Getting to grips with Reminders in Agenda

I’ve been looking forward to the integration of Reminders with Agenda. Now it’s arrived, I’m trying to come up with an effective work flow. I’ve been using GoodTask, but I’d really like to ditch it and use the Agenda integration (not because GoodTask isn’t brilliant, but because I’d prefer to minimise number of apps)

Until now, my general approach to reminders is:

  • to create a reminder without a due date (unless there is a very obvious deadline)
  • at my daily review each morning, I mark the tasks I plan to work on today with a tag in GoodTask ( #tgt - ie my targets for the day)
  • They then appear in a Smart List in GoodTask that I’ve called ’Todays Tasks’
  • When I check them off in GoodTask they disappear from Todays Tasks

I find this works well for me. Ideally, I’d like to do all of this inside Agenda.

I’ve only had a quick play with the reminders integration, but I’m a bit puzzled how I can apply this workflow in Agenda, because:

  • I can’t see how to create an undated Reminder in Agenda
  • If I create a Reminder in Agenda with a tag, the # disappears from the text when it is added to the Reminders app
  • [edited to add] I can’t see how to view all Reminders in Agenda. I had expected a Reminders pane, like the Calendar pane.

If this is the case, I need to adapt my reminders workflow - which I’m quite happy to do, if I can find another way of acheiving something similar.

Any thoughts?

1 Like

It’s not possible to create an undated reminder, as this is basically the equivalent of a general checklist within Agenda itself.

  • If I create a Reminder in Agenda with a tag, the # disappears from the text when it is added to the Reminders app

Not sure I follow the workflow here, where do you insert the hash character?

  • [edited to add] I can’t see how to view all Reminders in Agenda. I had expected a Reminders pane, like the Calendar pane.

There’s no single overview yet, this is like a smart overview of all unchecked todo items in Agenda, a possibility we’d like to add in a future update.

Coming back to the workflow, one thing you could think of is:

  • create a project where you keep a general checklist of items to do, split in separate notes to group, or using formatting in a note to group items
  • when you decide to work on an item, add a reminder to those
  • optionally in combination with applying tags within Agenda and smart overviews
1 Like

Unless the checklist item is added to Reminders with no date, and can be marked Done in Reminders, by checking it complete from within Agenda, this seems to be quite different?

Or am I confused?!

In an Agenda note I type:

Call Joe #tgt \remind

In Reminders this appears as

Call Joe tgt

We’ll have a look if the tags can perhaps be added as notes indeed, that would make a lot of sense.

But that’s the thing, why add a reminder to the Reminders app if it has no date to begin with? Why not just create a checklist in Agenda, where the checklist item can be “marked as done” by checking off the checklist item. To me there’s no difference between a checklist of undated reminders in the Reminders app and a checklist of unchecked items in Agenda.

1 Like

I’ll mull this over. At first sight it seem to imply a lot of duplication.

I had thought of treating ‘On the Agenda’ as the equivalent of ‘Todays Target’, but as one note might have several tasks, that isn’t a terribly clean apporach.

It might be that if I want this sort of workflow, I’ll need to keep using GoodTask:

  • Create a reminder in Agenda
  • At morning review, using GoodTask, edit the date associated with the reminders if necessary, and tag with #tgt as appropriate
  • Use a smart overview in Agenda to find all Notes which include #tgt - because I’ll often want to refer to the context that the note provides, in order to carry out the actual task.

Obviously my workflow, and way of thinking about tasks and reminders, is quite different!

Apart from tasks with an actual external deadline, I prefer to leave them undated so I can decide when to tackle each. Priorities shift, other stuff comes up, and I find if I give them arbitary dates, ie target dates, I find I’m quickly overwhelmed by alerts that aren’t really necessary and just add stress.

But I need to tasks to have some kind of order. Especially because as a consultant I have projects for different clients. So my lists in Reminders are structured around these projects (and roughly mirror my projects in Agenda).

So at my daily review (basicaly I sit down with my coffee, my list of tasks, and my calendar, first thing in the morning) and decide what tasks I’m going to work on today. (I do a similar weekly review when I look ahead for the next couple of months to pick up real deadlines and events that I need to prep for). This is when I tag ’todays tasks’.

In order to do this review, it is essential that I have the tasks grouped by project - otherwise I can’t see the relationships and dependencies.

I’ve just realised one possible reason you are puzzled why I don’t just create a check list in Agenda!

It’s because tasks can arise in many different places and I need to be able to see them in a complete list structured by project. For example:

  • At a meeting, I’m making notes about the meeting in an Agenda Note attached to a Calendar event. I agree to do something. I need to create a task, there and then, in the Note.
  • I’m planning a piece of work, I’m putting down ideas in an Agenda Note, I create tasks in that Note
  • I’m walking in the park, I have a brilliant idea, I tell Siri: "Remind me to Do my brilliant idea”
  • I find something in the web that I want to follow up on. I send it to Reminders.

So Reminders seems to be the best way of pulling all these Tasks (generated from within Afgenda, and other apps) together. Even if all the Tasks were check list items in Agenda, there is no way of having an overview of these grouped by project (that I know of).

Does my need for undated Reminders make sense now?

Does my need for undated Reminders make sense now?

