Happy Taskgiving!

November 23rd, 2017

Happy Taskgiving!

To celebrate Thanksgiving week-end, I’m pushing a new version of Taskwarrior::Kusarigama that adds two commands that might make weekly task reviews a tad easier: task-kusarigama review and and task-kusarigama decimate.

task-kusarigama review

When I create new tasks, I typically don’t give them priorities: if it’s something I’d like to add at the front of the queue I tag it with +focus, otherwise it just got heaped with the general, amorphous blob of things to do. The prioritizing usually comes when I do my weekly review, where one step consists of going through all new, unprioritized tasks and flesh them out. The goal of the review command is to help me breeze through that process.

What is does is straightforward: it shows me all unprioritized tasks, one by one, and provides me with a set of one key commands to process them. ’H’, ’M’ and ’L’ will set the priority to high, medium or low and move to the next task. ’.’ will let me modify the task like task mod would. ’,’ will append, ’a’ will let me annotate the task, ’n’ will give up on that task and show me the next one (I should modify the code so that the command gives me a dirty look when invoked), etc.

task-kusarigama decimate

That subcommand is a little more nifty. I think you’ll agree: reviewing new tasks is fairly easy. They are (relatively) small in number and easy to spot. But during the weekly review, I also like to take a peek at my old tasks. And that’s a little more daunting, because there is so. much. bloody. more. of them.

So I tried to come up with a good way to stir the task pot that will distribute the heat evenly (so to speak). What I do is setting a target ratio for my high/medium/low priority tasks — right now I’m using 10%/60%/30% — and move tasks during the weekly review such that those percentages are met. The goal being to reevaluate priorities and pertinence of older tasks as time passes, and to insures that tasks are always reasonable spread over the emergency spectrum.

That, however, doesn’t address the paralyzing effect of leviathanesque backlogs. This is where the decimation enters the picture: if I have too many medium priority tasks and not enough high priority ones (Ah!), decimate shows me 10 medium priority tasks and makes me choose which one of the bunch deserves the promotion. Ten tasks is a good middle-ground number that offers enough choices to make picking both manageable and meaningful.