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-   -   today/soon/this week (http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=5036)

sprugman 2007-10-02 08:15 AM

today/soon/this week
 
I need a better way of distinguing projects & actions that I want to work on today, the next couple of days, this week or after that. Right now, my current context view shows ~45 items, which is way too many to choose from.

Contexts don't help very much because I work from home, so any choice I make about context would be arbitrary (e.g. for the next 30 minutes I'm only going to do things in the "Home" context). That's fine once I make that decision, but when I'm trying to decide where to place my focus, it's not very useful.

I have my projects foldered by area of life, so I can also focus on one of those, which helps, but again, it's only useful once I've made the decision about which area of life I want to be in at the moment, which would be somewhat arbitrary.

I want to be able to say to OF during a daily review, "these are the projects I want to work on today", "these can wait till tomorrow", these can wait till after that.

I'm currently using flags for those things I need or want to make progress on this week. I have been using durations as a kludge for priorities, with <30 min = today, <1hr = soon, and no duration = this week. It works ok, but I'd like to be able to use durations for durations. I use start dates for deferment, and on hold for even longer deferment. I suppose I could switch to a more aggressive start date strategy, and use flags for today/soon. That feels a bit fiddly, but probably less so than the duration kludge.

I guess there are some purists out there who would say that this kind of planning isn't really GTD, but, frankly, I don't care. :-) The lack of contextual restrictions in my life makes it necessary. How are you handling this issue?

Chris 2007-10-02 08:34 AM

I spend lots of "doing" time in context mode with actions grouped by "Due", sorted by "Due", and showing either "Available" or "Remaining" depending on what I'm focusing on. So what I do is assign the appropriate due dates to actions in planning mode, then switch to context mode. Then I only see the stuff that needs to be done sooner, rather than later.

jasong 2007-10-02 08:40 AM

"The lack of contextual restrictions" is a problem for a lot of folks; I have it in the office, where I do 90% of my job @Computer. I try to do two things:

- create a couple "artificial" contexts that include specific applications (e.g. our bug-filing tool; anytime I have a bug to file, it goes into that context)

- pick something, anything, and do it for some period of time, usually 10-15 minutes. If it's in available in my context, it means I can do it.

The hardest part of GTD (or, in fact, just gtd) is the [Dd]oing part. It's really easy to get used to ubiquitious capture and making lists and OmniFocus makes that even easier, but at some point we just have to jump in and do something.

I've been thinking of using a new strategy with this. Currently if I don't feel like working on a particular action item or project, I give it a due date of +1w or +1m, depending on how "important" it is. That gets it out of my hair for a while, and I feel better about having "done" something about the project. Projects end up in Pending, waiting to spring back to Active; actions simply go away until the start date

I push things forward a lot.

Now I'm thinking: if I defer it once, and then defer it again (sometimes giving it a longer waiting period), after the third time, it goes on hold with a review period appropriately in the future. If when that item comes up for review, and I haven't decided to do it, I'll mark it as dropped. Maybe I'll defer it a couple of times with escalating reviews.

I'll consider reviewing "dropped" projects every six months or year, maybe longer.

This might look like this:

Star with an Active Project/Action
* Decide to postpone; +1w start date; into Pending
* Start date arrives; decide to postpone; +2w; back to Pending
* Start date arrives again; decide to postpone; +1m; back to Pending
* Start date arrives a third time; want to postpone, so into On Hold with a +3m or +6m Review date
* Review date arrives, either I decide I'm doing it, or decide I'm dropping it.

Some items may get a shorter death, but it forces me to make the decision on doing it or not doing it.

sprugman 2007-10-02 08:46 AM

[QUOTE]I spend lots of "doing" time in context mode with actions grouped by "Due", sorted by "Due", and showing either "Available" or "Remaining" depending on what I'm focusing on.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, that's my main "doing" view, too. The problem with it is that it emphasizes the urgent at the expense of the important.

So right now I've got 11 (short) items due today. That's easy enough. After that, I'll have to choose between the 11 items due tomorrow or within the week, and the 20 or so items with no due date, which have various levels of importance. I'd like to filter some of those out for later in the week, and not have to look at them, but start date feels too specific. I'd really just like to categorize them as "soon"....

Chris 2007-10-02 08:57 AM

Don't fight against start date, use it. It's really "OF, please don't remind me about X until date".

