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How do I change only one task in a series of recurring tasks without permanently changing the ongoing task?

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David Trey staff
Replied on Feb 19, 2013 - 16:42 UTC

Hello Sam,

Please clarify - what change are you referring to? Do you want to change its name or date?

Unfortunately, it's not possible to change the due date and maintain the old due date formula, but please note that you can always use the "starting" option on any date. So, for example, you can set a task due "every day starting 16. Feb 2013".


Best regards,
David

J
Josh premium
Replied on Mar 20, 2013 - 04:13 UTC

Hi David,

I don't want to start a new post in case I am raising the same issue, so thought I'd post it here first.

I recently postponed a single occurrence of a recurring task. It was supposed to be completed on Friday (set to recur on Fridays every week), but I used the "postpone" functionality in the Chrome plug-in twice, which moved it to Sunday.

When I completed this single occurrence of the task on Sunday, it now says the next recurrence will be the following Sunday (vs. Friday as defined).

Is this what you are referring to above, when you say "it's not possible to change the due date and maintain the old due date formula"?

If so, what the heck?! What is the point of the recurring task functionality if it is overridden any time you postpone, or defer a single instance of a recurring task?

Any enlightenment you can provide would be greatly appreciated. If that is indeed how Todoist currently works with respect to recurring tasks and postponing single instances, it's a) extremely annoying and b) seems to leave users with only the option of leaving those tasks as overdue, rather than postponing them. Which is fine (though also annoying) as a workaround, but certainly not something your development team intends to leave as-is, I hope.

Best Regards,

-Josh-

David Trey staff
Replied on Mar 20, 2013 - 12:38 UTC

Hello Josh,

This is not the expected behavior. I was referring to the "Do it Today" option which indeed may break the recurring formula, but using the "Postpone" option should not change the formula at all, the task should be moved to next Friday and then continue being due each Friday assuming that you're using the correct due date formula which in this case is "every Friday" (or "ev Fri"). Each time you use the "postpone" option, the due date should be moved to the next Friday (and then the Friday after that etc.).

Please tell me - did you ever travel between time zones lately? This issue may occur if a task has been postponed or completed while having a different time zone set on your computer than the time zone selected on Todoist at the time when you complete it.


Best regards,
David

Mark Davis premium
Replied on Mar 21, 2013 - 02:31 UTC

David -

This thread intrigues me. It sounds as though (for example) postponing a task due each Friday bumps it to the next Friday. Correct?

I often don't get recurring tasks done and say 'do it today,' which does see to screw up the recurrence. What is the suggested best practice here - leave them overdue? I don't love this as it bumps these events out of their priority...

David Trey staff
Replied on Mar 21, 2013 - 12:27 UTC

Mark,

When a task becomes overdue it should not change its priority. Can you reproduce this issue with every overdue task?

If you postpone any overdue task using the "Postpone" feature, it becomes scheduled for its next available occurrence. For example, if you have an "every Friday" task and it's been overdue for months, when you click "Postpone", it will become due next Friday (tomorrow). Next time you postpone it, it will move another 7 days into the future etc.

The "Do it Today" feature works differently, though. When you use it on a task due "every 5 days", for example, the task will become due today and when you complete it, its next occurrence will be 5 days from now. This may break the original recurrence formula and we're aware of this issue and hope so fix it soon. Unfortunately, it's quite complex, but we're working on it.

For now, the best way would be to leave tasks overdue. We always include the overdue query in our standard queries so when you click on "today" or "7 days" below the search box, you will see "today, overdue" or "7 days, overdue". Also, the task count becomes red instead of black both in the web-app and in the Chrome plugin so each time there are overdue tasks you shouldn't miss them easily. If you complete an overdue task, its formula won't be affected so based on my example above - an "every Friday" task overdue by months will become due next Friday when you check it off.


Best regards,
David

J
Josh premium
Replied on Mar 21, 2013 - 13:59 UTC

Hi David,

I appreciate your explanation of the difference in functionality between "Postpone" and "Do It Today". In the context of recurring tasks though, the functionality you've delineated is not what I would expect, but that is partly due to assumptions I made about "Postpone".

Given its behaviour with a non-recurrent task due yesterday, for example, of bumping it to tomorrow (rather than today, as "Do It Today" would do), I assumed it would do the same for an instance of a recurring task due today.

For example, say I have "water plants every Friday starting blah blah", and it becomes overdue by a day. So on Saturday, my task count becomes red and to resolve that, I want to move the task either to today (Saturday, for the sake of example), or tomorrow (Sunday).

"Postpone" in my understanding, given your explanation, will bump it to the following Friday, in which case some of my plants will probably die if I don't actually do the task until then.

