The Soft Date field does not need to be an actual date, but you need to be able to sort or group tasks by the soft date. Because the soft date is a loose goal and not a requirement, soft dates must not trigger task reminders or overdue notices. It must be possible to create tasks without soft dates (you need to collect unprocessed tasks quickly without thinking about dates), and setting a soft date must never force you to enter a hard date. Ideally, your unprocessed tasks list should include all tasks without soft dates (except for Someday/Maybe or already-completed tasks).

Possible Soft Date options are:

  • Start Date. This is a good pick unless choosing a Start Date forces you to also choose a hard date.
  • Due Date. This works if Start Date isn’t an option AND you have another date field you can use as the hard date (like a Reminder Date).
  • Priority. This works well if you have at least 3 or (ideally) 4 priorities and you assign broad meanings to the priorities, like: 1 = Today, 2 = This Week, 3 = This Month, 4 = Next Month. The time meanings much be ordered like this from top to bottom.
  • Folders or Named Lists. This only works if there is some way to see active tasks across all folders or lists at once, sorted or grouped by by folder name. (Example: See all tasks tagged 1Joe, regardless of folder, grouped by folder name.) Name the folders so they sort chronologically and stand out visually: 1-Today, 2-This Week, 3-Next Week, 4-This Month, 5-Next Month.
  • Categories or Tags. This works the same as Folders or Named Lists (above) and has the same requirements, but it only works if multiple categories/tags per task are supported (because you will also need to use tags/categories as contexts).