I don’t know if this is a feature request or a workflow item I’m missing, but I need help:
I have a lot of tasks that don’t have a specific due date (“Replace the rear view mirror on the car”), but I do want to get them done eventually, and the longer they go without being completed, the worse it is.
How can I categorize these tasks without setting a specific due date? I wish there were a way to say, “Make this item increase in priority over time”, so it more up on the list and calls attention to itself. Or the priority goes up. Or it gets auto-flagged. Or something!
Maybe I just need to review more frequently, but I was hoping for a more automatic solution. Any advice?
I think you may have already found a good answer to your question – more quality review. When you’re reviewing these items, you need to be considering how important they are to you and how committed you are to doing them and as part of a larger review process, deciding when you can commit time to working on them.
Certainly you could automate a solution that sweeps the database and tags anything that’s within certain date ranges with a series of tags that vary in degrees of shoutiness, but it’s not going to help you get it done.
Reviewing is a great way to monitor your task list and project list. If a task isn’t scheduled, it won’t get done. During my daily review (at the end of he day for me but it can be the next morning for others, I look at my list of tasks. If I see something that I want to do, I will commit to it by creating an appointment block on my calendar.
I might see that I have free time between 9 am to 10:30 am tomorrow morning. I’ll block that time off and look for a task to work on. I might choose 3 tasks that are 30 minutes each. Or choose one long 90 minute task. Or focus on a specific project.
Just schedule it!
I know that exercising is important. So I make sure to put it on my calendar and schedule it! Otherwise, I’ll excuse myself and say “eh, I’ll do it later.” But later never comes.
I use my task manager as a restaurant menu. I know I need to eat. I have a 30 minute time window for lunch because I arrived late at the restaurant. I quickly order a plate, side order, and a drink. I’ve committed to eating my order. I don’t worry about the other available menu items. My focus is on what’s on my plate.
Now I’m hungry! Enjoy!
I’d trust my gut instincts. When something is really bothering me, I’ll go with my intuition. If I decide to ignore a task, it probably wasn’t important enough for me to schedule it.
Even if I have a hundred red (overdue) tasks screaming at me on-screen, I might ignore it. Then I’ll know they weren’t really due or I should look for new employment elsewhere.
I agree with the comments about doing more quality reviews as the best answer for this. Like you, I put a lot of tasks in OF that just need to get done sometime, but are not tied to a specific date. I have created a couple of perspectives and workflows that help keep these kinds of tasks in front of me without them cluttering my lists when I do not need them. First, I rely on the “first available” concept to make sure I essentially have only a few next actions I can do for any given project. Second, I use due dates, my “today” tag, or a flag to highlight key things i need to get done during a particular time frame. Third, and this is the part you might find useful, I have created a perspective that only tracks tasks that have no due date, have no flag, and are not tagged “today,” and then I can sort my tasks by date added to see what’s getting old and make sure those get done or removed if I’m never going to do them. The other thing that helps, is I’ve given a lot of thought to honing my perspectives, and I even spent a month with a repeating alarm to check different perspectives at different times of day so I’d get in the daily habit of going into these key perspectives. When typed out, this looks like a lot of work. In actual practice, it takes me about 5 minutes three or four times a day to make sure I’m staying on top of everything. This does not answer your question about creating a priority that increases over time, but some of these methods may be a suitable alternative method of obtaining the same goal–not letting a task get too stale.
Yes, the review is most important in updating your system and keeping it fresh. Purge away. Sometimes a project or task can age and is no longer important. It’s time to take out the trash. You’ll be surprised out how much stuff sounds so great but the energy/efforts required to get it done isn’t worth the effort.