As for urgent versus important, it seems to me that use of start/end dates along with flags would give you want you want. Use due dates as temporal markers and flags for importance. Maybe you want more fine-grained control over importance?

ajr 2007-10-02 10:18 AM

'Today'
 
I'm having the same problem w/ getting a clear picture of what I want to focus on for a day now that I have all my projects and tasks in OmniFocus.

It's funny - several months ago I got into GTD and starting looking around for apps. Along the way I found a video of a guy who devised a model using OmniOutliner (I think) that tracked his projects and what he was working on for a given week and a given day. At the beginning of each week, he dragged the stuff he wanted to work on for that week. Then, at the beginning of each day, he simply took from the 'This Week' list and dragged into his 'Today' list.

I filed away the solution thinking I had more to learn about GTD and the world of GTD-specific apps out there. But I'm finding myself drawn to that simple model of just saying, 'Here's what I want to do today' and [I]then[/I] use my Context view to get the work done. Not, 'Here's my list of stuff I [I]can[/I] do today...what was it again that I wanted to concentrate on? Well, that one task is good to go, I'll do that...but wait,' etc.

With all the great stuff built into OmniFocus, I'm still having trouble pulling away from the details of managing the list and the contexts and just focusing on the 'doing' part in the simple way that the GTD process is supposed to provide. I'm going to take a closer look at the use of flags and start dates, per some posts on this thread, but I'm still looking for an easier way...maybe just a 'Today's Tasks' view. I'll have to think more about it but I welcome input from those of you who are more experienced w/ GTD and OmniFocus.

I just found the link to that video if you're interested: [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcIkygt3G48[/url]

Thanks,

Tony

jasong 2007-10-02 11:03 AM

[QUOTE=ajr;22078]At the beginning of each week, he dragged the stuff he wanted to work on for that week. Then, at the beginning of each day, he simply took from the 'This Week' list and dragged into his 'Today' list.[/QUOTE]

You can certainly do that now, by creating a folder called "This week" and another within it called "Today"; you drag the items into those folders, and then you Focus on the folder.

sprugman 2007-10-02 12:24 PM

[QUOTE] Don't fight against start date, use it. It's really "OF, please don't remind me about X until date".[/QUOTE]

Yes, I know, and I use it that way. The problem with using it for "this week, but not immediately" is that as far as I can tell there's no filter for that, so there's no way to see what I have on tap for the rest of the week.

If in context mode, I show remaining, I'll see all the remaining items, not just the ones who's start dates are within the next week. If I group by due date, I can collapse the items later than within the next week, but it doesn't help me with items that have no due date. And I also see all of the tasks, not just the available actions.

[QUOTE] You can certainly do that now, by creating a folder called "This week" and another within it called "Today"[/QUOTE]

Sure, but then I screw up my "by areas of life" hierarchy, or have to duplicate it. Also, I can only drag projects in there, not singletons or action groups.

I suppose I could do it on the context side, but then I have to duplicate what contexts I have, and I have to do it for every item, making it difficult to flag whole projects or action groups at once.

curt.clifton 2007-10-02 04:48 PM

[QUOTE=sprugman;22085]
If in context mode, I show remaining, I'll see all the remaining items, not just the ones who's start dates are within the next week. If I group by due date, I can collapse the items later than within the next week, but it doesn't help me with items that have no due date. And I also see all of the tasks, not just the available actions.[/QUOTE]

Why show Remaining tasks in Context View?

I'll occasionally switch to show remaining tasks in context view when I want to review items starting tomorrow. But when working out of Context View I generally show just available tasks. The power of context view for doing is showing just tasks that are available.

sprugman 2007-10-02 05:21 PM

[QUOTE]Why show Remaining tasks in Context View? [/QUOTE]

Normally I don't. I was thinking about using start dates to hide those things that I want to be on my radar this week, but don't want to work on today. Switching to remaining would be a way to see them, but it doesn't work for the other reasons I outlined.

brianogilvie 2007-10-03 09:28 AM

[QUOTE=sprugman;22103]Normally I don't. I was thinking about using start dates to hide those things that I want to be on my radar this week, but don't want to work on today. Switching to remaining would be a way to see them, but it doesn't work for the other reasons I outlined.[/QUOTE]

What about switching to remaining and grouping by start date (in context mode)? If you use start date to defer actions or projects, that will give you a list of actions to start today, tomorrow, within the next week, etc.

sprugman 2007-10-03 10:21 AM

Hmm... in some ways I like that. But I loose the ability to hide the rest of a sequential project unless I get very fiddly with the start dates -- e.g. defer everything but the current task, and then go into planning mode every time I complete something to see if I want to move any of those deferred tasks up.

