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Task Management in Knowledge Outliners

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Posted by satis
May 2, 2021 at 06:52 PM

 

Simon wrote:
>I also much prefer time-blocking. My big snag with calendars is that I
>haven’t found one that can handle a large list without excessive
>scrolling. I’m disappointed that calendars often don’t wrap text, nor
>provide an easy way to manage none timed items. If it were not for this
>I would completely ditch task managers.

On a window taking up two-thirds of a 27” screen I easily see a two-week calendar view from 5am-11:30pm. (On my Mac I’m currently using BusyCal, but the stock Apple Calendar app will smoothly show one-week views.)

I’m not sure how you use calendars, but I only time-block things that need to be done *during* the times blocked, but my task manager has numerous to-do items on a daily basis that are *not* scheduled. And I use my task manager for unscheduled lists of items that I may well end up scheduling upon review. So I could never give up a task manager in favor of just using a calendar.

 


Posted by Pierre Paul Landry
May 2, 2021 at 09:45 PM

 

satis wrote:
> I use my task manager for unscheduled lists of items that I may well end up scheduling upon review. So I could never give up a task manager in favor of just using a calendar.

Good point. It is possible to use “all-day” event for unscheduled events. The main issue with this is that you do not capture the time required to complete the task (unless you enter it in the task name/description. The other issue is that many calendars do not let you move multiple events/tasks at once. Each one must be moved separately, which quickly becomes cumbersome.

InfoQube is rather unique in that events can be of one of 3 types:
- Scheduled (start time, end time, duration)
- All day (date)
- Unscheduled (date, duration)

In your planning, you create a bunch of tasks with date estimates and duration. Unscheduled events are automatically created and will show at the top of the calendar (if you choose to show tasks in the Calendar). If you wish, as these are completed, you can drag drop them to the scheduled part of the calendar to capture when they were actually done (i.e. at what time, optional). The dragged events will of course have the correct duration (as defined when the task was created)

“Shit happens” as they say, so you may need to move these to a later date (because not done). You can select any number of events and drag them to another day in one shot. If you also use the Gantt, it can be even easier to block move tasks to reschedule them.

Pierre
IQ Designer
https://infoqubeim.com/drupal5/node/4874

 


Posted by Ken
May 2, 2021 at 10:24 PM

 

Interested thread and responses.  Years ago when I used to use apps that displayed both appointments and tasks together, even though my style was never to assign times to tasks since I have a somewhat fluid work schedule.  They eventually separated, and now I have divided tasks from appointments and personal from work.  My calendars now only hold actual appointments and give me an idea of what my free time will look like, expecting the many things that get dropped in my lap unexpected.  I know this goes against all time management principles, but it does allow me to triage accordingly.  But, I do understand why folks would want to “live in their calendar”, and if they did, I can see the need for features that have been called out.

On a related note, I was evaluating a multi column “task manager”, columns.app , because I liked the simplicity of its layout for some projects.  The program, however, seems to have been released a bit early and really strikes me as a beta version at best.  But what it did help me realize is that doing simple well is not a matter of stripping features, but of learning good UI principles (and allowing users enough customizations and control over how views look).  I really liked this program’s layout because it was clean, but it lacked enough basic features as to render it less than useful except for very simple situations.  So, I am starting to become a big believer in programs and apps that give users a lot of choices in how to set up their programs and views, especially if simplicity is wanted, but done right.

—Ken

 


Posted by Luhmann
May 3, 2021 at 12:16 AM

 

Very interesting how different people work, but I realize I just assumed it was obvious why someone would want to organize tasks in a knowledge manager because it is now the only way I can work, but I shouldn’t have. Here is why:

1. CRM

Let’s say you have a number of tasks that involves a person [[John Smith]] or an organization [[Acme Corp]]. If you tag them (as I have in this sentence) every time you make a task, then when you go to the page for that person or organization you will see backlinks to all the previous tasks you had for that person. This alone is so incredibly useful I can’t understand how I ever lived without this.

2. Knowledge related tasks

The same is true if you are researching a concept (e.g. [[calculus]]) or the work of a scholar associated with that concept (i.e. [[Newton]]). For instance, if I have a task which is to read [[PhilosophiƦ Naturalis Principia Mathematica]] by [[Newton]] for my paper on [[calculus]], then the pages to all of those tagged phrases will be linked together in my knowledge graph. If I forgot the name of the book I can just go to a page for what I do remember, such as [[Newton]] and quickly find the book I recently finished reading, along with all of my notes on the subject. When I am ready to write my paper on [[calculus]] all the tasks I completed related to that task will be there.

3. Create tasks as you take notes

But even more than backlinks and networked links, the ability to embed tasks in the context in which they occurred to me is even more important. If I am reading [[PhilosophiƦ Naturalis Principia Mathematica]] and I suddenly realize I need to read [[Supplementum geometriae dimensoriae]] by [[Leibniz]] I can make a note right in the middle of my notes where the need to do so occurred to me. Then, when I see the task later, I will not only have a potentially meaningless note telling me I need to read something, but I will see from the context of the note why I needed to do this.

Or, to use another example, if I’m baking an [[apple pie]] and realize I need to make a task “buy sugar”, I will see that this task was part of the project to bake an apple pie, which is essential information for me. I could, in Todoist, create a project “bake apple pie” and then a sub-task “buy sugar” but often I don’t want to bake an apple pie right now, and don’t want to clog up my task management app with such an unnecessary project. Rather, I am researching it because I would like to do it someday, and I realize that the only thing stopping me is the lack of sugar in the house. The next time I think of it I will see that I already completed this step, and so nothing is preventing me from making that pie.

These are just some made-up examples, but the reality is actually more wondrous and varied than this short account conveys. I really can’t think of working any other way any more.

 


Posted by satis
May 3, 2021 at 02:38 AM

 

Pierre Paul Landry wrote:
satis wrote:
> It is possible to use “all-day” event for unscheduled
>events. The main issue with this is that you do not capture the time
>required to complete the task (unless you enter it in the task
>name/description. The other issue is that many calendars do not let you
>move multiple events/tasks at once. Each one must be moved separately,
>which quickly becomes cumbersome.

Yes. And in that use case I could see a calendar’s ‘events’ extending past my computer screen.

And most task managers let you move all overdue tasks to the current (or another) day with a click. For example, I’ve been putting off researching a new PCP for my insurance company, and choosing a new external HD for backup - those items have been rolled over for at least a week now but aside from being annoyed with myself for not doing them it’s better to have them in my task manager and not filling up a small slot at the top of my calendar.

 

Luhmann wrote:
> if I’m baking an [[apple pie]] and realize I
>need to make a task “buy sugar”, I will see that this task was part of
>the project to bake an apple pie, which is essential information for me.
>I could, in Todoist, create a project “bake apple pie” and then a
>sub-task “buy sugar” but often I don’t want to bake an apple pie right
>now, and don’t want to clog up my task management app with such an
>unnecessary project. Rather, I am researching it because I would like to
>do it someday, and I realize that the only thing stopping me is the lack
>of sugar in the house. The next time I think of it I will see that I
>already completed this step, and so nothing is preventing me from making
>that pie.

I do all my food shopping with Anylist (free or cheap yearly plan) which lets me tag items by store, imports ingredients from recipes online or from the clipboard, and lets me share lists with family members who can edit items. I don’t need to remind myself to bake an apple pie (unless it’s planned for an event), but I will add ‘Food shopping’ to my task manager, most likely by time-blocking it so it shows up in my calendar (whereupon I’ll be sure to do it).

 


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