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'waiting for' dependencies

JP's Avatar


14 Mar, 2011 10:40 AM


I would like how you guy's handeling waiting for dependencies.

When I start a project I alway try to figure out how te complete it with it's sub tasks. But during the project some tasks are added with waiting for dependencies. My problem is that my tasks from the project are in my next list but are depending on waiting for's. Now I have tasks in my next list which I can not complete because they have to be done in sequence.
I was thinking of to move them to the some day list but is against the rules of GTD (and I think the GTD rule is correct on this). I think this is the only thing in my GTD system is not really working and hope that some one has solution for this.

  1. 1 Posted by ken on 14 Mar, 2011 02:29 PM

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    What I've found effective is NOT to use the 'waiting' list. The project view gets cluttered with Next, Waiting, Scheduled, Done and Logged lists.

    Rather, have one 'unified' project list. Anything that you are 'waiting' for someone else to complete would be marked like @JP - research documentation completed. Just put a '@' symbol in front of the person you've delegated an action step to.. and then assign it with a tag called 'waiting'. Use the due date selector in the task-creation field to mark when it's due, and then drag your project tasks in to proper sequential order. Now you have a project overview of who is to do what and by when. Any item that is not preceded with '@', are tasks that you have to do.

    Another nice thing about this approach is that you can insert '@' into the search field at the top of the screen and it will filter everyone you've delegated something to. You can even refine it by selecting the 'waiting' tag in the search query.

    Hope this helps.

  2. 2 Posted by Ken on 14 Mar, 2011 02:33 PM

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    Another thing I forgot to mention, I use the due date rather than scheduled date for tasks I have to do on a certain date. This helps keep your project overview unified.

    Again, you can simply use the filter by due date at the top of the screen to see what's coming up. Cheers.

  3. 3 Posted by JP on 14 Mar, 2011 03:22 PM

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    @ Ken

    Thank you for the very useful information. I do think that your workflow differs from mine and have to think about that.
    In my workflow I almost never look at the project list except when I have to add a task and in my weekly review (to see if there are any empty projects). In the morning I decide what tasks I need to focus on from the next list and the rest of the day I work from my focus list (of cource I repeat that stap if my focus list is empty).
    My problem is to chose what to focus on because my next list is filled with actions I cannot do because they are depending on items in my waiting for list.
    Back to the drawing board with your and my workflow.

  4. 4 Posted by Proximo on 15 Mar, 2011 04:13 AM

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    Just wanted to point out that this is something I reported as a flaw in Nirvana's Projects.

    If you have a project with sequential task that require it to move forward, the waiting for task should not have their own section withing the project. Doing so breaks up the sequential nature of the project and you now have a task at top that is not truly the Next Action.

    I suggested that Projects inside Nirvana stay in the sequential order we created while adding a badge that tells you if it's waiting for someone to take action. This way we clearly know what is the Next Action of a project without confusion.

    I respect Ken's ideas on getting around this but I refuse to hack Nirvana to make it work as it should. I send the suggestions to Nirvana for consideration and just do my best to deal with the little things like this in hopes that it get's resolved.

    The only reason I think this way is because I spent way too much time hacking other systems that I no longer wish to do so. Call me stubborn but I figured my role in this beta test is to try and suggest changes that will keep Nirvana pure to GTD with no hacking involved.

    Ken does have some great suggestions, so please don't get me wrong. I just refuse to do things like this anymore and it keeps me frustrated enough to bring it up from time to time for Nirvana to consider. LOL

  5. 5 Posted by JP on 15 Mar, 2011 08:39 AM

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    @Proximo I also have an suggestion.

    Project 'my project':
    - item 1 - item 2 - item 3 (a waiting for Item) - item 4

    Next list:
    - item 1 - item 2

    Item 3 will not show up in the next list because it's a waiting for item. Item 4 wil not show up in the next list because this item is underneath item 3 (items underneath a waiting for item are depending on this item). In the project view you can make this perfect clear by adding colours to the items and can be setup easy by draging
    This method will remove the group waiting for in the project view.
    I'm just sharing some thoughts here in the hope it helps

  6. 6 Posted by Soren on 15 Mar, 2011 08:43 AM

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    +1 for "Projects inside Nirvana stay in the sequential order we created" +1 for true unified list In my opinion this is the 2 most important issues in N2, because anything with more than 1 task = a project => a lot of projects to "service"

  7. 7 Posted by JP on 15 Mar, 2011 08:44 AM

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    My next lines are removed between the items. I hope you can still understand what I'm trying to say.

  8. 8 Posted by Proximo on 16 Mar, 2011 04:03 AM

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    You have some good ideas.

    I like to keep things really simple, so I would love for the sequential nature of the Project to stay in place regardless if I mark a task waiting, scheduled, etc.

    This is brain dead simple and since I have a lack of brains, I find it most useful. :-)

  9. 9 Posted by Folke on 19 Nov, 2011 04:05 PM

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    I posted something here by mistake, and took it out.

    The functionality seems to be there for sequential projects, just the way it should be (as per Proximo's post. earlier.) Very neat indeed. A "waited" task now stops the project, sits in the project sequence and also appears under Waiting.

    (If you star a subsequent task it shows up in Focus but not in Next, which appears a bit inconsistent though ... but I guess nobody would ever do that. I just found out by accident.)

  10. Support Staff 10 Posted by David McLaughli... on 28 Nov, 2011 04:35 PM

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    @Folke - np.

    Yes, the star acts as a flag, it's not really a task 'state' -- you can star anything.

    While that does look a bit strange in that scenario since starred items are placed in Next when tasks are auto-starred by the app, manually you can star anything -- so, it's really expected behavior.


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