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Advice on managing large numbers of undated tasks

I have a large number of undated tasks such as "read book X", "visit friend Y in France", "sell Z on eBay", "catch up with Bob".

None have specific due dates but they range from minor to major and short term plan to long term plan.

As I normally look at "7 days, overdue" I don't see them and unless I actively walk through my projects. Looking at the undated view becomes cumbersome with a large number of tasks, especially as many undated tasks are sub-tasks of dated tasks - I don't need to see them yet.

I'm migrating to Todoist from Life Balance where this was handled by using locations (eg Home, Shops, Blue Sky) and inheritance in sub-tasks (undated tasks effectively inherit due dates from the parent).

What do people do in Todoist? Labels look promising, or perhaps sorting the undated list by priority?

I feel there are some potential feature requests here, eg:

* Sort by neglect, how long has this task been ignored?
* Possible addition, allow postpone to push it back
* Undated sub-tasks inherit the parent's due date.

All responses

David Trey  staff
Replied on Aug 23, 2012 - 14:33 UTC

Hello Peter,

if the undated tasks are sub-tasks of dated parent tasks, you can see them on the 7 days view by using the arrow icon on the left side of the parent task. Each time there's such icon next to the task, it means that this is a parent task and all its sub-tasks are listed there.

You can quickly assign the same date for a whole task structure by selecting all these tasks (to do so, hold down SHIFT and then click on each task) and choosing the "Update date" option from the menu which will appear at the top.

Finally, if you're not sure about when to date a task, but want to easily see all such tasks at one, you can always add a @someday label to them. Next, you can just type @someday within the search box to see all these tasks. Typing just the @ sign will show you all available labels and you can pick the "someday" label from the list. Also, clicking on a label from any view in any task will display all tasks associated with it.

Of course, same applies to priorities. You can even prioritize each @someday labelled task.

Alternatively, you can simply query "no date" into the search box to see all undated tasks or "view all" for a complete overview of all tasks from all projects.

Also, you're welcome to add your suggestions to our Votebox: http://todoist.com/Vote/ and we will certainly consider your feedback while improving our service and adding new features.

Best regards,

Mike Bacon
Replied on Aug 24, 2012 - 07:55 UTC

I never leave a date blank. Even if it's not a true deadline, I put a date in with a low priority, maybe a week or month out. So even if it's "Catch up with Bob", I'll put it a week out. Having to look at it and deal with it, maybe just delaying the due date another week, makes me think about it and either delay it, do it or decide it just doesn't need to get done!

Frank Piacitelli  premium
Replied on Feb 26, 2014 - 04:14 UTC

I have the same issue, and am also trying to migrate from Life Balance. Life Balance (IMHO) has a great system for managing tons of ideas and tasks, and helps you decide what to do "right now". But Life Balance hasn't kept up with UI standards or technology in general, like Todoist and other modern applications. I understand the idea of using false deadlines, even if they're just to say "check on this again at this date", but for me they're so arbitrary and myopic that they're counterproductive -- maintaining the 'system' ends up eating up too much time. I love the UI and "works everywhere" technology of Todoist, but I wish the overall approach was more like Life Balance, which to me is the best-ever software implementation of GTD.

Mark Gannon  premium
Replied on Mar 10, 2014 - 15:43 UTC

Hi Peter

I too store tasks without dates which might include books to read, music to buy or other work specific items that I want to keep on my list but don't have a specific date for yet. I think these are different from "Someday Maybe" as they are live but date to be fixed is how I would see them.

If you are doing GTD properly then you should review ALL tasks at least weekly anyway. I have two recurring tasks set up in Todoist. One is "Daily GTD Review" which reminds me to review my tasks for the day and the next 3 days. The other is "Weekly GTD Review" which I do on a Friday and is my weekly close down and my review of the next week and month. That then allows me to update any undated tasks.

Hope that helps!

Mark :-)