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-   -   How do I use "Waiting For" or "@waiting"? (http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=6437)

rmathes 2007-12-03 04:50 PM

Waiting Fors
 
not sure if there’s a way I can make the app do what I'd like here, but thought I'd ask.

I’ve got my perspective setup to show me what I need to be working on today. I have a task to call Joe and get some information from him. I call and leave a message with his assistant who will check with him and get back to me. I change the context to ‘waiting for’ because I've now done the action item I needed to do.

I’d prefer to not see this task remain in my actionable list. I’d like to see it drop off the main ‘to do today’ perspective and be accessible in a ‘what am I waiting on’ perspective. But without a smart folder paradigm that allows me to select which contexts to include, that ain’t gonna happen.

Is there some other attribute I could change on this task that would get it off my main view but still keep it as an outstanding item elsewhere?

Richard Flynn 2007-12-04 01:14 AM

You can set up a 'Waiting For' context, and then just put that action into the new Context. You can also use the Context inspector on your new context to uncheck 'Allows next actions'—that then means that any action in that context is never 'available' to be done by you. However, you can easily set up a perspective to look at your Waiting For context for a plain list of everything you're (er) waiting for.

rmathes 2007-12-04 03:45 AM

thanks Richard.

tried that approach and it doesn't work for me because of a constraint artificially imposed to try to drive to a 'what's due only today' view discussed on another thread.

in the filter bar i have to use that selection for 'coming due', then set coming due to the shortest duration to not see all the other date categories (like next month, next week, etc....). the minute i use that functionality for that purpose (which i believe is not the natural and intended use of the 'coming due' feature), i now cannot select 'next actions' to eliminate the waiting for tasks.

but i think i found a way to handle it on the project side, which i don't like at all. i can create a 'waiting for' project and put its status 'on hold'. the task then stops appearing in my 'to do today' context perspective and i can create a new 'on hold projects' perspective to see what's in that project. but that means i have to take it out of its natural project, which doesn't make any sense.

this is one more reason why i do not like "well could you adapt such and such functionality to make it work" approaches. they always bite you somewhere else. not trying to cross topics on this thread, but we need the organic and natural ability to create a focused view in the context world that just shows us what's due today and prior without having to appropriate things like 'coming due' to make it happen.

give us context-based FOCUS functionality, OmniGroup!

ksrhee 2007-12-04 06:04 AM

This is something I do, and you might find it too cumbersome, but it works for me.

I created a new context called "Waiting For" and make it inactive. So, anything I assigned to it won't show up when I'm in the Active context mode.

If I need to move a task into this new context, I simply bring up the all context filter, and drag and drop it to the waiting for.

When I later get something I was waiting for, I just need to check this context, and I can review it periodically follow up.

I don't think this will interfere with your coming due filter as long as you are in the active context mode.

iNik 2007-12-04 06:58 AM

A couple ideas:

Set a "start date" and/or "Due Date" on your waiting task. That should keep it out of your perspective until such a time as you want to be reminded to review it.

To "focus" on multiple contexts, can't you just select those contexts and create a perspective displaying them? If you group by context, it's even easier, because you have, say, "Office" tasks as well as "Waiting" tasks all in one view, but with the Waiters below Office, and therefore visually de-prioritized.

stmpjmpr 2007-12-04 03:34 PM

[QUOTE=iNik;27426]A couple ideas:

Set a "start date" and/or "Due Date" on your waiting task. That should keep it out of your perspective until such a time as you want to be reminded to review it.

To "focus" on multiple contexts, can't you just select those contexts and create a perspective displaying them? If you group by context, it's even easier, because you have, say, "Office" tasks as well as "Waiting" tasks all in one view, but with the Waiters below Office, and therefore visually de-prioritized.[/QUOTE]

This is what I do in your situation. Add the Start Date column to your view so that you can quickly add a new start date with something like "tomorrow" and it'll disappear from your list until tomorrow.

al_f 2007-12-04 10:58 PM

Alternatively, if you have an action like "email bob about project" in @computer, make the next action in the (sequential) project "Bob - response re: project" in @waiting for. That way once you complete the email action the waiting action will be automatically activated and added to your waiting list. If you don't include that list in your "stuff to do today" perspective the actions won't show up in your list.

rmathes 2007-12-05 07:26 PM

well I tried an idea above and discovered a bug I'll submit.

Created a context called “Waiting For”. In the inspector, unchecked it as ‘active’. The good news is that as expected it now disappears from the context pane under ‘available contexts’.

The bad news is, I have a perspective saved that shows me all my flagged tasks. apparently tasks in inactive contexts are recognized by OF as flagged, whether they are flagged or not (these tasks aren’t). So now my flagged perspective is ‘polluted’ with tasks that shouldn’t be there, and are actually almost the opposite of what my flagged tasks are.

So until this bug is fixed, that ain’t gonna work.

Gonna have to stick to using the project side of it, which works, but I don’t like for reasons stated above.

Jon 2007-12-16 12:56 PM

To me this discussion and some others are a result of the inability of the selection for perspectives to have booleans. I sent an email to the support ninjas on 4 December but am sure they have not had a chance to even think about if they like the idea or not. I have included the substance here. This is for me the biggest whole in the app now (other than not having an iPhone app. :-)

I have finally figured out what my issue is with getting perspectives the way I want them - I do understand about the option click for contexts to select a subset but that is limited.

