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Using Starts Dates on Projects vs. Tasks (Why and when one, the other, or both) Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Revisiting my OF best practices after a period of not using it consistently enough.

Trying to focus more attention on the use of start dates.

Wondering if folks might share their thoughts on when they put a start date on a project vs. just assigning start dates to various tasks and sub-tasks under a project heading.

Trying to use start dates on projects as a relatively automated way of un-cluttering my project list from day to day and thinning down the number of available tasks at any given time.

But also wondering if I might be better off just assigning the on-hold designation for that purpose and then making an effort to review those projects more often (not entirely confident I would keep up on that review process and a little worried something might slip through the cracks if I don't, whereas with a start date, the project will reappear at some point on its own when the start date is reached).

For those who use start dates on tasks, but don't typically use them on projects, how did you come to that approach?

KSS
 
I use On Hold when there isn't a definite date where the project should become active. Otherwise, I use a start date so that I don't have to remember to make it active. If it is a sequential project and the very first action can't be started before a given date, I may put the start date on the project, but it doesn't matter a whole lot, as putting the start date on the action will also hide the subsequent actions from an Available actions view. If the project has some parallelism, I would put a start date on the project only if I didn't want to work on any of it before that date.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
I use On Hold when there isn't a definite date where the project should become active. Otherwise, I use a start date so that I don't have to remember to make it active. If it is a sequential project and the very first action can't be started before a given date, I may put the start date on the project, but it doesn't matter a whole lot, as putting the start date on the action will also hide the subsequent actions from an Available actions view. If the project has some parallelism, I would put a start date on the project only if I didn't want to work on any of it before that date.
Okay, that makes sense and helps clarify a few things that were a bit hazy to me.

Do you ever make choices about this based on how tasks will appear in a "starts soon" perspective?

If I put a start date of 9/15/2011 on a project, all of it's children will show up under "starts next month" if I go to context view, group by start date and filter by "remaining", yes?

But they won't have a start date in the start date field that I can look at in that layout, they'll just be filtered into starts next month, because they inherited the 9/15/2011 start date from their project. Is that correct?

So if I want to see a start date on each task under those circumstances I need to assign one to each task and not just to the project?

Or am I mixed up?

KS
 
I think I answered most of this in the other post. Yes, if you need to see a date in the start date column (or due date column, for that matter) next to each action, you need to explicitly assign one. I find this to be a non-issue in practice, and don't bother. I have a lot of repeating tasks that have start and/or due dates, so my display is well populated with dates, and it is pretty apparent where a block of actions without explicit start/due dates starts. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Also, I use start dates to describe when I can start work on something, not to prescribe when I will start work, so my concern is more with such holes in the upcoming due date display, and hopefully reviewing projects with the review feature is keeping me on top of impending blizzards of work that must get done by a certain date/time. Forecast view on the iPad is also quite helpful, and will be quite popular when it comes to the Mac, I'm certain!
 
Also, while I'm happy to answer these questions, they do seem to me to fall into the category of things where you really learn and absorb them best by tinkering and seeing what happens. Once you think you know what is going on, spend a few minutes trying to come up with a description for someone else who doesn't understand it yet (this is my tried-and-true route to deeper understanding). Even though you now know the answers, go try the experiments!
 
I've been using OF since it was Kinkless GTD. I've tinkered a lot with it. But there's a lot to keep in your head. The ball also keeps moving and things sometimes subtly change from version to version. So sometimes maybe you tinkered with something at one point, dropped it, and then realized later that it might be worth picking up again. But when you pick it up a few versions later, the functionality isn't quite the same. Or there is new functionality that interrelates with it and changes how things work.

I thought this forum was about discussing people's experiences and philosophies around using OF. To me that involves understanding how a function works but also why other people choose to use it a certain way.

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and knowledge on that. I apologize if it feels like I was covering the same ground again in my response. Sometimes I just like to double check and make sure I'm following what somebody has said. I find that to be a time saver in the end.

I agree that the forecast view is nice. I've got that on my iPod. I think that's really what I'm missing on the Mac. So I'm trying to figure out the best way to get similar info on the Mac in a form that's useable to me.

KS
 
No implication that you're a beginner intended first thing I do when I see someone describe something new and interesting is do exactly what I suggested, play with it and try to figure out how to describe it to someone else. Just reading about (or watching) it rarely "sets" the knowledge in a lasting way, in my experience.

As for the behavior changing over time, that's one of the reasons I generally do an experiment before posting a suggestion. Even though I "know" all of the information I put in my responses to you, I set up dummy projects, applied start dates to a project and the next action in a project, etc.
 
 


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