Deferring and scheduling of actions are some of the most important concepts in GTD and productivity in general. Everdo provides flexible ways to schedule items, and this page explains how different options work.
There are two basic types of scheduling in Everdo - Defer and Repeat. Deferring an action means that it will be started on a specific date in the future. This date is called the Start Date. Making an action Repeating means that it will repeat according to the set of rules you specify. Now we examine each approach in more detail.
Note: Schedule vs Due DateThink of scheduling as a way to configure when the action starts. In contrast, a Due Date does not affect starting of actions. Instead, it serves as a way to automatically bring visibility to certain actions and projects that have a deadline. It can be used on actions in any state and in any list. For example if you have an action in Next, you can give it a due date, and it will remain a Next action, but now it will also have a due date.
Defer Action or Project (Set Start Date)
As mentioned before, deferring an action is achieved by setting the start date of the action to a specific date. When you do so, the action will automatically move to the Scheduled list and stay there until the specified day comes. On the appropriate day, it will be automatically moved to the Next list and gain Focus in order to improve the item's visibility.
This move from Scheduled to Next will happen only once, unless you defer the action again when it's in Next.
Repeat Action (Make Repeating)
To understand how repeating actions work in Everdo, we introduce the concepts of a Template action and the Clone action. The Template action appears in the Scheduled list and contains the Repeating Rules, which you specify when making an action repeating.
When the time comes for the action to repeat, the Template gets cloned, and the Clone action gets added to the Next list. As a result, you end up with the Clone and the Template as two separate actions. You can complete the Clone when it's done, but the Template will still remain in the Scheduled list until the next repeat date.
Once a Clone action gets created, it becomes completely separate from the Template. You can edit, complete, or delete the Clone without affecting the Template in any way. Each time an action repeats, a new Clone is created, independent from all previous Clones.
With the understanding of how repeating actions work in general, let us consider some additional settings that may be helpful.
Set Due Date When Action Repeats
This option will assign a Due Date to the Clone every time the action repeats. The Due Date will correspond to the day on which the action is set to repeat, so it will be different for every clone.
NoteBe careful not to confuse setting a Due Date on the Template action with using the Set Due Date checkbox in the repeating dialog. If you assign a Due Date directly to the Template item, then it will not affect any of the actual Clones which will be created when the action repeats. This is often not what you want, so use the Set Due Date checkbox in the repeating settings instead.
Do not repeat until the previous iteration is complete
As described earlier, every time a Repeating Action repeats, it creates a new Clone of itself, even if the previous one is still unfinished. This works well for actions that have to be done on a specific date, regardless of when the last completion was. For example, you might want to perform a monthly review at the end of every month, regardless of when you actually managed to complete the review for the previous month. But for many actions it does not make sense to repeat them on rigid schedule if the previous iteration has not been competed yet.
To configure such actions, you can use the Do not repeat until the previous iteration is complete option in the repeating configuration dialog. For example, suppose you need to clean something, or water flowers every 7 days. You set up a Daily repeating action to repeat every 7 days and check the Do not repeat until checkbox. As a result, this action will repeat in 7 days after the last time it has been completed. In contrast, if you don't set the Do not repeat until checkbox, then the action will repeat every 7 days since the Start Date, regardless of when you actually complete each iteration.
When considering frequency-based repeating actions, it's important to understand what it means to complete them. A repeating action is considered completed if every clone action created so far is either marked done or moved to trash. Otherwise, if any incomplete clone action exists in any non-trash list, then the frequency-based repeating action will not repeat until every clone is completed or removed.
WarningWhen using frequency-based repeating, your actions lose some visibility / reminder value. It can be easy to remove the focus flag from a repeated clone and forget about it. Then it will not be repeated again and it will not appear in focus to remind you of itself, unless you also configure a due date for the repeating action.
Using Due Dates
A Due Date in Everdo means that when that date comes, the item will automatically become Focused and will remain in the Focus list until it's completed. This makes overdue items stand out and be difficult to miss.
If you have an action or a project that absolutely needs to be done by a certain date, then it's wise to set the Due Date right away.