Why I no longer use LOGseq for taskmanagement (but somehow still do)

Facts

For all the impatient :wink: among us - here are the facts right away:

Logseq comes with a number of features that provide excellent support for task management:

  • TODOs
  • queries
  • simple linking via tags
  • backlinks

In addition, Logseq has other important features for me:

  • Outliner
  • Markdown
  • Custom CSS (I am a very visual guy)

But there are also some points that are not so optimal for task management

  • Time aspects can be assigned, but …
  • there is no calendar or timeline view
  • or features like highlighting overdue tasks

It is possible to achieve a lot with Logseq and with queries all (overdue) tasks can be found and displayed on one page. But over time I have noticed that I am missing something crucial → the overview!

  • I am a very visual type and need an overview.
    • all the info is there “somewhere” in Logseq, but …
    • I had no “mental” picture of which tasks are assigned to whom
    • no “feeling” which tasks are urgent now
    • backlinks were handy but resulted in a mussy list
    • etc.

I was able to implement my task management concept with Logseq and some aspects even worked better than in other tools. But all in all, I was left with a bad feeling of not having a good overview of the tasks.

taskmanagement_long3

Background

I would like to start with a short info on my background and the topic of task management:

It is essential for my professional life to keep track of my own tasks and those of some of my colleagues - currently those are more than 350 tasks. Over the years, I have tried out and combined various methods to create a system that works for me.

Only when I have control over my tasks (and their time aspects), I can take care of the really important things in my job.

The task management system that works for me is decoupled from the tools I use.

Before Logseq, I worked with the online outliner “Checkvist” which offers excellent keyboard support and which I still like to use for complex checklists.

Since I have appreciated organising information via outlines for many years, I was very interested when LOGseq made it possible to store information in local markdown files while continuing to use the beloved “outlining”.

I worked with the following tools before Logseq:

  • Journal ⇒ Zettlr
  • Tasks ⇒ Checkvist
  • Calendar ⇒ Outlook (company standard)

Logseq enters the stage

So with Logseq I was able to replace 2 tools at once. I could manage the journal and my tasks in Logseq (instead of in Zettlr and Checkvist), had the possibilities of an outliner and with tags and backlinks I could relate everything nicely.

In addition, the queries were an important feature for bringing relevant tasks to the surface.

A step backwards was (and still is) the search, which in my opinion urgently needs further improvement.

I worked with Logseq in this way for many months and handled my entire task management through it. It worked and some aspects of it even worked better than with other tools.

However, the more tasks I managed in Logseq, the more dissatisfied I became. Some of these points can perhaps be compensated for with new features in the future like:

  • Backlinks
    In Logseq, it is so easy to assign tasks to different people or contexts using appropriate tags or page references and then to find them via the list of backlinks.
    But the list of backlinks at the end of a page has always been a disorganised mess for me, which almost cancelled out the usefulness.

  • Overdue tasks
    Overdue tasks can be identified via queries but I missed the visual aspect. For example, highlighting overdue tasks in colour. Or to see them on a timeline / in a calendar.

All in all, the task management in Logseq was actually quite a good experience and some points (linking with tags to different contexts) was even better than I could solve it so far.

But I still had a bad feeling that I had overlooked one of the hundreds of tasks - that I was not aware of how urgent it was or what I should really do next.

The information was there - but I lacked a “mental picture” of it. I lacked the feeling of having everything under control.

Outliners are great, but not optimal for tasks.

At least that is my current insight. Maybe I will change my mind in the future, but as great as I think outliners are for collecting information and structuring, I am currently not convinced that they are good for task management. I will state below that this is not generally true.

Logseq was clearly ahead here because you can make up for a lot with queries, but the uneasy feeling was a constant companion here and I looked around for alternatives.

Alternative STACKS

I come from an agile working environment and task boards like in Kanban or Scrum are very common there. However, I often found the usual tools insufficient and searched for quite a long time until I found a perfect candidate (for me).

STACKs works similarly to LOGseq with the “local first” approach and therefore I don’t have to worry about data protection.

The handling and presentation of the tasks in the boards suits my taste and my wish for a “visual overview” has been fulfilled with STACKS.

