Saturday, August 31, 2013

Habits. Next Action.

We often want to share the next new functionality with you so greatly that we do so not checking everything is ok :). That what happened when we uploaded the new version yesterday. The new update, among traditional general UI enhancements, have added a functionality which many will love - the Next Action. We released it quickly and had not noticed there was small problem. Thanks to you, we fixed shortly after - Thank You!

Next Action.

The new functionality is about your actions ordering. Usually, you place them by priority in the order you want to do.

Current sorting algorithm is as follows:
+ first actions are sorted by square: 1 -> 2 -> 3 -> 4 (or, color: blue -> red -> green -> orange);
+ next actions are separated into done / not done;
+ next they are sorted by explicit priority set: A -> B -> C -> D -> E -> F -> 'unset priority';
+ next they are sorted by goal - whichever goal was added first, its action come closer to the top;

This is how it has been working for long, just giving the details. Such system helps you manage your projects/actions by setting the natural order of the actions you want.

Now, when working on a set of related actions (usually, sub-actions of the same project or just a list of actions within a goal), what happened when you had just finished an action and checked it as done? You had to return to the goal, then again to the list of actions to see what action to do next? That required enough extra clicking to make you tired :).

So, we tried to enhance this process, first, by letting you go straight to the next action from the goal page - you could click on the Progress bar (where the Do the next text is)  and it would take you to the first action in the list of actions. If you wanted to see the whole list of actions, you just needed to click on the 'Action(s): 5 (view)' label.

Further improving this functionality, we've added the 'Next Action' notion to the Action page:

On the Action page, if you mark the action as done, the app will check if you have a next action to do and will let you go to it by clicking on the appropriate button. This frees you from a lot of extra going back and forward to see what you have to do.

Your next action is usually the action that comes next on the list at the same level - next undone action of the same goal  as current's, or next undone action for the same parent as current's. Habits will check what is next and will lead you there.

The next action feature will feel so natural to you, once tried, that you'll think you needed it all the time. I know it may sound a bit over-confident, but it is how we feel after using it ourselves :).


We've also added the sliding navigation menu to the main program pages. Using it you can quickly go to the Home page, the Notes or the Add Note pages. It will further be enhanced and more shortcuts will be added. The menu is triggered by clicking on the app icon in the top-left corner on those pages (the so-called home button on the action bar)


Finally, we want to thank you for all the feedback you give us, the reports, letters you send, posts you write  - they are invaluable! Thanks to them we can quickly fix the problems, just as we did with this Next action early release - thanks to the error report we received! And we greatly appreciate your ratings on the play store, too!


  1. I do not agree (somehow). I found the "next action" button very confussing. I finished a task, a "next action" appeared and I thought it let me do something like a "follow up". Your argument to use it like a "where to move next" is in this context one use case. Better ask yourself: "what function is most usefull immediatelly when marking a task as done"? What comes into MY mind is:
    * ask:
    ** is there any task that now need an adjustment (due date, reminder date/time, priority, cancel task at all, ...)
    ** do you want to create a new task with connection (follow up) to the just finished one (maybe keep connected in achievement too)

    An example:
    sales process. You get in touch, you meet, you send documents, you need to keep in touch. You can plan the order of these, but not the actual date of the "next action". Maybe you intentionally want to let time pass between them. So the are actually (in your understanding of "next task") not next task.
    You could either enter all the steps all at once and delete some when you cancel the whole process in the middle. Or you enter it step by step as the process with a customer is going further. Either case you want to adjust your "next action" (in term of the just finished one!!!) before you turn your focus to another task. Similar applies on finished development work. You give someone a notice of some completion, put a reminder to call the project manager/customer/deployment guy/quality testing guy/ in xx hours/days to check your work and turn to something else.

    So my opinion: the most urgend "next thing to do" is to get asked "does the completion change something in other tasks or raise a new task?"

    1. ...talking about My Effectiveness: To do, Tasks 0.17.16 on Android