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Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
I'm not sure where this conception comes from. Action groups are an important part of OmniFocus. I'm not sure why there is so much resistance against them. But they are a part of OmniFocus, and for me, if action groups didn't exist, they system would be a mess.
I think I may know where this concept comes from. Action groups are not really in the GTD system. Why? Because GTD started off as a paper based solution. Papers & folders. There was no way to get to an action, and ask yourself the question: what other steps need to be taken to move this forward and create child actions out of it. It was all flat lists. A paper for projects, and papers (or folders with 'action papers') for contexts. You would pick up a context paper and process all those actions on it... but there was no way to link that action back to the project. There was no outlining. (nested structure)

David Allen does reference outlining in GTD, but it was mostly used as a brainstorming tool that you would then copy actions into your context lists.

I think this model still exists in the GTD subculture, maybe even subconsciously. Flat lists for everything. This is one reason why the weekly review was so important. You had to try and make sure there were actions in your context list for projects in your project list. If GTD were still paper based I probably wouldn't be doing it because I'd have to hold too much in my head to make sure nothing fell through the cracks.

Many GTDers haven't fully grasped the power of outlining... due to the GTD software out there or notebooks or moleskins they are using. Many take great pride they are paper based.

However, Omni started with OmniOutlining many years before omni-focus. The ability to outline is a powerful addition to GTD. Simply because you can break down an action into smaller actions that move the first action toward completion. And you can see this visibly.

You can run filters on actions that don't have contexts assigned so you know the project is stalled and won't move forward. You can instantly switch over to a context view and your project list is broken from it's structure and put into contexts. This is a huge improvement over the paper based system where there was no way to see a project with all it's actions and a context with those same actions. (unless you made duplicates by hand... maddening).

Here's what it comes down to:
flat lists work great when it comes time to doing... processing... going through the contexts.

Outlining works great when it comes time to plan.... projects... reviewing.

Last edited by SpiralOcean; 2010-08-15 at 06:37 AM..