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Next Steps

LJ

I use todoist on the Mac and on iOS and I love almost everything about it. But I find that it, along with almost every other GTD app, misses the boat in one way: the next step that results from getting an item done. I could have a task set up for "Call Elaine for a status update on Project X," and I could make that call, accomplish that task, and check it off the list. But oftentimes, accomplishing that task results in one or more tasks that could not necessarily have been foreseen. For instance, the status update I got from Elaine may have given me some information that causes me to need to contact Tom for clarification. In that situation, I'd love to have something that allows me the option to follow up in some way, whether that's a pop-up to ask me if there is any follow up needed or another button that, if clicked, checks off this task and opens up a new task, or something more elegant than I have thought of. But it's got to be more than just clicking this task as "completed" and then creating a new task. I want one step that allows me to do both. And maybe it could even cause a reference "string" of tasks to be carried along so we can see the chain of events that got us here. This is NOT plain project planning/management whereby we are going to step 1 and then step 2 and then step 3…and all of this can planned out in advance. No, this is where the accomplishment of one task triggers the realization that another task needs to be done now and the accomplishment of that task may trigger the necessity of another…An elegant solution to this would put you even farther ahead of all the other solutions out there. Thanks for your consideration.

All responses

David Trey staff
Replied on Jun 30, 2014 - 20:19 UTC

Hello Larry,

Thank you for your feedback. There are 3 ways of doing this in Todoist:

1. Add a sub-task - if the parent task requires a follow-up action, it basically results in the need of another step towards the goal. That's what sub-tasks are for. A task that just required a call, now also requires an additional action which will be a part of it.

2. Use task notes - keep it as a single task, but take a note that it requires a follow-up. You can also change its date to when the follow-up is required.

3. Use labels and notes - this links to the second option, but if you don't want to change the task's original date, you can add a label, for example @followup or @waiting and then by the end of each day, search for tasks with such label.


Best regards,
David

LJ
Larry Jamieson premium
Replied on Jun 30, 2014 - 20:52 UTC

I get that these 3 ways COULD help me to do what I'm asking, but none of them are very elegant and none of them work in MY process. Instead of just looking to see how todoist can sort of accomplish this today, I request that you re-read my post, take a big step back, and think through how todoist could accomplish this in a way that does it better than any other solution on the market. I get that I may do things a little differently than everybody else does, but I think there are probably a lot of us who just try to get tasks down "on paper" and then, as we accomplish those tasks, they trigger additional steps or tasks. Wouldn't it be great if there was more than just a "done" check box for me? What if there were a different type of button that I click for "done, but now…" and then a new task box pops up? I'd be jumping up and down! This is different than a sub-task. And it certainly could be handled more elegantly that using notes or a combination of labels and notes. I'm not asking you how I can possibly get this done with todoist as it exists today. I'm giving you a window into an opportunity to add functionality that could benefit so many and I really think it would pretty simple to do. I love todoist…but here is an opportunity to make it that much better!!! Please!!!

David Trey staff
Replied on Jun 30, 2014 - 20:58 UTC

Larry,

We will of course consider your feedback while improving Todoist and see if we can implement such feature in the future, but whenever a requested option is currently not available, we usually also try to help showing how existing functionality could be an alternative.

I understand that neither of it is the way you'd like it to work, but again - these were just suggestions, I'm sorry to hear that neither of them was helpful :-(


Best regards,
David

LJ
Larry Jamieson premium
Replied on Jun 30, 2014 - 21:05 UTC

Thank you for your responses and your suggestions. Please don't apologize. As I said before, I love todoist. I'm passionate about this one because seldom do I discover something that I can almost see in my mind's eye that would work to solve a process issue that I have with an app. Most of the time I just think, "well, I wish it would work differently" but I don't know what that would look like. And seldom do I feel like I actually have something that would help improve something so tangibly. Any way, I appreciate todoist and I appreciate all the people behind it. If I can provide any other information to help anyone understand this suggestion, please let me know.

SR
Scott Rixon premium
Replied on Jul 01, 2014 - 07:46 UTC

I have to agree.. It's sending that e-mail, clicking 'complete' and then creating a waiting for task for the reply.

I don't like notes, because then I haven't completed the task. So I create a new task, but it could be more simple. Have a complete and create button?

Clyde Romo staff
Replied on Jul 01, 2014 - 10:56 UTC

Hi Scott,

Thank you for your suggestions. Having a "complete and create button" is an interesting idea and we'll try to explore this as a possible solution though the challenge would be to add it and not make the interface look cluttered and complex.

Regards,

Clyde

John P. Smith, Jr. premium
Replied on Sep 15, 2014 - 12:16 UTC

Nice! Having a "complete and create button" is exactly the solution I was just searching for. I think that would be a great solution/feature! Thanks for exploring this one, I'll be anxiously waiting for it.

John P. Smith, Jr.

MK
Michał Klepaczko
Replied on Oct 03, 2014 - 10:25 UTC

This "next step" function is also one of the key things I'm looking for in a task app. It's not about a "complete and create" button but reallly about what larry mentionned, that is the ability to link tasks one after the other. That would result in a tree where you see see only the first level and the second level shows up as taks only when level is completed.

