Taskwarrior

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Taskwarrior
Taskwarrior
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I ended up with a mess after half a year trying to use every feature of Taskwarrior. It's time to focus on building solid knowledge one step at a time.

What Is Taskwarrior?

Taskwarrior helps you manage tasks and ideas from the command line. It provides a convenient interface, assuming your idea of convenient is a rich collection of commands you can enter, customize, and pipe to other utilities.

Starting from scratch

I archived my confused earlier attempts at usage. Here I am with a fresh slate.

$ task --version
2.5.1
$ task
[task next]
No matches.

When you don't tell task what you want, it assumes by default that you want to see your next report. You can customize many aspects of Taskwarrior, but for my own understanding I will not look at customization today.

The Tutorial, Summarized

Let's review the 30-Second Tutorial.

add : creates a new task

done : marks a task as complete

delete : marks a task as deleted

next : show a report listing of tasks in decreasing order of Urgency

Taskwarrior calculates Urgency based on multiple factors, including your own priority: ranking. I plan to ignore Urgency and priority until life no longer seems sorted into "it's on fire" and "it's just an idea."

I'll add a few tasks.

$ task add knit fingerless gloves                              
Created task 1.                
$ task add write about Taskwarrior                             
Created task 2.                
$ task add get a size G crochet hook
Created task 3.
$ task next

ID Age Description               Urg 
 1 29s knit fingerless gloves       0
 2 14s write about Taskwarrior      0
 3 1s  get a size G crochet hook    0

I added that last one about the crochet hook to convince myself to get off my tush and go get that hook from my friendly Local Yarn Store. Give me a minute.

Okay, done.

$ task 3 done                  
Completed task 3 'get a size G crochet hook'.
Completed 1 task.

What about delete? Say I want to see a movie this weekend.

$ task add go see that movie   
Created task 3. 

Turns out it's not in theaters anymore. I need to pay closer attention to these things. delete lets you abandon a task.

$ task 3 delete
Delete task 3 'go see that movie'? (yes/no) yes
Deleting task 3 'go see that movie'.
Deleted 1 task.

Those are the core Taskwarrior commands. It's enough to make and manage a useful task list.

A few more "core" commands

I consider a few more features core to my own Taskwarrior experience.

  • editing a task
  • recording a completed task that I never added
  • reporting my completed tasks

modify

I see a typo in my task descriptions. modify helps there.

$ task 1 modify crochet fingerless gloves
Modifying task 1 'crochet fingerless gloves'.
Modified 1 task.

log and completed

I don't just track things I want to do. I track things I did. I feel better on days when I barely dent my next list but can point to other accomplishments.

$ task log mailed presents     
Logged task 0ef63b0b-ba36-495c-8684-d2c45258ea3d.

The completed report shows my completed tasks, including those I logged and those marked done.

$ task completed               

ID UUID     Created    Completed  Age Description              
 - 20334a63 2017-12-01 2017-12-01 20h get a size G crochet hook
 - 0ef63b0b 2017-12-02 2017-12-02 19s mailed presents          

2 tasks

Taskwarrior tells you all sorts of interesting things about your tasks with a wealth of reports. Explore them!

Projects

It can be demoralizing to have one huge task that just sits there forever, even though you work on it and make progress. A good way to keep yourself motivated is to split it into smaller subtasks. Taskwarrior does that with projects.

Let's go with a knit vest that I have almost finished.

$ task add knit vest project:ruana
Created task 3.
The project 'ruana' has changed.  Project 'ruana' is 0% complete (1 task remaining).
$ task next

ID Age Project Description               Urg                   
 3 3s  ruana   knit vest                    1                  
 1 20h         crochet fingerless gloves    0                  
 2 20h         write about Taskwarrior      0 

Hey look a column for Urgency. Ignoring that.

$ task add finish vest project:ruana
$ task add knit belt project:ruana
$ task add block vest project:ruana
$ task add blog about vest project:ruana

Knitting the vest itself is still the largest task, but at least I have some additional information about the other tasks involved in the project.

What does my task list look like now?

