Tasklist manager

Tasklist manager available from Tools : Tasklist (e.g. by pressing F4) can be used to edit, prioritize and sort tasklists (e.g. reading lists):

readlist.jpg (145700 bytes)

To edit a selected field, click it, type in a new value and press Enter. To sort the tasklist choose Ctrl+S. To edit all parameters of a task, choose Ctrl+Shift+P in the same way as you do it in the element window.

Here are the most important controls on the tasklist manager toolbar:

  • Tasklist combo box - list of available tasklists. If you select another tasklist, it will be displayed in the tasklist manager and ready for editing
  • Menu - tasklist manager menu (see below)
  • Add task - add a new task to the current tasklist
  • Sort tasks - sort the tasklist by priority
  • Jump - close the tasklist manager and view the selected task in the element window
  • Find task - find a task containing a given string
  • Delete task - delete the currently selected task
  • Export - export tasklist into an HTML file
  • Home - go to the first element in the tasklist
  • End - go to the last element in the tasklist
  • Close - close the tasklist manager

The tasklist manager menu provides the following options:

  • View - view the selected task in the element window
  • Jump - close the tasklist manager and view the selected task in the element window
  • Dismiss task - dismiss the selected task and move it to the tasklist archive (as defined in Search : Tasklists in the Archive field)
  • Edit parameters - edit task parameters (value, time, priority, deadline, etc.)
  • Add task - add a new task to the current tasklist
  • Sort - sort the tasklist by priority
  • Find task - find a task containing a given string
  • Find next - repeat the last search initiated with Find task
  • Select tasklist - select another tasklist for viewing, editing, sorting, etc. and display it in the tasklist manager
  • Go to - select another element in the tasklist
    • Random jump - jump to a randomly selected task (e.g. for fast tasklist review)
    • Selected row - jump to a selected row in the tasklist manager
  • Tools
    • Open in browser - put all tasks from the currently opened tasklist in the browser
    • Export as HTML - export the tasklist as an HTML file w
    • Export as text - export the tasklist as a text file 
    • Import text - import a text file tasklist exported with Export as text
    • Transfer task - transfer task to another tasklist. First time you transfer a task, SuperMemo will ask you to select a new tasklist from the tasklist combo box. Next time, SuperMemo will ask if the task should be transferred to the tasklist that was the last target of a task transfer
    • Transfer tasklist - transfer the entire tasklist to another tasklist (for the purpose of tasklist merging)
    • Verify tasklist - verify the integrity of the tasklist
  • Close - close the tasklist manager

Except for reading list, the tasklist manager can be used to edit and sort all sorts of to-do lists. For example, your prioritized shopping list can be kept in SuperMemo as a tasklist. To be sure that you go on with your major investments starting with those of highest benefit, you might list your planned purchases using price of the purchase in the Time field and, for example, daily time savings in minutes in Value. You could also use other measures of value. For example: degree of satisfaction from the purchase, the maximum price you would be ready to pay, or annual return on investment, etc. This approach would make sure that you never waste your time or money on petty impulse purchases. You could always be sure that you methodically progress from the most important and valuable investments

If you plan to use more than one tasklist, you should also learn about using categories. Here are the step to keep your shopping list in SuperMemo (as a separate category):

  1. Choose File : New to create a new collection. Name it Shopping
  2. Create a new category in the contents window (e.g. by pressing Ctrl+K). This category will be used to keep your shopping list
  3. Chose Search : Tasklist on the main menu to open the tasklist registry
  4. Choose Add to add a new tasklist and name it Shopping list
  5. Close the tasklist registry (note that at this point your current category is Shopping and your current tasklist is Shopping list; you can see it on the Tools toolbar)
  6. Press F4 to open the tasklist manager
  7. Choose Add task (Ctrl+Alt+A) to add your first item on the shopping list
  8. Type New computer in the Description field
  9. Type 30 in the Value field. Let us assume that your new computer will save you 30 minutes per day on average
  10. Type 1.5 in the Time field. We will assume that your computer will cost you $1500
  11. Press Enter and note that the Priority field is now set to 20. As priority=value/time, you will know that every thousand dollars spent on your new computer will earn you 20 minutes per day. Note also that strangely we assigned time to value and value (price) to time. This is to express the fact that the interpretation of the Value field is as profit while the interpretation of the Time field is as cost (the naming comes from the original purpose of tasklists in SuperMemo: implementing a prioritized reading list)
  12. Add more items that you want to purchase with Add task and sort the list with Sort tasks

If this is your first experience with the approach based on priority=value/time, the order of your shopping list may be a surprise!

For exemplary tasklists and their use, see: Break free from work overload!


Estimating task value is up to the user (#5946)
(Reinhard K. (private), Germany, Thursday, July 26, 2001 12:06 PM)
You mention the value of tasks. How do I know how much a task is worth?
Estimating value of tasks is entirely up to you. The simplest approach is to ask yourself a question: How much would I be ready to pay for having this task done? For example, how much would I be ready to pay to have this article read and processed? Value estimation is a skill that is worth developing independent of SuperMemo. Is your time valuable enough not to pick up a nickel? Or perhaps not? Is the value of comfort high enough to justify a bus fare or should you just walk two bus stops? Or perhaps the walk has an added health value? We must make those estimations on a daily basis to function efficiently. This is why a little training with SuperMemo will probably not be wasted time

Do not use the numbering column in the task manager to double-click tasks (#6261)
(Zoran Maksimovic, Fri, Aug 31, 2001 19:47)
Double-clicking on the number of an individual task results in opening the selected task instead of the one I have clicked on
Yes. As the number column does not change the selection, you should rather double-click anywhere else on the task to ensure the clicked task gets opened