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[Done] Todo - Start Dates

Start dates is a feature available in Todo and Todo Pro, for iOS, Mac, Android, and online.

Q. Why would I want to use a start date on my tasks?

Start dates help you begin tasks before they are actually due so you'll have plenty of time to complete them. Perhaps you have a task that will take three days of work to finish. Add a start date three days before it's due and it will appear sooner in your task lists to remind you to begin working on it.

Q. How will my tasks sort if I add a start date to a task?

Task sorting is really the heart of the start dates feature. The whole notion of using a start date is to allow your tasks to appear earlier in your task lists.

For example, let's say you've got something important that's due on Friday but you need to start working on it on Wednesday so that you'll have plenty of time to get it finished in time. In this case, you'd add a start date for Wednesday and leave the due date set to Friday. When you do this, the task will start sorting in your lists with other tasks that are due on Wednesday.

Note: Tasks with start dates will sort below (after) tasks with due dates on the same day. For example, if today is Wednesday and you have a task that is actually due today, it will appear higher in the list (before) than a task that is showing up today because of its start date

Q. Do I have to use the start dates feature?

No. Start dates is an optional property of a task. Task sorting will work with and without a start date.

Q. Can I use start dates to prevent (hide) tasks from appearing in my list until they can be started?

Some additional settings surrounding the start dates feature will be coming in a future update. Thanks for the feedback on this!




Posting comments from previous site:


Scott Nelson

I always use start dates when it comes to task planning.  That is the main reason I have a hard time using ToDo/ToDo Pro over OmniFocus.  If ToDo had start dates, it would be Todo all they way.  

January 08, 2013 21:09



Appigo Support 

Appigo

@Scott, how specifically do you use start dates; to hide future tasks until the start date, or something else? -Boyd

January 08, 2013 21:15



Mark Holbrook

I use start dates to hide the task until I need the reminder, so that my brain doesn't have to take back the task of deciding what to do next. Also, there are some tasks that cannot be done now, but can only be done at a future date/time, like "Buy the portable air conditioner" in the late summer when they go on sale; or "Order flowers for our Anniversary". These kinds of tasks don't need to be done on a certain date, so a strict due date isn't as helpful, but a start date with a due date would help show what date range a task should be done in.

I've used Sciral Consistency to do this kind of "date ranging" but it's limited.

OTOH, I've seen how a program like 1Soft's Above and Beyond, which, while it gives you tons of flexibility in scheduling and planning tasks, can turn into a tyrannical monster in specifying the exact task you should be doing next. Please don't go there! I greatly appreciate the adaptability of the GTD system, as well as Todo's flexible way to implement it.

January 08, 2013 21:51



Scott Nelson

@Boyd  Some of the tasks I use start dates for might be to remind me that I have to buy a gift or card for someones birthday.  Especially when it has to be shipped.  Their birthday would be the due date but I might have the task start on say a week earlier.  I don't need to do the task on a specific date, but the task to buy the gift/card would be showing up on a task list to remind me that I need to get this done at some point.  Another example might be for work where I have a month end report due.  I don't want it t appear on the due date and then I am rushing to get it done.  If the task is due on Friday I might start it on Tuesday.  I would look at my task list on tuesday and the task Month End Report would be there, and would then stay there until I complete the task on Thursday night or Friday which would be the due date.  

A start date is for tasks that would span or take several days to complete.  I usually also put a number of household chores like  doing laundry, cleaning, or grocery shopping to start on Monday and have a due date on Tuesday.  Monday and Tuesday are typically my days off.  I may start doing laundry on Monday, but finish it on Tuesday.  The same with the house cleaning. They need to get done, but may take a few days to complete.  

January 08, 2013 22:33



Bill Calamita

I would also use start dates to hide the task until I would want to see it or start working on the task or project.

January 09, 2013 08:52



Appigo Support 

Appigo

Thanks Scott for the added detail! -Boyd

January 09, 2013 10:06



Appigo Support 

Appigo

Something we're talking through here is where to show tasks that have start dates. What seems to make the most sense, after hearing some of the situations suggested here would be to show the task in the "Today" section until the due date is reached. At that point, the task could then be considered overdue if it's not completed in time.

