Discuss all things Remember The Milk.

How to effectively simulate subtasks and manual reordering?

relevart says:
I see in the ideas forum, that the most wanted feature is the subtasks, and the drag and drop reordering also got a lot of votes.

To help those, how really can't live without subtasks, I'd like to show you my technique of simulating them. And as a side effect of my method, the task can be manually reordered in the desired order. Okay, it's not drag and drop...but way better then nothing :)

Here is my method, step by step:

1. Every task is beginning with a mulit-part ID, which is the base of my whole method.
2. The ID consists of (subtasklevels+1) parts. The first part identifies the "main" task. Here is an example:

(00) House renovation

3. The susequent parts are only present in the names of the subtasks. The different parts are seperated by a hyphen. So, my list would look like this if I add two levels of subtasks:

(00) House renovation
(00-05) Living room
(00-05-05) Painting
(00-05-10) New windows
(00-10) Kitchen
(00-10-05) Buy new table
(00-10-10) Buy new diswasher

4. As you can see, because of the length of the IDs, the tasks appear as if they were indented.

5. It's important to have your list ordered by name. (If your tasks have the same priority and due date, then the other ordering options will also make you tasks and subtasks appear in the right order.)

6. If you want to be able to see the subtasks of only a given project, you could use these tags:

(00) House renovation #project-renovation
(00-05) Living room #sub-renovation #project-livingroom
(00-05-05) Painting #sub-renovation #sub-livingroom
(00-05-10) New windows #sub-renovation #sub-livingroom

7. Why didn't I give the tasks subsequent IDs? Because this way you can insert a new task anywhere in the list, without reorganizing the other elements. Oh wait...there is another benefit of this: by changing the IDs you can manually reorder your tasks anytime you want. Here is what I'am talking about:

(00) House renovation
(00-05) Living room
(00-05-02) Dusting the furniture
(00-05-05) Painting
(00-05-07) Sweeping the floor
(00-05-10) New windows

I chose to increment IDs by 5, but you can use any other number, depending on how likely it is to insert new subtasks in the future.

Depending on your needs, you can use only 1 digit IDs or, if needed, even 3-4 digit IDs.

I don't know if this is helpful, but after reading so many useful tips I thought i need to try to give back something :)
Posted at 10:13pm on May 21, 2011
(closed account) says:
Thank YOu - Just what I needed!
Posted 6 years ago
(closed account) says:
that's pretty good, thanks!
Posted 6 years ago
joooc says:
cute workaround
Posted 6 years ago
risk says:
Reading, once again, about RTM workarounds for projects, subtasks and start dates reminds me of the mid 80’s when some people used Lotus 1-2-3 for everything including composing and printing letters because they didn’t have word processing software or didn’t know how to use it. Yes they were able to work around the spreadsheet’s limitation as a document editor but it was a matter of time before they found a better tool for the job.

I hope RTM folk are listening!
Posted 6 years ago
jordian.lees says:
This doesn't seem to work with the iPad app. Even when you sort by task name. Any ideas?
Posted 6 years ago
kkingman says:
It's like a Dewey Decimal System for tasks, yay! Very helpful.
Posted 5 years ago
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