Item "status" values

Hi, can anyone suggest a minimal useful list of “status” values for a “doable” item? At the moment I have:

  • active
  • blocked
  • done

How about:

  • on hold (is that what you mean with blocked?).
  • waiting for ( akin to ‘on hold’ but there is something specific that prevents me from continueing, like people that need to get back in touch or I need to get something else done first.)

Edge case— sometimes I have lists of related tasks that shouldn’t be marked complete until they’re all done. For example, call a group of people to confirm dates for a meeting.

  • schedule meeting
    • contact Bill for viable dates
    • contact Ben for viable dates
    • confirm

I may call Bill and leave a message, in which case, status = “waiting”.
I may call Ben and get his dates (in theory, the task is complete) but I’ll need to put that information somewhere, and I end up adding it as a note under that task

  • schedule meeting
    • contact Bill for viable dates @waiting
    • contact Ben for viable dates @done
      • May 7th, 8th + 10th
    • compile and confirm

Here’s the thing: marking that task as done means, if I archive done tasks at the end of the day, and I’m still waiting for Bill, the task of calling Ben and the information associated with it is pulled out of context.

There are probably a number of other ways to solve this case, but I use @followup with some custom formatting to indicate an item that’s individually complete but still related to other items in the list, with the effect that it’s not fully complete. I could keep the @waiting tag there instead, but that doesn’t feel right— I’m no longer waiting for the person referenced within the task.

I recognise this is an edge case, and there may be other more strict or tidier ways to handle it. Just putting it out there.

Do I understand correctly that you’d be interested in a sort of ‘@doneButHold’? I have trouble thinking of a good ‘status’ to cover that succinctly.

In this specific case I could imagine you moving the dates upward:

  • schedule meeting
    • May blarp work for Ben
    • contact Bill viable dates @waiting
    • contact Ben for viable dates @done
    • compile and confirm

An alternative would just be @hold akin to my suggestion: hold it because there is no direct next action step.

“Done but hold”— yes. Hold sounds like a possible alternative, even if the term isn’t as clean as it could be.

That said, this probably won’t ever become canonical. Thinking about it, Jesse’s suggestion of blocked could cover all of these cases.

How do you rationalise the difference between “on hold” and “waiting for”? In your thinking, is “on hold” a way of saying “mothballed”?

Yes and no. It’s funny how hard I find it to find a good example right now. I used it whenever i’d conclude ‘there is no direct next actionable step to follow this action’ without it being relegated to a ‘maybe someday’. I’d use wf (waiting for) when I was waiting for someone else to complete something. Somewhat ilke


  • Get access to blackboard @wf(personResponsible)
  • item 2


  • item 3 @onHold
  • item4 @someday