For example, if you have a task due Friday but you set a start date of Monday, it would show up in the "Today" section beginning on Monday, even though it's not technically due until Friday. If a task appears in the "Today" section because of it's start date (and it's not yet due), we could italicize the due date similar to what we do with projects that appear sooner because of their subtasks.

Does this sound sane?

January 09, 2013 10:11



Scott Nelson

@Appigo, Sounds perfect.  In other applications that use start dates the task appears on the "today" section on the start date and remain on the today page until the due date, at which point it is then overdue.  The way you described it in your post of 1/9/13, 10:11 sounds perfect to me. 

January 09, 2013 10:45



Bill Calamita

One app I used in the past had a command like "Show hidden tasks" or "Show future tasks" or something like that to reveal a task that hadn't hit its start date yet.

January 09, 2013 11:59



Char Wales

This is similar to an idea I communicated to the support staff shortly after I purchased ToDo although in my case - I'll use this start date as a movable Do Date to tell me when I intend to work on a Task  (vice a Start Date) and then use the existing Due Date to indicate -- if needed - when  a Task or Project is actually due (if appropriate). 

In my  experience (or the way I work), I find that Projects have both Start and Due Dates (another reason why this would be a good improvement) but Tasks within a Project (very few of my Tasks are singletons -- they're grouped under Projects) usually have (and are better served by) Do Dates that one typically shuffles, resets & re-orders as circumstances dictate. Lacking the ability to set two different kinds of dates to my Projects and Tasks - I tend to assign NO dates at all to Projects and only assign dates to the Tasks within that I treat .. as I said .. as flexible DoDates so I can order/sequence what I'm doing today, tomorrow, next day, next week etc.

Thus - my thumbsup to this improvement  especially if it helps ToDo move closer to the functionality in a SmartList DB I developed for and  used for many years on my old Palm Tungsten T5.

January 09, 2013 12:34



Jim Porter

I use start dates when I have a task that can be started on a date and can be worked on over several days until a due date

January 09, 2013 19:29



Jon High

I understand why people use Start Dates - I personally find them to be "too much" so if you do add them please make them a non-obtrusive feature.

 

Something I would like to see along those lines is the ability to hide fields that aren't used (Tags & Contexts) - like Todoodle does... Start Date would be another of these.

January 10, 2013 07:39



Tim Dellas

I'd love this. For real!

January 12, 2013 10:12



Char Wales

Lovely idea! Wish I'd thought of that. There are many fields I never use and won't ever use (assign, comments, etc) and would appreciate an uncluttered entry area.

January 12, 2013 15:46



Lukas Rohal

It is MUST HAVE for me in Todo Pro! And for Todo app too - Toodledo knows start dates, but I cannot use it in Todo app :-S

January 15, 2013 03:26



Paul abbott

A definite improvement. Please try and include tart date feature in near future. Thanks

January 17, 2013 00:26



Rafael

Want it!!!!

January 19, 2013 16:14



Claudio Cappuccio

Very useful :)

January 20, 2013 16:35



Eric Bruck

For me, a start date without a due date is a implies "pending" task or project.  If it were named that ("Pending"), I could glance at it periodically to see what is coming up for me in the near or mid term.  

I think it is a great idea and I would prefer that you name it "Pending".

January 21, 2013 18:38



David

This is a must!  Please implement soon!

January 23, 2013 07:00



Tracey Taylor-O'Reilly

I sync with ToodleDo and use ALL of the fields.  I have learned to live without start dates, although it seems silly, but I am having trouble living without "duration."  To plan my day, I assign lengths to the tasks in ToodleDo and ensure that I have enough time before I start on the list.  

I also greatly dislike the new task input field.  So many extra steps were added.  Why can't the input screen allow me to select all the variables (like start or due date, priority, context, duration etc.) and then add it straight to my task list?  Now I have to create the task, open it, edit it, and then hit sort.  That is crazy!  I have tried two other software programs recently because of this.  I like your interface the best, but you've added too many steps to task creation.

