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-   -   Planned waiting in a project... I need a better way. (http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=23803)

tlester 2012-03-27 05:05 AM

Planned waiting in a project... I need a better way.
 
Hi Guys -

I have a few project templates for helping me with workflow for customer facing projects. I'm a photographer and there are things I need to do before a shoot and after. So, I'm using omnifocus for that so I can attack those items as part of my normal GTD routine.

In these projects, I have steps that involve waiting for someone to return information to me, like selecting a final image or like I e-mail someone to ask where the shoot will take place, then I have to wait for their response.

I've built these projects into templates so that when I get booked, I just duplicate the template and drag it into my active area. I've been putting those "waiting on" actions into the context "wait". However, now that I have 20-30 of those project active, each with several "waiting on" actions, it's making my "Waiting" perspective difficult to deal with.

I'm looking for some good GTD advice on how I could better manage this. I want to be able to look at my "Waiting" perspective on a regular basis to make sure I'm following up on anyone who owes me something and when I look at it now, I have several hundred waiting actions.

So, how would you suggest I handle the context for those planned for waiting items? Is there a better way?

whpalmer4 2012-03-27 07:15 AM

What would make your life easier? Is the problem that you see 2 dozen "Wait for customer to select image" actions, and don't know which action corresponds to which customer? Or is it that there are no dates on the actions, and you don't know which ones need a follow up call?

Have you looked at Curt Clifton's [URL="http://www.curtclifton.net/projects/"]Populate Template Placeholders[/URL] script? It allows you to use templates with placeholders that get filled in at creation time with data collected from you via dialog, so that each copy of the template can be customized with dates, client names, objectives, etc. It's a rather powerful addition to the toolbox if you have many projects that can be created from templates!

tlester 2012-03-27 07:54 AM

[QUOTE=whpalmer4;108846]What would make your life easier? Is the problem that you see 2 dozen "Wait for customer to select image" actions, and don't know which action corresponds to which customer? Or is it that there are no dates on the actions, and you don't know which ones need a follow up call[/QUOTE]

It's that when I look at the "Waiting" perspective, I see EVERYTHING that I put in a wait state, including actions that are not even close to being ready to be actioned on. For example... let's say I'm shooting a wedding and the wedding date is April 2013 (a year from now) and I'm putting together a wedding album AFTER I shoot the wedding. One of my actions may be, "Wait for client to choose which images to include in album" that has a context of @waiting.

When I look at my "Waiting" perspective to see who I need to follow up on, I see this "Wait for client to choose images to include in album" action which can't even be considered to be done for at least a year.

So, I think I need to put it in a different context that doesn't really show up as waiting until I'm actually waiting for them. So maybe one context and when I get to that step, switch it to waiting.

What do you think? That would work, but is there a better way?

whpalmer4 2012-03-27 08:20 AM

If you have dates on these many items, you could sort your view by date, no? And if you set your waiting context not to be on hold, but just use start dates to put those waiting actions back in your view, viewing by available actions would show you only those actions where you have an expectation of progress or action...

fruitbat 2012-03-30 12:22 PM

[QUOTE=tlester;108847]It's that when I look at the "Waiting" perspective, I see EVERYTHING that I put in a wait state, including actions that are not even close to being ready to be actioned on. For example... let's say I'm shooting a wedding and the wedding date is April 2013 (a year from now) and I'm putting together a wedding album AFTER I shoot the wedding. One of my actions may be, "Wait for client to choose which images to include in album" that has a context of @waiting.

When I look at my "Waiting" perspective to see who I need to follow up on, I see this "Wait for client to choose images to include in album" action which can't even be considered to be done for at least a year.

So, I think I need to put it in a different context that doesn't really show up as waiting until I'm actually waiting for them. So maybe one context and when I get to that step, switch it to waiting.

What do you think? That would work, but is there a better way?[/QUOTE]

I often set a start date in the future for actions I don't want to see until "someday". Then the actions are not available until that date.

Would that help?

Brian 2012-03-30 02:35 PM

I also use the method fruitbat mentions - so for that "wait for customer to pick images" action, you could add a start date of the day after the event, for example.

(If you ever did want to see *all* your actions in that context, you could switch the Availability filter to "Remaining".)

Christian 2012-03-31 12:25 AM

Being paranoid about missing an action I sometimes just set the starting date to be like a week or few days before the action does actually become availible in the real world. In your case that would mean that you might set the start date for the "waiting for customer" action to the 10th of April. The wedding may be on the 15th, you might send the pictures to the customer on the 16th and then have to wait. But when you prepare for the project "shoot wedding" on the 12th you can already see which actions are going to be necessary and hence have a good feeling of complete overview.

pete340 2012-03-31 02:03 AM

[QUOTE=tlester;108847]It's that when I look at the "Waiting" perspective, I see EVERYTHING that I put in a wait state, including actions that are not even close to being ready to be actioned on. For example... let's say I'm shooting a wedding and the wedding date is April 2013 (a year from now) and I'm putting together a wedding album AFTER I shoot the wedding. One of my actions may be, "Wait for client to choose which images to include in album" that has a context of @waiting.

When I look at my "Waiting" perspective to see who I need to follow up on, I see this "Wait for client to choose images to include in album" action which can't even be considered to be done for at least a year.

So, I think I need to put it in a different context that doesn't really show up as waiting until I'm actually waiting for them. So maybe one context and when I get to that step, switch it to waiting.

What do you think? That would work, but is there a better way?[/QUOTE]

"Wait for client to choose images to include in album" occurs after "send images to client" which occurs after "touch up images" (maybe?) which occurs after "shoot images at wedding". Okay, the descriptions may not be what you want. But the point is that this is a sequential project; each action becomes ripe after the previous action. Putting artificial start dates on these actions won't help. Each one starts after the previous one is finished. The way to handle that is to look at *available* actions. Select "Available" in the "Availability filter".

whpalmer4 2012-03-31 09:13 AM

[QUOTE=pete340;108986]Each one starts after the previous one is finished. The way to handle that is to look at *available* actions. Select "Available" in the "Availability filter".[/QUOTE]

It is important to note that this only works if you have not chosen to set your Waiting contexts to be on hold! The stock database has the Waiting context on hold.

pete340 2012-04-01 03:13 AM

[QUOTE=whpalmer4;108999]It is important to note that this only works if you have not chosen to set your Waiting contexts to be on hold! The stock database has the Waiting context on hold.[/QUOTE]

I suggested "Available" as more limited than, say, "Any status". Either way, if having a context on hold messes up the filtering, that sounds like a bug. (I just gave it a quick test, and didn't see a difference; but I didn't dig around in it)


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