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want to use "duration" but not sure why Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I keep feeling the impulse to fill in the "duration" field for my actions, but ...

Why?

Is anyone getting good practical use out "duration"? Can you sell it to me? It seems like the kind of thing I like to digitize, but I really have to cut back on the pointless digitization of my life ... ;-)
 
I use duration as a time estimate on how long certain projects will take me. I also use it to make sure my tasks are broken down enough, i.e. not into 4 hour or more chunks. I have a tendency to put projects vs. tasks on my "to do lists" and can never get started that way. I have a rule if something is over 30 minutes I need to break it down more during my weekly planning.

However, like a lot of features in omnifocus, don't feel like you "have to" use them just because they are there. You can waste a lot of time just "fiddling" with the system vs doing.
 
I haven't really tried it yet as I am still figuring out how I will use omnifocus, but it seems like it would be useful to be able to be able to filter on "duration less than n minutes" so that if I have a window of free time of say 20 minutes I can see only the tasks that might fit that time.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sberl View Post
I haven't really tried it yet as I am still figuring out how I will use omnifocus...
I'm just starting to use the Duration field too, so I don't have much advice for the original question (in fact, I could use a little "selling" on it myself).

I don't mean to hijack this thread, but one interesting thing that struck me as I read sberl's post is how I've also needed time to figure out how I like to use OmniFocus. It was clear to me from the beginning that I liked OmniFocus and that it would add value to my workflow, but it took me a couple weeks to really get it together. Its usefulness, and my pleasure in using it, have grown immensely as I've worked out the details of my system.

The thing about OmniFocus is that it's very flexible and can be used in many different ways. And I suspect this flexibility will only increase as the feature set grows and refines.

I've used a lot of software in my 20+ years on the Mac, but I have a hard time thinking of too many apps where I've encountered this sort of ongoing discovery and epiphany. It's really exciting. Maybe it also has something to do with just getting my mess-of-a-life in order.

OK, sorry. Back to the Duration field. Please continue...

Last edited by Toadling; 2008-02-08 at 10:00 AM..
 
the main purpose of the duration field as I understand it , is to allow the " duration " filters to guide your actions if you're dealing with a limited time frame .. if you've only got 15 minutes till your next meeting , and you've been filling in durations , omni focus can show you what's available for you to do in that time frame .
 
I need to confess that I haven't been using this "hack" very much in the last month. For awhile, I would

I went to the David Allen Roadmap seminar and he said that even complex projects like the space program could be reduced to single actions, "call fred re: space program."

I have some project stalled and just need a 2 minute call or email to get them moving. Only showing projects that are less than 5 minutes can make my list seem more manageable.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ext555 View Post
the main purpose of the duration field as I understand it , is to allow the " duration " filters to guide your actions if you're dealing with a limited time frame .. if you've only got 15 minutes till your next meeting , and you've been filling in durations , omni focus can show you what's available for you to do in that time frame .
Exactly. Create some custom perspectives to filter active tasks in this manner, click on your context, hit the appropriate custom perspective, and the power of OF really kicks in vs. a paper-based approach to GTD (and many of OF's digital competitors!).
 
Be sure you are in context mode. Then, at least in my case, I set the perspective filters (going from left to right) to the following settings for finding 15 min. items:

Remaining, Context, Project, Remaining, 15 min, Any Flag State

What is displayed will depend on which context I click on in the left pane.

I have several versions of this perspective saved, where I only change the duration filter.
 
I want to start using the duration field too and want to provide a slightly different scenario...I have a trip to the states pending and have a tremendous number of action and action groups in this "project"

I'd like to estimate the time needed for my trip and thought the duration field might be a nice way to "rollup" all task estimates.

Is there a way to do this and have OF report a "final estimate" for any given project?

bonus if i can select multiple projects and get a summation!

btw, thanks for explaining how some of you use duration to focus on tasks of certain length!
 
No built in way, but could be done with Applescript relatively easily (given the know-how). Perhaps someone has already done this? (I haven't been active in the Extra's Forum for some time).

-P
 
 


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