Please simply!  And increase flexibility.

January 30, 2013 16:21



Michelle Hunt

I work on a lot of projects and tasks that may take a week or more to accomplish.  I would like to use start dates and end dates to keep track of the project all along the journey.  It's artificial to only have due dates.  That doesn't allow me to see all the things I need to be working on to get the project done in time.

January 31, 2013 08:28



Medford

Any incorporation of ToDo into Evernote would be of great improvement. I use Evernote to run our Company and Personal Life... Thanks for the consideration...

January 31, 2013 14:26



Peter Watters

I really don't want additional fields like start date added to Todo. More fields means the user has to spend more creating tasks. Even if the field is not used, the user has to look at it and pass over it. Anything that clutters up the system should be avoided.

If start date is added, then I want the ability to turn off fields I don't want to see.

February 06, 2013 17:45



Appigo Support 

Appigo

@Peter, We'll be adding start dates and we're also looking at new ways to arrange the interface so that it's more simplified for things people use most. I wasn't convinced about start dates until some of my tasks started piling up when I don't really need them to. We're in the experimentation phase, but so far, they're working really well. Calvin's making some great progress with the Android client and testing some of the new interface arranging.

At the same time, we definitely don't want to punish those who don't want to use start dates, so yeah, we'll keep this all in mind. Thanks for your comment!

-Boyd

February 06, 2013 18:07



Peter Watters

Thanks Boyd. Being able to fine tune the interface by removing unwanted fields would be good for me.

February 10, 2013 20:35



Jack Herlocker

I'm with Peter Watters, in that I don't want extra fields cluttering up a standard task. That said, I would really appreciate a Start Date to be able to enter something NOW that I only want to be bothered with LATER.

February 18, 2013 18:40



Mikhail Fedorenko

Hello all!

I think it would be very usefull to add start date functionality. I see the perfect realization of that feature to work following:

1. First of all let's enhance Today section behavior  in the way you described it in your post of 1/9/13, 10:11. Additionaly it would be great to make option in Focus List filter configuration to show or hide tasks not only with Due dates in close time range but with Start dates.

2. I would like not only to manually enter date and time in Start Date field but to link Start Date to completion of predecessor tasks. For example I have separate tasks for development of document which I delegate to my colleague and for document aggrement which I do. If I could link 2 tasks it would be easy to control current tasks and initiate following automatically. 

3. It would be great to enhance reminder options and allow to set reminder of tasks like "XXX hours from start date".

March 03, 2013 05:48



Appigo Support 

Appigo

Just in case you missed it, we've just submitted an update to Apple that includes the new Start Date feature!http://www.appigo.com/blog/todo-and-todo-pro-for-ios-6.0.5-for-mac-...

As long as the approval process goes well, it should be available within a week's time. Thanks everyone for your great feedback!

-Boyd

March 13, 2013 07:13



Stuart Walker

Great to hear there will be a Start Date added and keen to see how it will be applied.  To me it would best be represented as a "tickle date" or a point in time when I would like a future task to be "brought forward" either to begin doing something or as a reminder that it is coming due.  So, it should sort of work like an alert that shows up in the focus list (rather than externally).  If there were a means to set such a reminder for a task/project by setting the number of days before date due, that would be perfect. 

March 20, 2013 11:37



Robyn

I came back to check to see if start dates were going to be implemented, so I'm so happy they are. I will use them to hide tasks that can't be done yet, e.g. something that needs to be done every week will show up in the future tasks list as soon as I've done it, but obviously I can't do it over already. I can't do my planting until the ground warms up, so why should that task show on the list if I can't do it?  I'd like a given list to be empty when I've done everything I can possibly do on that list.

March 21, 2013 23:26



Pavel Kostyuk

When I set up notifications for my task I chose for example 15 minutes, 30 minutes. But when notification alarm appears there is no any note about what time do I have till the start of my task. So I can't understand how much time do I have and it makes using your solution not quit comfortable. 
It would be great if you make such functionality in future release.

