Respectfully, debating the relevance of the Forecast really isn’t the point of my post at all. It’s there, it’s relevant (even essential) to some people, and it has important shortcomings.
You’ve got some good suggestions from others already, and I typically fall into the category of people that just don’t use the Forecast perspective myself–partly because of the fact that all child tasks with a due date all show up, as you indicate.
But I still want to chime in with one of the ways I get around this, which is to use a ‘Note To Subtasks’ plug-in I wrote. I find it a fairly good balance, in that I can create child tasks under a parent task (e.g. a number of exercises to complete), ‘collapse’ them to be stored in the note of the parent, and then ‘expand’ when I want to work on them (and complete this process multiple times, if I want). This helps to keep my views a bit cleaner but also means that I have all the information in one place when I do need it.
I’m not sure whether it will work for you, but it might be worth a try.
It seems to me that in your example, the Forecast perspective is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do. If you give a due date to a project or an action group, you are saying that you’ve made a commitment to do it by then. If you then add actions to it, you’re deciding that those actions are essential to completing the action group or project, and (because of that commitment), they also have to be done by the due date.
The point of the Forecast perspective is to show you everything that’s due soon, based on how you defined “soon” in the preferences. If it’s showing you too many tasks, what that suggests to me is one of these outcomes:
Not every one of those tasks is actually necessary to bring the project or action group to completion, in which case you should consider deleting some of them.
You have too many deadlines coming up, and you might need to renegotiate some of them (when possible).
If your goal is to get a 10,000-foot level overview of your current open loops, the best way to do that, I’ve found, is during the weekly review. I see the Forecast more as a triage mechanism, especially since it shows me my actions along with my calendar commitments.
That’s how it seems to me. What matters most, though, is finding the way to make your tools work for you.
I don’t use child tasks under a top level dated master task for this reason. Every task either inherits the date or I have to override the data. So, I think one solution is to treat the top level task like a folder and make the top child task the one you want in the forecast view because it has a date. The other children will not show up. In terms of workload, not zero but not that great. Example:
Hire a car (no date, top level)
- Hire a car (due date)
- Call dealer (no date but perhaps a tag to associate with the phone)
- Pay dealer (no date but perhaps a tag to associate with banking)
It will only be hire a car which shows up in the forecast.
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