What are recurring tasks?
We created the recurring tasks feature so that companies can automate workflows around assigning and managing work that is repetitive in nature. There are an infinite number of different use cases for this feature, however, the common denominator is that each new task is automatically created and appended to a series of like tasks according to a regular schedule.
How do they work?
You create a recurring task just like you would any other task. To make it a recurring task, you simply attach a schedule to it. Once you’ve set up a recurring schedule on a task, that task is now the first in the series and the profile task for future recurrence. Intervals will use this profile task as a template and automatically create tasks in the series based on the recurring schedule.
Tasks are created one at a time on the same day as their next start date. For example, if a recurring task is scheduled for a Tuesday, Intervals will create the next task in the series each Tuesday morning. The start date will be that same day and the due date will be shifted relative to the number of days between the starting and ending date range on the recurring task profile.
Each task in the series, including the one serving as the recurring task profile, can be closed once they are completed. Recurrence will not be affected.
Example of when to use recurring tasks
A social media consultant has a growing list of clients for whom she writes and posts articles on a weekly basis. In addition, she runs a monthly engagement report and an annual year in review analysis for each client. Here’s how she would set this up using Intervals’ recurring tasks.
In this example there are three recurring tasks to be created. The first is the weekly task for writing and posting articles. The task should be given a weekly recurring schedule that creates new tasks on a Monday and ends recurrence on or before the date when the contract expires. The second and third tasks are created the same way, but with monthly and annual recurring schedules respectively.
That’s it. She can begin working through the first weekly task. And when she sits down to her desk at the beginning of next week Intervals will already have created that week’s task for her. Intervals will continue to clone that first task (the recurring task profile) each week until the schedule ends or recurrence is turned off. A month out, the next monthly task will be created. And one year out, the annual task.
Example of when NOT to use recurring tasks
Regularly recurring meetings are a good example of when NOT to use recurring tasks. Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly meeting, a single task is a better solution. Here’s why.
Intervals keeps a detailed history of each task, including the date and time when each comment was entered. Ideally, the notes from each meeting will be added as a task comment. Any supporting documentation from the meeting would also be uploaded to the task. For meetings that occur regularly, the historical details will have more context and be more skimmable if they are all on one singular timeline.
If each meeting were to be given its own task it would be a challenge to go back and review what happened and when, because the timeline would have to be pieced together from several different tasks.
Think of meetings as a launch pad for new action items. Create one task to document and track the repeat meetings, but then use individual tasks to manage the to dos.