View Full Version : Separating Home from Work items
2008-07-23, 09:22 AM
I'm a bit baffled to why there isn't more of an outcry to being able to separate Home actions from Work actions. When I am at work, I want to only see work projects/contexts. When I am at Home, I only want to see Home projects/contexts. To me this seems like a basic part of working with GTD in OmniFocus. But I live in my own private Idaho. :)
I realize I am not the end all and be all of how OmniFocus should be used. I do wonder how many people are using OmniFocus for work and home, or if they just use it for work, or if people don't want separation between work and home.
Anyway, two solutions for being able to separate work items from home items.
1. Create project folders called Home & Work. Inside each of these folders are projects that a person works on at Home and at Work. A user then uses the focus button to focus on the Home projects & Work projects.
• A user can use the same contexts for both work & home. (i.e. Computer, Errands)
• iPhone doesn't focus.
• Can be a lot of focusing and unfocusing... especially if you want to focus on a project in the home folder or the work folder, then want to go back to focusing on all work projects.
2. Create Nested Contexts.
• Will work on the iPhone.
• Duplicate contexts must be created.
• Actions can accidentally be assigned to a wrong context. User thinks action was assigned to Home -> Computer, when context was assigned to Work -> Computer.
These are the two ways I see of separating Work from Home. If anyone has other suggestions, please post. Would also like to know how people use OmniFocus? Just for work? For work and home but don't want separation between the two?
2008-07-23, 04:31 PM
I use distinct project folders and contexts for home and work items. As I have mentioned on this board before, I work at home so the traditional contexts don't really work for me. Resource-specific contexts just don't make sense for me as I am always near a phone and computer at my home.
I have (!many!) folders more-or-less based on my work roles/areas of responsibility and contexts that are task-specific for the typical things I do in a day in my law practice. Plus, I have separate single-action buckets for home and personal projects labeled "Me", "Home Improvement", "Shopping List", etc...
I'm not sure what the outcry should be, even though the iPhone doesn't yet support perspectives. Not to over simplify, but I just drill down into a project folder to focus on a particular role or project. But then again, I don't use many different perspectives so I don't miss it on the iPhone. I know many here depend on perspectives and have elaborate setups to that effect, so YMMV.
However, like others on the board, I have begun to use flags as a quick way to float tasks to the top on the iPhone's display. I do a quick review every morning, flag essentials that I need to get done that day or deserve attention, then I use the phone as a quick to-do reference throughout the day by tapping on the 'flagged' folder in the main screen. I also keep OF running on my desktop in context mode with everything sorted by "DUE". :) That is my "Big Picture" perspective as most of my work tasks have hard dates associated with them.
I tend to sort out what to do for work and personal items in the morning, but once I plan the day it is really meaningless to me to distinguish between home and work because I work from home.
I see from your post you have duplicate contexts for things like 'errands'. I don't because I don't see the need to separate going to Kinko's for business stuff from going to the store for dinner items; if I am driving our for errands I just combine them all. After all, if my toilet is leaking, is that a work or home task ;)
To be honest, I think one thing that both Covey and Allen brought to the table was the notion that trying to keep sharp edges between work and personal matters just wasn't working anymore. With cell phones and the Internet, the contours between the two are overlapping more and more. Trouble in one sphere leads to trouble in the other, so I have been striving to use my intuition and get done what is really important.
I had to laugh at the SF meet-up when Merlin Mann said if your hair is on fire, you don't need a to-do list to tell you that it is a high priority to put it out. If my kid is crying, the client can wait.
There are many roles, many responsibilities, but only one of me per day... I'd be interested to see how others separate or mesh home and work items.
2008-07-23, 07:56 PM
Great post. Thank you Law Daddy.
Allen does make the point in the book that boundaries between work and home should be dissolved. I am fairly orthodox about GTD... with the exception of not separating home and work.
If I have 10 pieces of equipment I need to order for work that can be done from the internet, and I am at home with 3 pieces of equipment to order... I am not going to spend time that work isn't paying me for to order equipment for work.
If I had my own business then it might be a different story. I find a great deal of value in separating work from home. When I am at work, I don't want to see the 3 pieces of equipment that I should be spending my own time ordering and not company time. They aren't paying me to do things that aren't related to them.
Currently, I have on OF at work and one at Home. I'd love to combine them for use on the iPhone. Right now I don't have duplicate categories. But if I combine my Work & Home file, I'll need some way to separate them on the iPhone.
Interesting to see how another does it. Thank you.
2008-07-23, 09:42 PM
I think your option #1 is the best. Even though I work from home, I still separate work from personal projects using lots of folders. I just find it easier to double-click folders in the side bar to open a focused window. Since I attach many notes and files to my projects, I need to be in project view to see them anyways. Some like perspectives, I guess I'm just a folder kind of guy.
Even though the iPhone doesn't technically 'focus', having a top-level Work and Home folder with their respective projects contained therein would allow you to view only one or the other on the phone at any one time, effectively focusing and avoiding duplicative contexts. The downside is a lot of tapping around to navigate back and forth through nested folders, like checking mail in different accounts on the phone is now. But it will accomplish what you're looking for.
I am self employed but work mostly from my office at work for my official job and daily duties. I have a second business that I run from a corner in my house, and then you have my personal stuff.
I agree with what LawDaddy says, I don't do duplicate context's for sure. I place all my projects in the top level (just open the DB and start creating projects.
However, I do seperate my business I run from home in a different folder. I suspect I may do this will personal stuff in the future but have not had a chance to yet as my actios have not been overwhelming.
2008-07-26, 02:37 AM
I started with a separate Home and Work folder at the top level as suggested by LawDaddy and found this a simple effective way of of keeping projects apart.
However I found that I was switching between the two all the time to find the important items and have since decide to use 'Current' and 'Someday' as my top level folders.
I find that keeping the important (current) items together (regardless of home or work) is more useful that creating a wall between my Home and Work tasks. You could choose to use Home and Work contexts to give you the separate views if/when you need to see things this way. I don't work from home but for me, if I need to call the Gas company for example, I want to see that on my current list and will do it from work if I can.
On a separate note, I like the flagging idea suggested above, I think I'll give that ago
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