I’ve been using a couple of “Projects” for grouping daily work in various ticket queues: one for triaging, and the other for regular ticket smashing. This is a hold over from an idea in my previous post, “Things: Repeating Projects!“1
When migrating some stuff to TaskPaper, I created those two projects from Things as projects in TaskPaper—which are also shown in the sidebar. Getting messy after four days in!
Daily work “projects” means that the Archive projects displayed in the sidebar will be extremely long if I don’t do something. I have a couple of options so far:
- Don’t use them as projects, but Markdown headings. I can still fold the text under that header—that’s what I want.
- Move them to another file weekly, to keep things tidy. I’d need to open the Archive TaskPaper file.
Now that I consider it, the second option isn’t that big of a deal. It’s all plain text, and relatively quick.
For now, I’m trying the first: Markdown headings, then making sure to indent the relevant tasks I’d like the group.
- Things — In the Logbook, completed projects stand out versus todos because they contain multiple todos. However, repeating todos overpower projects due to the large volume of regular completed todos. I have a habit of noting the amount of time I spend across our numerous queues. ↩
I wrote a comment in a previous post (Considering TaskPaper 3) to describe how I could add information to my TaskPaper files with Siri using Reminders and Drafts. Check that out. Now, I’ll briefly explain how I’ve worked with my TaskPaper files on my iPhone so far.
My decision to get TaskMator was based on Gabe Weatherhead’s reviews on Macdrifter. I recommend reading them first. 🙂
This morning, I also listened to Episode 026 — Old Stock Ale and Task Management from Nerds on Draft (an episode from a year ago), which includes some discussion about TaskPaper and TaskMator. (See show notes.)
Anyway. I haven’t used the alarm feature yet. Filtering by project or tag works well. Same with search from the home screen, which seems fast. I’m also fiddling with saved searches:
(@due or @today or @flag) and not @done
not (type = note or @done)
Quick tasks <= 15m
@time <= 15 and not (type = note or @done)
At the moment, I omit the notes in some saved searches because I use often include notes. (In the TaskPaper app, I collapse these quickly. All from my keyboard, loving it.) With the above syntax, that means done tasks aren’t displayed even though the notes under those tasks are technically not marked as done.
Anyway, the goal is to narrow the scope of my tasks. I might create two dupes that include notes for more detail.
For adding stuff to my TaskPaper files, I have several actions in Drafts that prepends the chosen draft.
- TP (Personal)
- TP (Personal, done)
- TP (Personal, added)
For the second and third, those are for instances where I only have a single-line draft.1
When ready to clear my “inbox” at the top of the file, and on my iPhone, I can tap each task, and move it to my desired “project”.2 Or, using two fingers—tap and hold the bottom menubar, then proceed tapping the other tasks you’d like to manage—I can add the relevant tags, then move it to the correct project.
I’m not certain if the purpose of Taskmator is to use a one or two huge TaskPaper files. If you enable the badge number, and the most recent file you opened had over 250 tasks, your mind would go numb. I’d like the ability to designate a project for each TaskPaper file, but I imagine using a different setting for separate files would be tough to implement.
Even though I’ve gotten comfortable with Things, I’m pleased with TaskMator!
Folding items – You can now fold items, hiding the items indented under them. To fold and item click the blue bullet point to the left of the items text.
Focus projects – You can now truly focus projects instead of just filtering to show a single project. The difference is when you focus a project like this you’ll no longer see all the leading indentation. This means you can create deep levels of subprojects and still edit them comfortably, instead of seeing a bunch of leading whitespace everywhere.
I keep track of my work through our various ticket (email) queues with a few notes under the task for each queue. Having everything neatly folded when I open TaskPaper and makes me happy. I switch to the Today saved search, then working through tasks one at a time, focusing with ease when needed. Super quick, and entirely from the keyboard.
It’s also fast and handy to start a clean ad hoc brain dump without opening a new file or window. (I did this today reviewing some information for an internal P2 thread.) The following takes a couple of seconds.
- Start a new line.
- Create your heading.
- Go In (⌥⌘→), and all the other text disappears.
- When you’re done, you can Go Out (⌥⌘←).
No need for the text? Indent the line after the header for speedy folding (⌘.) under that header. When you’re ready to trash that text, fold the branch (⌘.), select the branch (⇧⌘B), then delete (⌃⇧K).
Try the demo!
Generally, I prefer including timestamps with every task, project, or note for the following reasons:
- “Then you’ll have it”2. (i.e. You never know if that will help in the future.)
- When reviewing my tasks and projects, the timestamp is a gentle nudge to moving something forward.
- If something is super stale, I’ll feel more comfortable deciding to punt it.
A penny for your thoughts! Does it really matter adding that information with to-dos and projects? Despite using snippets, am I still wasting time?