This would all be solved if instead of a binary flag, we had three levels of flagginess. (I know, I know, priorities aren't cononical GTD, and that would probably add other complications, but....)

dhm2006 2007-10-04 04:19 AM

[QUOTE=sprugman;22150]This would all be solved if instead of a binary flag, we had three levels of flagginess.[/QUOTE]

Actually Ken Case offered up something similar for discussion in July. I don't know what ever happened to the idea.

[QUOTE=Ken Case;17722](Maybe an easier path would be to just give people more flagging options, so you can flag something as "high" or "low" priority rather than just "a" priority?)[/QUOTE]

[url]http://forums.omnigroup.com/showpost.php?p=17722&postcount=54[/url]

avernet 2007-10-04 03:56 PM

Yes: today, this week, later; instead of context
 
Fascinating discussion. I have encountered the same problems some of you are talking about in this thread. We definitely need a concept of "today, this week, later", and I think this is much more powerful the traditional concept of context.

I elaborated somewhat on this here:

[url]http://avernet.blogspot.com/2007/10/context-in-gtd-and-why-it-is-broken.html[/url]

Alex

jasong 2007-10-04 05:33 PM

Alex, care to discuss your blog post here? I'm curious about the idea of "contexts" being time-based as well as place- or tool-based.

My concern is that I don't know *when* I might want to do something, and putting something into "today", "next week" and "later" contexts is not very specific to when you *can* do something, as opposed to when you *might* do something.

Saying I *can* do this with a cellphone handy is very different from I *might* do this next week.

When I say "next week", I still don't know under what circumstances I can do it. If I have my "today context" list with me at the supermarket on errands, seeing "do system backup" doesn't help me.

If you only have a "computer" context, surely there's a further breakdown you can make based on applications or behavior you do at the computer? Email, Research, Maintainence.... Instead of thinking "I do everything in front of my computer", think "what tools or mindset do I need to be in when in front of my computer".

Frosty Crunch 2007-10-04 06:51 PM

[QUOTE]I create a couple "artificial" contexts that include specific applications (e.g. our bug-filing tool; anytime I have a bug to file, it goes into that context)[/QUOTE]

How is this "artificial"? In GTD a context can be a place, a time, a tool, a person, whatever. You could have a context of "distracted, brain not fully engaged" for routine tasks.

jasong 2007-10-04 10:48 PM

Thus the quotes around artificial. The reason I stated it that way is because many people tend to think of contexts as places you can be ("home", "computer", "grocery store"), not things you need ("Photoshop", "Internet access"), although DA does say "tools" are valuable contexts.

I'm not sure I agree with "distracted, brain not fully engaged", only 'cause I don't think that's very limiting: can I do it while sitting on a train without a network connection? while watching TV at home? possibly, but it's not clear enough. Of course, contexts are personal, so if it works and is clear when you dump stuff into it, then it's a good context!

sprugman 2007-10-05 12:15 AM

I called such contexts "artificial" because they aren't based on any actual physical limitations. If I decide that I'm going to be in my Photoshop context for a while, that's fine, but it doesn't actually take me out of any of my other computer (or home or office) contexts. And personally, if I'm working on a project in photoshop, I'm not too likely to switch to another project just because I happen to have that program open.

In general, switching gears between projects is much more jarring to me than switching applications. The way I tend to define things, a particular action may take any number of tools on my computer to complete....

pvonk 2007-10-05 02:16 AM

[QUOTE=avernet;22263]We definitely need a concept of "today, this week, later", and I think this is much more powerful the traditional concept of context. [/QUOTE]

I would think the start date could be used to indicate when an action needs to be brought to my attention.

If I have something in "today" and I don't get around to it, then I'd have to move it to "this week" if I don't think I'll get around to it for a few days. When I next review and find the action in "this week" and think I might do it today, do I then move it to "today"? Also, if today advances to tomorrow, do I then check "this week" to see if anything needs to be moved to "today"?

