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Feature Request: task prioritization! Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekLady
It is easy to remember and focus on what my priorities are. It's harder to focus on other people's priorities (especially when they change frequently), and this is where the ability to prioritize tasks and projects would be extremely helpful for me.
Ah, now it makes sense.

It's not your own priorities that need recording, but someone else's. I understand how easy it is to forget what is important to someone else -- if you asked my husband this is m worst failing. <grin>

Could you add a code word in the Task name, such as HighPri AE, for the task of yours that is highly important to Albert Einstein? Then you could search on the priority code or the PI's initials.

--Liz

Last edited by LizPf; 2007-07-19 at 05:53 AM..
 
Exiting lurk mode for a moment. I've been following this thread closely, and I'm really sympathetic to the request for separate priorities.

I'm just also trying to avoid adding yet another built-in dimension to actions (on top of project, context, flagged, next action, start and due dates, time estimate, etc.), since the more options we add the easier it is to get lost spending time thinking about the system rather than about the actions themselves. (But if you're used to setting priorities and your new system doesn't support it, then you're probably going to spend a lot of time thinking about the system...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekLady
I was using flags for priority markers until they moved it to it's own filter.
Oh! Would it help reduce the need for a separate priority attribute if we restored the ability to sort actions by whether they're flagged?

(Alternatively, what did you think of the prefix hack suggested above where you include the priority as part of the action's name?)
 
Personally, I don't think that prioritisation fits well with GTD for the reasons I've given here, so I'd support no prioritisation beyond flagging and reordering of lists (including sorting by flagging if people feel that would help).
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Case
...since the more options we add the easier it is to get lost spending time thinking about the system rather than about the actions themselves.
I wholeheartedly concur!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Case
Oh! Would it help reduce the need for a separate priority attribute if we restored the ability to sort actions by whether they're flagged?
I think so. Plus, I can't think of a good reason why one shouldn't be able to sort by any of the columns. If a column is worth putting in (and worth being used) it should be worth sorting by.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Case
(Alternatively, what did you think of the prefix hack suggested above where you include the priority as part of the action's name?)
A adequate workaround.

Jim
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Case
Oh! Would it help reduce the need for a separate priority attribute if we restored the ability to sort actions by whether they're flagged?

(Alternatively, what did you think of the prefix hack suggested above where you include the priority as part of the action's name?)
It would eliminate my need for a separate priority attribute if we can sort by flagged, that's how I was using flags before, but I only really need 2 levels of priority - boss placating and normal. I'm sure there are other people that would use a more advanced priority system.

However please don't add flagged back to Sort at the expense of removing the separate flagged filter, Curt might hurt me!

I don't like the idea of adding some sort of code to the front of the action's name for 2 reasons:
1 - Since I need to change them occassionally, I don't want to accidentally delete or alter my action's name trying to change it's priority.
2 - It's just so damn inelegant.

OF does already have notions of priority - in Project view. This is cool but not very useful. Priority is one of GTD's things to evaluate when choosing a task and so, in my opinion, OF needs some way to evaluate priority in Context view. Being able to drag tasks to order them (in Context) would be the most granular, but also the most cumbersome.

I have a hard time thinking of a way to implement priority when all I want is a way for things that I forget are important to keep floating at the top of my lists.
 
OK. Let's go back to the source. I found this on page 49 of Getting Things Done. Here's a paraphrased summary:

The Four-Criteria Model for Choosing Actions in the Moment

For me, this is what I think of when I'm in the Context view of OF

Context Most actions require a specific location or productivity tool. That limits your choices on what you can do in the moment.

OF supports this, obviously.

Time Available Having a meeting in five minutes prevents you from doing many actions.

OF supports this as well.

Energy Available Some actions require a reservoir of fresh creative energy, others need physical horsepower.

Doesn't look like OF supports this directly.

Priority Give the context, time, and energy, what action will give you the highest payoff? (His examples in the book are cross project examples)

OF doesn't support this either

=====

To me, the first three are filters, and the last one is a sort of remaining actions with NO grouping.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by timshadel
Energy Available Some actions require a reservoir of fresh creative energy, others need physical horsepower.

