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Make the new Tasks hierarchical


John Romano

Idea

The new Tasks feature looks amazing. Calendaring, and flagging is great. The task rollup view is fantastic!

BUT it's missing a critical piece for viability. Hierarchy.

Big tasks are most easily accomplished when you break them down into sub tasks (like the SMART method).
You need to be able to nest tasks to most effectively accomplish your goals.

Screen Shot 2021-06-10 at 8.53.53 AM.png

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Agreed!  One way to do this now is with the existing notebook hierarchy.  You could give a big project its own notebook filled with notes for each higher-level task in the project.  And then each note task could be filled with all the subtasks needed to complete that.  If you have a lot of projects like that, you could even use notebook stacks to organize those.

All that being said, I agree that native nested tasks would be better in some situations.

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One more option will be when EN enables tasks to be placed inside of tables.

It will be pretty easy to create a note for a project, place a table into it (like proposed / planned / working on / test / release / archive) and - BAM - you have got a home made KANBAN board you can share with contributors and use to run a full project in a nutshell.

EN staff has already mentioned in the forum that tasks in tables is on their agenda. 

The future is full of new opportunities !

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I wholeheartedly agree with the above; in fact I have gone back to using lists of check boxes because the ability to nest subtasks is crucial to my workflow.

@Flash G is there a way to view that hierarchy in one neat UI, like there is with a standard nested task interface, like the one OP shows (or that nested bulleted lists allow)? Otherwise using a separate note for each high level tasks as well as each subtask grouping sounds miserable, in terms of the mental overhead to keep track of anything bigger than the specific list of subtasks in which you are currently engaged.

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56 minutes ago, jelpern said:

Otherwise using a separate note for each high level tasks as well as each subtask grouping sounds miserable, in terms of the mental overhead to keep track of anything bigger than the specific list of subtasks in which you are currently engaged.

Separate notes is the process I use   
I use a naming standard to identify sub-tasks; example Task, Task-Sub1, Task-Sub-2   
Tasks are linked by a project tag      
   
The task list is easily generated by applying the project tag filter    
An actual Table-of-Contents note can be generated if an actual list is required

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Even though I posted the alternate approach above, I agree that nested tasks would be great.  I also wish a task list took up less vertical space.  I still think tasks are a great feature as-is, but they could be better for sure!

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9 hours ago, John Romano said:

wait for them to do right thing and make them hierarchical.

Not sure how doing the right thing is indenting tasks - does that really make them hierarchical? Or is it just a visual way to see your tasks? You can do this already by making the note the parent task. Then you can view your tasks by note on the task panel, which allows you to collapse tasks so you only see the note titles. You do not need to use the default task note for tasks. You can have as many task notes as you want….

note title (main task title)

  • Task in note
  • another task in note
  • etc…
  •  

I do not recall EN dying one way or another if indenting tasks is on the road map or not. 

 

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Thanks @buckethead. A common strategy for accomplishing large, complex tasks is to break them into smaller, achievable sub-tasks and prioritizing which sub tasks are most important to do next. Breaking big tasks up helps people because all they have to think about is the next prioritized sub task, instead of the overwhelming large task.

When you use this approach to accomplish several large tasks, it's important to understand what prioritized sub tasks need to be done next across all your larger tasks. Because of this, the sub-tasks need to have their own flag and due date. A bullet list inside of one taks with one flag sin't sufficient.

Luckily, Evernote already built flags and due dates. All they need to do now to help people who use this method is to allow us to nest tasks within tasks.

Hoping Evernote see this and adds the functionality.

 

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I think it would already help to have full note content possibilities within tasks. Then you could use checklists for subtasks.

For all use cases I could think of that would be sufficient. 

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There was a post by Ian Small recently, explaining that tasks belong to notes, not the other way around.

To me it sounds that you can have a note, assign a task to it and then add whatever element to that note, including checklists.

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7 hours ago, John Romano said:

the sub-tasks need to have their own flag and due date. A bullet list inside of one taks with one flag sin't sufficient.

The bulleted list in my post was visual only - they would actually be tasks you could flag and assign due dates within a note. The idea is to make the note the over all task and then use tasks within that mote as your sub tasks. 
 

 

image.png

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It's probably useful to observe that we fully understand the use case for sub-tasks, so you don't need to convince us of why sub-tasks would be useful.  And I think it's also fair to say that the way for us to make sub-tasks work is to make task hierarchies (including sub-tasks) really work properly, not to glue some other set of artifacts together to kind of make sub-tasks work.  Like most things, doing that well and making it easy to use is not simple.

In the meantime (however long that meantime may end up being - I don't actually know the answer to that right now considering the copious punch list of potential improvements and enhancements to our Tasks v1 implementation that are competing for our attention), it is both inspirational and useful to us to see how folks come up with ways to use the rest of the structure of the note and the existing capabilities of Tasks to provide some sort of crude interim solution.  Thanks for sharing with us.

Back to lurking
ian

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