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I'm currently using Remember The Milk for my organisation system that is based on GTD.

One thing that I find is missing from my system is the ability to capture all the actions relating to a project. For example, if I need to:

  • "get new tyres for car"
  • but first "check how much new tyres will cost to see if I can afford it"
  • but first "call Bob to ask about the tyre place he recommended to me"
  • but first "find out what Bob's new telephone number is"

Then I'll just put "find out what Bob's new telephone number is" on my Next Actions list (create a task in my Remember The Milk inbox). I can't put in the other three because they are not yet actionable.

When I complete that first action, there is nothing to remind me that the whole reason I was doing this was so that I can "call Bob to ask about the tyre place he recommended to me".

Is there any way in Remember The Milk, or some other todo list manager, to queue up a list of next actions that stay out of sight and appear in sequence?

So that, for example, when you check off "find out what Bob's new telephone number is", then the next action "call Bob to ask about the tyre place he recommended to me" will pop up and take it's place.

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possible duplicate of Is there a way to link tasks in Remember the Milk? – Adam Wuerl Jul 16 '11 at 22:44
@Daniel Fortunov: it would be helpful to know, what operating system you use and if you want a web app or a standalone application,... – MostlyHarmless Jul 16 '11 at 22:58
up vote 7 down vote accepted

E. g. OmniFocus and ThinkingRock can do such things: several tasks in a project can be defined as "parallel" or "sequential". The latter choice would be yours: if the first next action in the sequence is marked as done, the next one is activated automatically. The other tasks in the sequence stay hidden.

A "leight-weight" solution which works well with every system from paper to any software (taken from Michael Linenbergers "Total Workday Control" method and book) is the following:

After the subject of the first task write e. g. MORE:

e. g. Find out Bob's phone number MORE and then you know that there is a second task (dependent on the first one) to activate and should do that before you mark the first task as done and might forget about the second one.

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This site works better when you leave a single answer that best captures the totality of your answer. Because an important aspect of the site is earning reputation through leaving answers, many people will see leaving multiple answers for a single question--whether that is the intent or not--as an attempt to "unfairly" increase reputation. – Adam Wuerl Jul 16 '11 at 22:47
Also, if you need to clarify the intent of the question, that is best done as a comment to the question, not in the text of the answer. (Obviously the convention of not leaving multiple answers does not apply to comments, where a new comment should be used for each topic. :) – Adam Wuerl Jul 16 '11 at 22:48
@Adam: Thank you for your advice. I've edited my answers accordingly. – MostlyHarmless Jul 16 '11 at 22:59
@AdamWuerl That's incorrect advice. If you have multiple solutions to a question you should post them as multiple answers, so each can be evaluated independently. One might be good while another might be bad, after all. Imaginary internet points are not important enough to screw up the accuracy of votes. – endolith Feb 6 at 19:47

If your a command line junky Task Warrior will allow you to do this. Lets say I enter a bunch of tasks so the numbers used to reference them are 1, 2, and 3. then

task 2 dep:1
task 3 dep:2

Then when using the "unblocked" report only task one will show up. When you mark task 1 as done task 2 will show up. I use dependencys heavily enough that I changed the default ls report to be the unblocked report.

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Hey cool, I'll give Task Warrior a go. I don't suppose you know of a native Windows build that I can use without cygwin? – Daniel Fortunov Jul 21 '11 at 5:56
Unfortionately not. I use cygwin every day though so it's not something I looked into. – Jared Jul 21 '11 at 12:38
+1 for task warrior, if you aren't afraid of the command line. – 0x6d64 Sep 1 '11 at 9:00

There is also a new iOS app that is dedicated specifically to ordered task lists: TaskRoll, but it is probably more aimed towards longer workflows, especially those that one will need to repeat over and over.

The way it works is that it shows you one task (per workflow) at a time, moving on to the next one once you mark it as complete. There is a paid and a free version.

TaskRoll screen shot

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The mobile and web application Nirvana's "Next" screen has a nice implementation of "Next Actions" where it displays the top uncompleted task from each project and display all those tasks in one list:

enter image description here

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The iPad app "Thinkbook" does exactly what you are asking for in a nice way (and yes, I'm a new addict, er, user). It allows the creation of 'dashboards' that can show X number of upcoming tasks for whatever tagged projects/pages/notebooks you tell it to check on. When you complete a task on the dashboard, it updates the original data (or vice versa), removes the completed item, and adds the next thing in the queue. Simple, customizable (please show me two tasks from A and six tasks from B and none from C), and clean. I also use it because I can layer (indent?) tasks with multiple prereqisites within their primary project and still review things easily.

I honestly didn't think it would be all that useful until I started trying it out, and now I'm glad I gave it a shot.

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Hiveminder has task dependencies. They are very flexible - you just specify that one task comes before or after another and then the the dependent tasks are hidden by default.

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This is dead :/ – endolith Feb 6 at 20:04
Yes it's been closed down sadly. The code has been opened sourced so I guess someone could setup a new version of it – Matthew Lock Mar 2 at 5:36

I ended up making my own Windows application to handle my next actions.

I really wanted an application that automatically selected the next action from the remaining actions for a project/category, and I wanted to see my next actions all the time as I worked.

It's still pretty basic and a work in progress but it can be downloaded here for free:

Next Action Hero application

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