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-   -   Do you use Projects as Areas of Responsibility (http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=22568)

Mitch Wagner 2011-11-06 01:32 PM

Do you use Projects as Areas of Responsibility
 
I've been struggling on how to organize Areas of Responsibility in Omnifocus.

Here's the way I'm defining terms. I think this is standard GTD definitions:

"Projects" are efforts with a finite, describable end state. "Rebuild the engine on the 1967 T-Bird" is a project. It's a large collection of tasks, some sequential, some parallel, some single-action lists, which have a concluding state: The engine on your car has been rebuilt.

"Areas of Responsibility" are open-ended. "Car maintenance" is an Area of Responsibility. You're probably going to have at least one car your whole life, and they'll always need maintenance. "Car maintenance" can contain projects.

Several of the OF blogs I've read say that OF Projects should be just that -- Projects. Areas of Responsibility should be designated by folders.

But that doesn't make sense to me, because many of my Areas of Responsibility just contain single-action lists of actions. "Household chores" just means do laundry, pick up the living room, clean the catbox. Those are single-actions, they don't need projects. I could create a folder with just one single-action list in it, but that just seems silly to me.

How do you handle this kind of distinction within OF? Do you use OF projects for both GTD projects and GTD areas of responsibility?

whpalmer4 2011-11-06 02:12 PM

I just use a single action list (embedding action groups when something needs multiple steps).

Christian 2011-11-06 09:28 PM

GTD is just a rough idea I think. It has to be applied to your personal needs.

I do not go by what GTD says, in a strict sense. For example, for work I have a category because I have several multi-task projects in it as well as a single action list for single tasks. For other areas like sports I just use a single list. Many steps you have to actually undertake in order to get to a desired result are self explanatory, logical and indispensable. If I want to buy new running shoe I know I have to drive to the store, yell at the staff to show me the newest models, test them, pay them, drive back home. Do I need a single action for those logical, indispensable steps? No.

DrJJWMac 2011-11-07 06:33 AM

I consider Areas of Responsibility at a higher level. Examples of my Areas of Responsibility include ...

* Family
* Career
* Well-Being
* Supervising

They are Folders and contain Projects.

--
JJW

pjb 2011-11-08 10:22 AM

I use roles for folders like Homeowner, Spouse, Pet Owner,... Chores is a single actions list Project under Homeowner but Money Manager is a folder under Homeowner with it's own set of projects like Banking. I have a mix of projects and folders nested under the Areas of Responsibility folders which evolved over time but which now helps me narrow down focus as I need to work through my action lists.

Christian 2011-11-08 01:30 PM

[QUOTE=pjb;103810]I use roles for folders like Homeowner, Spouse, Pet Owner,... Chores is a single actions list Project under Homeowner but Money Manager is a folder under Homeowner with it's own set of projects like Banking. I have a mix of projects and folders nested under the Areas of Responsibility folders which evolved over time but which now helps me narrow down focus as I need to work through my action lists.[/QUOTE]

I have Pet Owner too. Subgroup of "cooking".

HEHEHEHEHE

marcdecarli 2011-12-08 07:35 AM

A very efficient way to deal with routine tasks is to create a folder called "Routine," and setup Single-Action Lists for each applicable area (i.e., Chores, Pets, Car Maintenance, Bills, etc.).

SFF 2011-12-10 06:52 AM

As you said, I use Folders for the 20,000 ft level of Areas of Responsibility (Work, Household, Friends&Family, Photography, Career Development, Personal Development, etc). Within each folder are Projects.

You are correct in that some of my Folders do only contain 2 Projects - a single action list and a Someday/Maybe list. While some may consider it silly to have a folder with only 1 or 2 projects, I find that the hard, visual distinction of ALL of my top level (20,000 ft) Areas of Responsibility being shown as a Folder makes a lot of sense for me. It also gives me visual indication showing where I may be "light" on projects and may want to concentrate future thinking (i.e., Work and Household are a bit heavy right now, and I only have 2 projects in Career Development -- Maybe I need to put more energy into that Area!).

Also, having all my Areas of Responsibility exist as folders gives me a match for how I set up Evernote and Curio. I have both of those applications set up with exactly the same folder structure as OmniFocus. The top level ("Notebooks" in Evernote and "Sections" in Curio) match my Folder structure in OmniFocus, which allows me to easily store reference material (Evernote) and Thinking/Planning/Brainstorming material (Curio) in the same mental construct as my 20,000 ft Folders in OmniFocus. Also, I have additional Sections in Curio above my Areas of Responsibility (namely, the 30,000, 40,000, and 50,000 ft Horizons) for additional brainstorming space.

DrJJWMac 2011-12-10 09:31 AM

[QUOTE=SFF;104963]... Also, having all my Areas of Responsibility exist as folders gives me a match for how I set up Evernote and Curio.[/quote]

I also mirror my folder structure as Areas of Responsibility in OF to Curio, and I mirror it in my folder structure in my Documents at the Finder level. OTOH, with Evernote, I have top level folders called Personal and Work and a far looser folder structure otherwise. I view Evernote as a tool primarily for transferring files to/from my iX devices rather than as Yet Another Finder App.