I really would like two features however they are implemented from a UI perspective:

1. The ability to perform boolean operations for selection, e.g., show actions in task a AND task B that are in an @waiting context or @waiting AND @delegated.
2. The ability to sort results by more than one criteria - and very quickly without necessarily changing perspective. This is a bit orthogonal to the point above, but it would be helpful. One way might be with a "JTable" like control click.

rmathes 2007-12-16 04:11 PM

Yep, agreed with the last post.

One of the big questions for me is, when the dust finally settles, how will Perspectives in OF compare with Smart Folders in iGTD2. And who will have the best iPhone integration.

By eschewing the Smart Folder concept (ala Mail or iTunes) and hitching their wagon to the View bar (not even sure what to call it), they’ve necessarily limited our ability to slice and dice what we see and how we see it. I’m already chafing at these limitations and wanting more power and flexibility.

In theory, iGTD2’s marriage of Smart Folders and tabs could be VERY powerful. I just wish their UI was in OF’s class. The more I use OF, the more I wish they had gone a different direction than the View bar, but I'm trying to withhold judgment until the app is in production.

bashosfrog 2007-12-16 04:26 PM

I think this is exactly what I'm trying to say in some related posts today. I find myself wanting to click column headers to add an extra level of sorting, or exclude or add something that the current implementation doesn't allow. But I don't know if there's an easy fix.

rmathes 2007-12-16 05:12 PM

I will say this, if the current level of choices available in the View bar holds relatively steady, and if no other selection/sorting criteria become available, then I'm just not sure OmniFocus is going to allow me to sufficiently, um, focus.

Which is kinda ironic, when you think about it.

I’m honestly surprised they’ve gone this route in the design. It’s, by definition, FAR more limited than a smart folder approach, and smart folders have proven in other apps to be the difference between a decent app and a great one. I would assert that smart playlists and mailboxes in iTunes and Mail are key functionality that provide a rich and robust ability to see what I want to see and nothing more. Task management seems the perfect venue to make the most powerful use of this kind of functionality and OF went a completely different (and so far, in my opinion) and limiting direction.

Waiting to see where this goes, but right now, I'll be honest. The more I use it the more I'm hoping iGTD2 gets Smart Folders and tabs right.

Ken Case 2007-12-16 06:11 PM

We actually started out with a smart folders implementation, but it quickly led to a combinatorial explosion of smart folders if we wanted to provide quick access to anywhere near the number of combinations available through the view bar. It's much, much slower to explore the different views of your tasks if you have to create a new view and switch over to its customization sheet every time you want to try something a little different.

What sort of combinations do you find yourself wanting to create that you aren't able to create now?

bashosfrog 2007-12-16 07:02 PM

Here's two for starters:

I have a Contexts perspective: Due, Due, Remaining, Any, All. This works well except for one thing: I'd like to exclude the "Waiting" context from view. I only want to see those actions I have to act on, especially since I may have 10-20 calls out waiting for a response. As far as I'm concerned, they should be off the immediate to-do radar.
OF allows me to group by Context, but it doesn't give me that same big-picture look at what's in store for me as the Due grouping.

Or, as mentioned in another thread, I'd like a Planning view that allows me just to see Projects - ie. the top-level items - grouped and sorted by due date. At the moment, Project sorting is affected by action due dates, which I find less than ideal for planning.

These are two examples of where a smart folder approach would give more granular control than the filter bar. But I also see Ken's point of view: my sidebar is already pretty well populated, and adding smart folders would make it unreadable. I've got no brilliant ideas on this - too busy working through the appalling list of to-dos I've generated in OF - but would hope the brains at OmniGroup have a neat solution.

Because apart from this, and attachments, and time entries on actions ( :-)) OF is genius.

Matt

Ken Case 2007-12-16 07:26 PM

[QUOTE=bashosfrog;28867]I have a Contexts perspective: Due, Due, Remaining, Any, All. This works well except for one thing: I'd like to exclude the "Waiting" context from view.[/QUOTE]

You can get that view by selecting all your contexts except the Waiting context and making a new snapshot. (That's pretty much the same as what you'd be doing with a smart folder, but in this case you can see your results as you select without having to finish creating your folder first.)

[QUOTE]Or, as mentioned in another thread, I'd like a Planning view that allows me just to see Projects - ie. the top-level items - grouped and sorted by due date. At the moment, Project sorting is affected by action due dates, which I find less than ideal for planning.[/QUOTE]

The addition of smart folders wouldn't help with this; the problem is simply that sorting projects by due date currently (intentionally) means to sort them by the first thing coming due within a project. It would actually have been far simpler to make that sorting option just sort by the due date of the projects themselves, but we thought—perhaps wrongly—that most users would want the first project in the list to be the first one that had anything due.

By the way, I do think it would be great to have some of the flexibility of smart folders, and we are exploring how we might accomplish this in future releases. But right now, the combination of focusing on a set of folders and projects, selecting some items in the sidebar, and the view bar gets you most of the way there. (And if you did have a smart folder selected in the sidebar, it wouldn't be as easy to combine its filtering with that of any of those other interface controls, e.g. you couldn't select a single project or folder without replacing that smart folder.)