I have more than 350 tasks spread over 30 boards and I still have the feeling that I have everything under control - better than ever.

Why I still manage tasks in LOGseq

Nevertheless, I still use LOGseq every day for my work. Not only for knowledge management and as a journal - but also for all the small tasks that come up across the day.

I make a distinction between the small daily tasks that can usually be done quickly. If I have to call a colleague back or answer an email, I simply create a TODO in the journal. Only tasks that cannot be completed at short notice or that require several sub steps get transfered to my task management system.

Why all this does NOT necessarily apply to you

There are different approaches to task management and the “types of tasks” that need to be managed are diverse. There is not one “best” solution for everyone and certainly not one best tool for “task management”.

Unfortunately, everyone has to find out for themselves which aspects are important for their own task management.

So this is neither a call not to use Logseq for task management, nor is it a recommendation to use STACKS instead.

I can only give you the following recommendation:

  • develop a task management system that works for you independently of a specific tool
    • what are “tasks” for you
    • what information needs to be stored for each task
    • how do you keep track (context, persons, lists, time,…)?
  • then try different tools and use the one that supports your system best.

If you don’t get along with the task management in LOGseq, don’t feel bad - or blame it on your own inability. Maybe LOGseq is not compatible with your own task management. I think it is legitimate to use different tools for different real situations. You wouldn’t use a hammer to attach a screw to the wall.

There is no one task management - the situations in reality are too different.
For me, it is a fixed element to always schedule tasks in the calendar, but I know other people who don’t get along with this and prefer to work only with lists.

If you get along well with the task management in Logseq, you don’t need to feel compelled to look for alternatives. Why should you? If it feels like a good tool, you should use it. There are many good aspects of Logseq - also for task management.
The use of queries plays an important role and is unfortunately not an easy topic - but I have often found help on this in the forum.

I wish all of you success with your task management - whatever tools you use. :blue_heart:
Chris

16 Likes

great write-up ! It seems we had very similar experiences and use-cases. After a while, I also decided to split my ‘small daily tasks’ (still in logseq) from my team management tasks (using Mattermost Focalboard for now).

Things I would need to manage everything in logseq:

  • better search (with filters and operators)
  • ability to sort Linked Refs (by creation date / modified date / alphanum / property - see below)
  • better filtering for backlinks (the current ux doesn’t scale well as the links number increases)
  • a way to manually re-order blocks/backlinks or set a priority:: for order (then sort by asc / desc order, based on priority:: - or any custom numeric or date-based property:: actually)
  • user should be able to create schemas for properties, tailored for task-management like : delivery-date::, version::, status::, assigned-to:: with relevant value-types (date, numbers, string, …) and acceptable values and have ‘smart’ completion lists.
    • eg: user defines a list of team members, then assigned-to:: should trigger autocomplete for team-members only, not irrelevant links
  • visual organisation tools like kanban, gantt / timelines and priority matrix
6 Likes

Yes, it seems we have come to the same conclusion :blush:

I can only endorse all your suggestions. Where I am not sure is whether it is the right focus for LOGseq to work on at the moment.

Logseq already works quite well for a certain type of task management - but for what “we” need it is still a long way to go.

Improving the search would definitely be an important next step, because this is also an urgent and central feature for the other applications of Logseq.

I too am a former Checkvist user. I used it for 5 or so years and still consider it an excellent alternative to Logseq.

As far as dashboards (or what is effectively a Kanban board), I use custom queries. I have them embedded in the journals page (see this bit of my config.edn):

;; Disables Schedule and Deadline query which appears by default on journals.
:feature/disable-scheduled-and-deadline-query? true

