How to use as a task manager with To Do's that persist till done

Hi, I want to use Obsidian as my to do manager, but I am struggling. Here are the things I’d like to be able to do:

  1. Define the To Do’s at the Project level in a separate note. However, every day or week, decide what I want to tackle and it shows up in my daily note till it is done.
  2. If I do not finish a particular to do, have it roll over. Unfortunately, I cannot use blanket roll overs because I have a daily habit building set of to do’s to try to do each day, and I often don’t get to everything, so when those roll-over, it’s a full set of duplicates
  3. When I am writing in my journal and I come up with a to do, I’d like to be able to list it out either within that note or in some side bar without leaving my journal. My journal is where I clear my head of all the stuff going on and can identify new to do’s or new ideas, so don’t want to break that flow, but still captuer the ideas in a usable format.

With those requirements, I am wondering if it is better to use Things. Which I love.

But it’s very disconnected from Obsidian. I know that there is a Things plugin, but am wondering whether this workflow would be supported.

PS: I am also open to other approaches of doing planning and execution all within Obsidian.

I am using a combination of the Dataview and the QuickAdd plugin - I think this workflow comes very close to what you’d like to achieve.

1. Installing plugins

If you haven’t done so, install Dataview and QuickAdd from Community Plugins.

2. Create a file for your project-related ToDos

Create a file anywhere in your vault. For this example, let’s call this file “Tasks”.

3. Set up a QuickAdd capture

Open QuickAdd settings and create a new capture. Give it a name, chose “capture” and click “Add Choice”.

Point to your “Tasks” file and adjust the settings as shown in the following image:

Activate “capture format” and set it to {{value}}.

Screenshot 2023-05-23 201927

Back to general QuickAdd settings, activate the hotkey for your newly created capture (yellow flash):

In obsidian’s settings, define a hotkey for your capture. For this example, let’s use ctrl + t.

4. Adjusting your daily note template

In your daily note template, insert the following dataview query:

FROM "Tasks"
WHERE !completed

5. Create new tasks from anywhere within obsidian

Every time a ToDo comes to your mind, press ctrl + t (your capture hotkey) and just write your task into the field that is opened. Press enter and continue your writing in your actual file. The task will be automatically added to your “Tasks” file - you don’t have to open anything.

6. Differentiating tasks by project

Let’s say you are currently working on three different projects. Let’s name them “A”, “B” and “C”.

If you want to refine the above procedure so that tasks are listed related to specific projects, you can use dataview inline metadata:

First, when inserting a new task (via QuickAdd hotkey), don’t just write your task text in the popup field but amend it by project related inline metadata. If you want to add a task for project A, for example, write the following:

Screenshot 2023-05-23 203606

Don’t forget the square brackets and the double (!) colon!

Second, change your dataview query in your daily note template as follows:

FROM "Tasks"
WHERE !completed
GROUP BY project

alternatively, you can of course create different “Tasks” files for different projects. In this case, you have to insert multiple dataview queries in your daily notes template - one for each task file (in this case, you don’t need the “GROUP BY” anymore).

1 Like

I use QuickAdd to add “ToDo’s”, which are files added to my /System/ToDo folder, one for each todo. This can either be a project (with lots of tasks inside) or a single todo. I’m using the Tasks plugin with a global filter “#t”. This way I can have normal checkboxes, not being seen as tasks.

I have setup a hotkey to capture a new Task with Shift+Alt+T. It asks me for a description. The description is used for the filename of the file itself, but also for the task inside the file. I have setup the filenames to be prepended with the date YYMMDD so duplicate tasks that come up over the course of days is not a problem (they all have their own file).

In the Main Dashboard I have a Tasks query (not dataview) which shows me:

short mode
hide task count
show edit button
show start date
show scheduled date
show due date
hide done date
show recurrence rule
show backlink
not done
happens before tomorrow

The key here is “happens before tomorrow”, so if there is a due date or start date (or any date really) that is either in the past or today this task is shown.

This same query is also in its own note, so I can keep it pinned on the sidebar for easy access. I use the “edit” icon at the end of the task line to change the status or dates if needed and the little paperclip which is the backlink to open the whole file.

When it’s a simple task, I usually don’t even open the file, I just schedule it for the day I want to do it and tick it off when I’m done. For bigger tasks, or tasks where I have to log stuff or add notes or attachments I open the file itself.

My Task template:

# 📁 {{VALUE:ProjectName}}

### Project Task
- [ ] #t {{VALUE:ProjectName}} ⏳ <%"YYYY-MM-DD")%>

## Description

## Info

## Todo
- [ ] 
- [ ] Inform

## Log
- [[<%"YYYY-MM-DD")%>]] <%"HH:mm")%>: Created

## Notes/Attachments

As you can see each newly created task has the “Scheduled” date on today, so it appears in my list immediately. I can then easily open it and edit it.

How I manage my list

  • I use “Scheduled” date for the date I’m planning to work on it
  • Most tasks are without “Scheduled” date once I have added and editted them. For this I have a seperate dashboard which shows me all tasks “with no happens date”. I visit this at least weekly, but also sometimes in between if I’m out of tasks to do or when I’m searching for things
  • I do not have to reschedule tasks when I’m not able to complete them today as they will appear in the list until they are done anyway
  • Recurring (often daily) small tasks are in their own file, I cleanup the old tasks in their every so often, though I don’t think this is really needed
  • Tasks scheduled in the future only appear when they are either today’s date or when the date has moved past the scheduled date. This is useful for tasks I have to in a few months for example. I don’t want to forget them, I don’t want to see them before it’s time either
  • Tasks inside a file are usually not with the #t global filter, so they only appear in the file. I only mark the “Project task” complete when the items in the file are done, this global filter also has the advantage that checkboxes elsewhere in my vault can be ticked off without adding the Done date

If you want to know more, let me know.