Ken Case 2007-12-16 07:33 PM

[QUOTE=Ken Case;28870]You can get that view by selecting all your contexts except the Waiting context and making a new snapshot.[/QUOTE]

Actually, I should point out that the more natural way to get this particular view in OmniFocus is to show all your Available actions rather than your Remaining actions, and set your Waiting context to block actions. That way your list will truly show only the actions that you can currently act on, not the ones that are blocked by your Waiting context, or blocked by a future start date, or blocked by earlier actions in a sequence.

bashosfrog 2007-12-17 12:56 AM

aHA. I hadn't explored the "block actions" option. This was a case of not reading the manual. Of course, there isn't much there in the manual to read as yet. But the "Block actions" option is exactly what I was after.

[QUOTE=Ken Case;28870]It would actually have been far simpler to make that sorting option just sort by the due date of the projects themselves, but we thought—perhaps wrongly—that most users would want the first project in the list to be the first one that had anything due.[/QUOTE]

Can this be an option in preferences? I'm a journalist, and most of my projects due dates are article deadlines. Actions are mostly the phone calls I make for interviews. I schedule these calls well before the deadline, so that the due date of my last action usually bears no relevance to the deadline of the article/project.

I can see that for some, the "last action sets due date" thing would work, but for me it just creates unecessary panic because I tend to have deadlines stacked up like aircraft entering LAX. Getting them all down safely is a delicate thing, and easily upset by action due dates posing as REAL deadlines.

I'm not sure I want to see smart folders as such, but as others have said, an implementation of filters that provides boolean options, or otherwise allows the user to slice and dice with more finesse, would be welcome.

Thanks for the assistance!

VicDiesel 2007-12-17 06:25 AM

[QUOTE=rmathes;27414]
this is one more reason why i do not like "well could you adapt such and such functionality to make it work" approaches. [/QUOTE]

I agree. That's why I gave up on Life Balance: that product hasn't been updated in forever, and any time you ask on their forums "how do I" you get an answer "you could adapt so and so".

Anyway.

Let's say you have a task "read the 2007 report draft", and you realize that you haven't got it from Joe's secretary yet so you call him to get it. Now click on the "read" task, hit the Switch button (or whatever keybd shortcut) to get to planning view. Hit Shift-Return to insert a task bofore it; enter "wait for report", and give it a due date 2 months from now.

It will then disappear from your "coming due" perspective, and it will prevent the "read" task from being available. If you have another perspective that does show the long range tasks, you'll find the blocking task there; check it off and the "read" task becomes available again.

I don't like changing the context of tasks, because my contexts are bound to physical locations.

Victor.

joelande 2007-12-17 07:09 PM

[QUOTE=Ken Case;28870]You can get that view by selecting all your contexts except the Waiting context and making a new snapshot. (That's pretty much the same as what you'd be doing with a smart folder, but in this case you can see your results as you select without having to finish creating your folder first.)[/QUOTE]
the problem is, next week my list of list of potential contexts may have changed - you have to keep maintaining these perspectives

sprugman 2007-12-18 08:14 AM

If you create some top-level super-contexts that isn't as likely to be a problem.

abruenin 2007-12-19 12:53 PM

[QUOTE=sprugman;29070]If you create some top-level super-contexts that isn't as likely to be a problem.[/QUOTE]

This would make it easier, but at least these are all workarounds. This is OK for now, but why not take it as an enhancement request?

davisre 2007-12-19 02:06 PM

[QUOTE=abruenin;29281]This would make it easier, but at least these are all workarounds. This is OK for now, but why not take it as an enhancement request?[/QUOTE]

But the "block next actions" feature seems specifically designed to handle this. What else would the enhancement entail?

bas42 2007-12-21 05:55 PM

How do I use "Waiting For" or "@waiting"?
 
The @waiting concept in GTD-speak is very handy. And I'm pretty sure that I'm good with just one context per project in OmniFocus, but here's my dilemma.

Let's say I make a request to someone to do something. The task might say: "ask accountant to prepare tax estimates for 2007." The context here might be "@accountant."

After I have made the request I'm in waiting mode. So I need a new context. It can either be a generic "@waiting." Or I make an "@waiting/accountant" context.

There will be some people where I have many open projects and pending requests (I could see this happening at work with people who I delegate projects to or at home with my spouse).

I'm faced with either wading through a number of "@waiting" contexts [U]OR[/U] looking at the @spouse context and trying to figure out which task is pending and which needs to be discussed [U]OR[/U] growing a lot of contexts in my OF.

Has anyone thought about this? Any suggestions?

Love this software. The last time I was this excited about what software could do was the first time I created a MORE outline on my Mac SE. (I wish omnioutliner came in a MORE edition." I'd pay twice for it happily.)

fdlockhart 2007-12-21 07:27 PM

what I do is make the task more specific and keep the context generic.

Using your example, after asking the accountant, I would create another task in the project that says something like "check on accountant's response" with an @waiting context.

I tried multiple sub-contexts but found them annoying

bas42 2007-12-21 07:47 PM

That's helpful. Thanks.

steve 2007-12-21 08:57 PM

For me that @waiting context was deadly— I didn't check it enough and it got muddled with too many things.

Like fdlockhart, I would create a task such as "Follow Up with Accountant" and I would a start date when I wanted the info back, say 1 week. The task would reappear when I needed to follow-up with the accountant. I would place the Follow Up with NA as a call or an email because that is what I'll be doing. I can't work out of a waiting list.

