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-   -   Not Everything is a task/action. (http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=13720)

ucs308 2009-09-05 12:44 PM

Not Everything is a task/action.
 
What if I just want to log a phone call. Add a document to a project. Or??? Omnifocus seems to see every row as a task or action.

malisa 2009-09-05 12:50 PM

You can add it in a note. Or you can add it as a task and check it as completed.

Toadling 2009-09-05 04:57 PM

To take malisa's suggestion a bit further, you could add such things to the note field of the project itself. That way the info continues to be available for the entire life of the project rather than just for a specific action.

It really depends on what the info is and how you're going to use it, I guess.

-Dennis

Jody Severson 2009-09-05 05:21 PM

I created a context cleverly named "notes" and use that to keep notes in a project. To keep them out of view when I am working my to-do lists, I do not include notes among the contexts in my various perspectives.

BevvyB 2009-09-06 02:14 AM

Not Everything is a task/action...

I mentioned something like this in a previous post as something I would like to see but I was shot down somewhat. I would like to have a 'tick box' style action 'list' choice a bit like OmniOutliner has.

Simply put, some things are lists and not actions but should stay in OF for convenience. And lists can be parts of projects. However with lists they need a slight tweak to behave properly and not behave like next actions by cleaning themselves away or getting disconnected from their parent. A checklist is very so slightly different from a next action list and it would be cool if there was a way of creating them in OF - taking a small leaf out of Omnioutliner's book but still remaining GTD friendly.

kaijin 2009-09-06 05:44 AM

BevvyB, though there isn't a way to create tick box lists directly in OF, you might be interested in jharrison's [URL="http://jhh.med.virginia.edu/main/OmniFocusScripts"]Project Folder and Project Notes scripts[/URL]. The scripts create project folders and project notes as OmniOutliner files. You can, of course, manually create an .oo3 checklist and attach it to a task's notes field, but the script automates it a bit. druido has recently posted updated versions of both scripts in [URL="http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=10863"]this thread[/URL].

BevvyB 2009-09-06 08:33 AM

Hey that's cool. But I think it does show that this simple behavior change of some actions to lists would be a good thing, and it makes sense for OF to do this inside the app. As Omni have done it in Outliner I think it's not un-Omni-ish or un-GTD-ish.

How about 'sequential', 'parallel', and 'list' as a new choice?

Toadling 2009-09-06 09:26 AM

[QUOTE=BevvyB;66248]Hey that's cool. But I think it does show that this simple behavior change of some actions to lists would be a good thing, and it makes sense for OF to do this inside the app. As Omni have done it in Outliner I think it's not un-Omni-ish or un-GTD-ish.

How about 'sequential', 'parallel', and 'list' as a new choice?[/QUOTE]

I respectfully disagree. It just feels like unnecessary complexity to me. There are already a variety of solutions available using the notes field in OmniFocus or OmniOutliner or plain text files outside of OmniFocus. Adding a list option to the sequential/parallel toggle seems muddled to me and dilutes (pollutes?) the concrete purpose of that functionality.

Screwdrivers and flashlights are both useful tools; every toolbox should have them. But the best screwdrivers and the best flashlights are the ones that strive to be [I]either[/I] a screwdriver or a flashlight, not both.

-Dennis

BevvyB 2009-09-06 11:05 AM

[QUOTE=Toadling;66254]I respectfully disagree. It just feels like unnecessary complexity to me. There are already a variety of solutions available using the notes field in OmniFocus or OmniOutliner or plain text files outside of OmniFocus. Adding a list option to the sequential/parallel toggle seems muddled to me and dilutes (pollutes?) the concrete purpose of that functionality.

Screwdrivers and flashlights are both useful tools; every toolbox should have them. But the best screwdrivers and the best flashlights are the ones that strive to be [I]either[/I] a screwdriver or a flashlight, not both.

-Dennis[/QUOTE]

Then we must agree to disagree :)

gerben 2009-09-06 04:18 PM

I agree with you BevvyB;-)
I use 2 applications for getting the mess out of my head; devonthink and omni f.
Devon does all freeform stuff and omni the lists part that i want or need to keep an eye on, but not all these lists are actionable. Some are pure brainstorm items/lists, or more reminders of things. This has been very useful on my iphone for instance! I mean this works also now, but it would be way more elegant and reduce the complexity (for me at least) if this could sit somewhere without having a checkbox in front of it.

ucs308 2009-09-06 07:39 PM

I didn't think the idea would get very far.

At some point it is inevitable that Omni will provide a better way than the note field to store documents, scan, notes, tidbits and the associated clutter that goes with almost any task more complex than "fetch milk".

For now my solution is to create a companion project in DevonThink and copy a link to that project into the note field of the project. That way DevonThink does the complex stuff, and Omnifocus remembers the date.

kaijin 2009-09-06 08:13 PM

[QUOTE=ucs308;66283]For now my solution is to create a companion project in DevonThink and copy a link to that project into the note field of the project. That way DevonThink does the complex stuff, and Omnifocus remembers the date.[/QUOTE]
If you are not already familiar with RobTrew's OF and DevonThink scripts, you might be interested [URL="http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=12734"]this thread[/URL] in the Extras forum. The scripts don't provide what you are requesting, but they do automate your current solution. (They are similar to the project folders and notes scripts references upthread, but specific to DT2).

abh19 2009-09-08 09:26 AM

[QUOTE=Toadling;66254]I respectfully disagree. It just feels like unnecessary complexity to me. There are already a variety of solutions available using the notes field in OmniFocus or OmniOutliner or plain text files outside of OmniFocus.[/QUOTE]

I agree. Keep it as simple as necessary. If you must have a list, you can make a new context called "list" and put the entire context on hold (that way it won't appear in your next actions lists); then you can make list items that you'll never be prompted to act on. I use this method for listing my weekly/monthly/daily goals. It's nice to have this right there in OF.

