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5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Hello, all,

Sort Stack, your prioritizing first mate, is a task management base that I released a little under a year ago. Since that initial launch, I've added several features to the base, a few of which I'd like to highlight below.

Due to the somewhat ad hoc way that this base was developed, I don't have a formal change log, meaning that some of the highlighted features may be ones that you're already aware of, so apologies in advance for highlighting any features you've already heard of.

New Feature Highlights

  1. Day-of-the-Month Recurrence: For situations where you'd like a task to recur on a specific day of the month, such as the second-to-last day of the month. I added this feature because I needed support for such tasks when I was a team lead. More specifically, I needed the ability to create a task that repeated the second-to-last working day of each month. To implement this without introducing unnecessary complexity, I expanded the functionality of the "Eligible Weekdays" feature, so that the weekdays added can represent work days.
  2. Speed Mode: Consists of five speeds: "Clarify," "Coast," "Cruise," "Careen," and "Capsize." This feature gives you a sense of how quickly you should move to have a reasonable chance of resolving all of the tasks you linked to a calendar event. Sort Stack is designed to help you make the most of the present moment, as opposed to planning far into the future, and this feature is one of the main ways that it achieves this design goal.
  3. Visibility: Consists of three visibility conditions: "Cloudy," "Calm," and "Clear." This feature is for projects and gives you a sense of how well-defined a project is. Ideally, all projects should at least have a "Calm" visibility condition. The way you're expected to primarily better-define projects is by creating predecessor tasks for ones that you're now sure how to resolve.
  4. Telescope: Informs you of how many days into the future you should time block.
  5. Tides: Sort Stack's take on habit tracking. Unlike a traditional habit tracker, this one is based on ebb and flow and is designed for those that struggle to be consistent. I tend to pursue interests in bursts and didn't like how the streak-based approach to habit tracking didn't reward me for being consistent. With tides, I can "bank" habit sessions. For instance, I could configure a tide to recur every day for playing the piano. If I knew that in a week, I wouldn't be able to play piano for seven days because I'd be out of town, I could bank seven piano sessions to cover for that week, perhaps by completing two piano sessions per day the week prior.
  6. Revamped Time Blocking System: Not really a feature built into Sort Stack, but rather a way for managing your calendar in a way that complements Sort Stack's feature set using three calendars: "May," "Might," and "Must." For details on how this system works, check out this X/Twitter thread.

Old Feature Highlights

  1. Sorting Algorithm: Sorts tasks based on several properties, such as Deadline and Checkout Time (kind of like a soft deadline).
  2. Calendar Integration: Allows you to link calendar events to tasks and control the times of those tasks by changing the start and/or end times of the calendar events linked to them. This means you can reschedule tasks without even opening Sort Stack by just rescheduling the linked events.
  3. Hands-Free Project Management: Projects are automatically created when a task is given a predecessor. Additionally, projects are automatically resolved when all linked tasks are resolved. You don't even have to worry about adding notes to a project; instead, projects get their notes from the ones left on tasks linked to them. These notes are automatically assigned headers containing the appropriate task names, so as to make them easier to read.
  4. Recurring Tasks: Tasks can recur as frequently as once per minute, which I've found useful for some medication reminder tasks, as well as ones reminding me to re-apply hand cream. I could also see this level of granularity useful for sunscreen re-application reminders. Additionally, with "Round-Based" recurrence, you can schedule tasks that recur on a certain "round" of a certain day of the week, such as Mother's Day, which recurs on the second Sunday of every May. You can also tell Sort Stack which days a task is allowed to be scheduled on. If a recurring task lands on a day that's not within the set of days you provided, it will keep rescheduling the task one day ahead until it lands on an eligible day.
  5. Batched Email Notifications: So you can get re-reminded of tasks whose initial reminders already fired when a new reminder notification is fired. For instance, if you assigned a reminder time to a task that was elapsed yesterday and another task's reminder time was elapsed today, you'd get an email reminding you of that task, as well as the task whose reminder time was elapsed yesterday. In related news, you'll get automatically notified of tasks whose deadlines are imminent, as well as those that are overdue.
  6. Time Blocking Suggestions: Via the "To Reschedule" widget, Sort Stack surfaces tasks that it thinks are likely to slip through the cracks. These tasks are intended to be linked to "Whirlpool" time blocks, which are one of the time block types from the aforementioned time blocking system developed for Sort Stack.
  7. Map: Uses the locations added to calendar events to show the locations of events that have tasks linked to them that are in the Now view by using Airtable's Google Maps extension.
  8. Weather: Provided by Meteoblue using the Embed extension.

Even if you don't intend to make Sort Stack your new task manager, you may at least find some value in seeing how some of these features were implemented — such as the recurring tasks — or how automations were daisy-chained to facilitate their maintenance.

To access Sort Stack or for more information about Sort Stack's feature set, you can get a link to the base from this Gumroad page. Additionally, if you have any questions, feel free to ask them by replying to this post. I would also appreciate any feedback regarding anything I could do to better communicate how Sort Stack works, such as uploading a YouTube video showing a particular feature in action.

Thanks for reading!

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