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Share your task / todo workflows

Hi there !

I propose to open a thread to try to gather discussions about task management in Joplin (todo, GTD, etc).

Personally, I am currently working in a GTD logic with a "task" notebook that contains four notes:

  1. Open : Open tasks are the stock of tasks taken on the fly that do not yet have an assigned due date.
  2. Actionable : Actionable tasks are those that have an assigned due date in less than 7 days or late.
  3. Closed : Closed tasks are finished.
  4. Waiting : Waiting tasks are tasks, with or without a due date, that contain the "wait" tag.

Inside these notes, I use the wonderful joplin-plugin-note-overview plugin (thanks to @JackGruber). The idea is to get the tasks in all the notebooks and to order them in a table to keep track of them.

Here is what it looks like in code and in pictures...

Here we try to filter the tasks that do not have assigned dates and are in the "stock". In Joplin, a task without an assigned date has one corresponding to 1970-01-01. So we filter by date.

<!-- note-overview-plugin
search: -due:19700201 iscompleted:0
fields: title, notebook
alias: title AS TITLE, notebook AS CONTEXT
sort: todo_due ASC
-->

When you run the command "create note overview"... tada !

image

If you want more context (for example for closed tasks), you can do like this...

<!-- note-overview-plugin
search: type:todo iscompleted:1
fields: todo_due, title, tags, body, notebook, created_time
alias: todo_due AS échéance, title AS titre, tags AS tags, body AS contenu, notebook AS carnet, created_time AS création
sort: todo_due ASC
-->

In fact, thanks to the favorites plugin (thanks to @benji300) I can keep these synthetic task files in the top right corner.

And you, how do you proceed ?

4 Likes

Interesting but too limited for me. My tasking system has been evolving since I first installed Joplin and it has given me the freedom to expand as I wish. I do not foresee having to migrate off of Joplin.
I also started with GTD, but you also need to consider the book's additional diagrams: CTEP (Context, Time, Energy, Priority) and the workflow diagram.

I couldn't stop there either. I had imported all my tasks and notes from 3 other different systems, so I started with about 3000 tasks to organize.

I also use the Eisenhower methodology, the programming MoSCoW paradigm, and others. These are all good methodologies but they need to be worked into your system one at a time. Now I have about 5000 tasks and notes and I find that I rely on the sub-folder system on the desktop version of Joplin (Android version is just for reading and checking off boxes).

HTH

1 Like

Hi @markrenier

Thanks for your feedback. It is interesting. My experience makes me think a bit like Bastien Guerry (org-mode). How do you manage this system in Joplin ? Only with notebooks in which you move tasks? How do you do a complete review ? 5000 tasks and notes it’s impressive !

In my left pane with folders and subfolders, I organize by time, initially. All top-level folders are years, 2021, 2022, etc. Then months as the next level of subfolders, then weeks, then days. No I don't map out days for every year, just the current week. Then as tasks are completed within the folders, the tasks are deleted, but the folders live on and I move those to the next year, empty.
Within a day, I divide the day into watches (US Navy watch system), and watches into hours. No more than ten tasks per hour.
I parse the tasks allocated at the specific time. Many of my tasks repeat, so I don't complete them, I move them to the next time slot when they will be useful again. Tasks which do not repeat are grouped together in a subfolder named by category.
I never do a complete review; instead I review the tasks allocated at my current time slot. I am only reporting to myself. I have many tasks, tasks are organized into projects, a project gets its own folder, and a project folder may have it's own subfolders. Maybe if I was using Joplin for only one project, I would do a complete review, but I have many many projects, and I do them when I can get to them. If I don't have time for it, when that watch closes out, I have to re-assign it to some time in the future, where I can be reasonably expected to be able to resolve it. Everything is searchable of course so I always have the ability to locate a particular task or folder and jump right to it.
Thanks for the article link, I need to digest that one.

1 Like

Thank you for this clarification. In fact, I understand the importance you place on time. I also have a journal system that allows me to keep notes from meetings. Each day has its own note with the following format in a "journal" folder: 2021-05-06

The advantage of this system comes with the use of backlinks. If I make a link to a project in the note, when I go back to the note of the project I remember that we talked about it at such date thanks to the backlink.

I think I would have a hard time having a system like yours because I have a lot of small (or less) tasks that are not related to projects. Thanks for sharing.

And I thought I use complex Todo approach :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
That is for sharing, you i inspired me to improve!