;; The app will show those queries in today's journal page,
;; the "NOW" query asks the tasks which need to be finished "now",
;; the "NEXT" query asks the future tasks.
:default-queries
 {:journals
  [
    {:title [:h4 "⌛ Overdue"]
      :query [:find (pull ?block [*])
              :in $ ?start ?next
              :where
              [?block :block/marker ?marker]
              [(contains? #{"TODO","DOING"} ?marker)]
              (or
                [?block :block/scheduled ?d]
                [?block :block/deadline ?d])
              [(> ?d ?start)]
              [(< ?d ?next)]]
              :result-transform (fn [result]
                        (sort-by (fn [h]
                                   (or (get h :block/scheduled) (get h :block/deadline))) result))
      :inputs [:365d-before :0d-before]
      :collapsed? false},
    {:title [:h4 "⏰ Today"]
      :query [:find (pull ?block [*])
              :in $ ?start ?next
              :where
              (or
                [?block :block/scheduled ?d]
                [?block :block/deadline ?d])
              [(> ?d ?start)]
              [(< ?d ?next)]]
      :result-transform (fn [result]
                (sort-by (fn [h]
                            (or (get h :block/scheduled) (get h :block/deadline))) result))
      :inputs [:1d-before :1d-after]
      :collapsed? false},
    {:title [:h4 "🏆 Goals"]
      :query (and (todo todo doing) [[Goal]])
      :result-transform (fn [result]
                (sort-by (fn [h]
                            (or (get h :block/scheduled) (get h :block/deadline))) result))
      :collapsed? true},
    {:title [:h4 "📔 Electives"]
      :query [:find (pull ?b [*])
            :where
            (or [?b :block/priority "A"] [?b :block/priority "B"] [?b :block/priority "C"])
            [?b :block/marker ?marker]
            (not [?b :block/scheduled ?d])
            (not [?b :block/deadline ?d])
            [(contains? #{"TODO","DOING"} ?marker)]]
    :result-transform
        (fn [result]
          (sort-by (fn [h] [(get h :block/priority "Z") (get h :block/created-at)]) result))
    :collapsed? true},
    {:title [:h4 "📆 Sooner"]
      :query [:find (pull ?block [*])
              :in $ ?start ?next
              :where
              (or
                [?block :block/scheduled ?d]
                [?block :block/deadline ?d])
              [(> ?d ?start)]
              [(< ?d ?next)]]
      :result-transform (fn [result]
                (sort-by (fn [h]
                            (or (get h :block/scheduled) (get h :block/deadline))) result))
      :inputs [:0d-after :7d-after]
      :collapsed? false},
    {:title [:h4 "📅 Later"]
      :query [:find (pull ?block [*])
              :in $ ?start ?next
              :where
              (or
                [?block :block/scheduled ?d]
                [?block :block/deadline ?d])
              [(> ?d ?start)]
              [(< ?d ?next)]]
      :result-transform (fn [result]
                (sort-by (fn [h]
                            (or (get h :block/scheduled) (get h :block/deadline))) result))
      :inputs [:6d-after :90d-after]
      :collapsed? true}
]}

I continue to use Google Calendar as it allows my wife and I to sync up for the important engagements, but Logseq covers all my other bases.

I esteem the Kanban design and philosophies (WIP limits). I read a few books on it and appreciate the visual nature of moving cards between swim lanes, but after using Trello for a time I find Kanban is less about boards and swim lanes than visual overviews/dashboards. I don’t use a Kanban plugin as I don’t see the point. Adding a sequence of queries to a page can achieve practically the same thing.

In the simplest form you have TODO/DOING/DONE (a query for each), but you can invent your own workflows using tags or properties. It’s not as good as making workflows a primitive–which I hope will happen–but it gets you close. Then just by managing metadata on your TODOs, your tasks leap from one vertical, entitled, query section to the next–voilà, vertical Kanban boards! Once I made the mental leap to vertical I realized horizontal boards were not the bees knees of task management.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that productivity tools matter only a little. No tool will be perfect for everyone for everything, but Logseq is a breed apart from most tools and spectacular at what it does. Your personal systems and how you exercise them is far more important. Whenever I find I’m not as productive as I’d like (which is often), I’m almost exclusively the blame, not the tool.

5 Likes

Thank you for joining the discussion.

I agree with you and I have also integrated the necessary queries via the config.edn in the journal.

For me, it is also not really easy to grasp what was bothering me about the solution. I think it is really that I need a visual “map” of the tasks.
I then know that a particular task is in the “blue column” at the bottom right. It doesn’t seem that relevant and for some it is probably completely irrelevant. But for me, it builds up a map in my head that gives me the feeling of having a good overview.