Steve

Craig 2007-12-21 08:57 PM

I have a generic @waitingfor context, and a few @agenda contexts for wife, boss, colleague, etc.

In my @waitingfor context, I've gotten into the habit of starting the action text with "from x," as in "from accountant, tax estimates," "from accounts payable, reimbursement check," "from bill, can go to basketball game sat?" etc. That uniformity makes the big list easier to look through (or even sort by name).

Ambar 2007-12-22 12:57 AM

I use a single Waiting For context. The key is to review it at least weekly. Items in here often look like:

WF return call from Bob re: training, called 12 Dec 2007
WF customer comment on 2-32445, sent analysis 20 Dec 2007
WF loan docs from Countrywide, due by 5 Jan 2008

anon 2007-12-22 02:58 AM

I use a mixture of @waiting with specific information as from who, and also will change the start date on items I've done, but am waiting for and may need to repeat (I.e. call xxxx... at xxxx about xxxxxx). I give them however long 1-7days to respond and put that on the start date so it shows up on my to do list again on that date.

idea2go 2007-12-22 03:53 AM

I have a generic @waiting for things I'm really just waiting for (packages I've ordered, etc) and then a @manage set of subcontexts (@manage/Joe, @manage/Jill etc) for things I am dealing with other people to complete.

In you example I would have it in @manage/Accountant and when I give the task to them I might slightly modify the task name or attached notes to make it more clear that I am waiting for them on it or they or waiting for me on something.

I also create new tasks but I don't take that to the extreme. Generally I will create new tasks if I can predict the entire proper sequence ahead of time:
o Send Accountant my numbers
o Get estimates from Accountant
o Review estimates
o Find money to pay taxes
o Go cry after paying taxes @Bar

bas42 2007-12-22 05:26 AM

Many good thoughts. Another one I had was to use the silver bullet, i.e., the flag. Maybe the flag, for me, is the @waiting tag. So any context that is a person with a flag would be the equivalent of an "@waiting" for that person.

I've always had a little trouble with contexts that are people, e.g, @spouse, vs. contexts that are physical, e.g., @office. What if I want to be sure to call my spouse when I'm at work?

Based on comments that David Allen makes in his books, I have concluded that his system (while the best I have ever seen in this domain) is a little reflective of the lifestyle of a consultant who lives his life on the road largely and doesn't have kids. Thus, some tweaking is required.

davidC 2007-12-26 03:12 PM

To bas42:
It seems to me you are talking about two distinct kinds of waiting.
The first kind is "waiting for yourself to delegate" some responsability to another.
The second kind is "waiting for the person to get back to you".
Seems to me that you need two categories:
@delegate and
@waiting (to hear back)
When you have delegated some task you need to then place a reminder in @waiting that the ball is in that person's hands. You might alternatively or additionally set a tickler if the person doesn't get back by a certain date.

Jon 2008-01-06 11:51 AM

Smart folders are not essential, though they would nice. I want to be able to see a project with tasks in it based on the context(s) of the task(s). If a task in a project has been moved to a "waiting" or "delegated" context that I have created then I do not want to see them in my daily to do list. On my weekly review, I want to check all the delegated or waiting tasks, not have them in my face every day. I have never so wanted a feature as this in any piece of software.

My guess is that this is not a trivial change since you need to make an interface that not computer scientists can use. If Microsoft can do it with email filters, I know you guys can :-)

I love Omni products, but this limitation is so significant, I may too look at iGTD2, or something else.

jasong 2008-01-06 12:00 PM

[QUOTE=Jon;30417]I want to be able to see a project with tasks in it based on the context(s) of the task(s). If a task in a project has been moved to a "waiting" or "delegated" context that I have created then I do not want to see them in my daily to do list. On my weekly review, I want to check all the delegated or waiting tasks, not have them in my face every day.[/QUOTE]

Isn't this exactly what OF does today?


[QUOTE]I want to be able to see a project with tasks in it based on the context(s) of the task(s).[/QUOTE]

If you select the Calls context, you only see projects and actions that have Calls (group by Project to show the relevant projects).

[QUOTE]If a task in a project has been moved to a "waiting" or "delegated" context that I have created then I do not want to see them in my daily to do list.[/QUOTE]

If you set up your "waiting" or "delegated" contexts as "On Hold", and you're viewing only "Active" contexts, those "waiting" and "delegated" contexts (and thus the action assigned to them) won't show up in your projects in Context mode.


[QUOTE] On my weekly review, I want to check all the delegated or waiting tasks, not have them in my face every day.[/QUOTE]

For use during your weekly review, you can set up a Perspective that shows only On Hold contexts, or more specifically, only the "waiting" and/or "delegated" contexts, and review those as necessary.

What's missing?

garthrk 2008-01-06 09:07 PM

A lovely trick of Perspective
 
It's pretty easy to pull up a window of all Accountant-related tasks whilst still filing all waiting-for items under Waiting and non-waiting person-related items under People:
[LIST][*]Command-2 to your Context mode[*]Command-click People/Accountant[*]Command-click Waiting/Accountant[*]Control-Command-P to open the Perspectives menu[*]Moan about the lack of a "Save Perspective As..." option[*]Click + to create a new Perspective[*]Click the camera icon to snapshot the Perspective[/LIST]
From then on, you can visit the Accountant perspective and see all the items.

jasong 2008-01-07 01:47 PM

[QUOTE=bas42;29579]I've always had a little trouble with contexts that are people, e.g, @spouse, vs. contexts that are physical, e.g., @office. What if I want to be sure to call my spouse when I'm at work?[/QUOTE]

One argument here would be that you should put it in "@calls", since that's the real context of what you need (i.e. a phone).

