How do I get ResultsManager3 (on MM17) to list results in the order in which they occur in the mindmap?

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Hello 

How do I get ResultsManager Queries to be sorted to reflect the order of the results in the mindmap?

Background:
In MM17, in the right hand pane that lists Markers, the tasks that are listed under each Marker show up in the order in which they mindmap occur in the mindmap. Changing the sort order here can be  achieved simply by changing the order of stuff in the mindmap.

 


So far so good.

However in the results of ResultsManager queries, the default sort order does NOT seem to reflect the sort order of the mindmap. It is easy enough to change sort order  to e.g. alphabetic (by adding a clause in Order By of: vco_summary), but how do I get the query results to reflect the order of topics in the map?




And it's the same problem if you send the Query results to the Map. 
(note I am using slightly different data from above)



Cheers

J


PS If anyone knows where we can find full documentation for the RM fields live please let me know. 
 
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John Smith

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  • unsure

Posted 1 year ago

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Nick Duffill, Champion

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ResultsManager retrieves tasks from multiple maps, so the position in each map is not usable as a sort order across a set of results.
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John Smith

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I am going to have a LARGE number of Topics (about 300 to 400+ or so) so these issues are pretty crucial to me. 

Having no obvious default sort order of any sort strikes me as being pretty unhelpful, because as we all know a long list of un-sorted topics quickly becomes unusable when there are too many topics in it.

I am curious how do most people end up sorting results?

One option would be to use Priority heavily and sort by that, but given the rapidly shifting priorities in most of our lives, from my experience in other applications this becomes rather quite hard to manage, no?

This will probably sound bonkers, but given the (IMHO) remarkably unsophisticated filtering that MLO itself has, how would it be if the results of a query, rather than just being a flat list, actually kept the same structure of hierarchy as the topics they had come from?
For this to work, obviously topics the didn't meet the query criteria would need to be inserted in order to create the required hierarchy. To avoid visual confusion maybe this could be done with say greyed-out topics to show which topics did not meet the query criteria. 

Either way, surely RM knows which map file each topic has come from, in which case surely it could sort results by file name (so as at least it could to get topics from the same file grouped together) and then within file it could simply be in the sort order of where each topic is located on the tree? (i.e. In the sort order going down the page when a map in in "Tree" layout.) 

I am too new to all this really know what I'm talking about... but does that make any sense?  I remain nervous as I fear that I am planning to use MM/RM with more topics than it is really designed for, no?
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Nick Duffill, Champion

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The problem here is not the lack of sorting or lack of contextual information, but that the lists are 300-400 items in the first place. No list of 400 items is actionable or reviewable in any meaningful way, so this is not a sustainable system. Make sure you are using ResultsManager's capabilities to robustly define Next Actions, Someday/Never items, due dates and other groupings. If after doing this you still have 300 qualified next actions - which would be an exceptional situation - then review and prune at the project level to take out larger chunks. Aim at getting ResultsManager to produce lists of 5 to 10 items maximum, which is plenty from which to prioritise.
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John Smith

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It depends what you mean by "actionable" and "reviewable".

What I mean is that I will have about 400 tasks in my entire system.  No, they are not all on my "Do ASAP"(AKA "Next Actions") list - far from it!

Yes, the majority of my tasks are "Someday-Maybe", but my point is that they do need to be within the same system so that I can so that I can bring them in and out of "Next Actions/Do ASAP" status.

If my tasks are nicely structured then entire branches of the Someday-Maybe stuff can very easily be reviewed without needing to go down to the detailed level.

From my interactions with other GTD users, most of us will have at least 100 items in our list of stuff that can in principle be actions. Many of us have 2 or 3 times that. From memory I believe David Allen himself is expecting us to have about that 100+ in total. 

> Aim at getting ResultsManager to produce lists of 5 to 10 items maximum, which
> is plenty from which to prioritise

It sounds like you are talking about the "Do TODAY" list.  But this is completely different from the  "Next Actions/Do ASAP" list.

To recap, the "Next Actions/Do ASAP" list refers to stuff that comes out of one's all-important "Weekly Review". And the Weekly Review is of course the time when we review the entire "Someday-Maybe" list.

Most of use will have a lot more than 5 to 10 items to do this week!   Whereas 5 to 10 items to do today is more reasonable.

To recap we need the following lists:
"Someday-Maybe" list - all reviewed every week - (e.g. 300 task?)
"Next Actions/Do ASAP" list - all reviewed at the start/end of each day - (e.g. 15-45 tasks?)
"Do Today" - reviewed several times per day - (e.g. 5-15 tasks?)

[And there are other lists (e.g. Waiting For and Tickler lists) but let's not go there!]

In order to make manageable, GTD likes to break the "Next Actions/Do ASAP" list needs to be broken down into Contexts, but one can still have say 20 tasks within a Context.

The "Do Today" list needs to be a slight after-thought, in that applying it must not interfere with any other data, as stuff that is NOT today today may not necessarily roll over onto the next day - particularly at weekends or when travelling. It needs to be more of a highlighting/markup thing.

Conclusion
That still leaves 15 to 45 tasks on my "Next Actions/Do ASAP" list.  I can break them down by Context but that only helps a little.  
Either way I still don't think getting the results into the order that they exist in the map is such an unreasonable request - even if for some in tractable reason it can only be done for results for the same file (i.e. in the way that MM does it in the Markers pane).
(Edited)
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John Smith

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Can anyone tell me what the default order actually is for ResultsManager's results?
Cheers
J