It seems to me that this system is just a "to-do" list with three categories.

sprugman 2007-10-05 08:54 AM

[QUOTE]It seems to me that this system is just a "to-do" list with three categories.[/QUOTE]

I see them as more like priority flags than categories. I'm not suggesting getting rid of contexts, but as I said in the OP, contexts alone aren't really enough for me because my actual physical (and mental) contexts don't usually filter out enough actions for me.

If I flag something as Today, but don't get it done, then tomorrow, it will still be flagged as Today, which is fine, because it's today again. I don't have to do any moving. If I decide I'm not going to do it today, but still want to keep it on the This Week list, then, yes, I might want to change the flag, but that's fairly efficient -- I just change the flag for that action. (It's also the reason I want Today/Soon/This Week/Later, rather than just Today/This Week/Later, as avernet suggested above.) Doing that bit of meta-work once per day would almost certainly be better than trying to do it in my head, with glazing eyes, numerous times per day, looking at a big list of actions, which is what I'm dealing with right now.

If I use start dates, but get behind, then I have to manually move everything forward in order to keep them hidden. The flagging that I'm wishing for corresponds directly with my daily/weekly/monthly review system.

avernet 2007-10-05 03:02 PM

jasong,

[QUOTE=jasong;22273]Alex, care to discuss your blog post here? I'm curious about the idea of "contexts" being time-based as well as place- or tool-based.

My concern is that I don't know *when* I might want to do something, and putting something into "today", "next week" and "later" contexts is not very specific to when you *can* do something, as opposed to when you *might* do something.[/QUOTE]

At some point, you have to know *when* you do something. You are at that point when you decide the next action you will be doing. You will look at your next actions lists, and for each one ask yourself the question "am I going to do this next?"

Instead of going through all your next actions every time you select one, just pick one flagged as "today". How did it get there? Because you put it there, and this is called planning.

Planning is something you do naturally. You do it in your head. You keep track of "what you're planning to do today". What I (or other people here) propose is to dump into the system this information you have in your head.

[QUOTE=jasong;22273]If you only have a "computer" context, surely there's a further breakdown you can make based on applications or behavior you do at the computer? Email, Research, Maintainence.... Instead of thinking "I do everything in front of my computer", think "what tools or mindset do I need to be in when in front of my computer".[/QUOTE]

I have found that breaking down things this way doesn't help me. I am not deciding what to do next based on whether I feel like doing research or maintenance. I am doing research or maintenance based on whether it makes sense for me to do research or maintenance. And instead of figuring out what makes sense next (research or maintenance?) every time I pick a next action, it makes more sense to capture this output of this thinking into the system.

If today I want to do some research, instead of putting that next action in the "research" context and keeping in my head that I want to do some research today, I put that next action in "today".

Does this make sense?

Alex

avernet 2007-10-05 03:23 PM

Pierre,

[QUOTE=pvonk;22290]I would think the start date could be used to indicate when an action needs to be brought to my attention.[/QUOTE]

Yes, you can use the "start date" for this. In fact I have even been suggesting that you can use your calendar to store your next actions, as long as you calendar lets you put those in a different "category", so you can easily see the different between "next actions" and "real calendar items" that really need to take place at that given date and time.

You can read more about this on:

[url]http://avernet.blogspot.com/2007/08/gtd-keep-track-of-your-next-actions-in.html[/url]

Alex

jasong 2007-10-05 04:48 PM

[QUOTE=avernet;22336]
Does this make sense?
[/QUOTE]

The short answer is “nope“.

A slightly longer answer follows.

I think we're approaching how to get stuff done from different angles. The time I choose to do my next action is a function of context, time available and energy, or what I like to think as “I don't feel like it”. Just because I artificially said I'd do something “today” doesn't mean I will, or even that I should. Heck, it doesn't even mean that I can.

Picking the ones flagged as “today” is as good a gating factor as any other method someone can use to pick an action, it's just not a way that makes sense for me or for how I approach my “list of agreements” (aka “projects”).

[quote]Instead of going through all your next actions every time you select one, just pick one flagged as “today“. How did it get there? Because you put it there, and this is called planning.