The other argument would be that we need multiple contexts. That one's been beaten into the ground, dug up, dusted off, and beaten again.

bas42 2008-01-07 03:33 PM

[QUOTE]One argument here would be that you should put it in "@calls", since that's the real context of what you need (i.e. a phone).[/QUOTE]

What if I need something at my office (e.g, project calendar only available at my office) to have the discussion? Or maybe I know the only real time this will work is during the work day? I realize the multiple contexts thing has been beat up a bit and I can certainly find workarounds here. But I have really appreciated the many comments on this thread.

rmathes 2008-01-07 06:27 PM

agreed. This is how I have mine set up and it works fine. Not sure what OF isn’t doing that Jon is looking for.

jasong 2008-01-08 12:02 AM

[QUOTE=garthrk;30459]
[LIST][*]Control-Command-P to open the Perspectives menu[*]Moan about the lack of a "Save Perspective As..." option[*]Click + to create a new Perspective[*]Click the camera icon to snapshot the Perspective[/LIST][/QUOTE]

Moan no more! If instead you choose Perspectives > Save window as new perspective, the Perspectives window opens automatically, ready to edit the name.

erima 2008-01-08 12:05 PM

My general attitude toward contexts is that they need to be as specific as you need them to be. Therefore @work and @home and @phone are okay, or @work phone and @home phone are ok too. Or @work phone (specifically at work) and @phone (doesn't matter). Similarly @computer may suffice, or @work computer may be appropriate for many items... or like most people @work may be always in front of a computer, so that is sufficient.

xmas 2008-01-11 10:23 AM

Merged both the Waiting For and @waiting threads.

jpkunst 2008-01-14 11:30 AM

For what it's worth ... Using the flag to mark 'waiting for' actions seems to work for me. A Perspective to show only flagged items then serves as the "Waiting For" file, to be reviewed on a regular basis.

JP

rmathes 2008-01-14 12:46 PM

but then you don’t get to use the flag for other stuff.

Right now I'm using flags to show those things on my plate that I REALLY want to make sure get done today, as in “OK, if I only get a few things done, what do those need to be?”

then a separate perspective to show only flagged items.

If OF had tags and we could filter by tag, we could use that. but alas......

matt_c 2008-07-18 07:15 AM

Looks like 6 months ago, the consensus on how to create a "Waiting for" context was that should use the inspector to uncheck the "Allows next actions" box. I see no such box in my inspector. Presumably this feature has been removed. So how do we create "Waiting for" contexts now?

whpalmer4 2008-07-18 09:39 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Well, that's because it is just a graphic now. If you select a context and open the inspector, you should see a row of three buttons, one with an "@", one with a "||", and one with a red "x". The "||" is the hold button, and that's the one you want to select to put that context on hold.

amg 2009-04-22 03:14 PM

[QUOTE=rmathes;31194]but then you don’t get to use the flag for other stuff.

Right now I'm using flags to show those things on my plate that I REALLY want to make sure get done today, as in “OK, if I only get a few things done, what do those need to be?”

then a separate perspective to show only flagged items.

If OF had tags and we could filter by tag, we could use that. but alas......[/QUOTE]

How about writing "WF/ this person" in the note of the action ? That way the action does not need to change in time, the note allows you to include as many "history / timestamps" about it (if you need it) and, for me at least, the best part : you find this actions (or exclude them, if you want), using perspectives + a search string including "WF/ this person" (obviously, do not use this same string anywhere ... kind of a tag)

By the way (question) : can I specify a negative filter to "give me everything except this string "XXXX" ???



Saludos

Robbie1702 2009-07-11 06:14 AM

Feature request: Waiting Exclamation Mark Status Button (Like on hold's pause button)
 
Hi There,

I have made a similar suggestion for "Someday Maybe ([url]http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=6359&page=3[/url]) and I think this could also work well for "Waiting".

Ever since I started using OmniFocus I haven't quite devised a rock-solid system for either "Waiting" or "Someday/Maybe". What Strikes me most of all is that in all the discussions these statuses are mostly viewed as CONTEXTS.

If my action is "Get sales invoice from colleage" for example, the context is set to @colleague, because I need the colleage (physical requirement) to complete the action. Once I've sent the email requesting the invoice, the actual context shouldn't change to @waiting now (or having to create a NEW context @waitin@colleague or whatever). The physical requirement to do an action (Context) is still the same (i.e. @colleage), only the STATUS (i.e. the ball is now in his playing field) has changed now!

So my suggestion is - just like for "Someday/Maybe"- add a status button for "Waiting", like there is already for "On Hold" (the pause symbol). For "Waiting" one could use an exclamation mark (!) symbol, as it still needs following up.

This seems like the easiest solution to me, and does not disrupt any folder structures and merely requires a right click.

Robert

whpalmer4 2009-07-11 07:39 AM

Why do you want the same action to mean two different things? You've got multiple actions here -- sending a request to your colleague, and waiting for a response.

