This post describes a very simple ‘to do’ list that I made in a Drupal 7 website.
The website already had a Calendar and Date function. I can add a Date, and all its details, which is recorded as a node of content-type Date and displayed on a Calendar View.
Already installed and enabled : Drupal 7, Token, Pathauto, CTools, Views and Views UI, Date, Calendar, Computed Field
To add items and to put them on and off the ‘to do’ list
To make this simple to do list, I decided –
- To add the things I want ‘to do’as a Date and, if they have no date, I record an arbitrary start date – say the end of the quarter or the end of the half.
- When I want to move an item to my active ‘to do’ list, I simply edit the item and change the start date to today or if it on this week’s list, to Monday.
- When I have finished the task, I edit the item again to reflect the finish date.
- As I will describe below, an odd feature of the filter’s in Views required an extra Boolean filed so I check a box when the task is complete.
With this simple set up, I have a permanent record, in one place, of all my projects that are pending, and of all my projects in the past with the dates when I started them and finished them
To keep me thoroughly focused, I made two taxonomies – one for work and one for leisure. Both of these were added to Date so that later I can retrieve work and leisure activities into separate Views.
As I have both start and end information, I added another field to Date to calculate the Elapsed Time between the date I started and ended a project. There is code available on the internet and I repeat it here. Simply, we retrieve the entity values for the two times, make DateObjects with the values, and then choose our granuality (‘days’).
I also added another field to Date, Days in Queue, and added similar code to calculate the time between the day the Date was added and the start date.
To display my ‘to do’ list
To display my current ‘to do’ list, I made a View in a Block, in table format, and display the taxonomy tag and Date title
I also added two filters. First, using a Relative filter, I selected Dates with a start date equal or larger than now. Second, I searched on the Complete check box. It is important to manually put in 1 and 0 as the default values when you set up the field initially, otherwise they will filter will not work in the View. The reason that I added what seems to be a superfluous checkbox is that the default finish date for a new task is not NULL, as one might expect, but the start date. The only way to select tasks that have been started and not finished is to add the extra box.
As I have made a Block, I can put the Block in a side bar.
Note also that we can tell the Block View to order the items in the order of the Taxonomy. So when you set up the Taxonomy, ensure you put the tags for work into the order of your daily routine.
Note also that I did try using Editable Views but firstly, it did not work out of preview, and secondly, the preview showed a massive date edit screen that would not be user friendly. So to record a project as finished, I follow the link and edit the Date and check the complete box.
To set up my ‘to do’ list
To review my pending list of items in the queue, I made another View, this time as a page. This time I use all four fields – Date, title, Elapsed Time, Days in Queue – in a table.
I can also filter by taxonomy.
Here I can pick my items, follow their link and change the start date to today or Monday.
To review what I have achieved
For those days when I have been buried in a task and feel that I have achieved nothing, I have an ordinary View of all four fields – Date, title, Elapsed Time, Days in Queue – in a table. This time, I have two exposed filters. The first is headed, ‘Finish on or after’ and the second is headed, ‘Finished before’.
By setting my time range, I can immediately see what I have finished during the period in question.
I can repeat the entire setup for leisure items.
Features to be developed
My next tasks will be to track my Elapsed Time and Days in Queue, particularly for work items.
To understand my own planning behaviour better, I will group all my Dates by week and count the number of items inserted and the number of items that are finished. Now I will have the basic information to understand my queue – how fast am I adding things and how fast am I finishing things. Ideally, I’ll plot these numbers on a graph.
To understand the chunking of my tasks, I’ll group them again by week and calculate the minimum, average and maximum Elapsed Time. Hopefully, both the spread of times and the average time will decrease below 5 days – meaning, I have designed tasks that can be finished within a week.
And I will calculate the minimum, average and maximum Elapsed Time and Days in Queue for a moving period of quarters, halves and years so that I can be aware of how long I take to complete something I have decided to do and how my behaviour changes in time.
There it is. A simply backlog manager. Add Dates to a Calendar. Use Computed Fields to monitor both the Elapsed Time and the Days in Queue. Use a check box to show a task is complete because filtering by a blank end date does not work. And add two taxonomies so that you can split your lists and display tasks in order.
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