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kohlmannj 2013-02-26 10:52 AM

[Feature Proposal] Enhancing OmniFocus's Forecast Views and Contexts with Intelligent Task Planning
I have some ideas I would love to see in the OmniFocus Mac and iOS apps regarding significant enhancements to Forecast and Contexts.

Think about all this information we put into OmniFocus about tasks: availability dates, due dates, time estimations, not to mention task ordering and sequence (i.e. sequential vs. parallel). Now think about how Forecast visualizes calendar events inline with tasks grouped by due date.

Now, put all that together. Within a Forecast view, OmniFocus could help the user understand when and in what order to get tasks done, based on my free time according to my calendar, tasks' availability dates, ordering, and dependencies, some Context-based constraints, such when and where I'm available to work on contextualized tasks, and even task duration estimations.

To reiterate another idea for Contexts that snuck in there: just as we've discovered that where is an important attribute of a context, when is also important. I'd love to give my contexts day and time specifications, or to otherwise bind them to calendar events that express when I'm in a particular context (in this case, from when until when I'm supposed to be physically at work).

Some things to consider. I know the OmniFocus 2 team is busy trying to build whatever's in their heads already, but I also believe enhancements along this line would be game-changers, as my task management tools would now help me understand exactly how, when, and where to get all my tasks done.

Thanks for reading. I would live to hear any additional ideas if you have them!


Lizard 2013-02-26 03:07 PM

I think your idea might be clearer with a few specific examples.

wilsonng 2013-02-26 04:45 PM

But when I have a handful of random tasks available to me, it doesn't really matter what order I do them. I just go ahead and do them. I can use my intuition, mood, energy level, or time available to determine at the moment of choice which task I want to do. So, for this instance, task order becomes irrelevant.

For time blocking, I just block out anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour for "available next actions". Then I just go start knocking off tasks. I don't worry too much about scheduling my tasks in forecast view.

Based on my free time, I immediately look at my Due perspective and try to work on those tasks first. After I complete as many of my due tasks, I'll look at my flagged tasks and work on my Big Rocks tasks that I intentionally flagged as important.

After I get through as many of my flagged tasks, I'll get around to my Next Actions available context perspective to look at any number of available tasks.

So the most important tasks and the perspective to view are in order:

1. Due and Due soon
2. Flagged
3. Next Actions available
4. Other (blocked because of start date, or a prior task has not been completed yet).

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