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> Hi there at the Omnifocus Forum,

It sounds to me like you've been over-analyzing and over-categorizing the actions, and possibly putting things into OmniFocus prematurely, and in particular mistakenly thinking that you should be ruled by the context view.

> In Omnifocus context view I am not working on one job in its
> completeness, as a whole, I am working in contexts, that expect me to
> be like a machine, as if I was programming myself to work like a
> machine.

But you can work that one job to completeness, and OmniFocus certainly won't object. Let's say that we're talking about sewing. Let's say that you've planned six sewing projects, and they all require preshrinking the fabric, and then pressing it, and then cutting out, and then finishing edges, and so on. Of course you *could* preshrink the fabric for all six, and press the fabric for all six, and cut all six, and so on.

But you don't have to. OmniFocus doesn't care if you do. OmniFocus may tap you on the shoulder to say, "While you're going to the laundromat, here are five other lengths of fabric that you've told me you want to preshrink." And you can say, "I know. Shut up. I don't want to do that right now." And you don't do it. And once you realize that you really, really don't have to do anything you don't want to, maybe your feeling will be more like, "Thanks for letting me know, but, no, thanks."

And if the laundromat moves sixty miles away so that it's a major pain to get there, then maybe you'll be pleased to be reminded, because now it's worth it. It's all about what works for you. If the washing machine is down the hall, then the small efficiency of preshrinking all at once isn't worth the disruption to your single-project creative flow. If it's half a day's drive, then maybe it is worth it.

On the other hand, maybe you never want your single-project flow to be interrupted. That's fine. In that case, you don't even need to enter projects two through six in OmniFocus--you can keep them in a "sewing ideas" list, outside OmniFocus. In OmniOutliner or a text file or a physical notebook or a blackboard or wherever you want. I see this list as project support material.

OmniFocus doesn't own you. You own OmniFocus.

> It's as if I'd program for example a 'lazy Sunday' (as an awkward
> example, just to illustrate my idea better). Instead of getting up and
> stretching myself and making some coffee and then go to the terrasse
> and drink that coffee, a natural linear way of doing things naturally,
> Omnifocus compresses everything I'd do the whole day and I'd get up in
> the morning (bed), stretch yourself (bed), put clothes on (bed), put
> clothes off (bed), go to bed (bed), next context coffeemachine: make
> coffee (coffeemachine), make coffee (coffeemachine), make coffee
> (coffeemachine), etc,... for sure one will say: but you can make more
> differentiated contexts! yes, that's true! but how differentiated is a
> to-do-list supposed to be? Do I really need to program that?

No, you don't. So don't. There's no need to enter actions that you just do automatically.

There's also no need to differentiate contexts when you aren't feeing overwhelm in a single context. All of these actions could easily be "home"--if you entered them as actions/tasks at all. If I shift to actions that you might really want a reminder for, like "remember to wash silk shirt for Monday" and "make diet snacks by 10am", those can still all be "home". Yes, you wash the shirt in the laundry room or the bathroom sink, and you make the fruit salad in the kitchen, but unless and until you have so many "home" actions that you need to divide them up, there's no need for a narrower context.

> or another extreme: if i was a painter and i'd put all the tasks that
> i need to do to make an image into Omnifocus (finding inspiration and
> sketching an idea and buying paint to painting itself to having the
> painting finished) and I use Omnifocus because I'm working on several
> paintings, doesnt this make the wholesome experience of painting a
> picture from start to finish a mere "task-group"? Like: context
> (inspiration): think of theme for picture a, think of theme for
> picture b, think of inspiration for picture c, context (artist's
> supply): buy blue paint, buy blue paint, buy red paint, etc etc
> etc....

But why are you assuming that you have to stay in the same context? You don't. For that matter, I see no reason to even enter Picture B in OmniFocus while you're still working on Picture A. Unless you do naturally paint in an assembly-line style, Picture B is not ready to be a project until Picture A is at or near completion.

Now, you might have "Hey! That'd be cool!" ideas for future pictures that you want to write down before you forget them. But those don't need to be in OmniFocus. You can have, again, a text file or notebook or blackboard of "picture ideas" where you scribble those ideas. Now, an idea might briefly be in your OmniFocus Inbox because the Inbox is handy when you have the idea, but it doesn't need to go from the Inbox to the Projects list--it can instead go from the Inbox to the "picture ideas" notebook or file or whatever.

