Displaying undated but not future tasks?

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Sep 14, 2008, 12:04:48 PM9/14/08
to Jello.Dashboard
I've just installed & configured Jello.Dashboard, and my first
impressions are that it should defiitely be useful, and shows some
potential to be way more than that (e.g. becoming the "folder" in
which I spend the majority of my time in Outlook) - so lots of kudos
and thanks to the developers!

However, I've come across one major issue that I think must be some
settings variation that I've just been unable to figure out...

Lots of my tasks (probably a majority) are undated - i.e. they have
neither a start date nor a due date, since they were 'active/valid'
when first entered and don't have an absolute hard deadline - and so
far the only way I can get these to show up in the context lists, etc,
is to check the "Always show not started tasks" settings option. When
this is checked, however, the lists also then include all the tasks
with a start date in the future (all the way out to the ones to prompt
me to renew my tax disc next June or my passport in several years'

Either way round renders the lists largely useless - either they're
missing most of my current action items, or they contain a bunch of
(currently) irrelevant rubbish that I'd have to re-read / remember to
ignore every time, which is the issue that GTD's use of contexts is
targeted at!

How can I get the lists to include all undated tasks but hide tasks
with a start date set that is in the future?



Sep 14, 2008, 6:48:08 PM9/14/08
to Jello.Dashboard
You could set the task to 'started' and then it would display. Other
options are 'waiting for', 'in progress', and a couple of others, but
I don't know if that works or not as I haven't tried those.


Sep 14, 2008, 7:17:30 PM9/14/08
to Jello.Dashboard
Thanks for that idea - I hadn't thought of that as I don't use
Outlook's 'Status' field at all, as to me it's just a load of extra
effort to maintain for virtually no gain (at least in my GTD

The way I work I have a category for "waiting for", if something is
deferred such that it's not 'valid' as a current action then it gets a
start date in the future, and whether or not I've made any kind of
start on an action shouldn't affect whether it appears on an action
list or not (it simply is or is not a currently outstanding task that
I could make progress on immediately in the correct context). Mucking
around with 'status' would thus seem to be either duplication or a
potential source of confusion!

A quick test shows you're right in that switching it to "In progress"
will display it - and I note there's a setting to have all new tasks
created in Jello set with that status instead of 'not started', so
I'll have to consider if it's worth changing my approach.

On the other hand, I'm very likely to still create lots of tasks
directly in OL and not solely through Jello, and I'm not sure I want
to rely on remembering to change the status every time, so I suspect
I'll end up opting for maximum reliability/compatibility and ditching
Jello: a shame, but them's the breaks. Will keep an eye on the next
version though ;-)

...unless anyone else knows a way to achieve it without the overhead
of maintaining the extra field?


Sep 15, 2008, 10:48:04 AM9/15/08
to jelloDa...@googlegroups.com

Until the next version of jello (in which you can check all actions and change their status at once) you can do this from Outlook to set on-the-fly status to large volumes of tasks.

Go to your tasks folder, open the field chooser and find the field 'Status'. Add it to the view's column. Then open the 'Group by box' (its toolbar button sits next to the field chooser and drag the status field into the group by box.
Now your tasks should be groupped by status and you can select any number of tasks from one group, drag them, and drop them into another group.

I hope this will be easy for you.

Nicolas Sivridis
Author and hobbyist Developer


Sep 15, 2008, 3:17:11 PM9/15/08
to Jello.Dashboard
It's not so much the initial change that's the concern - as you
rightly point out it's fairly trivial to change lots of tasks'
statuses at once - as whether I'd maintain it going forward (not a
question of "how", but of "remembering to *do*").

It's obviously a slight difference in approach between the way I use
Outlook's fields to support GTD and the way built in to Jello, and I
need to decide if I'm going to commit to changing my habits by doing
one (or more) of the following:
1. never, ever, create an OL Task except from Jello (to take
advantage of the option to switch the default status).
2. remember to take the extra step of changing the status to 'In
Progress' every single time I create a new Task.
3. add a regular review step similar to what you propose to mass-
change any "wrong" statuses, and accept that new tasks will be
invisible in Jello between their creation (unless I do '2' above) and
whenever I next do this review.

'1' doesn't seem sustainable (especially as I'm aiming to have a WinMo
phone soon); relying on adding the extra step of '2' 100% of the time,
even when adding tasks very quickly in "capture mode", seems too
risky, and I'm not very partial to the incomplete-ness (albeit
temporary) of lists from '3' - although it's a good backup to 2 and
the combination may just about suffice.

This is not to complain - the dashboard's a great piece of work, it's
just that I'll have to judge the ongoing effort to work just that
little bit differently versus the benefit of Jello over OL's native

Thinking on that, I might look at whether adding a couple of judicious
macros (emulating options 2 & 3) to my existing set would sort things
out - if I can get one to trigger on addition of a new task (to set
the status unless it has a start date in the future), and another to
run ~daily to change the status for tasks that've just reached their
start date, I might just about have it all?!
(So that's another item on the task list then ;-)

Many thanks in any case for your response - it's great to see a
comittment to support as well as ongoing development. Whatever I
decide at this time I shall in any case certainly keep an eye out for
new versions as and when they arrive, as it seems so close to being a
wonderful aid to time-saving and productivity.

Thanks again,
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