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Completing Action Groups Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
How is everyone dealing with action groups? I use them to organize complex projects, and to take advantage of their parallel/sequential toggle, but I find that they linger after I'd like to be done with them. Since they don't have contexts themselves (except a default context that's applied to children), they don't show up in context view where I could check them off. And they aren't automatically completed when the last child is completed.

These uncompleted groups that have only completed children don't block next actions, so there aren't necessarily any ill effects, but when I go to planning mode I often see a bunch of boxes that haven't been checked off, even though, to me, they're done.

I understand why projects work this way. OF forces you to complete a project explicitly, by design, but I don't see the value of doing that for action groups, when OF happily lets you move past them to the next action.

Is there a good reason that OF doesn't automatically mark them as completed when the last child is completed?

Last edited by davisre; 2007-12-22 at 12:19 PM.. Reason: clarity
 
For the same reason as projects -- you may not have fully planned the group. You just have to get used to reviewing the project in project view and checking off any completed groups....
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprugman View Post
For the same reason as projects -- you may not have fully planned the group.
Then again, maybe I have, and OF even assumes I have by letting the action that immediately follows the group to become the next action once the group's actions have been completed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprugman View Post
You just have to get used to reviewing the project in project view and checking off any completed groups....
Annoying. I do check them off at review time in planning mode, since I don't have any choice, but I've always liked thinking of the two modes as planning and doing, and this is something I can't do in context mode.

I suppose another alternative is to ignore them. I.e. don't check them off, because why bother? Then it's just a matter of training my eyes to ignore the unchecked boxes. Heh.
 
By the way, checking them off at review time also means the completion date will be set to the review date instead of the date that the group was actually completed.
 
There were extensive discussions over the summer on how to deal with action groups when all the children are completed. The current behavior is very much a compromise, chosen to avoid checking off groups that aren't fully planned while not blocking projects.

I have a script, Verify Next Actions Exist, that I run in my morning review. It flags the action groups without remaining children. This lets me decided whether to check off the group or come up with the next action to move the group forward.
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Would it be possible to have an option to have an action group/project auto complete when there are no children left?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
There were extensive discussions over the summer on how to deal with action groups when all the children are completed. The current behavior is very much a compromise, chosen to avoid checking off groups that aren't fully planned while not blocking projects.

I have a script, Verify Next Actions Exist, that I run in my morning review. It flags the action groups without remaining children. This lets me decided whether to check off the group or come up with the next action to move the group forward.
Thanks for the script, Curt. I believe that discussion happened just before I started using the alpha, and I couldn't remember why it landed the way it did.
 
ah that's why that works that way...
Action groups caused me much confusion yesterday.

I had an action X I needed to work on, that was due "today". A few sub-actions that needed to happen as part of X occurred to me, so I created and "indented" them, which changed X into an action group. I completed and checked off those sub-actions, which left X now an empty action group. But in fact it still represented an action I had yet to complete (also now without a context?)

The problem now was however, despite having a due date of "today" next to it, it no longer appears in any of my context perspectives showing actions due today (because it's no longer an action?)

Less surprising behavior might have been for either the action group to revert to an action once its child actions were completed, or for empty action groups to show up in lists of due/remaining actions.

I suppose the expected user behavior was for me instead to have added the "sub-actions" above action X, to be completed first, instead of "inside" action X? The "indenting sub-items" mindset came from OmniOutliner being my prev gtd tool I'm sure. Any suggestions for how I might better handle action hierarchies?
 
matt2: Concrete example to make sure I'm understanding: an action "mail greeting cards" and then you add sub-actions "buy greeting cards" and "address greeting cards", but if you finish those two actions, you still haven't finished "mail greeting cards".

Seems like you need a final action at the end "take greeting cards to post office". Then your final action will show up in the context view.

Last edited by Lizard; 2008-01-03 at 04:32 PM.. Reason: clarify that I'm only replying to previous post, not thread-starter
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizard View Post
Concrete example to make sure I'm understanding: an action "mail greeting cards" and then you add sub-actions "buy greeting cards" and "address greeting cards", but if you finish those two actions, you still haven't finished "mail greeting cards".

Seems like you need a final action at the end "take greeting cards to post office". Then your final action will show up in the context view.
Yeah, that's how I'd structure it, too. But the original post in this thread was about how that group will still hang out there forever, even when that last action is checked off, because it never shows up in context mode. You have to go to planning mode to check it off (if you care to).
 
 


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