When I scroll down long lists, I miss that feeling. I don’t think I can describe it any better than that :wink:.

But I fully understand that everyone has different priorities here and I also agree that LOGseq already has a lot to offer - more than many other tools.

Everything you say is fair. Everyone has their own way of thinking. I have a boss who loves OneNote. I can’t stand it. I’m a structure guy. I don’t want the free form tabs, pics and colors. I prefer pages and structured data that can be arranged into outlines. Logseq suits my brain well, esp. the bidirectional links and the graphed nature of everything. It gets me close enough to my utopia even if I wish a few things were more to my liking. That’ll always be the case, for everyone.

Have you seen the feature requests? Insane. I certainly hope this doesn’t affect the core. I prefer the modular, opt-in software that results from a team emphasizing a plugin architecture. It lets you mold a tool to your liking without inheriting baggage.

At one point, being a developer, I was on a path to build the perfect tool, but once I contemplated the years of work I decide the many available tools were good enough. I stuck with Checkvist for a long time. I anticipate the same with Logseq. While Obsidian has some pluses (namely its emphasis on a plugin architecture) I just like Logseq better.

2 Likes

Hello to all,

Thank you for this discussion. It seems to me that some of the difficulties you mention here can be solved with the wonderful new Agenda plugin.
:wink:

2 Likes

Thanks for the tip - really another great plugin :blush:

For me, this work is very interesting and a THANK YOU goes to all who are working on corresponding plugins.

But despite all the gratitude, I have to face the facts:
What I need is a board view in which I can also actively enter and change information. One in which I can search and filter, etc.
So far, the plugins seem to be “only” a view of information.
This is not to belittle the achievement, but it is unfortunately not enough for me, not yet.

In any case, I am very curious to see how LOGseq develops with the ever-improving plugins.

1 Like

Yes indeed it is a plugin that allows mainly the visualization and the navigation towards the blocks.
What I miss the most to switch completely to logseq is a quick capture system and reorganization of tasks on mobile…

I used to use logseq for task management as well but as you say calendar view is crucial to doing it right and for that reason i moved to tick tick and have never looked back. There will never be on tool yo do it all and if it does it will be substandard. Love logseq as my knowledge manager and it will stay that way.

Have you tried the agenda plugin for logseq? It provides a calendar view of your deadline tasks.

Wow. Super cool. Very impressive but personally still need access to this on mobile so Tick Tick still wins out.

1 Like

Thanks for pointing out the plugins again. Yes, both the Agenda plugin and the Kanban plugin are the right step to make LOGseq fit for task management.

However, in order to manage really extensive and complex tasks, I definitely miss the possibility to work in these views. This means more than just being able to create new tasks in the Kanban/Agenda view. I am talking about searching and filtering within these views - by text, date, tags etc… I am talking about an appealing visual highlighting of overdue tasks. Drag-and-drop support for the columns. And there is still a long way to go for Logseq and the plugins.

One question that surely arises for the developers is the core question: What is my main target group in LOGseq? LOGseq is extremely flexible and can therefore be used for many different scenarios. The danger, however, is that when trying to do justice to all these possibilities, none of them are well supported (“Jack of all trades, master of none”).

On the other hand, there are tools that are specialised for a particular use case. “Stacks” and “Tick Tick” are just a few of the hundreds of tools available here, that specialise in task management. And even among these specialised tools, there is no one best.

So the question arises in which areas and thus for which target group LOGseq should try to become really “good”. My personal choice wouldn’t be task management :wink: but I would be pleased to see LOGseq evolve in this area.

I myself still use LOGseq for the “small, daily tasks”. Whether LOGseq is suitable for task management depends very much on your own “task situation” and task complexity.

exploring two concepts here (this is my first time setting up a serious workflow for personal knowledge base and task management system so thank you all for your copious amounts of information… I am learning a lot)

task management through todoist plugin (trying to figure out why this would offer a benefit over logseq besides being able to access my tasks from a phone or other device)

new tasks could be created with templates prefilling dates, times, delegated persons etc

a big question that arises as I run through all the capabilities of logseq is why not use obsidian… but it sounds like these questions are personal preference. Luckily I can use both without much of a disconnect as they can use into the same directories

Would love to use query to fetch data and put it dynamically into a kanban, gallery, calendar and gantt view just like lists.

