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Prioritize based on factors like how complicated the task is, and how much time it will take

ascaaear says:

Be able to set your task with two factors.

First: "How complicated the task is? and the second: "How much time are expected to get it done?".

The first has to be set with a value from 1-100%. The time factor is relative, so it will be from 1-100% as well.

The idea is to sort the task like those where both factors are closest to 50% have higher priority, because they are relatively quicker to do, and relatively most important. The task in the bottom are those tasks where both factors are closest to 100%. Then RTM automatically help you decide what to do.

Off course there has to be an option to sort this the traditional 1,2 and 3 priority.

Posted at 10:47am on August 22, 2007

bzpilman says:

It kinda follows a structure from the book and metodology "First Things First":

Dividing your tasks up based on what category they fall into
Quadrant I - urgent, important
Quadrant II - not urgent, important
Quadrant III - urgent, not important
Quadrant IV - not urgent, not important

I think it's great idea.

Posted 8 years ago

castiron says:

This also reminds me of Life Balance, which doesn't have a time feature per se but does have settings for importance and effort. (My wild dream is that one day RTM and Llamagraphics will join forces and create an international to-do list conglomerate that rules the world.)

Posted 8 years ago

angela.randall says:

Oooh, you've just given me a brianwave:

Setting up Smartlists (Quadrant I, II etc) based on "First things first" would be a great idea! Can just use priority and due date. :)

Posted 8 years ago

angela.randall says:

Here's the searches you need to create the smart lists:

Quadrant I - (dueWithin:"1 week of today") AND (priority:1 OR priority:2)
Quadrant II - (NOT dueWithin:"1 week of today") AND (priority:1 OR priority:2)
Quadrant III - (dueWithin:"1 week of today") AND (priority:3 OR priority:none)
Quadrant IV - (NOT dueWithin:"1 week of today") AND (priority:3 OR priority:none)

Obviously you might want to doctor how soon you think "urgent" is.. and what constitutes a high priority or not. But it's a start :)


Posted 8 years ago

johnfoland Pro says:

Yeah - I totally agree with Ange, this can already be accomplished with smart lists. I would be against integrating a feature like this into RTM though, because it follows a certain school of thought, or methodology of managing time / tasks. GTD, for example, de-emphasizes the prioritizing of tasks, but RTM is flexible, scalable, and robust enough to accommodate both Stephen Covey's and David Allen's systems.

Posted 8 years ago

angela.randall says:

I had another think on these smartlists.. These include overdue tasks in the "Urgent" Quadrants.. which makes more sense. :)

Quadrant I - (dueBefore:today OR dueWithin:"1 week of today") AND (priority:1 OR priority:2)
Quadrant II - (NOT dueWithin:"1 week of today") AND (priority:1 OR priority:2)
Quadrant III - (dueBefore:today OR dueWithin:"1 week of today") AND (priority:3 OR priority:none)
Quadrant IV - (NOT dueWithin:"1 week of today") AND (priority:3 OR priority:none)

Posted 8 years ago

paul.sinclair Pro says:


I thought I saw that you were using GTD with RTM. Do you use Prioirities as well?

I thought that was not the way GTD is supposed to be done. Any feedback on how that has worked?

Posted 8 years ago

angela.randall says:


I'm a bit eclectic. I have many different systems. I have the @computer @phone @home GTD lists, but I also use the priority system.

Basically, I want to make sure everything is getting done. So the priority system makes sure I have that under control.

If I'm at home (which is a rare thing) or stuck in town without a computer (but I can still make phone calls) I use the GTD lists to get as many things of that type done.. so as not to waste time.

It works for me. It came from using a palm pilot with GTD lists.. but making sure I looked at the "ALL" list regularly just to make sure nothing got overlooked.


Posted 8 years ago

bzpilman says:

I also try to have as many systems in place as possible angela.

So me and you have suggested urgency/importance, ascaaear complexity/effort(sort of), and castiron importance/effort.

Giving some thought about it, I realized I already deal with Urgency, using my standard Today/Tomorrow/Overdue/This Week smart lists. And complexity and effort are kinda too related together, to the point I don't find it useful to separate the two concepts in RTM.

Castiron's system (Life Balance) seems to be the most relevant in this situation, for me.
Even more so because:
* I don't currently use Priorities because it's too broad a concept (what does it stand for ? Urgency, complexity, importance ? All together or a combination of two ?)
So I could start using it with a clear focus: Determining importance to use in the Quadrants system.
* I sometimes time estimate a task, but not always and I don't actually take advantage of that setting through any smart list (I have a Quick list but I seldom use it)

So this is going to be one of my systems (importance/effort):

Quadrant I - important, quick
Quadrant II - important, long
Quadrant III - not important, quick
Quadrant IV - not important, long

Quadrant I - (priority:1 or priority:2) and (timeEstimate:"< 31 min")
Quadrant II - (priority:1 or priority:2) and (timeEstimate:"> 30 min")
Quadrant III - (priority:3 or priority:none) and (timeEstimate:"< 31 min")
Quadrant IV - (priority:3 or priority:none) and (timeEstimate:"> 30 min")

Just thought I would share it =)
And thanks everyone for the ideas, t'was a nice brainstorming!

Posted 8 years ago

ranbarton ProPower Poster says:

Great list suggestions on this thread.

Is there anything smart lists cannot do? ;->

Posted 8 years ago

angela.randall says:

Ranbarton, I'm sure there are a few things then can't do.. but smart lists are what sold me on RTM over other task managers. Sooooo good. :)

bzpilman, I like your quadrant system with time estimates. You might convert me yet!

Posted 8 years ago

bzpilman says:

Just to clarify, 'Important' in my system above isn't depedent on urgency.

So 'Attend military induction' happening next year would be priority one just as paying some bills within a week. By sorting by due date, though, the task wouldn't bother you at the quadrant untill much later.

Posted 8 years ago

tylermitchell Pro says:

I'm a Steven Covey fan and actually used to use PlanPlus for Outlook. This is an awesome idea. Thanks for sharing!

Posted 7 years ago

krypticide says:

Thanks for the smart list settings!

Posted 7 years ago

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