April 03, 2013 00:47



Appigo Support 

Appigo

Thanks to all of you for the great feedback. We've just released Todo/Todo Pro for iOS 6.0.5 and Todo/Todo Pro for Mac 2.0.5 which adds support for the start date field. Please download it from the App Store and give it a try! -Boyd

April 05, 2013 23:27



Mikhail Fedorenko

Boyd, thank you and all ToDo team for update and new functionality, but please explain us, how finally start date function works? Do you have any user guide? In comments above colleagues expressed different views of how start dates function should works, but we don't know how you decided to develop.

April 06, 2013 01:26



Jen shinn

I see the start date now, and have given several tasks that should be started in the future a start date, but they are still on the list as before (when they just had a due date). I don't see any settings to filter out start dates. Can you help me with how this feature is to be used?

April 06, 2013 08:13



Scott Nelson

@jen, if you are looking at the "All" task list then all the tasks will continue to appear as usual.  If you switch to the Focus list then only the apps that are due, past due or started should appear.  Also, look at the tasks and you will see that the task now shows both the start and due dates on the tasks.  (Example Wed Jun 3 - Mon Jun 10)  My start dates are shown in green on my Mac and the due date is in the normal text color.  


I also had a task that was due on this coming Wednesday.  It was not showing on my Focus list for that reason.  After I added a start date of today, since it is a task I would normally start on Saturday, it now appears on my focus list at the bottom, since the tasks that are actually due today take priority over that,  

Hope this helps explain it a little more.  

April 06, 2013 08:24



Jen shinn

Thanks @Scott. That seems like it forces me to use the focus list. I typically use a "work" list when I'm at work, and those tasks are all still showing (based on a sort of due date). I have a start date of 3 weeks from now, but the task is still showing in the future list. I was hoping it would be eliminated all together until that start date (or at least have the option to hide tasks with future start dates). Like you, my focus list "works" but only because I have it set to hide tasks due after tomorrow. It seems like filters and views are treating start date and due date the same.

April 06, 2013 08:56



Scott Nelson

@jen  I always use just the focus list.  This way I am just focused at the tasks that are due and now with the start dates I can have those tasks start to appear so that I can focus on them as well.  Tasks that are in the future then are out of sight until they need my attention.  

April 06, 2013 09:00



Bill Calamita

So, is there a way to filter out start dates on lists?  It seems like an awful lot of trouble to have added this feature and have it only work on Focus List.

April 06, 2013 09:08



Jwsmall

You wouldn't want to "filter out" tasks based on start date OR end date on ANY normal list; how would you be able to see all the tasks in that list?  But what might be helpful is if users could sort based on start date, along with due date and priority.  You'd probably want the "No start date" section at the top of a list, however, whereas the "No due date" section belongs at the bottom of lists.

Also, it's great that if (for example) you have your focus list set to show things due up to 2 weeks from now, it will also show you tasks you can start within the next 2 weeks.  I think it'd be more helpful if we could set the focus lists based on start date separately from due date.  So the "Show Tasks" group of the Focus List Settings would have a 5th parameter to set; "No Due Date" (on/off), and the "Hide Tasks" group would have a 3rd parameter to set, "Start after" with the same options as the "Due after" parameter.  Then, for example, I could set my Focus list to only show me things that are due in the next 2 weeks, which I can only start today or tomorrow.

These changes would update the new field to be as useful as the "Due date" field, while rhyming with the existing setup.

Down the road, splitting the focus list into multiple configurable lists might be a good way to go.

April 06, 2013 23:11



Bill Calamita

To Jwsmall...

Actually, I would want to filter start dates in lists, which is how some other task managers operate.  There is usually a "Show Future Tasks" or something to that effect in the Preferences so they are not filtered on request.  This goes to how you use the program.  Some people concentrate on the Focus List, and there the start date filtering works fine.  Others, like me, look at the individual Lists more frequently, especially when devoting time to a specific project.  And for that reason, I'd like the option of filtering the Start Dates.  

Agreed on your other suggestions on the Focus List, I'd just like those ideas integrated to the lists as well.