> I understand that Omnifocus makes it easy to work on a lot of projects

But that doesn't mean that you have to work on a lot of projects. Just because it's easy doesn't mean it's mandatory.

> and is able to compress a lot of different tasks into easy lists that
> can be 'just worked off'. For example I think it is absolutely the
> right tool for someone who's a programmer working on a lot of
> different codes and small task-sets that do not need a lot of
> "wholesome" context.

Programming needs focus. Believe me. :) It's not fundamentally different from art in that way.

> Another example: a watch-maker is repairing watches, because he loves
> watches. He repairs one watch after another, in the process he becomes
> one with the watch, learns it to know from every angle, knows its
> little secrets. For sure he could organize all steps he needs to
> finish repairs on his watches, so instead of repairing one watch he's
> repairing 5 at the same time: context (screwdriver 1): open watch a,
> open watch b, open watch c / context (screwdriver 2): etc etc etc...
> the watchmaker will not "be one" with his small mechanical watches
> anymore, he will just work of the tasks as efficiently as possible, as
> if he's working at an assembly line.

He could. But OmniFocus isn't telling him to. OmniFocus doesn't care, not even a little bit, whether he works on one watch from start to finish, or works assembly line style.

> I'm not sure anymore if I want this in my life.

But I think that the thing that you don't want is a thing that you've imposed on OmniFocus, not a thing that OmniFocus has imposed on you.

The ability to use a context view is a tool available for when it's useful. If you're in an art supply store that you only get to once a year because it's two hundred miles away, that's a context that's hard to get to, so it's probably worthwhile to have everything for that context in one list. But many contexts are very easy to get to, so there's no need to stay in that context.

And if you want to drive two hundred miles just for a new tube of flake white, because if you even look at your other project ideas you'll break your creative flow, *that's fine*. You have every right to do that.

> I've struggled for 5
> years to implement Omnifocus into a life that I always wanted to be a
> fulfilled and creative life. I've always struggled with the contexts
> and the "mere tasks" of "buy bananas (supermarket)", "say hello to
> neighbor, thanks for feeding the cat (staircase)"

Here, do you need to be reminded to thank your neighbor, or do you feel obligated to enter everything in your life into OmniFocus? If you're pretty sure that you'll do a good job of maintaining your relationship with your neighbor, naturally, without reminders, then you don't have to have the reminders.

> and always had
> phases of avoiding to look into Omnifocus, while still putting
> project-idea after project-idea into it.

I would suggest keeping the project ideas outside OmniFocus. I know that this isn't everyone's practice, but I don't like to have inactive material in OmniFocus. Instead, I have lists/documents/notebooks/whatever like the ones I've mentioned above--"sewing ideas", "painting ideas" (well, I would if I painted), "garden ideas". These don't have actions, they're just where I record inspiration, and where I go to when I want inspiration for my next project. Having my inspiration and my actions in one place isn't good for either one, IMO.

> I struggled to
> re-contextualize everything after times of avoidance, to flesh
> everything out into a lot of little sub-tasks and folders and contexts
> and my task-list with project-ideas turned into longer and even much
> longer task-lists that were mere lifeless "tasks" that I'd have to
> work off instead of grand ideas that need to be filled with life and
> also passion...

Don't do that any more. Again, this is just my opinon, but it's a pretty firmly held one.

An example: Let's go back to those six sewing projects. I could enter all six of them into OmniFocus, and I could give them detailed lists of actions: Preshrink, iron, fit pattern, prep pattern, cut out, finish edges, do first assembly, do first fitting, blah blah blah. I could have fifteen actions per project, for a total of eighty actions. I used to do things like that.

I don't do that any more. Now, I want one, or perhaps two (in case one is stalled waiting for thread or buttons or something) sewing projects in OmniFocus, and the rest are just bare ideas in my "sewing ideas" list. And I only have one or two actions for those two projects. And when I finish one action for a project and go right to another one, I don't write down that new action. I just keep working until I get bored or run out of time, and then I might write down the next action as the "bookmark" for the next time I get to that project.

> Today I was re-structuring my Omnifocus-list and realized that not I
> am the problem, but that Omnifocus and GTD is the problem. I'm giving
> it up. I dont want to be a robot anymore.

OmniFocus doesn't ask you to be a robot. It seems to me that you've been allowing it to rule you rather than to help you.