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Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:39 am
by ChrisCN
_______________
Introduction

Lately I discovered http://www.checkvist.com, an online outliner that can be used for task management. This tool does many things right and supports the keyboard lovers with extensive shortcuts.

This made me think about how cool it would be to manage my tasks within CintaNotes which has a better tagging system and doesn't store private data in the cloud.

Task management was the 4th most mentioned use case in the latest survey. But instead of submitting single feature requests I thought it would be a good thing to talk about a consistent concept…

At the moment I use 4 different tools:
  • CintaNotes for storing details regarding tasks
  • checkvist.com for managing complex tasks
  • eMail to communicate about the tasks
  • calendar to plan the tasks


Every tool I use is very good at what it was made for - but having distributed information to a task over 4 places is a problem on its own.
So the possibility to be able to manage the task in the same mighty tool (CintaNotes) where all the information is stored would be much appreciated.

_______________
What Features would we need?

Lets start with a list of main featues such a task manager would need:
  • a status (open, in progress, done)
  • tasks and subtasks (breaking down a task in smaller pieces is essential)
  • an overview of tasks and subtasks (see 'outliner' below)
    many subtasks scattered around are of no real help
  • a due date
  • a view to show by due date
  • reminders
  • a priority
  • and I am sure I forgot something ;-)

The implementation should make the usage of this features as comfortable as possible
  • often the small details make something 'easy'
  • e.g. in CintaNotes it is already possible to write a list in an 'outline' style
      - BUT there is no support to easily rearrange the list items
      (e.g. intend, hoist, move in same hierarchy level, and so on .. ..)
  • e.g. in CintaNotes you can already manually create new notes as subtasks and link them to a summary list
      - BUT there is no easy way to create those notes (it's a full manually process - not like in a wiki)
      - and more problematic you can't 'sync' the state of such a subtask with its task in the summary

_______________
How could those be realized?

A picture says a thousand words....
2015-10-19 09_24_18-.png
2015-10-19 09_24_18-.png (116.91 KiB) Viewed 11852 times


So, what would we need to get there?
    Tasks within notes
      a feature like it is known from wikis would come in handy:
      You add such a task within the note and as long as you don't click on it, it is the only repesentation of this task.
      But if you click on the task it generates a new note in the background representing this task (and you can start adding additional detail information)
    Outline support within a note to structure tasks
      this could be a general new feature not only bound to 'tasks'
    Notes repesenting Tasks
      with all the new attributes needed, e.g.: status, due date, reminder, priority,…



What do you think?

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:13 pm
by swhi1106
I don't think task and calendar management integrated into CintaNotes would be of value to me.

I've got other programs that do multiple similar things and frankly they don't handle
them as good as dedicated programs. Also there is the migration issue.

Would prefer effort to be put into notes management enhancement.

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 11:20 am
by usbpoweredfridge
Personally, I wouldn't have any objection to tasks/calendar stuff being included in CN (if enough people want it), but I wouldn't make use of it myself. For me, CN is a note taker/organiser. I have a task list and calendar on my phone - I don't need anything else, and I'd probably prefer note enhancements taking precedence over anything else.

Chris

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 9:58 pm
by ChrisCN
Well I share your opinion ;)
I too use CintaNotes mainly as a "Knowledge Base" as most of the CintaNotes users.

My point also wasn't to take away development time from more important features at the moment.

But task management is also the 4th most use case out there:
2015-10-26 22_24_01-.png
2015-10-26 22_24_01-.png (34.61 KiB) Viewed 11807 times
Nearly 50% of the users do use it for that purpose
and as my thoughts where already focused on task management...

Time will come when "reminders" and "status flags" will be implemented
and I wanted to be prepared to already provide a suggestion how this
could fit into CintaNotes.

My point is that CintaNotes can be used and is beeing used for task management
and it is not too far away to do it well.

Maybe some users that already use CN this way can report back their needs?

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 12:21 pm
by CintaNotes Developer
Sorry for late reply.
All in all this a good idea, which, at least to some extent, we already plan to implement in future.
But I also have to agree with swhi1106 and prioritize note taking features.

We will implement Alarms and Reminders.
I'm not sure about introducing special kind of notes for tasks. Probably we'll solve this another way.
Due date could be the same as reminder date.
Status is emulated by tags quite easily.

Wiki-like behavior - could be done, but is not strictly necessary as why not create a note right away
(using Insert Link To Note -> Create New).

From marketing standpoint, we'll have tough time marketing Cinta as a mix of task and note management app.
So now our strategy is to make stress on "smart" note taking.
This means we'll prioritize rule-based automation. So that we could say that Cinta does what no other
note-taking app does - it organizes notes for you.
This feature is directly related to note-taking and as such is more organic than task management ehancements.

