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artwheat 2011-04-29 08:18 AM

Plan to address paper and external lists.
Trying to keep things simple. I have a pile of physical paper that I don't really want to enter into OF. The pile is the action list. The thing is, I am either working on the pile or I am working on the tasks in OF. Some of the things in the pile are important, as are my action items in OF. Looking for ways to keep doing what is important.

I have a similar issue with a list of tasks in an online database. Since the tasks there also include an interface with clients, they need to see progress on those tasks, get responses from me etc. So I can't ignore that list and simply enter it all into OF (much as I would rather do that).

What I'm looking for are ideas to that keep things simple, but all those areas outside of OF get addressed, or I some how use OF to address these issues. I have a thought but don't want to bias people. I expect someone may suggest this idea but I will wait for them to do that.

If you have a similar problem or an idea on how I might address these issues, while keeping in mind my desire for simplicity, whether using OF or not, I'd greatly appreciate a response.

whpalmer4 2011-04-29 09:10 AM

How about a repeating task in OF that basically says "do X amount of work from paper pile"?

artwheat 2011-04-29 01:35 PM

That was one of the thoughts or to simply make a calendar entry that I work on those items as specific times. Unfortunately it's like having three different to do lists which was part of the dilemma.

The paper pile has no sense of priority to it. Maybe having a paper pile in the first place is not a solution (it's mostly data entry stuff but there are a couple of action items). Separating the action items and putting those into OF and making the pile a data entry only pile might work better.

I know in David Allen's book he would talk about using email as it's own list. In other words, you would not add, "Reply to x email" in OF. Maybe I should revisit the book.

I do appreciate your suggestion while I kind of talk my way through this.

Kourosh 2011-05-02 09:20 AM

How about use the physical pile of paper as part of your inbox. In other words, work through the pile as you would an inbox, i.e. if it takes 2 minutes do it, otherwise file it, delegate it, turn it into a project, or trash it. Any of these latter options could be tasks in OmniFocus. If there is a way to connect to a particular task online by URL, you could copy and paste that URL into a note field of a task in OmniFocus.

If the piles are particular large, you could do as whpalmer suggests and move through a part of the pile regularly until it is cleared.

artwheat 2011-05-06 03:10 AM

Both of these suggestions are great. Sometimes we like to take something so simple and make it complex. I appreciate the wisdom you have both shared.
Thank you,

buntbinär 2011-05-06 10:51 PM

I think both ideas fit together well.

One of the principles of GTD is to manage your work in one place, in that case OmniFocus. Think of the paper as an inbox and process it. Often, the paper is not the task but reminds you of a task. The task then belongs in OmniFocus. The paper becomes the reference material for the tasks in OF, and you need a simple filing system for that. If the paper inbox is too big, you can integrate whpalmer's suggestion to slowly make progress. Just don't let it stress you. ;)

GeoffAirey 2011-05-10 06:52 AM

If you're using OF on the Mac, you could scan the document and add it, with the iPad 2, you could take a quality photo and apend it, thus 'ridding' yourself of that paper.

buntbinär 2011-05-10 09:58 AM

Advanced Version of GeoffAirey's approach:

- Create a new folder named OmniFocus File Inbox
- Use whpalmer's excellent folder action script that adds files from a folder to OmniFocus. Files can be linked or embedded, can be sent straight to the Inbox or to the Quick Entry Window (EDIT: forgot the link - here it is: [url][/url])
- Set your scanner to scan to the inbox folder
- If it's a lot of paper, buy a Fujitsu ScanSnap. ;) Seriously, they're terrific.

You should only use the Quick Entry Window if you plan on entering tasks for each document while scanning. If you'd rather process the files later (you can use Quick Look from within the notes field), turn it off to save some time.

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