$ task next

ID Age  Project Description               Urg 
 3 4min ruana   knit vest                    1
 4 3min ruana   finish vest                  1
 5 3min ruana   knit belt                    1
 6 3min ruana   block vest                   1
 7 2s   ruana   blog about vest              1
 1 20h          crochet fingerless gloves    0
 2 20h          write about Taskwarrior      0

Tags

Taskwarrior lets us add text tags to describe aspects of the task that may be useful beyond its description or project.

Indicate a tag by prefixing it with +.

$ task modify 1 +crochet
Modifying task 1 'crochet fingerless gloves'.
Modified 1 task.

The next report includes a new column for tags now.

$ task next

ID Age  Project Tag     Description               Urg 
 3 7min ruana           knit vest                    1
 4 7min ruana           finish vest                  1
 5 6min ruana           knit belt                    1
 6 6min ruana           block vest                   1
 7 3min ruana           blog about vest              1
 1 20h          crochet crochet fingerless gloves  0.8
 2 20h                  write about Taskwarrior      0

Oh look. Assigning a tag gave an Urgency to task the +crochet task. Still ignoring it.

I added little information putting +crochet on a task that I already described with "crochet," but tags make convenient filters for Taskwarrrior commands and reports.

Filters

Filters let you work with a defined set of tasks.

$ task 3-7 modify +knitting
  - Tags will be set to 'knitting'.
Modify task 3 'knit vest'? (yes/no/all/quit) all
Modifying task 3 'knit vest'.
Modifying task 4 'finish vest'.
Modifying task 5 'knit belt'.
Modifying task 6 'block vest'.
Modifying task 7 'blog about vest'.
Modified 5 tasks.
Project 'ruana' is 0% complete (5 of 5 tasks remaining).

What if the tasks aren't right next to each other? No problem.

$ task 2,7 modify +blog
Modifying task 2 'write about Taskwarrior'.
Modifying task 7 'blog about vest'.
Modified 2 tasks.
Project 'ruana' is 0% complete (5 of 5 tasks remaining).

How have these modifications changed my next report?

$ task next                    

ID Age   Project Tag           Description               Urg 
 7 8min  ruana   blog knitting blog about vest            1.9
 3 12min ruana   knitting      knit vest                  1.8
 4 12min ruana   knitting      finish vest                1.8
 5 12min ruana   knitting      knit belt                  1.8
 6 11min ruana   knitting      block vest                 1.8
 1 20h           crochet       crochet fingerless gloves  0.8
 2 20h           blog          write about Taskwarrior    0.8

Filters work on reports, too.

$ task 3-7 next     

ID Age   Project Tag           Description     Urg 
 7 11min ruana   blog knitting blog about vest  1.9
 3 15min ruana   knitting      knit vest        1.8
 4 15min ruana   knitting      finish vest      1.8
 5 15min ruana   knitting      knit belt        1.8
 6 14min ruana   knitting      block vest       1.8

5 tasks

What if I filter to a single ID without a command?

$ task 1                       
No command specified - assuming 'information'.

Name          Value                               
ID            1
Description   crochet fingerless gloves           
Status        Pending
Entered       2017-12-01 14:49:32 (20h)           
Last modified 2017-12-02 11:08:25 (18min)
Tags          crochet                             
Virtual tags  PENDING READY TAGGED UNBLOCKED
UUID          fadd9280-6796-4fe9-9f97-0a3ff0f5fd4b
Urgency        0.8

    tags    0.8 *    1 =    0.8
                         ------
                            0.8

Date                Modification                                                                     
2017-12-02 10:51:12 Description changed from 'knit fingerless gloves' to 'crochet fingerless gloves'.
2017-12-02 11:08:25 Tags set to 'crochet'.                                                           

I get a lot of stuff I'm not ready for yet. I'll come back to this some other day.

Filters don't have to be task IDs. Use plain text to filter based on task description.

$ task gloves                  
[task next ( gloves )]

ID Age Tag     Description               Urg 
 1 20h crochet crochet fingerless gloves  0.8

1 task

Prefix with + for a tag filter.

