Improvements and new design in the Routines section

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This weekend we have published a new version of the FacileThings Routines section, where you can define the tasks and events that take place on a regular basis.

The new design should be familiar to you, as it consistently follows the line of the sections we’ve already redesigned, with a menu on the left that allows you to select the routines according to the frequency with which you have programmed them: daily, weekly, monthly and yearly .

The main area, on the right, contains the list of routines of the selected type, in which you can see two interesting novelties:

  1. Tags Filter: Allows you to filter the routines with a specific tag or context assigned. It works the same way as in the action lists.
  2. Search Tool: It allows you to locate a routine by its description, in case you do not remember with what kind of frequency was programmed. You just have to type some letters and all the routines that contain that text will appear. You can select a routine from the list using the mouse or the up, down and enter keys. Once the option is selected, the list containing the routine will be open, in the position where that routine is located.

Routine Editor

When you click on a routine in the list, the new Routine Editor opens, allowing you to see all the routine information and its options in one place, with a structure very similar to the Task Editor.

In addition to having all the information together, there are some new options:

  1. Files. Now you can attach files that you are interested in having on hand during the execution of the routine. These files are associated with each action generated by the routine but they are not duplicated, that is, they do not occupy an extra space for each action.
  2. Checklist. The novelty with the checklists is that you can now sort the points in the list by dragging and dropping them. You can also import checklists even if there are checkpoints already in the routine.
  3. Choice criteria. Now you can define choice criteria for those actions that do not go to the Calendar but to the Next Actions list — if it is not necessary to perform an action on the same day that it’s generated but it can be done on any of the following days, uncheck the Calendar option and it will appear in the Next Actions list.
  4. Recurrence. Everything related to the programming of the routine has been simplified and grouped in this area, which I will discuss in more detail below.

Another novelty is that now, when you edit a routine and save the changes, the next occurrence will not be generated again, unless some data has been modified within the Recurrence area. If you only modify data that does not affect the programming of the routine (description, notes, choice criteria, etc.), the current active action will not be modified, and the new info will be effective when the next ocurrence is generated.

Routine Programming

The routines programming has been completely rebuilt, with the dual objective of making it more intuitive for the user and improving the performance of the system.

The programming of daily and yearly routines do not have new options with respect to the previous version, but the weekly and monthly do:

  • The weekly routines now allow you to indicate several days of the same week, so you can define periodicities of the type “every Monday, Wednesday and Friday”:
  • The monthly routines now allow you, in addition to establishing a specific day of the month, to define recurrences of the type “first Monday of each month”, “every two months, on the last Friday”, etc .:

If the Calendar option is checked, the actions generated by the routine will go to the Calendar. In this case, the “choice criteria” are deactivated because they do not make sense in actions that belong to the Calendar — following the GTD method, in the Calendar there must be only actions that have to be done on a certain day. No matter how energetic you are or how little free time you have, you’ll have to do them.

If you uncheck the Calendar option, the generated actions will go to the Next Actions list. In this case, the time and duration of the event are deactivated since they are not used in that list.

Advanced Options

  • Inactive until: Allows you to “hide” the action generated by the routine in the Tickler File until a few days before the scheduled day for its execution, so that it does not distract you when it is not yet necessary.
  • Starts: Allows you to set a date from which the actions of the routine will begin to appear. The first action will appear on the first date equal or later than the one indicated that matches the specified recurrence.
  • Ends: It allows you to indicate how long this routine should be generating actions. In addition to indicating a specific number of ocurrences, now you can also indicate an end date.
  • Calculated. There are certain recurring events that, when delayed, must delay the next occurrence, such as “putting the vaccine to the dog every three months.” If you delayed a couple of weeks to put the last vaccine, the next should be three months after you put it on. For this class of actions, use the calculated on completion option.

Other related topics

  • We had to eliminate the possibility of creating a routine at the moment of clarifying a task, because the new design is not compatible with the old design that the Clarify section still has. The option will be added again when we redesign that section.
  • There are still some improvements to be made in the Routines section, but since we usually spend January doing internal developments, we have preferred to release now all we already have available. The most interesting of these improvements will be the possibility of converting any action into a routine, and of editing the routine programming from the action generated by the routine.

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