 

April 07, 2013 09:10



Catherine Henry

If I add a start date to something, I'd like to have the ability to check it off as done for THAT day and show up on the list again the next day, but with the due date the same. For example, if I have a task that I want to work on every day from 4/1-4/5 and must be done on 4/5, I'd like to be able to check it off on 4/1 and have it show up on the list 4/2 but still with the due date of 4/5. It's a bit like a recurring task but only for a defined period of time. I don't like having something on the list for several days that I have worked on every day but not check it off.  I would also like the ability to reorder tasks on a given date. I use the focus list and it's set to show what is due today and tomorrow. It will show anything with a start date today or before, but items that are not due today show up at the bottom of today's list. I like to sort the list in the order I plan to do things each day (but not with a due TIME). I'm experimenting but so far I am not finding this feature helpful at all for the above reasons.

April 18, 2013 18:13



Scott Nelson

@Catherine, What you are describing is not really what a start date is for.  You are describing a recurring task.  A Start date is the date in which a task will start, it won't be due that date, it's a reminder that that task needs to be started so that you can complete it by the due date.  It will stay on your focus list until completed.  One way I use them is this, I have a relative's birthday coming up on a certain date.  I will create a task to buy that person a gift with the due date being, their birthday and a start date usually being a week before.  A week before their birthday I see a task to buy that person a gift.  Well I might not be able to do it on that day, so it will stay on my focus list until I could go to the store and buy that gift.  It might be the next day, or two days later, but until that gift is purchased it sits in my focus list until I buy it and give the gift on the relatives birthday.  Without start dates, I may have set the task to buy the gift and on the date of the birthday I am running around trying to find a gift.  

As far as task order goes I usually prioritize the tasks.  They are then sorted by Due date, time and priority.  If I don't give a task a specific time. then they are sorted at the bottom of the list for that day since the due tasks with a specific time take priority.  

April 18, 2013 19:45



Catherine Henry

Scott, I see your point, but if that's the purpose, it's really a reminder, not a start date. To me, if there is a start date and a due date, that means it is to be worked on throughout that time frame, and I would want to be able to check off each day that I made progress. I use recurring tasks extensively, and while that allows me to set up a task to be checked of as completed every day I work on it, there's no way to indicate when the whole task needs to be completed. I guess you would need to have the option to repeat until a certain date (like recurring events in a calendar). Either that or set it up as a project with one daily recurring subtask. Then the project due date would be a reminder. Seems kind of cumbersome to me, though.

As it's designed, the start date is more confusing than helpful for me, in which case I would echo the previous comment that users should be able to turn off the fields that they don't want and streamline the interface to their needs.

April 18, 2013 23:05



Scott Nelson

Catherine, Of all the various task programs I use, or have used, the Start date is the only thing that was missing from ToDo.  Yes, you are right, the start date means that the task is to be worked on for that period of time.  It does not mean that you have to check off something every single day.  What you are describing then is a project.  If you have to mark little subtasks off everyday to complete a specific task, that is actually a project.  A task with a start date is simply a single task that can take several days to complete, but you don't want it appearing on your task list the day it's due either.  If I have a report due and I have the start date several days prior, I see the task on my focus list everyday until I complete it.  Once it's complete I no longer have to worry about it, whether it sits there until the due date, or I finish it early.  You could say it is a reminder, but in essence it is not.  I only try and complete all the tasks that are due on a specific day off the focus list.  I don't have to clear the focus list on a daily basis, just the tasks that have that date as their due date - any remaining tasks are items that I have started and I am working on until their due date or completion date.  

April 19, 2013 06:34



Ygerman

I have both used OmniFocus and ToDo and ToDo is getting a lot closer to how I used OmniFocus but not close enough yet. Here is the way I used this feature and other features.

1. Start Date - This feature is very handy for a lot of thing.

1a. Here is a simple personal example, lets say I want to watch a TV show that the season is starting in a month on the 1st. So this task still goes in to my system, but I would only care for it during my daily review so that I can set my DVR to record it at that time.