Kind of but like you mention, I still see a lot of duplication. For example, why not put a pinned note with “Tasks” at the top of the projects that you have for your clients, this is where you could collect such a checklist.

I think the major missing piece has to do with easy collection/sharing of ideas and tasks to Agenda, which Reminders supports well (sharing, sirikit), it’s one of the areas we definitely want to address and is probably the missing puzzle piece here for you.

Because it means duplicating tasks: typing them once when I first recognise the need for a task, in a meeting note etc; and then copying and pasting the task into the Tasks note you suggest. And then they have to be checked off in two places: the original note and the Tasks note.

It seems to me that undated Reminders in Agenda would solve the problem.

I disagree, IMO this would only lead to more confusion between what should go in reminders and what should be a checklist. Plus as you mentioned, where would they show? Undated reminders couldn’t show in the calendar in the related panel and without some form of overview of all undated reminders it all becomes pretty useless.

Again, looking at it from the outside, what you propose would just be a workaround for the fact that Agenda currently lacks a sharing extensions and/or sirikit integration. We much rather prefer to focus on those than on a workaround that once put in can’t be removed anymore.

2 Likes

Fair enough!

I think I see a workaround for my particular workflow. I’ve just had a meeting and added lots of reminders to the meeting note in Agenda, and will see how it works out!

1 Like

This is a very interesting discussion - I was also looking for an undated Reminder, but can understand the duplication of the checklist functionality.

I believe what I was really looking for, was Reminders to solve the problem of seeing all Checklist items (across projects) in a single view… Is this possible?

Very true, besides the sharing extension, that’s another key part that is missing and still high up on our list, an overview of all unchecked checklist items. Indeed the Reminders app would be a workaround for that too at this moment.

1 Like

I am also in for undated reminders. My workflow is quite similar to the one described above.

In my case, for some tasks I don‘t want to decide in the middle of a meeting on the due date. Being forced to think of a due date would distract me from the meeting “flow”. I’ll do this in a follow-up step.

So, please add the possibility to create an undated reminder!

1 Like

If you anyway don’t want to bother with creating a reminder during the meeting and have a follow-up step, why not simply insert a #remind tag and replace it later on with a \remind ?

1 Like

Having had this internal battle myself I think I can best summarise the desire for the undated reminders as one of philisophy (to-do list (things 3 etc) vs reminders to do things (Agenda)) and integration (getting all tasks into one place to esaily manage - task oriented workflows being driven from Agenda notes (utopia!)).

Right now it’s too tempting to step out of Agenda into reminders.app and the rest and wish that ALL tasks were there in one view - hence the multiple requests for dateless reminders (aka tasks/todos)

A Dropbox Paper like approach is what you have described (though hopefully nicer, theirs is quite tediuos) for a reminders rollup would potentially allow the heavily task oriented people to move their whole workflow across without the need for a separate task app. But we will likely keep asking for “just one more” until you have rebuilt Things 3 inside a note app.

There is a subtle difference between “topics” (i.e. notes) being on the agenda and a “today” view of tasks (ala Things3, MS To-do and Todist etc.) that tripped me up, and still is a bit, and I suspect others. You’ve given us just enough rope to hang ourselves there and new workflows (dare I say paradigms of task management) are needed.

I am personally trying to move away from a pure "to-do” list, rather blocking out time for actually DOING things in my calendar (which Agenda is excellent at) and this is working generally well, but the little bit that is missing is around all those little tasks that pop up and need to be quickly noted with low friction (the task inbox!). Perhaps something as simple as a long press on the icon option for “inbox note” and “inbox note with to do”. As you’ve noted before, you don’t want to recreate the wheel with regards to task management, so it might be a bit of an ideological impasse that the inclusion of “reminders” has created tension around.

I think a winning combo would be the ability to create searches that includes “tasks” AND tags (especially #due with dates) AND potentially something around “reminders(today)”. This would need to show only the tasks themselves with enough context to not require them to be overly verbose (i.e. Category and Project). Showing the full notes wouldn’t solve the problem - the fear is losing things, or losing track of things buried in some unloved but important note.

For me that would negate the need for feeling the need to export my tasks anywhere.

/Ramble

3 Likes

I found this when trialling \remind in a live meeting. This distraction is cognitive overload and to be avoided if possible.

My workaround, the absence of dateless reminders, will be to create a keyboard shortcut that creates a reminder for tomorrow in a Reminders list called Inbox. By dating them tomorrow, rather than the default of today, they won’t get mixed up with actual tasks for today. Putting them in my in box, means they’ll be ready for my morning review session, where I can add them to the appropriate list and change the date etc.

This is the final step in my morning review, which I didn’t mention before as it wasn’t directly relevant.

I was inspired by https://bestself.co/ (however their website has changed since then and I can’t find the relevant page).

Basically:

  • I collect undated tasks in Reminders
  • review every morning
  • estimate how long each task will take
  • based on urgency and duration, I block out time for today’s tasks in my calendar.

I find the last two steps have been really helpful.

Exactly, this again comes back to what I noticed in @trebso’s comments, that the main missing piece has more to do with quickly jotting down ideas and capturing ideas and things in the moment that you don’t want to forget. We sensed this lack ourselves and in fact have already worked out how we want to address it, so definitely more to come on that end.

3 Likes