"Do It Today" on the other hand, will move the task to today, but change the recurring task from Friday to Saturday, even though the definition of the task remains the same when I go to edit it (every Friday starting blah blah). I believe that's what happened here, as I had some overdue tasks and just chose "Do It Today" before bed late the other night (at which point it was the next day). My apologies for the mix-up in my original post in this thread.

So it seems that my only options at the moment to resolve this, are:

1. Delete the recurring task and re-add it (not at all desirable)

2. Let the task become overdue again, and then use the "Do It Today" function on the following Friday to move the recurrence again to a Friday (also not desirable; can't decide if more or less annoying than option 1).

I am glad that I now understand how both functions work, and again appreciate your time in explaining that. I think the reason the behaviour of both when it comes to recurring tasks is unintuitive, is that I expect anything I do to a single instance of a recurring task to behave like when one chooses to override "just this instance" of a recurring appointment in pretty much any common calendaring program (Outlook, Google Calendar, etc.). If I were to do that with an appointment that was supposed to be yesterday, and move it either to today or to tomorrow, it would only affect the one instance on my calendar.

For the time being, I'll avoid "Postpone" entirely with instances of recurring tasks. I look forward to either an adjustment to "Do It Today"'s functionality to behave similar to the above, or a different option such as "Reschedule this instance" (for single instances of recurring tasks) or "Reschedule This Task" (for both single occurrence tasks, and single instances of recurring tasks). Now that I know the different behaviour of "Postpone" and "Do It Today" I question whether they're both needed anyway (options for "Postpone" could be 'today', 'tomorrow', 'next scheduled occurrence', 'enter a specific date' for example).

Best Regards,

-Josh-

David Trey staff
Replied on Mar 21, 2013 - 14:14 UTC

Josh,

That's correct, but this is unfortunately, an issue on our side and we also don't think that "Do it today" should break the recurrence and we hope we can fix it eventually so that it will indeed only work for a single instance.

For now, you don't have to re-add the task or change its date at all. According to your example, if you don't water your plants on Friday, then you'll see on Saturday that this task is overdue, but instead of moving it to today or postponing it - you can water your plants now and check off this task when you do. This will naturally move the task to its next occurrence on next Friday and you won't risk missing the task by postponing it, it will stay overdue until you finish it. You could consider every overdue task as highest priority and only postpone them if you're certain that you won't be able to complete it this week at all.


Best regards,
David

J
Josh premium
Replied on Mar 21, 2013 - 14:22 UTC

Hi David,

Thanks; that "third way" is very helpful in this case! I will opt for that until/unless the behaviour of "Do It Today" changes for instances of recurring tasks.

Cheers,

-Josh-

DR
Debra Russell premium
Replied on Jul 18, 2013 - 23:38 UTC

I have a slightly different question, but along this same line.

Here's my situation. I use the following system for doing my finances. I have a recurring task every friday "Input this week's receipts". But let's say, due to illness or travel or whatever, I've missed 2 Fridays.

What I want to do is enter the first week's receipts, and then click the "overdue" task from 2 weeks ago (14 days overdue). And then have it recur now only 7 days overdue, reminding me to enter that week's receipts. But it seems if I complete it, whenever I complete it, it shows up on the next available Friday.

Is there another option to move it without breaking the recurring program? I know I can manually change the due date, but that removes the recurring. I don't think I can say ev Fri starting with a past date, can I?

Brendon Wadey staff
Replied on Jul 18, 2013 - 23:46 UTC

Hi Debra,

Unfortunately that is true, you can not start a recurring task on a past date. As described before we do hope to improve this in the future, and for now I think the best solution in your case is to leave it overdue until both missed tasks are completed. You could add notes stating what has been done or hasn't been done.

Thanks,
Brendon.

DR
Debra Russell premium
Replied on Jul 18, 2013 - 23:51 UTC

Yeah, that's what I've been doing.

But I'd like to use this when there's a whole series of tasks to be performed in a particular order, which then recur on a regular basis - so it becomes more like a checklist than individual tasks and I know where I left off from what's oldest on the list.

Brendon Wadey staff
Replied on Jul 19, 2013 - 00:08 UTC

Debra,

I was mistaken. You can create a recurring task on a past date, but it does not solve the issue, once you check it off it will move to the next available date. Which is why I said it's not possible, thinking of your overall question.

I suppose if you miss to Fridays, you could remove that task, create to new overdue tasks, and check them off when you are done. This is not an ideal solution though.

Again, we do hope to improve all this in the future.

Thanks, sorry for the confusion.
Brendon.