Repeating daily tasks: on completion or on assigned dates?

What is the best method for tasks that I want to see every day and, if possible, do them, but that I can skip if other things come up and I don’t have the time?

Should I make them repeat every day on completion or on assigned dates?

Either way, I can skip an occurrence, or just defer it to the next day. In both cases, it will show up the next day. I do want to avoid making duplicates.

I can’t see which method is better.

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This is the difference between ‘On completion’ and ‘On assigned date’: setting aside your daily task for the moment…

… if you have a task scheduled for each week (say on a Monday, or the 1st of the month), yet fail to complete (or reschedule) it (on that Monday/1st of the month) but in fact complete it on the Wednesday, or 3rd (day) of the month, with the ‘On Completion’ selected it will next present itself on the Wednesday of next week or third day of the next month.

With the Assigned selected, the task will next become available on the Monday/1st.

So with Assigned selected, you could conceivably delay completion until the Sunday/31st of a month; and have it to do the very next day. With ‘Completion’ selected, you really will not have to think about the task for another week/month. In this last case schedule into the future of the effective dates will change in accordance with when the task was (last) completed.

Are your daily tasks always the same, and so repeating?

If so then the choice is yours - as above.

If they’re different (types of) tasks, then there’s no real relationship between repetition and deferring.

If you defer, your (uncompleted) tasks will ‘pile up’.

Implicit in your question @EllenH is that you assign a due date to the task. In that case I would use a repeat on ‘Completion’ (with the interval 1 day). If you have an instance of the task that is more than one day overdue, when you create the new instance (by marking the current one as completed or dropped), its due date will be tomorrow (at the default time defined in the app settings).

In contrast, with ‘Assigned Dates’ a new instance will always be due the day after the due date of the previous instance, which might still be in the past if you have let it become overdue, and you may get unwanted instances piling up. There is an exception to this: OF for iOS has an action command to ‘Reschedule to Tomorrow’ which will create the desired instance with tomorrow’s due date and no instances in the past (this command isn’t present in OF for Mac so you’d have to adjust the due date manually).

The above approach sets a ‘hard date’ on the task for when it is due. Another method is to use a ‘soft date’ by setting only the ‘Defer Until’ date, a repeat on completion, and applying the Forecast tag (eg. ‘Today’). This method depends on the perspectives that you use daily including actions which have the Forecast tag (or whatever tag that you use by convention). I prefer this approach for tasks that I can skip if necessary, reserving hard dates for things that absolutely must get done.

To me the difference between repeating on “Assigned Date” or on “Completion” is easy to understand for tasks scheduled for once a week or once a month, as you describe. In one case, the repeat date is fixed and may end up very close to the day the task was last done if it was deferred too many times, in the other, the next occurrence varies depending on the completion date.

But for daily tasks, it seems to me, the result is the same for both methods: the task done today will appear tomorrow. And for tasks not done, in either case, they will also appear tomorrow.

I never assign due dates to tasks that don’t really need one. It didn’t occur to me to mention it in my first post, as it seemed so obvious to me that there were no due dates. If I don’t do the daily tasks I’m talking about, nothing bad will happen except that I’ll be a bit mad at myself.

It’s just that I realized, when reviewing my daily tasks, that some repeated on “Assigned Date” and others on “Completion” for no reason I could see. It was just the choice I made when I created it and I have no idea why. Since I sometimes notice duplicates (and just delete them) I was wondering if they were the result of not choosing the appropriate repeat type.

Also, when I can’t get a task done, I either defer it one day, or skip the occurrence. I haven’t noticed a difference. They both end up appearing the next day, which is what I want. The only difference I can see is that I can check out the number of skipped occurrences if I choose that method. Otherwise, I can Big Brother myself by checking how many times the task was completed.

So I’m wondering if I’m missing or misunderstanding something.

I see, I made the wrong assumption. Therefore your task must have a Defer date only. Much of my explanation still applies: the clearest approach is to use a repeat from ‘Completion’ to just defer to the next day, however long the task has been sitting in your available actions.

If you use ‘Assigned Dates’, the new action will have a defer date one day later than previously defined, even if that is in the past. That is probably what is creating what you call your ‘duplicate’ occurrences — when on some days you don’t complete or skip the task.

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Ah, yes, that’s the difference between the two that I was looking for!

I just tried it out and the repeat from “Completion” is the one to use for the kind of daily task I use.


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