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I've tried many of the tasklist and project management applications out there, any yet find myself using excel spreadsheets for managing my task lists, because few applications handle how real task lists work.

Problem #1: Most tasks don't have a due date.

Most task don't have to be done at 3:30 of 5th of june, yet most programs force you into a time oriented paradime. Most tasks are a series of sub-tasks that need to be accomplished to achieve a major task (which might or might not have a due time). For the most part we do the task can be done now, and roll over the rest to the next day. Once a task is complete, the next tasks should automatically bubble up to the top of the list.

Problem #2: Task list should be directly enterable.
The list should be directly enterable without needing to go into a dialog box to fill out lots nonsense like due date and notes, etc (this stuff keeps you from entering the task in the first place because its too time consuming).

Problem #3: Task list items should be easily drag and drop rearrangable.
Rearranging priority in the list view should easy.

Problem #4: Task list should support simple hierarchies.
Tasks should have a vertical list view that should be arrangeable hierarchically. Tasks should easily drag a dropped under another task. collapsing hierarchy would be nice.

Problem #5: Projects should be viewable in parallel.
Multiple project lists work badly in most programs. The only "all tasks" view lumps all tasks into one monolithic list. Much better is to show all active project lists in their own column, side by side. Where all next tasks bubble up to the top, so you can scan across the list and chose the next task to do.
Thanks for your feedback! It sounds like you'll like what we've already done in OmniFocus:

#1: You can assign a due date as a reminder to yourself (and you can assign a start date if you want to keep something off your radar for a while), but we expect that most tasks won't have them. Your next task for your project is whichever task is next on your list.

#2: There are no dialogs in OmniFocus, you simply enter your tasks in an outline (just as you might in OmniOutliner).

#3: The priority of a task is simply its order in the project, and you can drag and drop (or use keyboard commands) to change the order around (just as you might in OmniOutliner).

#4: The tasks in a project are hierarchical and collapsible (again, just like OmniOutliner—are you sensing a theme?).

The one item that we haven't yet implemented is #5 (since that's not just like OmniOutliner!), but we've talked about presenting exactly the view you describe—we're just still in the process of debating exactly where to*put it and how it should be implemented.

Thanks again for your feedback; we're very much looking forward to sharing our first beta with you all!
Thanks for the reply sounds good... almost.

Having a project column view to me is the killer feature. Which is why I currently use excel instead of the Omni Outliner. In fact just yesterday I was taking another look at Outliner to see if it was possible to have several columns of side-by-side outlines. (unfortunately no)

The problem is few of us actually have only one project we work on, we have many concurrent projects. If you have tasks in 5 projects, each of equal priority, in multicolumn views you see all high priority tasks at the top side by side. In a single column view they will be drown in the task list of which ever project outlines are at the top, often going off screen so you don't even see the other equally important tasks.

I see the UI implementation as one type of view. If the top level of the outline is the project, then in single column view each project is listed one after another. In multi column view each active project list has its own outline in its own column. Have view switching buttons at the top of the window (like the finder has). In multicolumn view, it may be best to hide most other columns of task information other than title, to keep it from getting messy.

Make it flexible enough so the top level of the outline could be a project class instead of a particular project. Sometimes I'll have a whole project get its own column, and other times where I have a series of small projects, all falling under one type or class of project, I will put then in a single column together.
I agree with the assessment of other task/project aps out there. Entourage is particularly kludgy.

I too would like to be able to see just the next task of my highest priority projects, and I also don't like it when my list of project tasks moves everything way down the page. However, I don't think a multiple column view is the only way to go.

If I had an outline list of my projects, and an easy way to display just the next action (or maybe actions) for each project - I'd be pretty happy. The key for me would be having a very easy interface to see different views of the outline: only next actions, only incomplete actions, all actions, etc. It sounds to me like Focus is shaping up to have something along these lines.

That said, it would be interesting, in both OO and what I imagine Focus to be, to be able to toggle back and forth between vertical and horizontal displays of an outline. But this would eaily be just an, "interesting" but not so "useful" item and is probably a different topic entirely.
Also, the ability to select non-congruent or a range of tasks and make a change to them. Like change the context of all tasks selected to another context.
kGTD already meets each of tah's criteria, but you have to be willing to do task lists in a GTD manner for it to work. Oh! And it does the context shift views that Hoff wants as well. Again, the views will only make sense if you buy into GTD. This is great for me, but GTD is not for everyone.

It is refreshing to see that Omni is not making OF GTD only. So. Each of us will have a chance of getting our "how real task lists [should] work" system.
Originally Posted by yucca
It is refreshing to see that Omni is not making OF GTD only. So. Each of us will have a chance of getting our "how real task lists [should] work" system.
My hope is that they are making OF GTD only. Every other task management system out there has made their system 'flexible' enough so that it doesn't fit into just one system. While this has some merits, it forces everyone, no matter what system you use, to develop workarounds, tweaks & hacks so that you can use your own system with the product.

I'm sure there will be some flexibility in OF. Because if a product is too restrictive it causes just as much hassle as a product that is too free.

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