These check marks you propose are not as trivial to properly implement as you suggest. Among the considerations: data file format changes, iPhone support (very limited screen space), support for filtering/grouping/sorting.

Robbie1702 2009-07-11 04:21 PM

[QUOTE=whpalmer4;62490]Why do you want the same action to mean two different things? You've got multiple actions here -- sending a request to your colleague, and waiting for a response.

These check marks you propose are not as trivial to properly implement as you suggest. Among the considerations: data file format changes, iPhone support (very limited screen space), support for filtering/grouping/sorting.[/QUOTE]

How does the action mean two different things...?! If you read p.28 of the Omnifocus handbook - look at the "waiting" example: “get annotated pterodactyl brochure draft back from Dennis”. What is suggested there, is that I create another context (example > create a Waiting : Dennis context) although the context actually still is "Dennis". I'm not changing context so why create another one?! That's just extra work and unproductive. It would be easier to -just like an "on hold" marker- mark it as waiting (!). Otherwise how many unnecessary contexts do I start creating (that would be every calls/people/email context double!!!)

You can't be serious about the multiple actions here... =D Waiting is a state, not a second action. And for sure it isn't a GTD context. If it is please enlighten me, if not, why is the GTD-true Omnifocus treating it like one?

I am no programmer, and I cannot judge whether the implementation is trivial or not. However, doesn't it seem like code just needs to be copied from the "On hold" function and altered slightly (plus the exclamation mark logo design)?

whpalmer4 2009-07-11 05:08 PM

[QUOTE=Robbie1702;62513]How does the action mean two different things...?! If you read p.28 of the Omnifocus handbook - look at the "waiting" example: “get annotated pterodactyl brochure draft back from Dennis”. What is suggested there, is that I create another context (example > create a Waiting : Dennis context) although the context actually still is "Dennis".
[/quote]
No, "Waiting : Dennis" is a separate context. If you don't have the option set in your preferences to display the full hierarchical name, it may look like it is the same as your "Agenda : Dennis" context, but it is most certainly a separate context.
[quote]
I'm not changing context so why create another one?! That's just extra work and unproductive. It would be easier to -just like an "on hold" marker- mark it as waiting (!). Otherwise how many unnecessary contexts do I start creating (that would be every calls/people/email context double!!!)
[/quote]
You probably don't need a calls context for each person you are going to call. Typically one might have a Calls context that serves as a catch-all for calls to be made (the physical constraint being that you need a means for making calls), and possibly an Agenda context for interactions where the other person or group needs to be present.

[quote]
You can't be serious about the multiple actions here... =D Waiting is a state, not a second action. And for sure it isn't a GTD context. If it is please enlighten me, if not, why is the GTD-true Omnifocus treating it like one?
[/quote]
I am serious, and don't call me Shirley :-)

DA speaks of "waiting for" lists all over the place in [i]Getting Things Done[/i]. You call Fred and tell him that you need him to send you his report. That's an action. Fred needs to actually send you the report. That's another action. The OmniFocus structure allows you to track that in the project instead of in a list over on the side, in much the same way that it gives you lists of Next Actions.
[quote]
I am no programmer, and I cannot judge whether the implementation is trivial or not. However, doesn't it seem like code just needs to be copied from the "On hold" function and altered slightly (plus the exclamation mark logo design)?[/QUOTE]
As I previously opined, I don't think this is a trivial change in 1.x, though as Dennis reminds me, Omni has mentioned reworking the model in 2.0, allowing for putting individual actions on hold. However, Ken, Omni's CEO, recently commented that they've just stopped taking 2.0 apart, and haven't started putting it all back together again, so you should probably count on doing a fair amount of work without that feature before you get it...there's still at least 1 more 1.x release in the pipeline before 2.0.

Robbie1702 2009-07-11 05:36 PM

No offense Shirley : ) [never heard that expression before], but I think we're talking past one another here. I shall not try to dissect each one of your answers to either of my statements, which are often boldly misunderstood, for the confusion could take ages to unravel....

All I'd appreciate is if the real Dennis (not the one from the example) could kindly help me out and give me practical advice by laying out how he deals with "waiting, someday/maybe and on hold" - since he seemingly has figured out how to make his OF work for him.

whpalmer4 2009-07-11 06:37 PM

It's a quote from the disaster movie spoof "Airplane!" -- the entire flight crew has gotten sick from food poisoning, and the only other pilot they've found on board (Striker) is afraid of flying:

Rumack: Can you fly this plane, and land it?
Ted Striker: Surely you can't be serious.
Rumack: I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.

I don't recall if Dennis has ever laid out his complete workflow, though he does have a thread planning the 2009 (San Francisco) Bay Area OmniFocus get together at the end of this month, and I'm sure he'd be happy to explain it in detail if you attend :-)

As for the reluctance to split things into their component actions, Curt Clifton has penned a script that will automate this in his [URL="http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~clifton/software.html#Await"]Complete and Await Reply[/URL] script. To quote from his description:
[INDENT]This one marks the selected action as complete and creates a new action, like the selected one but prefixed with “Reply on:” and placed in your Waiting For context. Great for email and other actions where you expect a reply.
[/INDENT]
Proof that I'm not the only lunatic who thinks these are separate actions :-)

Robbie1702 2009-07-11 07:18 PM

Haha, that shirley is funny =)

I'd love to come to San Francisco for Omnifocus, but I live in the UK, so the closest thing to attending that get together for me would be to stare at my Golden Gate bridge painting hanging on the wall next to me...