$ task +blog                   
[task next ( +blog )]

ID Age   Project Tag           Description             Urg 
 7 12min ruana   blog knitting blog about vest          1.9
 2 20h           blog          write about Taskwarrior  0.8

2 tasks

Prefix with - to show tasks that do not have a particular tag.

$ task -knitting               
[task next ( -knitting )]

ID Age Tag     Description               Urg 
 1 20h crochet crochet fingerless gloves  0.8
 2 20h blog    write about Taskwarrior    0.8

Prefix with project: to list tasks associated with a particular project.

$ task project:ruana           
[task next ( project:ruana )]

ID Age   Project Tag           Description     Urg 
 7 12min ruana   blog knitting blog about vest  1.9
 3 16min ruana   knitting      knit vest        1.8
 4 15min ruana   knitting      finish vest      1.8
 5 15min ruana   knitting      knit belt        1.8
 6 15min ruana   knitting      block vest       1.8

5 tasks

Org lets you write quick notes about a task. Can Taskwarrior do that?

Of course it can!

Annotations

Annotations let you add a one line note to a task.

$ task knit vest annotate pattern at http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/ruana-style-vest
Annotating task 3 'knit vest'.
Annotated 1 task.
Project 'ruana' is 0% complete (5 of 5 tasks remaining).

Taskwarrior presents these annotations with their tasks in reports.

$ task project:ruana
[task next ( project:ruana )]

ID Age   Project Tag           Description                                                                    Urg 
 3 24min ruana   knitting      knit vest                                                                       2.6
                                 2017-12-02 pattern at http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/ruana-style-vest     
 7 20min ruana   blog knitting blog about vest                                                                 1.9
 4 24min ruana   knitting      finish vest                                                                     1.8
 5 24min ruana   knitting      knit belt                                                                       1.8
 6 24min ruana   knitting      block vest                                                                      1.8

Notice how a task's Urgency automatically increases as we add more information to it? I know — I'm still ignoring it, but it does make it convenient that the tasks I spend more time on in Taskwarrior get pushed to the top.

Anyways I'm done knitting the vest.

$ task 3 done
Completed task 3 'knit vest'.
Completed 1 task.
The project 'ruana' has changed.  Project 'ruana' is 20% complete (4 of 5 tasks remaining).

Oops

Let's go shopping!

$ task add groceries +misc project:home
Created task 7.
The project 'home' has changed.  Project 'home' is 0% complete (1 task remaining).  

Sometimes I need to remove a tag, or remove a task from a project.

Prefixing the tag with - in a modify command removes that tag.

$ task groceries modify -misc +food                            
Modifying task 7 'groceries'.  
Modified 1 task.
Project 'home' is 0% complete (1 task remaining).

home isn't a project — at least not in this context. Assigning an empty project removes a task's project connection.

$ task groceries modify project:                               
Modifying task 7 'groceries'.  
Modified 1 task.

Summary

Here's what I have so far for my task list, without work stuff because you don't need to know about that.

$ task -work                                                   
[task next ( -work )]                                          
                                                                
ID Age   Project Tag              Description                                      Urg 
 6 1h    ruana   blog knitting    blog about vest                                   1.9
 3 1h    ruana   knitting         finish vest                                       1.8                                       
 4 1h    ruana   knitting         knit belt                                         1.8
 5 1h    ruana   knitting         block vest                                        1.8
 2 21h           blog taskwarrior Taskwarrior tags, projects, annotations, filters  1.7
                                    2017-12-02 basic flow done                          
 7 22min         food shopping    groceries                                         1.7
                                    2017-12-02 shopping list done                      
 8 14min         blog taskwarrior Taskwarrior due dates, priorities, recurrences    0.9
15 5min          clothes shopping get winter coat                                   0.9
 1 21h           crochet          crochet fingerless gloves                         0.8
16 9s                             visit library                                       0
                               
10 tasks

That's enough for now. I feel comfortable using Taskwarrior to manage and describe my tasks. Next time I write about Taskwarrior I might choose to focus on tiny pieces so I can post more often.

$ task 2 done                  
Completed task 2 'Taskwarrior tags, projects, annotations, filters'.
Completed 1 task.
You have more urgent tasks.

Oh hush, you. I'll get to Urgency when I feel like it.