Tasklist manager

Tasklist manager available from Tools : Tasklist (e.g. by pressing F4) can be used to edit, prioritize and sort tasklist (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 it is done 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 a text file. Only priority values and titles are export. A tasklist text file can be edited and imported back to the same or another collection
  • Import - import a tasklist from a file generated with Export
  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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
  • Next task - 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
  • 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 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!