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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.


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