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:34 pm
by ChrisCN
Hi and thanks for joining the discussion.

I appreciate that you follow a clear vision for your product.
Yes, please make it perfect in the one area that 'defines its purpose'.

I would even be fine if you decide not to invest in any 'task managing feature'.

Another decision could be that you support the customers using CN already
for task management with minimal effort and only implement some 'urgent' features.

Whatever your decision will look like - it's always a good thing
to make reasonable decision with a vision to support it ;-)

But while reminders and status flags are clearly 'task features'
there is one feature I mentioned that would be very useful in general.
It would fit into a concept for task management as part of the 'organize your tasks' topic
but in reality it is a very popular way to structure information in general => Outliners.

I wanted to show that the support of 'Outlines' within notes would fit into a general concept for task management.

So if the consensus is that there will be some task supporting features
but we don't need a complete 'concept' because there will be no full support of task management,
then I would change my argumentation and simply request the feature:
>> "Ouliner within notes" because it is extremely useful for any kind of structured information.

Like that more?

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 6:16 pm
by Thomas Lohrum
Hi guys,

personally i used Tudumo for a couple of years. It's following the "getting things done" concept. It's strength is the simple state usage. For example press "2" to mark an item as "next", while "Ctrl+2" will filter all those items. It's also supporting tags.

Basically you can do the same with CintaNotes. I use tags such as "tasks/next". Filtering can be done by regular tags filtering, though it's not quite as convenient as using a shortcut. Slightly more effort is necessary to switch state, as you have to remove and assign another tag to make the state change happen.

The feature i am missing most is a start date. I use it as a date for resubmission. However, not only the entity is missing, but a convient way to filter. Tudumo provides simple filters such as "show items within the next 3 days".

I don't use any alarms or reminders as i poll my tasks only.

Thomas

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 10:14 pm
by ChrisCN
Hi Thomas,
interesting to hear.

For single tasks I found a concept that works great for me. Basically I directly reserve a time slot in the calendar for every specific tasks. I never found lists of tasks satisfying because I never really found enough time to work on those tasks and had no overview at which date those tasks would be finished. So for most of my tasks I too don't need reminders and alarms. I would never try to manage those tasks in CintaNotes (or any other list based application).

But other tasks are more complex and need to be broken down in smaller sub-tasks which interdepend. That's where Outlining is a valuable aid. As those tasks typically are accompanied by many additional information it would be a great thing to manage those tasks and information within CintaNotes.

At least that's my take on tasks management. The interesting thing about it is that many people have different working habits and I always find it fascinating how different those needs are. But on the other hand I think it can be condensed to only a few features really needed to support those habits.

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 12:01 pm
by CintaNotes Developer
ChrisCN wrote:So if the consensus is that there will be some task supporting features
but we don't need a complete 'concept' because there will be no full support of task management,
then I would change my argumentation and simply request the feature:
>> "Ouliner within notes" because it is extremely useful for any kind of structured information.


I understand. Unfortunately this is also the feature which is the hardest to implement, since it requires
tweaking the editor component (the goddamn MS RichEdit) once again. You could help me if you would define in more detail what
do you understand with this feature on the GUI level:
1) Multi-level bulleted and numbered lists with ability to indent and outdent at will.
2) Anything else?

Thanks in advance

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 12:03 pm
by CintaNotes Developer
Thomas Lohrum wrote:The feature i am missing most is a start date. I use it as a date for resubmission. However, not only the entity is missing, but a convient way to filter. Tudumo provides simple filters such as "show items within the next 3 days".


Hi Thomas!
What would you say if one of possible automatic actions on an alarm would be "[when alarm fires], move the note to [this] section"? This would essentially equal to a start date

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:32 pm
by Thomas Lohrum
CintaNotes Developer wrote:
Thomas Lohrum wrote:The feature i am missing most is a start date. I use it as a date for resubmission. However, not only the entity is missing, but a convient way to filter. Tudumo provides simple filters such as "show items within the next 3 days".
Hi Thomas! What would you say if one of possible automatic actions on an alarm would be "[when alarm fires], move the note to [this] section"? This would essentially equal to a start date

Hi Alex,

this is indeed an interesting suggestion. It is useful for explicit todo - databases. However, i am using task management for databases having independent sections. Thus moving notes is not suitable. Also i use the "items for the next x days" as a preview to organize my tasks. Again moving notes is not suitable for such a workflow.