Don't misunderstand me, this is NOT SUBTASKS. It't really about planning the route to the end point step by step. When task A is done, tasks B and C show up. It's a major help in task planning as B and C should not appear in my tasks list till A is done. Especially if task A is assign to my colleague and task B to me, task B appears in my list as soon my colleague finishes task A. No time lost, no need thinking and assigning a new task.

Quick example: I need to have an invoice signed and sent by secretary to a client once my colleague finishes a job. Then:

Task A: John should finish the job
Task B: Mike should sign the invoice
Task C: Anna should send invoice by mail

In the actual Todoist scheme, there should be a main task with three subtasks A, B and C. All three task are visible to John, me and Anna. Even if me and Anna have the task to do, we can't do it because A is not done. That just messes the task list with things that can't be done, it's not productive!

Task B should should pop up when A is finished, then it's a valuable task in the list. Same way task C should pop up to Anna's list when B is finished, not earlier.

This would be extremely valuable, especially for repetitive task schemes, for examples making a new sale. You have a task tree template ready, as soon as the sale is done it launches next steps tasks to your colleagues, pack product, print invoice, send product etc.... all taks appearing in the lists ONLY WHEN they can done RIGHT AWAY.

That would be productive!
Hope you will consider it...
Mike

cyril trebuchet premium
Replied on Oct 05, 2014 - 17:52 UTC

+10000 for me, this is such a good idea.

The sub task option is not a solution for me either. And this is not working on iOS !

I always have case like this. Completing a task should trigger the next one. Basically, I can't set a due date for a task because it depends on the completion of another one.

Please work hard and do your best to see this coming one day ! This will surely be used by a lot of people...(not like the unusable location reminder, just saying ;-)

MM
Mike Mitchell premium
Replied on Oct 05, 2014 - 18:08 UTC

While this feature might be nice, I have the same issue and found it's quite simple to resolve. First of all, not every completed task will require a follow-up so each completion MUST be considered on an individual basis; therefore, it is just as easy to create a follow-up task (hit 'q' on the keyboard) and enter that follow-up right after completion. This is a step I train people to do in CRM settings (never have a contact without a scheduled action).

Second, if the task by it's nature is going to require a follow-up task, the sub-task is the perfect solution because this would be known when the original task is set up. By definition in GTD, a task that requires multiple steps is a project. I don't like setting up a project for all multi-step tasks so I find the sub-task to be a perfect solution - like a mini-project.

Finally, the necessity for a follow-up task may only become apparent when the task is completed or it may become apparent that several follow-up reminders are necessary. For instance, I just sent an email to a regulator about a question I had on a government form. When I completed the task, the accomplishment intended behind it was not completed and it would leave a dangling detail that just clutters my already-too-small brain. I didn't even think about this until I had sent the email. Now I need another task but that task may need another task and another. I won't know how many until the regulator answers my question or refers me to someone else. If the task is to "get the answer", it may be weeks before I can check it off but if I check it off and schedule a new one, my karma is left intact, I'm diligently following up, and eventually will prevail. This is how I actually accomplish what I'm seeking to achieve.

While I can see an automatic pop-up being useful when I need to do a follow-up, it would be really irritating if it were involved in all the tasks that don't require it. Any way I think about it, I can't come up with a simple "on action" follow-up that wouldn't hinder the majority of my task creation/completion . Perhaps adding something like:

">Add duplicate follow-up"

on the right-click menu would serve this purpose. Or a keystroke.

cyril trebuchet premium
Replied on Oct 06, 2014 - 10:08 UTC

I've been thinking about this.

To keep the interface simple, my best proposal would be :

exemple :

- task A (due date set by user)
- task B (due date is going to be on completion date of task A)
- task C (due date is going to be on completion date of task B)
...

- add task A and select a due date
- for task B, click on the "3dots menu" on the right. the name could be "set due date on completion of another task".
- once you click on this option, you could choose another task (in the exemple task A).
- select task A, it's all set and ready to go.

- You can then add task C, and link it to task B

I think this would be a very good feature

MK
Michał Klepaczko
Replied on Oct 06, 2014 - 10:25 UTC

Well in this case it should not have any completion date at all. Task B pops up when task A is finished and is due asap. Same for task C. Just keep it even more simple.

If you wish to set up a due date for task B then it should be task A + x days. Then you can add the option.

For me the most important is to hide tasks B and C till A is completed. Then your task list remain clean, it contains only task you can do. It could eventually appear as "task A (+2)" in your list so you can see something will follow up and check that if needed.

I would appreaciate a comment from the staff to know if this is anyting todoist would work on any soon...?

cyril trebuchet premium
Replied on Oct 06, 2014 - 10:46 UTC

Not setting any date for task B would be a lost task for me.

It depends how you work with todoist but i don't often go browse my projects. I mainly use the today view.

So hiding the task and making it appearing is not a solution for me. Hiding a task doesn't seem a good thing in general for me.

Having it in your project and setting a date when you complete another one, so the task appears in your today view seem much better to me.