It would be brilliant though, if some real "blackbelts" in GTD using Omnifocus could publish their entire layouts (routines, templates, project folders, someday maybe lists, due dates, start dates, repeating due dates, review strategies, shopping lists, single action lists, contexts, ways they formulate actions etc... EVERYTHING) onto a page for all "non-blackbelts" to view so they can learn from it. I know there is no one single way of organising things, but some excellent examples would surely be helpful to sooooo many people.

(I'd be happy to share my own content, but as you can tell by my frustration with "waiting", someday/maybe, on-hold and still refining my review strategy - I'm far from blackbelt)

With regards to the script - I don't see why it can't be built into OF if it's so useful... But besides, until someone can prove me wrong: waiting is still NO CONTEXT in my books - it's a state of an action (like "on hold"). A context is an ESSENTIAL PHYSICAL REQUIREMENT I NEED to complete an action (Tool, person etc.). If the person I need to see to complete the task is "Peter" (i.e. the context), why would I EVER need to change the context to anything else - simply because I'm waiting for him "Peter" - and not him "Peter:Waiting". I simply need to see "Peter". The thing is - if I am with Peter and I click on the context "Peter" (on my iPhone or Mac) to see what I need to get done in his presence, I will fail to see the tasks that are in "Waiting:Peter". Hence there should only be ONE context (i.e. "Peter) - PLUS the option to right click a little status button (as suggested in the feature request) indicating that I'm waiting for him to do something.

Ohhh blackbelts, let us see how you do it...!

Sometimes I wish I had stuck to Microsoft(!) Word Notebook Layout for managing my life .................. : P

Best list manager ever :D :D :D

Robert

HappyDude 2009-07-12 12:00 AM

I've just read up on this thread that seems to have spanned for years now.

As for myself, any action step in a project that involves me waiting for some one/thing will be added the "Waiting For" context. Doesn't matter what it is, whether its a phone call or package in the mail to arrive. It'll be @ my waiting for context and is always viewable in my available context. I don't really focus on it since theres not much to do but "wait" for the person or thing to get back to me. Yet its still available so I know i'm waiting on it; I don't fret over it yet its there if I wanna set it. Plus it also helps seeing a few actions steps there explaining why a few projects aren't inching forward; i'm simply just waiting.

Has worked well for me so far.

whpalmer4 2009-07-12 12:04 AM

[QUOTE=Robbie1702;62522]
It would be brilliant though, if some real "blackbelts" in GTD using Omnifocus could publish their entire layouts (routines, templates, project folders, someday maybe lists, due dates, start dates, repeating due dates, review strategies, shopping lists, single action lists, contexts, ways they formulate actions etc... EVERYTHING) onto a page for all "non-blackbelts" to view so they can learn from it. I know there is no one single way of organising things, but some excellent examples would surely be helpful to sooooo many people.
[/quote]
A lot of us have posted this sort of thing, though rarely all in one place, and some of it is admittedly difficult to dig up even if you sort of remember the post! You might find it productive to just do an advanced search on the forum for posts by Toadling, Curt.Clifton, and Ken Case to name a few that have taught me quite a bit. Some of the more contentious discussions that rattle on for many pages have quite a bit of good material -- I'm thinking of threads on multiple contexts, tagging, and oh, yeah, how to use waiting contexts :-)
[quote]
With regards to the script - I don't see why it can't be built into OF if it's so useful...
[/quote]
Ah, but someone just retooled the script for a very different purpose (take an action and turn it into an email to someone, complete with attachments) and that wouldn't necessarily have been possible if this was a built-in feature. Built-in features are nice, but the ability to build your own features is often even nicer, especially if your desired features depart from the mainstream view! And given that Omni can only devote a small amount of engineering effort (relative to the size of the union of everyone's wish list), it's better that they spend the effort implementing features that can't feasibly be done by 3rd parties.
[quote]
But besides, until someone can prove me wrong: waiting is still NO CONTEXT in my books - it's a state of an action (like "on hold"). A context is an ESSENTIAL PHYSICAL REQUIREMENT I NEED to complete an action (Tool, person etc.). If the person I need to see to complete the task is "Peter" (i.e. the context), why would I EVER need to change the context to anything else - simply because I'm waiting for him "Peter" - and not him "Peter:Waiting". I simply need to see "Peter". The thing is - if I am with Peter and I click on the context "Peter" (on my iPhone or Mac) to see what I need to get done in his presence, I will fail to see the tasks that are in "Waiting:Peter". Hence there should only be ONE context (i.e. "Peter) - PLUS the option to right click a little status button (as suggested in the feature request) indicating that I'm waiting for him to do something.
[/QUOTE]
You do yourself a disservice by sticking to the notion of a context being an essential [b]physical[/b] requirement. It's actually a much more flexible tool if you lift that restriction and think of it as a way of grouping or subdividing your tasks. [URL="http://forums.omnigroup.com/showpost.php?p=41853&postcount=139"]Ken's post [/URL] gives some nice examples of what might be termed virtual contexts, and read the rest of the thread for more examples (there's another very descriptive one from him a few posts earlier).

