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I was just about to start a thread very similar to this one, did a quick scan of the forums and found this thread...

Here's my story so far: Got properly into GTD just over a year ago when I got my iPhone and realised I could sync OF to it. I've now got much of the thinking of GTD as second nature and to be honest can't imagine how I got along without this type of GTD thinking before.

I have found OF invaluable in helping me get up to speed with all of this, especially with the basic concepts of:

Getting things out of your head
Next Actions and
Projects (when something becomes one)

and also to some extent:


So here's what I've found -


I feel like I've reached a ceiling with Omnifocus. Without a shadow of a doubt with the ideas in GTD and OF together I am finally at a place where all the clutter that used to really get me down is no longer an issue. This is nothing short of amazing. Now I find myself 'off the runway' pretty much all of the time (something I never thought possible) I am now able to tackle short to long term goals with a clear head. Awesome, I love it, never going back to the old 'me'.

Now, even though this is a great place to be, a lot of the other concepts that appear in GTD, such as setting goals, 30, 40, 50 thousand feet vision seem to be something I have real problems with. It's not that I'm having problem thinking in my head about what I want to achieve, where I want to be in 5 years etc - what I'm having problems with is HOW TO USE OMNIFOCUS TO HELP ME ORGANISE THESE CONCEPTS alongside all my runway / short term goal level stuff.

So currently Omnifocus to me is a 'runway to take-off' tool, something it does very well. As far as long term planning goes, I am completely at a loss on how to configure Omnifocus to do this. I've done all kinds of fiddling with it and it doesn't seem to want to 'fit'.

Now, as Paulduv who started this thread stated, Mind Maps are a great way of personal brainstorming where you'd like to be in the future and of visualizing longer term goals. Because for the first time I'm am now CONSTANTLY off the runway and seem to be circling wondering where to fly to in the somewhat distant future, I have started using Free Mind (free mind mapping software) to help myself find out more of the further afield and occasionally somewhat abstract notions of where I'm trying to actually get to. Using a mind map is great fun, and instead of wishing that Omnifocus had this mind mapping integrated into it I quite like having it all in a separate application that allows me to think free form instead of in lists.

This still leaves the problem however that when I have kind of figured out these longer term goals and strategies, I can't seem to work out an easy way to incorporate them into my Omnifocus workflow. Adding overarching themes and ideas into Omnifocus seems impossible, and in some ways I guess it's a problem of a list based system. I guess in a way some of the life goals and 'where you'd like to be in five years' kind of concepts could be considered a kind of giant project of sorts, but still I can't figure out how Omnifocus can help me get my head around this stuff, or link the smaller projects I'm working on into the bigger picture.


I should just mention that although I like the GTD book, I really HATE the whole idea of runways and takeoff and 30, 40, 50k feet - the analogy does nothing for me and I wish he'd described it in some other way. Height, for me, conjures up nothing but going on holiday and fluffy clouds. When I think of a better analogy I'll let you know!


Please bear with me, I now want to talk about something else I have problems with, and that is actually CONTEXTS. This is another part of the bigger picture for me that doesn't quite make sense. I have tried all kinds of contexts and now they're pretty minimal. Like many people on these forums, I spend a lot of time on the computer because everything I do nowadays seems to be something to do with it.

So here I am with my Computer context with almost everything in it (although I've subcontexted it a bit), a Comms context with all my email / phone / interaction stuff in it, and some other contexts which are a bit, well, meh. I swear I've fiddled with them to keep them simple, but to be honest I'm getting bored making everything one of four computer contexts.


Now as I read other stuff and look at other software, the concept of the different type of person you are during your day to day life looked interesting from the '7 Habits Of Highly Successful People' book. As part of the personal brainstorming in that system, you write down all the jobs you have to do, something like:

Web Designer
Semi-pro Footballer
Martial Arts Lecturer

and use these different "you"'s to figure out what different modes of working and living you have, so you can make sure you evenly distribute your time and goals to each person that you are. In my mind this concept works very well and is 'sticky', I can really relate to it as I do many various overlapping jobs. I'm sure some of you are well aware of this book, and also the authors idea of thinking of actions in four zones etc - if not I'll let you go and do some research on that, it's well worth a look.

But what I'm thinking is this - has anyone else here ditched the 'traditional' GTD style contexts and used context based more on the various kinds of hats you wear? At one point I was thinking of creating contexts based more on mood, but I think I can really see a value in having contexts related to the kind of person I'm at at any one time. 'This afternoon I'm only going to be a musician' seems to put me in a better frame of mind to tackle musician stuff, just as 'This morning I'm going to be a web designer' would. The idea of putting on a different hat seems to help me mentally adjust to the mode I have to be in, but may also really help me create some contexts that finally have some relevance, as opposed to 'computer, computer, computer'.

So just wondered if anyone had tried this approach, and if there were any other people who really didn't get along with contexts and had tried some radical new thinking to this. I know I'm not the only one thinking that contexts, as taught in GTD, just doesn't fit properly.