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Tinderbox Users >> Tinderbox applications >> Sequential tasks!

Message started by Rafter T. Sass on Sep 6th, 2008, 9:52pm

Title: Sequential tasks!
Post by Rafter T. Sass on Sep 6th, 2008, 9:52pm

Hey folks,

I've been mulling over the problem of sequential tasks - and the inability of my trusty system to process them - for a while now.

I figure that others have figured out answers for this, but I haven't been able to come across any.

Here is the Sequential Task Sandbox/P.O.C. that I rigged up in the past few days - I'd love for folks to comment, break, improve, etc.

Task Sequence for GTD.tbx (53.55 KB)

Let me know if it's useful!

Many thanks to Mark Anderson (as usual!) for all his help.


EDIT: Noticed a missing link in the TBX file - now corrected.

Title: Re: Sequential tasks!
Post by Rafter T. Sass on Sep 8th, 2008, 6:52pm

Whoops - one of the links was of the wrong type, messing up the inheritance for one task stream.

Just a small blip, but here is the correction:
Task Sequence for GTD.tbx (53.67 KB)

Title: Re: Sequential tasks!
Post by Rafter T. Sass on Sep 11th, 2008, 5:10pm

Hmm. This wasn't an issue that was bugging anybody else?

I may have mistakenly estimated general enthusiasm based on my interest. ;)

Well anyway... I'm still excited about it!

Title: Re: Sequential tasks!
Post by Mark Anderson on Sep 11th, 2008, 6:16pm

Historically, here and in the wiki, interest doesn't necessarily equate to active comment. Don't be disheartened.  :)

Title: Re: Sequential tasks!
Post by Mark Bernstein on Sep 13th, 2008, 2:23am

Mark Anderson is definitely right about interest.  Sometimes, a minor point that affects a few people will get lots of dicussion as we work to a solution.  And sometimes there'll be a post that everyone reads and says

Oh! Now I get it!

and off they go to use the technique.

Title: Re: Sequential tasks!
Post by Fionnbar Lenihan on Sep 13th, 2008, 7:07am

Hi Rafter;

I don't come by the forums as often as I should ...

I guess I'm being a bit obtuse about what a "sequence" is.  It's like task dependencies yes?  Like no point in posting a letter until you've bought stamps and written letter?  The idea of your tbx document is to make sure only the next action item is displayed and your task list is not cluttered with things that can't yet be done?

Have I got the right idea?

On first glance I was impressed by the look of your document.  The fonts, adornment colours etc are much nicer than anything I've thrown together.  

THank you for sharing.  Will look more closely


Title: Re: Sequential tasks!
Post by Rafter T. Sass on Sep 13th, 2008, 9:08am

Thanks, Marks, for providing a little local cultural context.
Native guides are always much appreciated...

Fionnbar: yes, that's it exactly.

My to-do lists are overwhelming enough, without having to look at all the tasks I can't even do yet!

I think I picked up use of the term "sequential" to describe task dependencies during my time as a beta-user for OmniFocus.

Incidentally, this model is an improvement over the O.F. take on task dependencies. This method naturally integrates sequential and non-sequential tasks w/in single projects - not so for O.F.

Thanks for the appreciation of the layout/design. Having drop shadows sure doesn't hurt!  ;)

Title: Re: Sequential tasks!
Post by Rafter T. Sass on Sep 28th, 2008, 1:18am

Anybody trying it?

No pressure. ;) Just curious.

Title: Re: Sequential tasks!
Post by artcanadianstyle on Oct 25th, 2008, 3:20pm

I really like the way you have created this option for sequential tasks!  I am still pretty new to Tinderbox and find it still a little confusing.  I hadn't gotten around to using links before and from trying out your solution for a bit I found that it didn't really work without links.  My one problem seems to be that with the prototype assigning true for the Next Action, I can't get it to be set to NotNextYet.
I am one of those that believe that getting the sequence right is the heart of every successful endeavor in life.  If I can get this to work, it will solve a lot of my problems.  Thanks for your work.

Title: Re: Sequential tasks!
Post by Rafter T. Sass on Oct 25th, 2008, 4:05pm

Hey ACS,

I've been using Tinderbox for almost a year now, and I feel like I'm still at the very beginning of the payoff curve. That being said, I'm using it for everything.

So - yeah, you got it. The sequential task function completely depends on linking. (This is the only regular use of linking that I made - until I got to grad school, and started linking reading notes to class notes.)

Setting NextAction and NotNextYet is meant to be completely automatic - you shouldn't have to set those by hand at all. The prototype default is NextAction, since a task that isn't waiting on something else to happen first is by definition available.

As soon as a task has an incoming link, it starts looking to see if any "upstream" tasks are not completed - if that's the case, it knows that its time has not yet come.

I like to plan a project in Map space. I throw down a bunch of tasks - steps toward project completion -  then sort them visually into a workable sequence, then I add sequence links. The rules take care of the rest.

Just make sure you have defined a link type called "sequence."

I occasionally have sequence links between tasks in different projects, which the rules handle just the same as within a project.

Let me know if this helps, ACS.

Incidentally, for the PM heads out there, I think this hints at the kind of automation that would be useful for a full-on Project Management system in Tbx. Projects can be linked sequentially using basically the same rule collection. After all the tasks in a Project are complete, it drops out of the active list, and the next Project becomes available. Between linking at the Project level, and inter- and intra-Project linking of tasks, plus assorted automations to pick out critical path & timeline information, I think we could pull a pretty sophisticated level of PM functionality out of Tbx.

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