Doesn't look like OF supports this directly.
I think this would be an "of the moment call" of the individual doing the task. To integrate a energy available feature to OmniFocus would be the worst form of micromanagement IMHO. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by timshadel
Priority Give the context, time, and energy, what action will give you the highest payoff? (His examples in the book are cross project examples)

OF doesn't support this either
If you can sort by flags, then they could be used exactly for this type of delineation. Is this a priority or not? Finer grained priorities can be bad for you. A reference follows:

Quote:
Originally Posted by page 8 from the Book Of David :)
And daily to-do lists and simplified priority coding have proven inadequate to deal with the volume and variable nature of the average professional's workload. More and more people's jobs are made up of dozens or even hundreds of e-mails a day, with no latitude left to ignore a single request, complaint, or order. There are few people who can (or even should) expect to code everything an "A," a "B," or a "C" priority, or who can maintain some predetermined list of to-dos that the first telephone call or interruption from their boss won't totally undo.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by timshadel
Energy Available Some actions require a reservoir of fresh creative energy, others need physical horsepower.

Doesn't look like OF supports this directly.
If OF can tell how energetic I'm feeling, it's cleverer than I thought. :)

I think one of the main points of GTD is neatly summarised in Lecter's quote: you can't set priorities rigidly in advance, because the landscape of the typical working day can change so rapidly. That renders any sort of "high, medium, low" or whatever system redundant as far as I'm concerned: you'd spend longer readjusting your priority settings than you would actually doing the tasks (OK, I'm exaggerating there, but you see my point). One of the beauties of GTD for me is that it cuts out just that sort of fiddling.
 
I think that this constant harping on how priorities change too quickly to be worth keeping track of is really falling into one of the traps GTD is designed to help us avoid: don't stop to immediately process a new task or piece of information, unless it's absolutely necessary.

My workplace is one constant interruption (as a technician, I am keeper of the lab's tribal wisdom!), and pre-GTD I was notorious for forgetting to do things I committed to doing. The one great thing it taught me that I didn't have to try to remember, and I didn't have to do it right away, but I could put it in an inbox and deal with it when I wasn't working on something.

If a priority changes, if I need to put one project on my back burner and work on something else, I don't run back to my computer right away to update my priorities. If I chip a tooth and have to call my dentist right this very instant, I don't go and upgrade my "call the dentist" task first.

If something needs immediate action, I do it. I don't fuss about whether my system says it's important - this is what the evening review is for. If something gets a priority change, but doesn't need immediate action, it goes to my inbox - a 2 minute task that probably will never see the inside of OF's database.

And in the evening when I review my day, if a lower priority task became immediate and got done, I just check it off, because hey it got done, and now it doesn't matter whether it was urgent or not.

It's useful information if you don't obsess about it. Not everything needs a start date or a due date, and not everything needs a priority, but if you don't recognize a task as important when it really is, it's useful information to have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by al_f
That renders any sort of "high, medium, low" or whatever system redundant as far as I'm concerned: you'd spend longer readjusting your priority settings than you would actually doing the tasks (OK, I'm exaggerating there, but you see my point).
 
Here's a crazy idea for consideration. (Please excuse my rough sketches.)

What if priority was just a little icon like the current flag and note icons? Something like this:
Name:  Priority1.png
Views: 604
Size:  754 Bytes

Clicking the priority icon would pop up a little slider control something like this:
Name:  Priority2.png
Views: 586
Size:  2.4 KB

Rather than being a very specific value in an A-B-C, 1-2-3 priority system, priority just becomes a point on a relative scale. (I think Life Balance does something like this, but it's been awhile.)

Now here's the crazy bit...

Suppose you're in context view and sorted by priority. Dragging a task to a new position in the list would set its priority slider to the average of its two new neighbors. Thus, rearrangements in context view would "stick". You could change the view configuration then change back to priority-based sorting without losing the ordering information. And like dates and flags, the priority information wouldn't be "in your face". It would just be lurking there if you need it.

This is probably too baroque for an Omni app. In particular, what should happen if you try to drag items in context view when sorted by something other than priority. But it seems like a fun idea to play with.

Without rehashing the debate about the GTD-osity of priorities, I'd love to hear what others think of this idea.
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
 


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