GTD teaches that action lists and reference material ought to be completely separate, so that may be one reason you're finding resistance to this subject.

That said, I think it might be good if OmniFocus in the future had a within-the-program way of organizing reference materials (ie. external files). Though it isn't much work to create a folder on your hard drive and put your support materials in it, it would be nice to be able to tie those folders directly to OmniFocus, have OF keep them organized, and even have OF archive or delete them once the projects are completed or dropped.

gerben 2009-09-08 12:32 PM

@abh19 I think you touch the essence of the discussion here; a project on hold containing non actionable stuff somehow doesn't feel ok, it works of course but i don't see why it shouldn't be possible to have non action lists in OF. It would be one extra button in the inspector and, let's say bullets instead of checkboxes. Actually it would also make a someday/maybe list better to handle for me instead of putting it in a project, and put that on hold. If you would take gtd strict i think it is even better to make a very clear visual distinction between these things. For me keeping brainstorm lists in OF is very useful and also very fun. In gtd terms i guess you could say that this is my way of keeping the 40.000 and 50.000 feet parts in check. I guess it's a matter of cosmetics (dots next to checkboxes) and also how you use OF, I use it as more than a pure gtd action system.

yennta 2009-09-08 12:41 PM

A check box seems like a necessity for me. Why should anyone need to use a multitude of apps when a check box list seems a perfect fit for OF

Toadling 2009-09-08 03:00 PM

A lot of the notes people consider non-actionable can become actionable with a bit of thought and the right wording. Ask yourself: why am I taking note of these things to begin with?

In my case, it's almost always because I want to [I]do[/I] something about them, although it's not always immediately obvious or necessarily a physical activity. But if I don't want to [I]do[/I] something about the note, why am I bothering to write it down?

Remember that [I]anything[/I] starting with a verb is actionable, including verbs like "Think about...", "Examine...", "Check out...", "Consider...", etc.

For example, maybe you want to paint your house. You might have some project notes like these:
[LIST][*]Possible colors: red, maroon, yellow[*]Painting supplies: Bill's Brush Emporium, Dennis' Painting Megastore, Pigment Palace[*]Examples: 1234 Main Street, 5678 Side Street, Charlie's house[*]Stucco repair: [url]http://www.google.com/search?q=stucco+repair[/url][/LIST]
By beginning each of these with a verb (and possibly organizing them in a parallel action group), you can turn this amorphous blob of information into actions.


[Code]
- Decide on paint color for house
- Discuss color options (red, maroon, yellow) with spouse
- Check out red paint samples at hardware store
- Examine maroon paint on Dawn's house
- Try out yellow paint samples from Pigment Palace

- Arrange painting supplies
- Visit Bill's Brush Emporium
- Explore Dennis' Painting Megastore
- Browse Pigment Palace web site

- Look for inspiring example houses
- Drive by 1234 Main Street
- Survey houses around 5678 Side Street
- Talk to Charlie about his beautiful house

- Investigate stucco repair
[Note] http://www.google.com/search?q=stucco+repair

- Think about hiring a contractor to do all this work
[/Code]


This approach helps me get to the heart of why I'm capturing these notes to begin with. If I'm not going to actually [I]use[/I] the information, then it can probably be stored outside of OmniFocus or not at all!

Right now, [I]everything[/I] in OmniFocus is built around and specifically designed for managing [I]actions[/I]. Notes, on the other hand, are a different kind of animal. How would they be treated in this action-oriented system?
[LIST][*]Do they have associated dates (start, due, completion, review) and how are they treated in perspectives filtered by date?
[*]Do they get contexts and how are they treated in context mode?
[*]Do they get archived, and if so, how do we know when to archive them if they can't be marked as complete?
[*]How do the note items impact execution flow of a project? Do they block availability of the next action in sequential groupings?
[*]How do they interact with the Status Filter?[/LIST]
Handling these issues seems difficult to me. I can't help but think Omni would be shoe-horning a new data type into a system that wasn't designed to handle it, all the while diluting the purity of the data model and increasing complexity. It just makes me uncomfortable. :-)

But as BevvyB said earlier, I can "agree to disagree." If you still feel strongly about this feature, you should contact the Omni Group directly from within OmniFocus (Help -> Send Feedback). They might have some good ideas on this topic and be able to make things work out in a way that'll satisfy everybody.

-Dennis

BevvyB 2009-09-09 12:25 PM

As I said earlier, this came up for me when I had to keep tabs on people who owed me some money for t shirts. I created a group called 'Collect money for t shirts' and then put all their names under it. I ended up with a bunch of names in my day to day lists with no references to what they were about, and also as I checked each person off these 'actions' were considered done which is all well and good, but they then got 'cleaned up' and one of the main things about lists of things is sometimes you need to keep the list for future reference, and of course as I ticked off each person I was actually destroying the list and losing the initial reference to what each name was connected with.

And then I thought, hey it would be cool if there was a small distinction in OF between actions and lists. The easiest one being you could lock a group so its actions WOULDNT be tidied up, which is the simplest solution. I simply wanted the list to stay put till until I had no use for it. So in a way I wanted more control and wanted to choose when to tidy away my list.

So all I really want is a tidyup override. I love things getting tidied up. But I would like to be able to lock certain groups or projects as 'un-tidyupable' till I say so.

whpalmer4 2009-09-09 01:06 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Except you aren't "destroying the list" as you put it, the data is still there. Look at your project in a view where the action selector is set to all actions, and you'll see the entire list. You can easily make a perspective for displaying the list if you don't like manipulating the view.

BevvyB 2009-09-09 02:27 PM

I know.

I'm starting to hate this place.


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