1b. Another place I would heavily use them is when tasks do not appear until the date. Lets say you have a Waiting For tasks you have delegated, and I have a lot of these. Then this would mean that I want to put it in to a view mode that hidden. So I would put a start date on the Waiting for Task for 3 days. If the person that I am waiting for gets back to me, I simply go in to view all mode and mark it complete, if they do not reply in  3 days, then this is my trigger that I need to follow up.

 

The thing that would make ToDo extremely useful is some features that are currently missing.

Ability to put tasks on Hold (so they are not visible) - I want to note them, but I do not want them to effect my daily review. Currently in ToDo I accomplish this with two tasks (@active / @onHold) but that is a pain to have tag every time.

The other one is ability to copy paste in RTF mode, meaning that this would be a way not to use things like Evernote to have to store things, but to actually be able to clip some information in to the Note field and have immediate relevance instead of sending it to Evernote, then attaching a link back to be able to see it. Not always do you have Internet handy (Like on an airplane) and you want to know some things and have it appear in the same way as web / E-mail, etc.

April 19, 2013 06:47



Robyn

I followed the instructions for using the focus list, but things like my car emissions test and paying next year's income tax still are visible, despite start dates in 2014. Additionally, tasks with no start date which are due in 2014 (e.g. call my niece on her birthday next February) show up before tasks that have start dates and due dates this month. 


I saw the note that the ability to hide tasks is coming soon. That seems to contradict the advice about hiding them with the focus list.


It's helpful to have Start Dates on the items at all, but with this strange sorting could we have the option to display the year in the list? All I'm trying to do is not have recurring tasks reappear in my to-do list before they can be done. I just paid my taxes. I don't want to see it again until next February.

May 02, 2013 10:47



Nathan van Rij

I use this mostly from my iphone - How can I make it so any tasks I have started appear as a notification badge? At the moment only tasks that are due today or overdue that show up, this means I could potentially have something that I should be working on, but because there is no badge, I won't check the app, until the day it's due, which is kinda of bad if I needed to spend a significant amout of time doing it...

July 02, 2013 18:58



Rich Lin

+1 for Start Dates that hide things, the same way they work in Omnifocus.

August 03, 2013 23:34



Folke

I have been trying to fit my setup (GTD) into Todo, and am having some big problems.

I really need to have the start date. To me it means "irrelevant to even consider before" (in other words a GTD Tickler file item). So I want to keep them out of sight for the most part, but I still want to "inspect" them from time to time. I cannot figure out a good way to do this. Please do not take what follows here as criticism, but as a problem description. I am hoping that someone can point me in the right direction.

For the Focus list (which I had thought would be my Next list)  I cannot find a setting to hide these future tasks. I need to be able to hide them from my Next list. (For some strange reason there is a setting for hiding tasks with a future deadline; but why would I do that? if it can be started, why wouldn't I want to see it?). 

In the All list (which I had intended as "truly all" main repository), I have found a switch for hiding future tasks, but if do, then I cannot see them anywhere at all. I would have to go back to Settings and change this whenever I need to "inspect my Ticklers". Is that how you do it? Or have I missed something?

Another possibility might be to make use of the Context feature to represent these future (GTD Tickler) items, and have contexts all in all defined for:

Waiting For (delegated)

Someday/Maybe (not sure I will do)

No Context = Next (to avoid having to tag all these)

Tickler (premature until a certain start date)

Is that the way to do it?How do the rest of you deal with this?

And how do you make sure you observe a Tickler item on its start date. Is there a setting somewhere that I have not seen to boldface it or auto-star it or show it on top or something like that?

And another thing, I was intending to use the Starred list primarily as my final and selective pick (from the Focus list) of the tasks that am going to do right now or today. Is this how the rest of you use these three lists, or are there better ways?

October 01, 2013 17:30

I know it's a closed issue, but I still can't use it the way I want - using start dates just to hide tasks from the focus list till they are relevant. I'd love if there would be an option: 1. To have a "hide" option on the focus list setting according to the start date not just the due date 2. To have the task placed in the time section (today, tomorrow, next 7 days...) according to its due date, regardless of its start date.
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