2 Likes

Great @PeeTeeH ! Share your workflow after too :wink:

Cool to see what other people are doing! I've been doing GTD with Joplin too, very happy with it thus far. I just use Notebooks for all my contexts. Then just a few more Notebooks: one for waiting, one for closed, one for projects, one for someday/maybe, and that pretty much sums me up. I like to note a time estimate on each of my next actions when I'm doing GTD, so I just put a " - 30m" at the end of the title (e.g. for 30 minutes) -- all very low-tech like that, so far. I've only been at it for a few months yet with Joplin, and GTD has been an ever-developing (and sometimes stop-and-start) learning process for me over the years, so I'm sure a lot of what I'm doing will change over time as I continue to learn about Joplin and more importantly, about myself.

One thing I really like -- in addition to the syncing of course -- is the ability to easily have all my notes in Joplin. Which can include extended bullet lists, paragraphs, tables, images, checklists, files attached, everything. I keep an extensive "General Notes" section, outside of my immediate GTD projects/actions/someday-maybe scheme. Some things I like to do with it are:

  • Compile extended "Planning and execution notes" around certain projects, that are too big and complex to fit in my GTD project note.
  • Record and organize "Ideas", things that don't quite make it onto the "Somday/Maybe" list, because I never want to necessarily see them in my weekly-, or monthly-, or 3-monthly-reviews, but I still like to have them and browse them sometimes.
  • Curate a "Reference" list of key info that I know I'll probably be coming back to, repeatedly, for a long time or forever.

I love having the further ability to link to any of these easily from within a to-do or project, search them, sync them, and all the other niceness that comes with being all integrated within Joplin.

Slightly off-topic but I also consider essential to my Joplin usage for any and all purposes, @JackGruber's awesome backup plugin, because I would be screwed if I lost all my notes one day (and who ever does manual backups?).

Something I wish I had, is an easier/cleaner way to transfer emails and their attachments directly into Joplin (imagining something sorta like the amazing Joplin web clipper browser extension). I wish I knew how to write Thunderbird extensions, that'd be first on my list.

I don't actually use Note Overview almost at all yet, but I think that's mainly because my Joplin GTD so far is only for home (at work I'm still using Outlook/OneNote for my GTD) so I'm less overloaded and don't have to prioritize/track due dates with such ruthless efficiency. At work with Outlook, I have so many open tasks I find the need to use due dates and priority markers on them pretty heavily, and then use overviews to see all my upcoming due dates across contexts. If I ever adopt Joplin for work, or even if I don't, I see task due dates and due date overviews in my Joplin future, so I'll take inspiration from you on how to implement that.

Great idea for a thread! Thanks

Hi @dabreese00 !

Thanks for your reply.

As far as GTD is concerned, the great strength of Joplin is that it allows you to have tasks and notes in the same place. On the other hand, I think you have to be careful not to confuse them. I agree with Bastien Guerry on this... maybe also because I used emacs + org-mode for a long time. Anyway, I think it's important not to confuse reminders and due dates.

For this, you can try cb_thunderlink to link a message from thunderbird to your Joplin task. Just insert a link to the mail in your task and it will open in a dedicated window or in the Thunderbird instance if it is already open.

Have a nice day!

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That's a great idea! However, I haven't managed to get it to run. The links just don't 'show'. Did you have to activate some other settings/extension?

Did you try this ? https://camiel.bouchier.be/en/cb_thunderlink/installation?with_menu=1

Yes, have it installed and running. But when I copy the link into Joplin, it just does not register as a link. I tried different ways of formatting it.

I will try and figure it out later. It's something I've been missing for a long time and I'm sure there is just a minor issue.

Edit: Got it to run. Don't know what went wrong. Just reinstalled and now it works. Many thanks again!

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I finally got around to reading the Bastien Guerry article, great piece! It makes some very important points, I like the way he breaks things down. Thanks for sharing.

The cb_thunderlink looks very cool as well, I am going to have to try that out when I get a chance! Glad @franzperdido got it working. Recently, I'm finding myself gravitating towards just saving the email as a ".eml" file from Thunderbird, and then adding it to Joplin as an attachment. This has its downsides (takes many mouse clicks to do, attachments can be large), but impressively, both desktop and mobile seem to handle opening these ".eml" attachments from Joplin correctly (i.e. opens the full original email using my desired mail client app) out of the box, with no configuration on my part!

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You’re welcome !

If you have your mails on several machines, it means that you may use webmails. In this case you can also select the mail content of the mail and save the selection in Joplin with the browser extension. This is a little less resource intensive than having it as a file in Joplin.

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I actually don't use webmails myself much in practice, but that is another great suggestion for people who do!