Personal task tracking

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See also Time Management, Kevins Values System Decision Matrix and the much older Why a wiki? (which needs to be updated an migrated here).

My notes on Personal task tracking and so-called "To Do" lists.


First of all I do keep project planning in their own wiki name space on my personal wiki. Projects result in a series of steps or tasks to accomplish the goals of the project. Those individual tasks would generally be reflected on my tasks list with a priority or a ordered (dependency) list. Many times those tasks are very simple "buy milk". Sometimes they are somewhat complicated or themselves have steps to them. I don't describe all my tasks to the nth degree. If a task is "Mow the lawn" I know in my head what that requires (Pull the tractor out of storage, buy fuel, check the tractor for damage or functionality, sharpen the blades, etc..) and sometimes the task come with surprises or unplanned work (replace the belt on the tractor or the tractor won't start). Because the tractor itself is a project (or a thing) I do keep a history page on it to note things like the last time maintenance was performed or the last time a battery was replaced.

Now currently for my to do lists I use Toodledo. It does contain a notes box for each task which is where I currently kept a history of the task. That is until now when I started bug tracking my own software and configurations and found this too simple for my needs. I also concluded that a full blown bug tracker is also too complex and requires too much manipulation and configuration to maintain myself for my own personal benefit. Hence my goal to find a better way to track tasks inside my existing wikis.

Why track?

Why track your personal tasks?

  • Because like your professional life your time is limited.
  • Scheduling your time requires priorities (work-life-balance-etc)
  • Your tasks also different priorities (Critical, urgent, Larger project oriented or whenever you are bored)
  • Your tasks are usually not just a simple one-liner there is history on how you accomplished this task.

Tasks are usually the most atomic part of a project. If I said as a personal project "I want to put in a cement walk way in my back yard leading to the shed" I might have these steps (or tasks):

  • Measure the distance
  • Calculate how much materials I will need
  • Purchase materials
  • Make a foundation for the pour
  • Mix the cement

and so on and these could be check marks on a simple To-Do list. But what if suddenly I needed to make an adjustment on the kind of cement to use or I have a supplier problem and wanted to note that on the task. I could update this information in the project page but that becomes noisy and boring information but it is information I need to track because I may perform a similar task again in the future. Hence task tracking.

My approach