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hypotyposis 2010-06-09 09:39 PM

Returning to no folders
Hi all,

So after having implemented a long folder hierarchy representing my areas of responsibility, etc., returning to OF I find that I'm longing for the simplicity of a true GTD implementation (see e.g. David Allen Co whitepaper on Entourage): so I'm going to dispense with my folders (right now I'm keeping Work/Personal, but I plan to do away with that soon as well).
I really enjoyed having a "reminder" of my areas of responsibilities and of long-term projects that are more abstract than concrete (e.g.: "X years later, be happy having made decision Y now"). I've found that TaskPaper works really well for me for this kind of stuff, so I'm going to try to have it running across the 3 platforms (Mac, iPhone, iPad) along with OF so I can get both foci.
In the meantime, I'd really love to hear from those of you who have not been using folders for any tips/tricks/advice and/or problems arising with large numbers of projects.


RobTrew 2010-06-10 05:44 AM

[QUOTE=hypotyposis;78373]after having implemented a long folder hierarchy representing my areas of responsibility ... I'm going to dispense with my folders (right now I'm keeping Work/Personal, but I plan to do away with that soon as well).[/QUOTE]

There is a cost to folders (visual clutter, and the need to drill down), but, as is suggested by your hesitation over dropping the Work / Personal folders, there is a value too.

I find that you can get the best of both worlds by keeping folders but being able to click a button which hides the folder hierarchy completely, and just shows a flat list of all your projects.

This is the script I use, and it can be fine-tuned ...

-- Hide folder hierarchy and display a flat list of all projects

tell application "OmniFocus"
set oDoc to default document
set lstProjects to my ProjectList(oDoc)
set focus of front document window of oDoc to lstProjects
end tell

on ProjectList(oParent)
using terms from application "OmniFocus"
tell oParent
set lstProjects to projects where (status is active) or (status is on hold)
set lstFolders to folders where hidden is false
end tell
repeat with oFolder in lstFolders
set lstProjects to lstProjects & my ProjectList(oFolder)
end repeat
return lstProjects
end using terms from
end ProjectList[/CODE]

malisa 2010-06-10 08:54 AM

Thanks for the script!

I just [i]re-implemented[/i] folders, or actually a more AofF folder structure. I was hesitant since I'd tried something similar before but I decided the key for me is to set up some more good perspectives. But knowing that I can 'flatten' things with a couple clicks will be nice too.

hypotyposis 2010-06-10 11:24 AM

Thanks RobTrew for the scripts and comments... I think if I return to folders, this will definitely be the way to go.
To address something you said, though, I'm not actually hesitant to break down the personal/work hierarchy, I just needed some spare time (getting to it now) to coalesce Single Action lists together and decide whether I actually want to keep any more SA lists than the original "Miscellaneous" (which I spent so much time hating in the beginning...). For me, breaking down the distinction between work and personal items actually was a great jump not just in productivity but in overall "happiness", which occurred after my first read of GTD. I think I got a bit too involved with the "tinkering with the system" thing by playing with folders and establishing (not-so-)arbitrary delimitations—not saying no-one can benefit from folders, etc.; just relating my personal experience.
I'd be very interested to hear from you and from Malisa, if you wouldn't mind sharing, what your folder hierarchies are, and what your perspectives/workflow look like.


bmushrush 2010-06-16 12:32 PM

I've gone back and forth with this and it was holding me up so I decided to keep my folders. I'm not sure if its change resistance or I really need the segregation that folders gives me.

I have a Home and Office folder. In my office folder, I have a sub folder for each client I consult for. Within Client X's folder I have a folder for each project I'm working on for them which contains any documents related to that project.

Whats worse is I travel weekly and have replicated this folder structure on my laptop and when I get home on Friday, I move things to my desktop. I have started using smart folders to identify what folders I want to keep on my MBP and copy them manually Sunday night before I leave on Monday.

I'm not sure what I'm missing but how would eliminating my folder structure be better? I've already screwed up and forgot to copy my desktop folders to my laptop so clearly this is not a good solution!

Sorry, wasn't trying to hijack the thread but I would like to hear from those committed to not using folders about their experience!

whpalmer4 2010-06-16 12:37 PM

Why aren't you using OmniFocus' sync to keep everything identical all the time? Doing it by hand is just asking for trouble...

hypotyposis 2010-06-16 12:42 PM

bmushrush, just to make sure, are you talking about folders inside the OmniFocus application or about Finder folders? If the latter, I recommend you check out Todd Vasquez's Ready-Set-Do!, which provides a great, if somewhat rigid, integration of the finder structure for GTD, and interfaces decently with OmniFocus, I'm lead to understand.

bmushrush 2010-06-16 12:52 PM

hypotyposis, yes sorry. I was talking about Finder folders. Thanks for the info, I'll look into it straight away.

bmushrush 2010-06-16 12:54 PM

[QUOTE=whpalmer4;78748]Why aren't you using OmniFocus' sync to keep everything identical all the time? Doing it by hand is just asking for trouble...[/QUOTE]

Probably because I missed that part!! Thanks, I'll read about that too ;)

Really would make things easier...

hypotyposis 2010-06-16 01:07 PM

bmushrush, OmniFocus sync will keep your OmniFocus data in sync, not documents you have in the Finder. You might want to look at using a cloud-based solution (MobileMe's iDisk or Dropbox, e.g.) for your documents in a more general sense.

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