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bashosfrog 2010-06-03 03:26 AM

Task context in project view
OmniFocus appears to be designed for those who use and like contexts. That frustrates me, because my workflow revolves around projects. I want to give tasks context, but I don't want to view them that way. I want to view them as part of a project. OF isn't very helpful with this.

I find contexts next to useless in my work as a journalist. I don't phone, email, research, or even write in tidy batches: I do those things as the project demands, or respond as things come in. I'm totally project-centric. I don't want to assign all phone calls to a "Call" context and work from that view. When I'm working on a story, there is a sequence of calls I have to make, and the "planning" view is the only place to set up and work through that sequence.

But then, I find the projects view is crippled.

In a typical project, I will have contacts I need to call, contacts I'm waiting on to call back, contacts that didn't turn out to be useful but I want to keep around, and ideas for people I might contact but won't if someone else delivers the goods.

If I was in contexts view, I might assign them respectively to "Call", "Waiting", "Dropped" and "On Hold". I don't want to see them in contexts, though: I want to see them as part of the overall project picture. If I apply the same contexts in a "planning" view, I get no visual indicator that some items are important, some are not, apart from the name of the context. It's all an undifferentiated lump. If the project is due soon, all its tasks are coloured "due soon", irrespective of the weight I place on them. I can't even sort on context to drop the less-important items to the bottom of the list.

Contexts obviously work brilliantly for many people as a way of dissecting work, but for the project-centric among us, I'd like to see contexts also used to (optionally) style or sort tasks in planning view; or to assign icons or labels, or *something* to give tasks "context" without having to view them in GTD's context boxes.

Then OF becomes a task manager for all of us, not just the GTDers.

SpiralOcean 2010-06-03 08:10 AM

There's quite a few choices out there in the marketplace. Have you looked around at different task/project software? It's difficult to tell exactly what it is you are hoping OF does, but if it isn't working for you, maybe you should shop around?

SpiralOcean 2010-06-03 08:12 AM

Or... you could try to open up how you think that you should be working and give GTD & OF a decent go of it. Here's help if you need it.


SpiralOcean 2010-06-03 08:48 AM

Here's another suggestion:
you can focus on a project by control+clicking (right+click) on a project and select focus.
Then in context mode select the contexts folder

All actions will be shown in the order that you have in your project.

You could also try OmniPlan to see if that works the way you want to work.

Or there's basecamp or any other number of project software tools out there.

Lucas 2010-06-03 11:11 AM

I think that there are a lot of good options if you group by project in context view. For you I would consider ordering by context and putting your contexts in rough order of importance; e.g. waiting, then on hold, then dropped.

bashosfrog 2010-06-03 02:56 PM

Spiral -

- Thanks, but I've trawled the market and haven't found anything like OmniFocus.
- I've tried GTD on and off pretty much since it came out, but it simply doesn't fit for me. It makes absolute sense, but it's not for everyone. - - OmniPlan isn't what I'm after - way too much redundancy for what I do.

bashosfrog 2010-06-03 02:57 PM

Lucas - you know, a couple of years with OF and I hadn't really looked at that option? <smites brow> I think it may do the job. Thanks.


Lucas 2010-06-03 08:19 PM

Ha - thrilled to have helped!

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