Planning is something you do naturally. You do it in your head. You keep track of “what you're planning to do today“. What I (or other people here) propose is to dump into the system this information you have in your head.[/quote]

Indeed, planning is something you do naturally, and the point of using OmniFocus (or iGTD or Google Calendars or a Moleskine or any of a thousand other methods) is to get stuff out of your head. It's basic Getting Things Done. I think we all understand that; it's why we're here, on the OmniFocus forum.


[quote]I have found that breaking down things this way doesn't help me. I am not deciding what to do next based on whether I feel like doing research or maintenance. I am doing research or maintenance based on whether it makes sense for me to do research or maintenance. And instead of figuring out what makes sense next (research or maintenance?) every time I pick a next action, it makes more sense to capture this output of this thinking into the system.[/quote]

Isn't that the point of Contexts? I don't want to presume anything other than you've read Getting Things Done a bunch of times, and understand the concepts, so I won't go into any detail. I will note that “ deciding what to do next based on whether I feel like doing research or maintenance” is exactly what you should be doing. If you're in a “research mood”, it's useful to have “research items” you can focus on to move a project forward. If you choose to “do research” because it “makes sense to do research” how is that any different from “deciding I feel like doing research”?


[quote]If today I want to do some research, instead of putting that next action in the “research“ context and keeping in my head that I want to do some research today, I put that next action in “today“.[/quote]

OK... what does it take for you to “do research today”? Does it require that you're at your computer? In a library? Have online access? Can you “do research” for your action at the grocery store?

If you're looking at a list of “actions to do today”, and you can't do half of those actions because you don't have a cellphone to make a phone call, aren't in the grocery to buy the eggs, or aren't online to search Google, all you have is a list of To-Do items you have to mentally scroll through until you find the one action you can do today.

That just would stress me out.

sprugman 2007-10-07 07:19 AM

As I said above, I'm not asking to replace contexts with priority. (Someone early in this thread suggested that I use contexts that way, but I rejected it.) The cell phone/grocery store example above is a red herring. I'm just looking for a way to filter down my list of 60 available items, all of which I could do in my current actual physical context, to a more manageable number, and the single flag feels too crude.

jasong 2007-10-07 09:44 AM

OK; I'm sorry I missed that particular detail.

I wonder if the other features already in OF can be helpful here. There's the duration filter, there's grouping by project, due and start dates, date added and changed. Perhaps even the search field in conjuction with the notes field and a script.

sprugman 2007-10-07 10:20 AM

[QUOTE] duration filter, there's grouping by project, due and start dates, date added and changed[/QUOTE]

all of those have their own functions, some of which are partially useful to the problem in question, but don't solve it.

[QUOTE] search field in conjuction with the notes field and a script[/QUOTE]

Definitely possible, but to make it useable would require quite a bit of development. Might be worth it, but it's not something I'm going to be able to do any time soon....

avernet 2007-10-07 07:10 PM

[QUOTE=jasong;22342]I think we're approaching how to get stuff done from different angles. The time I choose to do my next action is a function of context, time available and energy, or what I like to think as “I don't feel like it”. Just because I artificially said I'd do something “today” doesn't mean I will, or even that I should. Heck, it doesn't even mean that I can.

Picking the ones flagged as “today” is as good a gating factor as any other method someone can use to pick an action, it's just not a way that makes sense for me or for how I approach my “list of agreements” (aka “projects”). [/QUOTE]

Maybe my perspective comes from the number of next actions I have. Say you have 30 projects (and I am sure many of us have many more projects), each with 10 next actions. That gives you 300 next actions. If most of those are done on a computer, each time you select a next action, you will maybe need to go through 250 next actions. That doesn't sound reasonable. Most likely what you will do is to go through all the 250 next actions once in a while (maybe every day) and build a mental representation of what you are planning to do today. All I am suggesting is to put that in the system; don't keep it in your head, and flag those next actions that you are planning to do today as "today".

If you don't put that in the system, and if you don't go through the whole list of next actions every time you select on, your head won't be able to trust the system and it will constantly keep track those next actions you want or need to do today.

[QUOTE=jasong;22342]If you're looking at a list of “actions to do today”, and you can't do half of those actions because you don't have a cellphone to make a phone call, aren't in the grocery to buy the eggs, or aren't online to search Google, all you have is a list of To-Do items you have to mentally scroll through until you find the one action you can do today.[/QUOTE]

Most of the time, I can do most of the next actions on my list. (I almost always have an Internet connection, a cell phone, ...) There is only a tiny minority of the next actions on my list that require me to be in a special context (grocery store, at home, ...). This is why most of the time, the notion of "context" doesn't help much filtering out the next actions I can't do at a given time.

