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Cognitive load of parsing "start" & "end" dates Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

Just to ask the community: how do you cope with the cognitive load of parsing the "start" and "end" dates. Whenever I review tasks and projects and whenever I browse through tasks using the "remaining" filter, I never know how much time there is left until the task starts. So I constantly need to parse the start/deadline date and subtract the current date (in short it's a pain).

So any of you have tricks that would make this easier (AppleScript)? A simple solution would be to display the remaining number of days until the displayed date, but that requires a change in the program.

Just a quick question: do you really have that many due dates?
This won't work if you're really trying to review an entire project in planning mode, but if you're just trying to get a sense of what actions will be coming up in the near future, I suggest that you go into context mode and sort and group either by due or by start date. I have a perspective called "Due Soon" that shows me everything due in the next week, grouped by date (either today, tomorrow or in the next week).
I agree with Chris. I have my "Due" perspective set to group and sort by due date but shows all remaining tasks (rather than just "due soon" tasks). This allows me to see what's due imminently and what's coming up on the horizon so there are no surprises. It goes a long way in reducing my stress when I know how much time I have to procrastinate. :)

But I'm also with colicoid: The fewer due dates you have, the better. In other words, only use them when something is truly due. Of my 100+ projects and 400+ actions, I only have 7 due dates coming up in the next 6 months.
Well, I have many tasks with future start dates, because I have virtually everything in my todo list. To give you a concrete example: one task is to file my travel reimbursement. The moment after I filed the form, I add a task "check reimbursement received" with a start date of +3w. Then in three weeks, the task will pop up, I check whether I received the reimbursement and then I check it off. Unfortunately I have many such "reminder" tasks, "control" tasks, and management tasks.

Other tasks are of this type: "draft xmas presents list". I thought of that task last week, but I don't want to have it visible before October, so I simply set the start date to Oct. 1.

The "due soon" view only partially solves the problem, because then I cannot use any other category for grouping. Seeing a day count instead of a date in "start" and "end" would help a lot.

Just so folks know, we've got an existing feature request in the database for substituting today/tomorrow/etc in date cells; if you want to bump it in the system, send email to

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