Thomas

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:10 pm
by ChrisCN
CintaNotes Developer wrote:You could help me if you would define in more detail what
do you understand with this feature on the GUI level:
1) Multi-level bulleted and numbered lists with ability to indent and outdent at will.
2) Anything else?
OK, let's try - what are the most important/basic features I would expect from an 'Outliner':
- indent and outdent the current line (regardless of where the cursor is)
- move the current line up and down (to reorder the list)
- collapse and expand (to keep an overview over long lists)
- delete whole line (as an alternative to strike through)
- clever shortcut support for all those functions so you are not interrupted in your writing/brainstroming flow

Aside from those basic features there are two features I would consider nice-to-have:
"Filter" would be a great general feature regardless of 'outlines'
What I mean is, that you enter a filter term and only those lines are shown, that contain that word.
"Hoist" would only show you the current line and its sub-items (so you can concentrate on one part of the outline).

And of course there would always be room for improvement ;-)
- every line has a checkbox to mark it as done
- all subtask inherit the 'done' status
- and so on...

But for me the 'basis/important' features would suffice
to add a productivity boost in organizing information within notes.

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:14 pm
by ChrisCN
I found an interesting article about "To-Do Lists and why they are evil" ;-)
and planning your day/week in general ...
http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2014/08/how-to-stop-being-lazy/

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:01 am
by CintaNotes Developer
Thomas Lohrum wrote:this is indeed an interesting suggestion. It is useful for explicit todo - databases. However, i am using task management for databases having independent sections. Thus moving notes is not suitable. Also i use the "items for the next x days" as a preview to organize my tasks. Again moving notes is not suitable for such a workflow.

Well, I think we are not limited to moving notes between section. Assigning (or removing) a certain tag could be possible as well.

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:19 am
by CintaNotes Developer
ChrisCN wrote:OK, let's try - what are the most important/basic features I would expect from an 'Outliner':

Thanks a lot for the details, Chris! Now you've made the task much clearer.
Unfortunately it is also clear that it is way more than several man-days, so as much as I hate to say, we'll have to go through
the roadmap. There's just no point in investing so much time without proven demand, I'm afraid.

Here's the topic:
http://roadmap.cintanotes.com/topic/102 ... tionality/

Note that "todo lists inside notes" covers a lot of the ground towards what you want, and already has a lot of votes, so we'll probably start there. But still it will be worth knowing how many would like to extend CN powers in this direction even more.

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:34 am
by CintaNotes Developer
ChrisCN wrote:I found an interesting article about "To-Do Lists and why they are evil" ;-)
and planning your day/week in general ...
http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2014/08/how-to-stop-being-lazy/


Great article, thanks a lot Chris!
In a way I've been following a similar approach.
I make plans for a month and then for each week.
For monthly tasks which have been scheduled to be done (or started) for a specific week,
I put a special mark (a dot into a checkbox-style square), and I'm not done with the month plan till
all tasks have this tick. In GTD terms, this means that all tasks have "next actions" planned for them.

The same for each week. It's not enough to simply write out all the tasks for the week.
You need to schedule each of them to a specific day.
No problem if the task is flexible and it would be best to wait for a convenient moment
to do it. I simply schedule it for the first day I think it would be convenient to do it.
If the day turns out to still be inconvenient for this task, I shift it to another day.
After the day is finished, I only have 3 kinds of tasks: done, shifted, and cancelled.

I don't go as far as to assign each task fixed time. Probably I should, but I find it to be
too fragile.

Note that tasks are not necessarily repeated on month/week/day levels: weekly tasks
are finer-grained than monthly tasks, and daily tasks can be just steps for fulfilling
weekly tasks.

Also I must admit that for all this task planning I prefer a paper notebook. Checking off tasks
in any program will never compare with that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that
you get from checking them off with your hand :)

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 6:18 pm
by ChrisCN
CintaNotes Developer wrote:we'll have to go through the roadmap. There's just no point in investing so much time without proven demand, I'm afraid.
Thanks for adding it - already voted. Yes, of course - my intention wasn't to bypass the roadmap but to get a feeling what others think :)

CintaNotes Developer wrote:Note that "todo lists inside notes" covers a lot of the ground towards what you want, and already has a lot of votes, so we'll probably start there.
Well after this discussion I came to the conclusion that task management is not a major concern for most of the forum readers including me. (Some checkboxes are nice and I would use them - but that's only a little piece of the whole puzzle)

But structuring information is what I am really after.
So outlining beeing a separate request seems appropriate.

Re: Concept for Task Management in CintaNotes?

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 8:22 am
by CintaNotes Developer
But structuring information is what I am really after.
So outlining beeing a separate request seems appropriate.


Agreed. I'd want to urge everyone reading this to consider voting if you need outlining abilities.