Alex

brianogilvie 2007-10-08 11:36 AM

[QUOTE=avernet;22408]Maybe my perspective comes from the number of next actions I have. Say you have 30 projects (and I am sure many of us have many more projects), each with 10 next actions. That gives you 300 next actions.... [/QUOTE]

It should give you 300 Available actions but only 30 Next actions, unless many of your projects are single action buckets. You might find it useful to use the Next action filter from time to time when you need to narrow your focus down.

avernet 2007-10-08 06:24 PM

[QUOTE=brianogilvie;22448]It should give you 300 Available actions but only 30 Next actions, unless many of your projects are single action buckets. You might find it useful to use the Next action filter from time to time when you need to narrow your focus down.[/QUOTE]

What is the difference between "available" and "next"? I have to admit that I never tried to use this feature.

Alex

dhm2006 2007-10-09 03:19 AM

[QUOTE=avernet;22471]What is the difference between "available" and "next"? I have to admit that I never tried to use this feature.[/QUOTE]

That question is best answered by describing the three types of projects/lists. I am leaving out action groups for simplicity, but they behave essentially the same way.

1. Sequential Project - The first action in the project is the "next" action. No other action is "available" because, in a sequential project, the actions must be performed in a certain sequence.

2. Parallel Project - The first action in the project is the "next" action. All other action are "available" because, in a parallel project, the actions can be performed in any sequence. You can rearrange the actions to make whichever one you select the "next" action.

3. Single Actions List - All actions are "next" because the actions are independent of one another. There is no logical sequence in which they should be performed.

Edit: In addition, you can affect the availability of an action by changing its start date. A future start date makes an otherwise available action unavailable.

ajr 2007-10-09 10:57 AM

Flags and Perspectives
 
Well, I think I may have a system that works for me thanks to several suggestions from this thread. It involves viewing by project group, flagging those projects/tasks I want to do today, and switching to the proper corresponding perspective to see today's tasks.

I already have projects/tasks in major groups like 'personal,' 'work,' etc. I have 2 perspectives for each major group, 1 for planning and 1 for context. Planning perspectives show all projects/tasks for a major group and context perspectives show all [I]flagged[/I] projects/tasks for a major group. Easy enough. Each day I've been going into the planning perspective for the major group I want to deal with and reviewing/flagging tasks I want to address. I just switch to the context perspective view and I'm set w/ my 'Today' list.

I suppose I'll eventually create a perspective for different combos of flagged items (personal + work, etc), or maybe just one for all groups, but I've been lucky enough to focus on one major group per day so far.

Not sure if this sheds light for anyone but I'm finding it a decent compromise. It helps that I don't use flags for anything else, of course.

T

avernet 2007-10-09 04:57 PM

[QUOTE=dhm2006;22479]1. Sequential Project - The first action in the project is the "next" action. No other action is "available" because, in a sequential project, the actions must be performed in a certain sequence.

2. Parallel Project - The first action in the project is the "next" action. All other action are "available" because, in a parallel project, the actions can be performed in any sequence. You can rearrange the actions to make whichever one you select the "next" action.

3. Single Actions List - All actions are "next" because the actions are independent of one another. There is no logical sequence in which they should be performed.[/QUOTE]

Great summary! Thank you!

Alex

dhm2006 2007-10-10 03:46 AM

Glad it helped.

LizPf 2007-10-15 09:48 AM

Coming in late, but there's another way to use Contexts -- based on the state of your mind when you need to work on this Action.

So you might have Contexts:

- Brain-Dead
- Multi-task (doesn't need much attention)
- Interruptible (I can do this when kids are around)
- High Attention
etc.

The idea behind Contexts is to specify when/where/with what we can do some of our actions. @Computer may be enough for you, or you might have Offline, Multi-task (processing bulk e-mail), Spreadsheet (high concentration number crunching), Brain-Dead (for going through those old cache files?), etc.

Whatever works for you!

