Need a to-do list app to handle recurring tasks with associated preparatory, deadliney sub-tasks.
March 24, 2011 10:51 AM   Subscribe

Need a to-do / project management app that will quickly schedule events and create all the relevant sub-tasks for me.

My job is (let's pretend!) to launch rockets. Launching rockets is the same each time.

T-20 days: build the rocket.
T-10 days: paint the rocket.
T-3 days: fuel the rocket
T-0 days: launch the rocket!

I want an app (web or Mac) that lets me just choose a launch date, and then will automatically create to-dos with deadlines at the appropriate date beforehand. Also, because several launches can be in the pipeline, there needs to be an overview of "all the things I need to do next" - for instance, this week I might have to fuel rocket 1, paint rocket 2 and build rocket 3.

Close-but-not-close-enough: to-do list templates in Basecamp (don't include dates) and creating formulas in Excel spreadsheets (one sheet per launch) to populate date fields based on a launch date, but then I can't get that "what's next" overview.

Any suggestions welcome!
posted by so_necessary to Work & Money (10 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure how the app would figure out your tasks (unless you're talking about a repeatable project), but I'm digging wunderlist lately.
posted by cdmwebs at 11:06 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I think a repeatable project is exactly what I mean - the subtasks are always the same, they always have to happen the same X-days before the launch date, etc etc.

So I want to be able to say "doing another project, scheduled august 1st" and the app to know that this involves, as usual, doing X five days beforehand, Y twelve days beforehand, etc.
posted by so_necessary at 11:47 AM on March 24, 2011

Things seems to do what you want. Here's a screenshot of my repeating rocket launch project.
posted by cdmwebs at 2:16 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

If understand correctly, cdmwebs' Things example isn't quite right. It's not that you launch a rocket every 60 days. It's that you need a template of sub-tasks whose deadlines will be set relative to the launch date.
posted by RobotHero at 3:13 PM on March 24, 2011

You do have to set a date to repeat the project, but there's no reason you couldn't make it arbitrarily long then change it as necessary.
posted by cdmwebs at 6:11 PM on March 24, 2011

But if you make it arbitrarily long, can you make the dates for painting the rocket and fueling the rocket, etc, change in concert with the change in launch date? Or do you have to change them all individually?
posted by RobotHero at 11:04 PM on March 24, 2011

The dates are relative, so if I make the launch date 12/1, the tasks are automatically assigned x days prior.
posted by cdmwebs at 8:31 AM on March 25, 2011

I could also use something like what cdmwebs is looking for: a way to manage lots of similar projects, all comprising a set of fixed tasks with due dates relative to the project's ultimate due date. I had a look at Things and while you can create a template project and then duplicate that, it doesn't do relative dates. I'm guessing no such general-purpose app exists, at least not for Mac. I'm sure you could set up such a system with Microsoft Project (Windows only), but that's probably overkill. Perhaps software designed for event management might do the trick... If I find anything likely I'll report back!
posted by cbrody at 11:59 AM on March 25, 2011

Sorry, I meant what so_necessary is looking for.
posted by cbrody at 12:01 PM on March 25, 2011

I don't know if anyone is still reading. I'd like to figure out a solution to this, too.

Here's a possible half-solution in RTM, using excel and smartadd.
posted by mercredi at 3:36 PM on March 28, 2011

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