Task Update: On To "Do Dates"

Publish Date
Sep 24, 2020
Productivity In Notion
Last Edit
Mar 23, 2022 12:50 AM
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I want to make a quick update to my previous post on my task tracking in Notion, Tasks Tracker 1.0. I've actually added two fairly substantial "innovations" to my system since the post a few weeks ago.
First, after watching a video by August Bradley, I was convinced to move over from a Kanban-style process to one oriented around a "Do Date."
Fortunately, this was a very easy change to make in my existing system, which highlights some of the huge benefits of using Notion over almost any other system. Within ten minutes, I was able to entirely reorient my method of task tracking. That's huge for anyone who, like me, is always tinkering around the status quo.
If you are interested in this, I highly recommend August's video. But for those looking for the quick version, read on.
A "do date" task approach involves primarily looking at a calendar, and scheduling out tasks that you plan to do each day. That's not dissimilar from simply a list of "due" dates, but helps focus on action by implying that the date of something is when it should be done, rather than having it be the last possible minute to do something.
What makes a "do date" approach powerful in Notion is the calendar view. This enables an easy drag-and-drop approach to scheduling and changing a date. Functionally, it looks like this:
notion image
And note - the little "+" button that appears as I hover over the 23rd - this makes it very easy to add a new task to a given day, which is quite easy.
Second, I actually have separated my "Task DB" from my "Completed Task DB". This seems to be my own invention, but it is a game-changer as well, for two reasons:
  1. As the "Completed Task DB" appears on my sidebar, it makes task completion a drag-and-drop action as well. All I have to do is take the card for a task and slide it to the "Completed Task DB", and it is now a) off my to-do list, and b) saved as a task completed along with the date it was completed!
    1. Because the tasks DBs are the same, dragging an item from one to the other simply moves it over.
      Because the tasks DBs are the same, dragging an item from one to the other simply moves it over.
  1. This enables some awesome interactions with my 🏗️Managing Projects In Notion setup! Particularly, I've added a "Project-Task View" that shows each project and the live and completed tasks:
notion image
This is really helpful for planning purposes: I can scan through each project and see if any of them have concrete next steps that I can task out. By adding them in this view, they are automatically added to my task database! I'll need to assign them a date, but it is a very seamless way for tasks to get into the system and ensure that projects get actionable next steps next to them!
Down the road, I'm also excited about the potential for some meta-statistics about my tasks: how many tasks do I complete each week or month, how does that change over time, et cetera. By having completed tasks partitioned over, it actually will help make those comparisons.

So how is this working so far? Fairly well. I'm not powering through 10 personal tasks a day, but it helps to have a defined agenda for a day, and to keep that limited. As with many systems, keeping the goal to an attainable limit is quite helpful to motivate you to actually finish. Too few items and it is too easy, too many and it quickly becomes discouraging.