--Liz

avernet 2007-10-15 09:57 AM

[QUOTE=LizPf;22923]So you might have Contexts:

- Brain-Dead
- Multi-task (doesn't need much attention)
- Interruptible (I can do this when kids are around)
- High Attention
etc.
[/QUOTE]

Interesting, I have never thought about splitting things this way. I will need to give this a try.

Alex

sprugman 2007-10-15 10:34 AM

Seems like another case for tags or multiple contexts per item. ("Does 'return call to my buddy, Fred', go in "calls" or "brain-dead"?)

LizPf 2007-10-15 10:45 AM

[QUOTE=sprugman;22928]Seems like another case for tags or multiple contexts per item. ("Does 'return call to my buddy, Fred', go in "calls" or "brain-dead"?)[/QUOTE]

Nested Contexts can do some of this for you:

@Calls
-Brain Dead
-Multi-Task (for those eternal Hold calls)

etc.

Of course, without Multi-Context, you couldn't see all your Brain Dead stuff (calls, Mac maintenance, snail mail processing)at once. We do need multiple contexts, but I find I can do a lot without it.

--Liz
(back after a few weeks doing other things and losing my Focus)

jasong 2007-10-15 01:53 PM

You can fake multi-context (calls > brain dead, mac > brain dead, snail mail > brain dead) by using perspectives by command-clicking to select the contexts in question; perspectives remembers those selections.

curt.clifton 2007-10-15 03:30 PM

[QUOTE=sprugman;22928]Seems like another case for tags or multiple contexts per item. ("Does 'return call to my buddy, Fred', go in "calls" or "brain-dead"?)[/QUOTE]

It's hard to say. I've never met Fred. ;-)

Frosty Crunch 2007-10-15 06:44 PM

The Getting Things Done book goes through how to deal with a lot of tasks.

For instance, one technique is "Don't Do Them." Chuck tasks in the trash or a reference file or delegate them.

For Projects, only show the next action.

For stuff that doesn't need to be done right away, put a start date on it for when it needs to be done. For stuff that needs to be done by a certain data, likewise, with a due date.

If you still have too much to do, then you need go through another GTD cycle and put more stuff in the "Don't Do Them" category. You can't do more than you can do, and a task management system won't change that. Stuff you might like to do but don't have time for you just have to give up on, in order to actually make progress on more important stuff.

If you've really gone through the GTD process, none of this should be a problem. As they say in IRC, "Read the ... Manual" ;-). You need to read the instructions before using the tool.

sprugman 2007-10-17 08:24 PM

[QUOTE]You can fake multi-context (calls > brain dead, mac > brain dead, snail mail > brain dead)[/QUOTE]

Yeah, if I want to have a contexts list that's 80 items long.... Not worth it to me.

grillgod 2007-12-25 12:34 PM

[QUOTE=dhm2006;22479]That question is best answered by describing the three types of projects/lists. I am leaving out action groups for simplicity, but they behave essentially the same way.

-snip-

3. Single Actions List - All actions are "next" because the actions are independent of one another. There is no logical sequence in which they should be performed.
[/QUOTE]

I have created a parallel action group in a sequential project named "Purchases" that has several items that I would like all to be labeled as Next Actions. The idea being that I have several items to buy before moving on with the project.

"Purchases" is the first action item(a parallel action group) in my sequential project, but only the first item to purchase is showing as a next action. A few items will be purchased "online" and shown in that context will others are in my "Errands" context. I'd like them all to show as next actions in my context view.

Am I missing something, or is it just not possible at this time?

curt.clifton 2007-12-26 05:09 PM

A project in OF can have only a single Next Action. The remaining actions within your parallel action group will show up as Available Actions. This was debated at length in another thread last summer. If all of those actions were Next Actions, then Available Actions would not be any different than Next Actions.

Personally, I tend to operate from a perspective showing Available Actions. If I'm too scatterbrained to choose from that list, I'll switch to Next Actions to get a more focused list.

Gary Liddon 2008-07-13 11:23 PM

A lot I'd want from a Today flag could be covered by being able to enter ASAP into the due date and NOT have it convert into a date but remain ASAP

I could then filter by due date, and the ASAPs would always be top of the list

I'm pretty sure that something like this could be added really easily and would give me what I want with minimal change to the way I work with Omnifocus

Apologies if this has already been suggested, it's a long thread and I may have missed it :D

Is this the best place to post? I followed it from the FAQ but that last post prior to this seems a -long- time ago :D


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