That would complete the need for focalboard/notion like dashboards for me at least…

1 Like

I believe you already can put a query into a kanban using the kanban plugin.

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True, but it would be nice without the extra query information and just returns an ordered list for the kanban.

1 Like

Hi, thank you for your contribution to the discussion!

I’ve put a lot of time and effort in the past weeks to try to manage my tasks in Logseq and what you shared helped to point me to a direction.

However, as @ChrisVn mentioned, there are some aspects of a kanban board that seem to be missing from Logseq.

At my current job I don’t usually have fixed deadlines, so the main purpose of a kanban for me is to help me prioritize and decide the sequence of things I am gonna do.
In this sense Trello (which I’am currently using) is perfect, because I can easily drag a card to the top of the column “this week”, or I can move it back to the column “next week” if I need.

Every week and almost everyday I am constantly re-planning and re-prioritizing the things I am gonna do, but in Logseq it seems a little time consuming to keep updating priorities and deadlines in tasks each of the tasks.

Could you share a little bit more about how (re)plan and (re)prioritize your tasks in Logseq?

Cheers,

1 Like

@Neil_Floyd — my epiphany was that Kanban boards can be turned 90 degrees from swim lanes that span a horizontal to those which span the vertical.

In other words, on any given page, create an outline whose entries are TODO, DOING, DONE or whatever your statuses are, add a handful of tasks to TODO and then using the keyboard you can shift them between parent nodes in the outline. There’s nothing magical about the familiar swim lane layout. Kanban is principally about getting a visual overview of work. If it fits on your monitor that’s good enough. You buckets can be laid out vertically and used just as effectively.

Using WIP limits you shouldn’t have a column too heavily loaded with tasks. Heavily loaded columns encumbers keyboard use and nudges you toward dragging and dropping, which Logseq supports.

I am like you. I am continually reprioritizing work. For all my personal work I use Logseq. At work I use Microsoft Planner which has Kanban proper views. Both are fine. It’s enough that I can just see everything and decide what I’m going to get to today. I am not overly ceremonial about the manner in which I process work.

I have narrowed my main views to about a dozen things at a time. Sometimes an item is itself a big one, a placeholder for a project of its own dozen items. In that case, I just drill down and repeat. In any context I am looking at, at most, a screenful of priority items.

1 Like

@mlanza , thanks for your answer!

Your epiphany makes a lot of sense, Kanban is all about visualizing and limiting WIP, which can be achieved in a vertical layout.

I’ve played a little trying to follow your suggestion of using TODO, DOING, DONE as outline entries and just move the tasks using keyboard shortcuts, and it works surprisingly well. :smiley:

I guess the only minor issue I found is that when updating a task I need to move the task to the new status entry (eg.“Doing” entry) and also change the Logseq Task status to (eg. “DOING”). But this is easy to do using keyboard shortcuts. Do you do this as well?

Unfortunately, while testing your vertical kanban sugestion, I realized it may not fit my workflow. Expand a little on how I use Logseq:

One of the things I enjoy the most in using Logseq for outlining and managing tasks is that I can create tasks anywhere.

So I usually spent most of my time taking meeting notes in the Journal or more general notes on projects pages.
Being able to create tasks in the middle of notes is great because it is fast, simple, and it also provides a deeper context to the tasks, which is something that can’t be achieved using a dedicated app for task management.

So since I create tasks in a lot of places, I need to use queries to pull them together to the same place.
But when displaying tasks with queries it is not possible to move individual tasks using shortcuts as you sugested.

So I’ve realized I may have circled all the way back to my initial problem.

Is that really the case or am I missing something? Is your workflow similar to mine or do you create all your tasks on the same page to avoid using queries to pull them to your vertical kanban?

Thank you very much for the discussion and suggestions