[QUOTE=SFF;104963]... The top level ("Notebooks" in Evernote and "Sections" in Curio) match my Folder structure in OmniFocus, which allows me to easily store reference material (Evernote) and Thinking/Planning/Brainstorming material (Curio) in the same mental construct as my 20,000 ft Folders in OmniFocus.[/QUOTE]

I mirror Areas of Responsibility in OF through the Categories in Curio. Then, Projects in OF get mapped to Projects in Curio. I have a Project called GTD where I develop my overall perspectives via a Kanban-like board. I tie balloons on the Kanban via jump-actions to top-level pages in the Projects. I find this gives a cleaner way to be able to close out a project -- archive the OF project, archive the Curio project, and archive the folder at the Finder level (which usually contains the Curio project anyway).

--
JJW

Phil 2012-06-07 10:00 PM

I know it's been a while since this topic was dealt with, but I'm hoping someone can respond. Areas of responsibility are a good option in my opinion, but how does that work when the iOS devices don't allow you to identify them when you're quickly creating tasks - the options are projects and contexts?

Lizard 2012-06-08 12:02 PM

Phil,

People above seem to be describing 2 approaches:
1) Every area of responsibility is a folder, which may contain some projects. So when you assign the action's project, you're also implicitly assigning its area of responsibility. (The project is inside a folder.)
Example:
A of R: Pet Owner
Project: Build fence so Fido can play outside

When you create the 'buy fence posts' action, you'll put it in the 'Build fence' project, which implicitly puts it in your 'Pet Owner' area of responsibility.

The 'Pet Owner' folder might also have a project named 'Misc. Pet Chores'. When you create the action 'Buy Dog Food', you can put it in 'Misc. Pet Chores' and it will be in your 'Pet Owner' area of responsibility.

--------------

The other approach suggested is that the project IS the area of responsibility. If taking care of your pet is just a lot of independent actions, rather than larger projects, 'Pet Owner' might simply be a single action list, and when you create the action 'Buy Dog Food', you stick it straight in 'Pet Owner'.

--------------

As with many aspects of GTD, it depends on what your life is like -- lots of smaller roles, or a few large roles. You might also take a step back and ask why you want to track what area of responsibility each action goes to. If you want to figure out whether all your time is going to taking care of the dog your kids promised they'd handle themselves, it might be worth it. But on a day-to-day basis, you buy dog food because you need to buy dog food, not because it's in the Area of Responsibility you're focused on this week.

rmathes 2012-10-30 08:33 AM

Great discussion, enjoyed reading this. I've been wondering if my approach made sense, I use the folders approach. Like one of the responders above, what I like about it is if I see no next available actions for one of these folders during my weekly review (which doesn't always happen weekly, I must admit), then that's a signal that this is an area of my life that needs a bit more attention.

Hadn't thought about mirroring this in my reference databases (a combo of Evernote and Devonthink Pro).

As a side note, I find it interesting that some use Curio. I bought a license a couple of years ago. VERY interesting piece of software, but after using it for a bit it seemed like a jack of all trades, master of none. Would do mind maps, for example, but not all that well. Same with outlining, etc... So I always found myself moving to more dedicated apps, like NovaMind Pro for mindmaps, Notebook for outlines, etc....

Have also been intruiged by Tinderbox, but that has a REALLY daunting learning curve.

DrJJWMac 2012-10-30 03:16 PM

[QUOTE=rmathes;116788]As a side note, I find it interesting that some use Curio. I bought a license a couple of years ago. VERY interesting piece of software, but after using it for a bit it seemed like a jack of all trades, master of none. Would do mind maps, for example, but not all that well. Same with outlining, etc... So I always found myself moving to more dedicated apps, like NovaMind Pro for mindmaps, Notebook for outlines, etc....[/quote]

Interesting ... I find NovaMind a bit too over-the-top stylish and Notebook a bit too constraining. By comparison, the advantage of Curio for me is its tremendous versatility to put almost anything I might want together on one page. Agreeably, it is therefore not a strict mind-mapping tool or outlining tool or (quote your favorite does-one-dedicated-thing-well) tool. Curio still does master the basics of these options rather nicely. The new UI is also a great step forward.

WRT this thread, I find that using Idea Spaces in Curio for broad overviews (a Kanban-type board and a weekly calendar) and Omnifocus for specific project + task management has made for a very productive toolset.

--
JJW

rmathes 2012-10-30 03:35 PM

I'll have to check out the new Curio UI. I've heard good things about it, but didn't care at all for the old one. Thanks for that heads up.

For me, it was one of those tools that sounded great on paper but I could never fully figure out how to use it. Had that same issue with Bento.


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