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I'm trying to calculate the weight of various tasks. I have tasks that are daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. As a task gets closer to due date, I'd like it to be more important. For example, a weekly task that is due in 2 days is more important than a task due in 7 days. To complicate matters, as an example, a monthly task that is 2 days away from being due should be more important than a weekly task that is 2 days away from being due. Also, I'd like some task to be more important than others by nature. By this I mean one task that is daily is inherently more important than another daily task.

This is my first time posting on math.stackexchange (originally from stackoverflow), so please let me know what other information I need to provide. Perhaps I can simplify this idea somehow?

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something like a prioritization matrix is what I'm aiming to achieve (, I'm just wondering how to calculate what weights I should assign to each column (days to task due, importance of task) – paulruescher Oct 12 '12 at 7:21
Some information is required. I will use the expression (taskid, task importance, period, days left,priority) to denote task information in this note. Let the priority and importance be numbers from 0 to 9, with 9 being the highest. Q1: What is the priority of these tasks (t1, 1, Daily,1,?) , (t2, 1, Daily,2,?), (t3,1,Weekly, 1, ?) and (t4, 1,monthly,1,?)? Q2: What is the priority of (t5, 7, daily,1,?) , (t7, 8, weekly,1,?) and (t8, 9, monthly,1,?)? – NoChance Oct 13 '12 at 5:30
A1 (highest priority to least): t4, t3, t1, t2 A2 (highest priority to least): t8, t7, t5 For A2, I've ordered it that way mostly because of their proximity to due dates, not in terms of importance. If the importance of t8 was 3 or 4, I would be inclined to rank as follows: t7, t8, t5 – paulruescher Oct 13 '12 at 20:57
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Using the values for 'Period Category' of (Daily=$1$, Weekly=$2$, Monthly=$3$). These values must have ascending values for Solution $2$ below. Note that when $'Due Date'=0$ it means that this task is due today.

Example of original list of tasks.

enter image description here

Solution 1: Sorting by (Period Category) Descending, (Due Date) Ascending, Importance (Descending) we get this list:

Note this method assumes equal weights for each factor.

enter image description here

Solution 2: By applying a formula

$$Calculated Priority = =(1*'Importance level value' + 3* 'Period Category Value' + 5*(367-'Due Date')).$$

The values $1$,$3$ and $5$ are arbitrary chosen to reflect the rules that:

A-Due Date is the Most Important Factor

B-Period Category is the next most important factor

C-Importance level value/task is the least important factor Also, it says that "Period Category" is $3$ times more important than the "Importance level value" and that the "Due Date" is $5$ times more important than the "Importance level value". Again you could use different weights as long as the rules are preserved.

The due date is calculated as follows: I assume that a task won't be late than $x$ days (I here take x to $367$ days). This is to enforce rule B above, the more close then end date, the larger the priority of the task becomes.

After calculating the 'Calculated Priority' for each column, we sort the result by the column 'Calculated Priority' to get:

enter image description here

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I think this looks pretty good. I'll implement, and get back to you with some feedback. Much appreciated! – paulruescher Oct 15 '12 at 4:18

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