What's a good solution for cyclic tasks, ones that repeat regularly?
February 2, 2015 7:40 PM   Subscribe

Over time I've migrated from one GTD system to another, finally landing on Evernote as my GTD framework with help from 'The Secret Weapon' and Priacta. It's occurred to me recently that I don't really have a way to track repeating, cyclic tasks. I've tried spreadsheets, Google task, calendar entries but none have stuck around. What are some good ways to manage to-do's that repeat on a schedule?

Projects have a one-off framework, where you are keeping a list of next-steps and getting them done until the project is done.

Tasks, on the other hand, tend to fall into cyclic scenario of needing to be done again and again regularly. Some can be put off till later, while others need to be done on a particular schedule.

Managing this has always been problematic for me. If I put a task on a calendar, it shows up on that day but doesn't show up as being undone on following days, at least on the calendar.

It seems to me a good rotating task list would show me today's tasks, along with those accumulated and undone, categorized by context (house, finances, whatever...) and continue to show the task until I either really put it off, forget about it, or get it done.

In a gamified task list, perhaps it also scores how much I keep up with the tasks and graphs my completion rate.

Thanks for any tips or ideas.
posted by diode to Work & Money (11 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
If you weren't already happy with your Evernote-based GTD system, I'd recommend HabitRPG. Since it sounds like you already have a system that works for you, how about this:

1) Add repeating tasks to a google calendar (don't use your main one, because you don't want them cluttering up your view).
2) Set them to send email reminders at 4am the day that they're due.
3) First thing every morning, clean out these reminders and move them into your normal GTD list for the day.
posted by chrisamiller at 7:46 PM on February 2, 2015

Habit List does exactly this for me. It reminds me every day to do my daily tasks (can also set them up as weekly, monthly, or other). I can check it off when I'm done - I also have option to miss or skip it. And it tells me how many days in a row I have successfully completed the tasks.
posted by bunderful at 7:55 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

AFAIK, the only tool I know of that supports recurring tasks is ... Outlook. And I suspect the key to making it work is fitting into your existing tooling. So either you start using and liking outlook, or cook up a better solution.

On the better solution front, all I can think of is some kind of cron job that adds to your pool of tasks on a recurring basis. Not ideal though.
posted by pwnguin at 9:44 PM on February 2, 2015

Pwnguin, if you understand cron jobs I'll tell you that org-mode for emacs also supports recurring tasks. It's not something I'd recommend to someone who hasn't already drunk the emacs kool-aid, but if you have it's wonderful.
posted by traveler_ at 10:58 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Due app and Timeful both support recurring tasks well. Due in particular is lightweight enough that you can use it just for simple recurring tasks ('mow the lawn') quite easily.

Personally I use Things religiously and it has very good recurring task support, including the option to set a task to repeat a certain time after last completed. I have a recurring task to take the recycling out four days after I last did it. However, Things is a whole system unto itself and is probably overkill just for recurring tasks. It also has a bunch of frustrating limitations (no subtasks, no hour scheduling etc) so I can't honestly recommend it as a GTD system replacement.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:04 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

chrisamiller's idea might work for you anyways. You could set it to email the reminders into Evernote and into your system. Or, possibly use IFTTT to handle the transfer from calendar to Evernote.

(Good luck - this is what drove me away from Evernote/The Secret Weapon and into OmniFocus... which is not the cheap solution.)
posted by neilbert at 6:53 AM on February 3, 2015

TeuxDeux supports recurring tasks.
posted by hought20 at 8:46 AM on February 3, 2015

I too have migrated GTD system to GTD system as long as I can remember. I've finally settled on Emacs Org-mode and have been successfully using it for about 1.5 years. Prior to adoption I was unfamiliar with Emacs (we used vi in college) so the learning curve was a steep, but boy was it worth it. I've now been successfully using it for 1.5 years and I couldn't be happier. The software is free, open-source, and has a very vibrant, friendly, and active community.

I currently use it for:
- Tasks
- Calendar
- Bookmarking
- Writing
- Finances
- Tracking fitness and nutrition
- Notes
- Wishlists for people
- Etc.

Repeating tasks in Org-mode it pretty trivial.

Take a look at the following:
- Tracking Habits with Org-mode
- Organize Your Life in Plain Text
- Emacs evernote-mode
- Should I use Evernote or Org-mode for taking notes

The Wikipedia page is also a good primer.
posted by sk8ingdom at 9:19 AM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all those ideas. I refrained from posting that I was Windows/Android based. Almost every solution posted is IOS only, except for HabitRPG and eMacs.
posted by diode at 9:28 PM on February 3, 2015

Best answer: I've recently started using wunderlist.com and I love it. It supports recurring tasks (cyclic) but each task is its own item so when you create a task that recurs every day and you complete the task for Monday, another for Tuesday will show up. If you go past Tuesday without completing the task, it will show up on the top of your list until you complete it.

Best thing is most of the common features are free on all platforms (Web, IPhone, Windows, Windows Phone, Android, etc.). It also has a Google Chrome extension to add tasks directly.
posted by bbyboi at 10:15 PM on March 1, 2015

Response by poster: Okay, cool. That's the kind of thing I am looking for. If I don't get something done right away, it continues to show up as undone until completed.
posted by diode at 9:40 AM on March 8, 2015

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