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-   -   Can I find actions with no dates? (http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=10959)

daiglebox 2009-01-04 09:11 PM

Can I find actions with no dates?
 
This is probably pretty simple, but I can't figure out how to do it --

You know how at the top of the Context Mode sidebar the first item is NO CONTEXT? Clicking that instantly lets you see any action you have not yet assigned a context to.

I want the same functionality for due dates: a simple click (a perspective?) that will instantly let me see (in the Project Mode) any action I have not yet assigned a due date to.

Anybody know how to do this? Thanks in advance!

whpalmer4 2009-01-05 01:12 AM

[QUOTE=daiglebox;53129]This is probably pretty simple, but I can't figure out how to do it --

You know how at the top of the Context Mode sidebar the first item is NO CONTEXT? Clicking that instantly lets you see any action you have not yet assigned a context to.

I want the same functionality for due dates: a simple click (a perspective?) that will instantly let me see (in the Project Mode) any action I have not yet assigned a due date to.

Anybody know how to do this? Thanks in advance![/QUOTE]

It's easy in Context mode; turn on the view bar, group by Due date, look in the group that is labeled "no due date".

To do it in Project mode, follow the same procedure. Then, select the whole group (click on the first one, go to the bottom and shift-click on the last one) and use the Switch button in the toolbar or cmd-option-R to flip over to the other mode. You can now see all of the items lacking a due date, highlighted in their projects. Unfortunately, to change any of them, you'll have to destroy the selection and possibly repeat the process.

Do you [b]really[/b] want to put a due date on every single action? Besides being a lot of work, many of us find that it adds undue stress to have due dates on items that don't require them (in other words, there will be no repercussions if the due date isn't met). I don't find it to be a very satisfactory way of marking what I ought to work on in the near future (except, of course, for those things that actually [b]are[/b] due soon), and prefer to use the flags on either individual items or entire projects (flagging the project makes all the included actions act as if flagged, without the need to individually flag them). Similarly, putting a due date on a project will force all of the individual actions in the project to have a due date of the project's due date, if they don't have one explicitly assigned.

daiglebox 2009-01-05 09:13 PM

Thanks so much for the tips -- I'll try them out tomorrow.

I think you make a good point about overusing due dates. It's probably a way of trying to avoid frequent reviews, which I know is something that I have to train myself to do.

It's funny: GTD brought me to OF, but I think OF is going to get me to embrace GTD.

whpalmer4 2009-01-05 09:43 PM

It's not just the low-level stress of having all those due dates, and the time spent putting due dates on everything. Missing due dates (because you know deep down the due dates aren't "real") dilutes the usefulness of the due date concept for the ones that do matter. Having to run down the list of overdue (or soon to be) actions and repeatedly pick out the ones that actually matter from the ones you just slapped a due date in the hopes of a bit of progress is an accident waiting to happen. I think it is better to know that if there's a due date on an action or a project, it is something that matters (or did when you assigned the due date -- perfectly reasonable to decide that the situation has changed, what was once important no longer is, and remove the due date). Remember Aesop's tale of the boy who cried "wolf!" too often?

curt.clifton 2009-01-06 06:40 AM

Bill speaks the truth, but also gets at something that I struggle with.

I frequently have an almost (but not quite) overwhelming number of actually due items (wolves at the door if you will). My reaction when I've chased those wolves away is to relax and not work on the non-urgent items. This is really a procrastination issue more than a planning issue. I would be very interested in any techniques that people have developed to use OF for avoiding procrastination.

(The book [I]The Now Habit[/I] was as indispensable to me in finishing grad. school as was [I]Getting Things Done[/I]. I'd love to see a way of integrating The Now Habit's "uncalendar" with OF. spiralocean's KranK widget has some good ideas along these lines, but is a bit more rigid than I'd like.)

whpalmer4 2009-01-06 12:37 PM

Uh oh! Curt, I was hoping that if I simply finished implementing the rest of your best practices, I'd be out of the procrastination game. Back to the drawing board, I guess :-)

Thanks for the tip on the book! Looking at the review [URL="http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/2008/06/16/review-the-now-habit/"]here[/URL] would you say it touches on many or most of the key points, however briefly? I don't need to be convinced of the value of play, my problem is that I'm too easily persuaded to skip the work part :-)

curt.clifton 2009-01-06 02:52 PM

[QUOTE=whpalmer4;53254]
Thanks for the tip on the book! Looking at the review [URL="http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/2008/06/16/review-the-now-habit/"]here[/URL] would you say it touches on many or most of the key points, however briefly? I don't need to be convinced of the value of play, my problem is that I'm too easily persuaded to skip the work part :-)[/QUOTE]

That review seems like a very good summary of the book. My only real quibble is that the review is less clear than it could be about the Unschedule idea. The Unschedule includes not just leisure activities, but also other necessary things like sleeping, eating, personnel care, required meetings, etc. Essentially any thing that has a definite claim on your time, or should, goes on the Unschedule. It's very helpful for visualizing just how little time is left for discretionary actions.

Other pieces of the book are less clear in my mind; it's been more than 4 years since I read it. Perhaps I need to re-read it now.

Lucas 2009-01-06 03:00 PM

One thing that I did to avoid procrastination when I don't have any urgent items is to have a context that is the kind of things that I like to procrastinate. Then, I've committed to looking at that context and picking one thing from it when I know that I have a little time.

One other thing that I do is shuffle the context view grouping between "context" and "project" with all of the contexts that I could do highlighted and then see if there are any contexts or projects that are small enough to clear out. I think that method was inspired by your where to focus widget. That usually helps kill quite a few non-urgent items.


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