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Mark a task as "In progress"


Should be pretty simple feature. I often am working on more than one task, I will begin to work on the task but I cannot simply complete it so I want to mark it as in progess, letting me know to move onto another task. Sometimes a task has work which requires waiting on another party to complete their end of the work, in that time I would like to move onto another task while having the current task marked as in progress.

All responses

Quintum premium
Replied on Sep 04, 2013 - 10:54

Expanding the status options of a task could be very interesting. In addition to the standard "todo" and "complete" options, one could add an "ongoing" status as David suggests but an additional "waiting/delegated" status might be useful as well.

Of course one has to be careful not to over-complicate the clean Todoist interface. The "Tasks To Do" app on Android gives an example of how this feature might be added (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.als.taskstodo) in combination with the priority color suggestion (https://todoist.com/Vote/showProposal/695/#comment_1432).

David Trey staff
Replied on Sep 04, 2013 - 12:16

Hello Quintum,

You can already keep track of the status of any task using labels. Simply type @waiting or @ongoing into the task's name and you'll be able to filter tasks with these labels, exclude or include them in searches and more. Even color-code them as you want.

Please refer to these posts on our blog for more information:
- Part 1 (labels as a context): https://todoist.com/blog/2013/01/use-task-labels-for-contextual-productivity/
- Part 2 (labels as a status): https://todoist.com/blog/2013/02/use-task-labels-to-monitor-task-status/

Best regards,

Quintum premium
Replied on Sep 06, 2013 - 02:29

Thanks for the great tips! I love reading the blog and discovering new usage or reviewing techniques. That approach of indicating the delegation of tasks to other people using the labels might be something for the main Help and Reference.

Replied on Sep 27, 2013 - 00:03

YES. This is exactly what I'd like to see.

Todd Rossi
Replied on Oct 09, 2013 - 15:55

I'll try using the tagging feature to keep track of in-progress tags, but it still feels like a "work-around" to properly implementing a new property for a task in the same way that the due date for a task is implemented as a property.

If tagging was really as effective, why wouldn't we just use tagging to define a task's due date? Why make it a separate property? Because it adds value to the application for most of the people that use it.

I believe for the same reason that making an in progress or a percent complete status would make TD a far more effective and useful app for me. It would roll the concept of a task's stages of completeness and status into one simple progress bar or number.

David Trey staff
Replied on Oct 09, 2013 - 17:52


Thank you for your feedback. The reason why dates are a separate feature is due to their complexity - they can't be just one element with a name, but must be recurring with different patterns, times, visible in multiple views etc.

Meanwhile, a task status can be just a name and we think that labeling the status makes this feature very powerful as based on your workflow you can have many statuses while implementing this as a fixed set would force everyone to utilize just the given options. Labels are much more flexible.

Best regards,

Li Huang premium
Replied on Mar 27, 2014 - 04:49

In progress makes the application a little over-complicated, there are many small tasks which you may finish in 5 minutes, why add one more status ? The label is a flexible solution, but could we make the label display bigger and more attractive in the task list, green and same size as task name is not very eye catching.

Chad Jackson premium
Replied on Apr 15, 2014 - 15:21

Love this idea. Many times I have a task that may span multiple days to complete. An In Progress status (and showing it in the Today or 7 Day view) would allow me to keep an ongoing task top of mind. Getting the best of Kanban and GTD in a single bite sized chunk. Mmmmm... Tasty.

Chad Jackson premium
Replied on Apr 15, 2014 - 15:24


I get your point around labels... and perhaps that would work... but then giving us a way to make 1-2 labels appear in our Today or 7 Day view. I don't know about everyone else... but I need to have what is in front of me to do, actually in front of me and not segregated to another view.

Thanks for all the great work you do.

Miha G premium
Replied on Apr 19, 2014 - 14:06

The concept of "task in progress" is probably not in the spirit of gtd. Namely, originally tasks are defined as "next actions". The principle nature of next action is that it is actionable. If an action is interrupted for whatever reason, this means that another action has started. So, obviously, the previous action was not fully actionable. In my experience this happens if tasks (next actions) are poorly defined. It is essential to split longer actions into small enough, easily actionable chunks - these are then the true "next actions". Such small chunks will be interrupted very rarely. So if one wants to implement gtd there is no need to bother with "tasks in progress". Of course, when we speak about projects, "progress" becomes a very reasonable category . But this is another topic.

Chad Jackson premium
Replied on Apr 19, 2014 - 21:08

I don't think that everyone who uses a Todoist is adhereing completely to a GTD approach. I don't and it is because I fundamentally disagree with the idea that some tasks that could take a day or two to complete can be subdivided. Especially when in the real world tasks are interrupted by meetings and phone calls... Couple that with the reality of deadlines and keeping track of a task that is in flight becomes critical.

Like all pure approaches your assertion is academically attractive but falls down for many people when put into practice.

Miha G premium
Replied on Apr 20, 2014 - 13:00

Chad, I agree. Complete adherence to GTD or any other approach is rare and probably even unnecesary. Also, the mission of Todoist obviously is not to be a "puristic" GTD tool (like facilethings, nirvanahq, zendone etc.). Instead, Todoist offers excellent versatily and flexibility but still succeeds to remain simple. That's why I stick to Todoist.
However, on the other side GTD does offer one of two essential solutions which, if implemented correctly, may lead to enormous increase of productivity. One such concept is "next action". I can tell from my own experience that after I had grasped its meaning, my productivity increased exponentially. Breaking (almost any) work into small, actionable sections makes this same work look much easier (sometimes even fun) and marking the first (and second, third...) small piece as "completed" sort of enhances the self-confidence, dissolves the tendency towards procrastination etc. Yes, interruptions are a problem but I'd still recommend to re-define an "interrupted next action" after returning to it rather than just marking it as "in progress". Just marking an action is a "passive approach" while true productivity requires "active involvement".