that will supposedly be much more efficient. My understanding is that it is already working, but that they haven’t implemented it because of issues with how to transition anyone without causing any disruptions or data loss. Hopefully it will be out later this year.

 


Posted by Luhmann
May 4, 2021 at 01:08 AM

 

Regarding calendar based task management. This really makes no sense for me. I have due dates, yes, but how I use my time throughout the day is very fluid, and it would not make sense to try to put my tasks into a calendar. Calendar entries are basically times that I can’t do anything else because I have a class or meeting or social engagement. If I were to, say, write down that I will spend two hours writing in the morning, the most likely scenario is that something else will come up at that time which requires my attention and I won’t actually do the writing until the afternoon. Much more important for me is to know what I will write that day because I have some notes or an outline that will enable me to get to writing quickly without having to sit and remember what I was going to write about. But I guess everyone has very different work habits and jobs that lend themselves to different solutions.

 


Posted by Simon
May 4, 2021 at 03:45 PM

 

It is interesting to see how other people approach their tasks. I have discretionary and non-discretionary time (Mark Forster). Non-discretionary is time I don’t control, meetings, appointments, calls etc. discretionary time is where I chooses what I do next. This is where I lose most time, or did until I changed how I work. Cal Newport’s time-blocking is not new. But the idea of looking at your week and filling in exactly what you will do when is very helpful. A more relaxed version is Ivy Lee’s 6 things. My conclusion is that the time in my diary is the only time. By placing my tasks in my diary, I simply move from one task to the next. This allows me to accomplish quite a lot. Interruptions obviously can’t be shceduled, but also don’t need to interrupt at exactly the moment I’m focusing on something else. If the interruption gives me another task, I add it to my inbox. When I clear my inbox I must decide when the task gets done. For me, the bottom line is that I only have so much time available. Taking on more work than I have time for either means overwork, or not finishing all I have agreed to do. It’s only by placing things in my diary in time slots that I actually see how busy I am. This is not visible from a list of tasks elsewhere. In the past I’ve had tasks on a list that after a year still weren’t done. I’m better off putting everything in my schedule to see just what time I have free or prune my list. Cal Newport does that each week. My job is fairly fluid, so I do it on a daily basis, but also what needs to be accomplished that week.

Sadly calendars do not cater for such a workflow. I have signed up for a Noteplan 3 trial and it seems ideal for this.

Luhmann wrote:
Regarding calendar based task management. This really makes no sense for
>me. I have due dates, yes, but how I use my time throughout the day is
>very fluid, and it would not make sense to try to put my tasks into a
>calendar. Calendar entries are basically times that I can’t do anything
>else because I have a class or meeting or social engagement. If I were
>to, say, write down that I will spend two hours writing in the morning,
>the most likely scenario is that something else will come up at that
>time which requires my attention and I won’t actually do the writing
>until the afternoon. Much more important for me is to know what I will
>write that day because I have some notes or an outline that will enable
>me to get to writing quickly without having to sit and remember what I
>was going to write about. But I guess everyone has very different work
>habits and jobs that lend themselves to different solutions.

 


Posted by MadaboutDana
May 4, 2021 at 07:29 PM

 

NotePlan can be used for this kind of time blocking; in fact, it’s a very effective way to organise precisely what you’re describing.

It’s also worth joining the Discord group to see other people’s solutions.

 


Posted by Franz Grieser
May 4, 2021 at 07:58 PM

 

Simon wrote:
>Sadly calendars do not cater for such a workflow. I have signed up for a
>Noteplan 3 trial and it seems ideal for this.

In Outlook, for example, you can create a second calender and use that for this kind of time-blocking. You should be able to do that in Apple Calendar, too - on my iPhone, it works.

If I am not mistaken, Dr Andus once used a paper solution, I think he used index cards he could move around. Each card represented a predefined duration.

 


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