I agree that having multiple contexts where your interactions with Peter might be filed can be a cause for trouble if checking them all isn't second nature. However, OmniFocus doesn't force you to use such a structure if it doesn't provide you with sufficient benefit. You could equally well just have put both the "send Peter email requesting quarterly report" and the "receive quarterly report from Peter" actions in your Agenda : Peter context, and not have a Waiting for : Peter context at all. What you lose by doing that is the ability to have a context you can look at to see all the things you are waiting for, but maybe that isn't of much utility to you. You could also come up with a standardized fashion of noting such actions, like prefacing the action name with "Waiting For:" so that you could do a search to pull them all out if you needed a list. Perspectives retain a search string present when the perspective is captured, so you can even set it up as a toolbar button.

Examples are good, and I agree it would be very helpful to new users and seasoned veterans alike to be able to see detailed examples of different working practices (indeed, seeing how others approach the tools is one of the primary attractions of the forums for me). I strongly believe, however, that there is significant value in experimenting a bit in order to make an informed choice. And even after you settle on a choice, look back after 3 or 6 months and think about what has worked well and what creates friction. There's no universal truth that says the correct approach for you now should always be the correct approach.

Robbie1702 2009-07-12 03:37 AM

Haha, these philosophical discussions could go on forever...

All I was trying to do was to suggest a feature that would make life easier. I'm not saying it's the only way - of course there are workarounds, but -in my view- it would be a more intuitive and quicker way of marking "waiting" single actions/projects. Maybe the OmniFolks will consider it in their new build =)

For now I'll just plow through the blackbelts' posts and see how I can get it to work for me right now.

Got to go..... to get things done....... and not only talk about it =)

Robert

Toadling 2009-07-13 02:33 PM

[QUOTE=Robbie1702;62518]All I'd appreciate is if the real Dennis (not the one from the example) could kindly help me out and give me practical advice by laying out how he deals with "waiting, someday/maybe and on hold" - since he seemingly has figured out how to make his OF work for him.[/QUOTE]

I'm afraid I don't really have a "silver bullet" answer for you, Robert. I think the only real difference between my approach and yours is philosphical.

I treat "waiting for" items just like any other action in my system. I don't view them as being in any kind of special state. In fact, I rarely use any kind of "waiting" context either.

If I'm tracking an action that requires some input from an outside party (usually a person), I simply assign that person's context to the action.

[QUOTE]Wait for Natalie to review user documentation @Natalie[/QUOTE]

If the action is waiting on some entity that I don't have a "person" context for, I use a medium-based context (i.e. the medium by which the entity is most likely to respond).

[QUOTE]Wait for response from OmniFocus ninja @email[/QUOTE]

If absolutely nothing else fits, then I might throw the action in my waiting context simply because I can't think of anything better. But this is pretty rare.

[QUOTE]Wait for economy to improve @waiting[/QUOTE]

Of course, the down side to this approach is that I can't easily bring up a consolidated "waiting for" list (other than searching for the string "Waiting for"). I know David Allen suggests making such a list -- maybe it's useful in a paper-based system -- but I just never found much need for it in OmniFocus.

If I have Natalie on the phone or run into her in the cafeteria, I can quickly bring up her context and see that I'm still waiting for her review of the user documentation. If I'm working through my email in the morning, I can check my email context and see that I'm still waiting for the OmniFocus ninja to respond about that great feature request I submitted. And if I really need to keep a close eye on a particular "waiting for" item, I can always flag it or assign a due date.

Hope this helps.

-Dennis

Robbie1702 2009-07-13 04:24 PM

Thanks, I'll try it out and see if it works for me... =)

whpalmer4 2009-07-14 09:12 AM

[QUOTE=Toadling;62595]
Of course, the down side to this approach is that I can't easily bring up a consolidated "waiting for" list (other than searching for the string "Waiting for"). I know David Allen suggests making such a list -- maybe it's useful in a paper-based system -- but I just never found much need for it in OmniFocus.
[/QUOTE]

The unwritten key to your system, Dennis, is that you got religion about doing your reviews, and so you can trust that you'll notice in relatively short order that you're still waiting for Natalie to get that review done, even though you don't have a list of things you are waiting on. Without that safety net of knowing you're going to put your eyeballs on that project on a regular basis, the ability to generate and check a list of "actions receivable", to coin a term, is invaluable. Those of us who prefer the comfort of both suspenders and a belt can do reviews and keep a list, too :-)

omniinmo 2009-08-01 07:05 AM

[QUOTE=whpalmer4;62621]The unwritten key to your system, Dennis, is that you got religion about doing your reviews, and so you can trust that you'll notice in relatively short order that you're still waiting for Natalie to get that review done, even though you don't have a list of things you are waiting on. Without that safety net of knowing you're going to put your eyeballs on that project on a regular basis, the ability to generate and check a list of "actions receivable", to coin a term, is invaluable. Those of us who prefer the comfort of both suspenders and a belt can do reviews and keep a list, too :-)[/QUOTE]

I don't want to be a nudge or anything, but it seems to me that being able to assign multiple contexts to a task would resolve this problem as well.

See [URL="http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=5787"]NEED assign to multiple Contexts[/URL].

Regards
omniinmo

thinkingserious 2009-09-07 05:59 PM

I use a Waiting context with a sub-context for each person or entity I'm waiting on something from. Then I have a perspective that just looks at that context, which I review daily and then flag anything that needs attention for the day.


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