Toodledo trick: rolling tasks
Toodledo can sort your tasks in multiple, customizable ways. I've found a neat "trick" that let's me generate a rolling list of tasks based on sorting tasks by their modification date.
- are undated, and
- are not especially urgent, but should be done sooner than later, and
- may not be possibly completed in one sitting.
These are tasks that I want to poke at fairly regularly, but that are less important than other (say, dated) tasks. The problem is finding a way to automagically rearrange them (so I have less meta-level task management to do) and still help ensure I don't neglect any of them for too long.
Toodledo can sort a task list in multiple ways. One way is by modification date; if any field in a task is changed, the modification date is updated. Whenever I work on one of those "better sooner than later" tasks, I update the Note field with a short status update. This resets the modification date of the task (and also leaves me a hint of how far I'd gotten for the next time I work on the task).
Then I sort those tasks by reverse modification date. This puts the task I most recently worked on at the end of the list. More importantly, the tasks at the top of the list are the ones I haven't worked on for the longest time - which are the tasks I really should work on again as soon as I can.
So now, once I've gotten everything else out of the way (e.g. tasks due today, urgent/unavoidable things, etc), I work on one of the first tasks in that "better sooner than later" list. If I complete it, I check it off and it's gone forever. If I don't finish it, I update the Note field to remind myself for next time how far I'd gotten and refresh the list. That item will move to the end of the list.
If you're a fan of autofocus-style productivity systems, this trick pretty much lets you implement autofocus in Toodledo. If you're like me, and want more structure in your system without going full-GTD, then you can add whatever structural elements you like from Toodledo and still have that rolling list available.
Personally, I sort my Toodledo Hotlist using all three sorting parameters (Toodledo lets you choose up to three nested types of sorting). My first sort is by Toodledo's "Importance" measure, which is a neat single metric that includes due date, priority, etc. The second level sorts tasks that all have the same Importance as calculated by Toodledo; that's where I reverse-sort by modification date. The third sort will sort tasks that have both the same Importance and the same modification date. My third sort is by priority.
Do you sort your Toodledo tasks differently? If you do, leave a comment and share your insights.