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Originally Posted by nielkfj View Post
... I haven't purchased Omnifocus yet. I am trying to decide between it and 2Do, and possibly also Things as a third choice.
In case this might help, for the most part I view the tools this way ...

Omnifocus is a PROJECT-CENTRIC tool. It is designed for you to build projects as a logical sequence of actions.

Things is a TASK-CENTRIC tool. It is designed for you to group a set of actions together in a sequential flow.

I have no basis to evaluate 2Do.

Originally Posted by nielkfj View Post
... So do you need to enter a due date or start date or such thing for each task, so that OF can organize them? In general is organizing tasks with respect to a timeline a key concept to using Omnifocus?
You manually organize the tasks in a project in a way that makes logical or chronological sense. The logical ordering may have absolutely nothing to do with time. For example, regardless of when I start in time, I cannot paint my house until I buy the paint. Omnifocus does nothing "automatically" as far as sequencing your tasks. You can however view listings of your tasks in various Perspectives that can sort tasks by dates (among other aspects).

I use start dates for cases where something cannot start until a certain time because something limits it to be that way. For example, I could not start my 2015 taxes until January 1, 2015 because I absolutely will not get my W-2s until at least then. Also, I cannot even consider to pay my next phone bill until after about the middle of next month because the amount will not be presented until then. Both actions have respective start dates. I use due dates ONLY when something demands a deadline. Again, the submission of my taxes for next year is due April 15, 2015. I do not use start or due dates to define when I WANT to do something. I use them to define when I first CAN or last MUST do them.

Originally Posted by nielkfj View Post
... I am still unclear about what contexts are. Are they a GTD concept? It seems like they are supposed to be physical things which must be present in order to accomplish a task (i.e.: a person, place or thing) Is this correct?
As I would understand, the general description of contexts is along this line:

* In the good, old days of strict GTD, a Context was a location where a task would be completed. I use contexts for this. Examples: Office, Home, Errands, Church, ...
* In more recent times, a Context has for some also come to mean a tool that is required. I used context in this way once but don't anymore (because I have most tools I require around with me most of the time). Examples: phone, computer, iPad, ...
* For some folks, a Context is used to indicate a state of mind or global frame of activity. I used these once but don't anymore (because my workload often demands action regardless of my state of mind). Examples: focused, idle, scattered, @browser, on phone, ...
* For some folks, a Context is a person who has to do the work. I use this in a top-level group called Waiting. Examples: Waiting - secretary, Waiting - colleague, Waiting - spouse, ...
* Finally, I have contexts that define a workflow process: consider, define, research, do, tidy up, report, close.

Originally Posted by nielkfj View Post
... If so, perhaps in OF I would make contexts such as:
@Home in Canada
@Mom's Town
Yes. I tend however to use one or two words for contexts as best possible. Here is an analogous example of my set.

* Workflow
- consider
- define
- research
- close
* Location
- Office
- Home
- Farm
- Errands
* Waiting
- Work
-- staff
-- colleague
- Personal
-- spouse
-- kids
* Always
- bills
- someday
- dreams

Originally Posted by nielkfj View Post
... But then how would i prioritize tasks within these contexts ... does OF even allow prioritization of tasks?
NO, absolutely not! Priorities are a different religion to the GTD mantra. You will be branded as a heathen if word gets out that you want to do this. Certainly you will ostracized if you even try to ask here in the forums how to include priorities on tasks in Omnifocus.


The above warning being given, some folks use Contexts in Omnifocus for priorities. Or they use the time-needed feature -- for example 1 h, 2 h, 3 h, 4 h -- as priorities. Feel free to ask further, perhaps after you search and read the already-posted messages in the Omnifocus forums that have keywords such as "priorities".

Originally Posted by nielkfj View Post
... Probably the key question I am trying to resolve is do I need tags, so that I can categorize tasks in multiple ways. I don't yet understand why OF doesn't allow tags or multiple contexts.

This subject has been an ongoing internal debate in the forums here for at least two years. As the GTD fundamentalists will tell you, multiple contexts (i.e. tags + contexts) are a transgression equal to a mortal sin. You will be damned to a life of agony, or some equivalent life of constant confusion about how to Get Things Done in a purely sublime way. Multiple contexts or tags are one step below trying to use priorities within the GTD religion for the evil they will cause you.

Up until this year, this seemed also to be the party line from Omnigroup as well.

However, in what now appears to be a concession to the liberal wing of the GTD church, Omnigroup has included a way to have tags in Omnifocus 2 (in a kludged way IMHO).

So, welcome to Vatican Council II where Latin is no longer the required language for mass. :-)

You will have to get access to the Omnifocus beta or wait for its release to have the official implementation of tags. As I understand, it uses # hashtags in the notes field. I admit that I have not followed the developments. Again, you will find a lot of prior discussion on this by a search for keywords "tags" in the Omnifocus forums.