"Soft" dates with datepicker

By “soft” dates I mean 2021-03-01 as opposed to “hard” dates !(2021-03-01). I would like to use the date picker to insert a soft date. I mostly use hard dates to indicate a due date, and soft dates to document calls, meetings, etc. When I search for due or overdue, I don’t want the items with soft dates to show up.

The datepicker could be invoked with the normal “!” but then have a button on the datepicker to produce a soft date. This would also make it easy to convert an existing hard date to a soft date (click on hard date, datepicker pops up, click soft date button, click done)

This is similar or use-related to to other requests like Insert current date and Customizable Date Types for use with Multiple Dates

I don’t understand why the distinction is needed though. You can treat items with both checkboxes and dates as “hard dates” I guess? You can search for them that way.

Here’s an example:


In my system, this means I am waiting (yellow tag #wa) for a call back from Joe Blow. I called him on 3/1, and if I don’t hear back I should call him again on 3/15. So If I search for due or overdue on 3/7, I don’t want this item to be in the search results. If I used a “hard” date for 3/1, this would show up in the search results.

Maybe I need to re-think my system. Open to suggestions :wink:

Check out ‘exclude’ in the search operators here.

You’re thinking of hard dates and soft dates but there are many ways to think about this. You can de-tangle the two ideas as dates, and #soft tags. Then, search for the dates and explicity exclude #soft, and bookmark that query.

Thanks, I get that. But if in my example 03/01 was a hard date with a #soft tag, I would be unable to return this item in a search that targets 03/15. Also, the #soft tag requires much more keyboarding than my proposed solution.

if in my example 03/01 was a hard date with a #soft tag, I would be unable to return this item in a search that targets 03/15

Sure you can. The search operators are very powerful.

the #soft tag requires much more keyboarding than my proposed solution

Then shorten it. Use #s. Or just s. Or anything unique on your keyboard. Any token that the search operators can latch onto will work.

2021-03-01 as opposed to “hard” dates !(2021-03-01)

To be honest, I don’t follow what you’re saying here. I’m assuming you want a button in the date picker to toggle soft/hard. But in all my years of Getting Things Done™️/BuJo/Productivity Tools/accounts on every startups website, I’ve never heard those terms. Seems to be unique to your system. I’m not a fan of software adding more then the minimum necessary functionality set to a function, when two separate functions can accomplish the same thing. Identifiers to filter search results, and dates, shouldn’t be tangled together imo.

I understand the request, if it’s to improve the usability of the insertion of dates with the date picker when you don’t want the result to be treated as a date (2021-03-01 is just text) but I don’t understand what your use case is in your search: is 2021-03-01 ever useful to search for? Do you ever need to find out what you did (call Joe) on a particular date?

If it’s just the ability to select and insert a date and you don’t need to search for it, personally I would use the ‘!’ to call up the date picker, then delete the ‘!’ after it’s inserted

So I guess I’m having a hard time explaining my use case. Let me try again: I want to have more than one date in a single item, but I want my search to target only one of those dates. I used “hard” and “soft” to indicate dates that could be targeted vs those that should be ignored.

With all due respect, I do not believe the Dynalist search operators can handle this, or I am missing much of their power. Consider the following items with the #soft tag as recommended:


The first {#soft date} is intended to be some reference date, the second date is due date. If I search for due or overdue with until:0d, all three items are returned, including the first which is not yet due. If I try to eliminate the reference date in the search with until:0d -#soft, none of the items are returned, even though two are due or overdue. If I wanted to target the #soft date in a search, I would have the same difficulty. I don’t see how some sort of OR statement would get the job done. In short, in an item with two dates, you cannot search for one and ignore the other. That is, unless one of the dates is a text string. Which leads to my original request, which would be an easier solution than inserting a date and then going back to delete the ! and enclosing parentheses.

Have you considered adding a child item with your second date?

As I’m sure you’ve realised #soft in your examples isn’t tied at all to either date, but if you had one of the dates as a child item you could tag and search appropriately

Yes, I have considered it and that seems to be the best workaround. Thanks.

Thanks all for forcing me to explore my own use case more thoroughly. I think @Stuart_Gibbons has the best solution with a tagged child. @Erica I withdraw my feature request, and thanks for providing this forum!

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Ah, I did not even consider that you were adding two dates in one item. Search trouble makes more sense now. Ya, good idea Stuart.

I’m curious, is there a reason you have to keep your soft overdue day on the list? From the two examples you provide, if you remove the soft overdue day right away (Alt + mouse click), you won’t have any of the search problems you mention and you won’t even need to use the tag for it. I used multiple days on my list many times, but I never keep my overdue start/soft day , I either change it to today (if I really want to start working on it right away), reschedule it for the future, or just delete it.

That’s not my use case. My “soft” date is a reference date, not a date on which any kind of action should occur.

I still don’t get what “soft date” aka “reference date” aka “dates that should be ignored” means. What use are they? For example if the soft date is a week after the hard date, and the hard date passes, does the soft date become the hard date? In that case, isn’t it the same as a repeating date that got checked off?

Specific to my system only, it’s a date that memorializes a meeting, call, email, etc. It’s not something I would search for unless I was trying to figure out “what did I do on this date?” Which I don’t do. The dates I search for are start dates and due dates.

That’s how I would use “soft” or text dates, others may have different uses. As has been clarified here, a soft date is needed only when you want to include two dates within one item, but have only one of them be searchable. Going forward I will stop using text dates, and instead (as recommended by @Stuart_Gibbons) use a child with Dynalist date and a tag that will allow me to exclude the date from searches.

I see. Thanks for the explanation. I don’t have many reference dates, so I put them all in one list and create a search “button” to exclude that list. Glad you found a solution for your use case.