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Hey all,

Despite having read the original GTD bible, I'm not sure that strict GTD is for me. I know the introduction video to OmniFocus mentions that it can be used for a variety of task management "doctrines", but I'm not sure how these work, or even if I should be following them.

Would OmniFocus work well for me if I just do what feels right for me? Any tips on staying more productive if not following a strict mode? Anyone else doing this? Let us know!
 
Having never read any GTD book at all, and assuming I haven't managed to adopt the one true way™ method through serendipitous chance, OmniFocus works very well for my own home-built methodology of getting things done. The only trick to staying productive, I would say, would be to get your contexts nailed as early as possible. However, they don't have to be perfect and can and will evolve with time until you get that 'perfect set'.

The only other tip, though non-essential - get an iPhone for OmniFocus if you don't have one already.
 
I think you would find that most of us stray a bit from the one true GTD way, whatever that is. In my opinion, OF does a good job of supporting a GTD working style, but the pieces provided are suitable for doing other things. At this point in time, there are some areas which might be less convenient for the non-GTD user (no built-in support for tagging or priorities, to name two frequent requests, though Omni has promised future support for a flexible metadata column which could support those concepts), but in the final analysis, don't all task management doctrines boil down to identifying the work to be done, organizing it, and doing it? OF provides a substantial set of tools for organizing tasks and provides Applescript support that allows extension and customization of the built-in features.

Having said that, I think there are cases where it might not make sense to use OF. If you aren't willing to use the context notion at all, even just assigning the same context to everything, you might as well use OmniOutliner, which is a powerful organizational tool in its own stead. OmniFocus evolved from a tool called Kinkless GTD that was an OmniOutliner document with lots of Applescript. Personally, I think the context notion is essential, and can't imagine organizing my work without it. OmniFocus also isn't really intended to be multi-user workgroup software at the present, though with some care and understanding of its limitations in this regard some might be successful using it as more than just a personal organizer.

Some of the features I find to make a big difference for me are (in no particular order, and some span more than one category):
  • capture tools -- Quick Entry, clipping service, Mail support
  • organization -- contexts, grouping, perspectives, start dates, repeating actions, action groups
  • execution -- Growl notifications, review support
I can't really imagine a system where I wouldn't find those to be vital. The review tool is something that doesn't really get much press, but the framework it provides for helping to keep projects on track is invaluable.
 
Thanks all for the replies so far. I agree completely about contexts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JKT View Post
The only trick to staying productive, I would say, would be to get your contexts nailed as early as possible. However, they don't have to be perfect and can and will evolve with time until you get that 'perfect set'.
Care to share some of your contexts? I'm fairly sure the default set won't work for me, as I don't have an iPhone (yet), and so spend almost all my OmniFocus time in front of the computer.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by intranation View Post
Care to share some of your contexts? I'm fairly sure the default set won't work for me, as I don't have an iPhone (yet), and so spend almost all my OmniFocus time in front of the computer.
They're going to be very, very personal.

I have Errands as a catchall, but also Grocery, Home Depot, and Target for places I go to a lot. I have Home, but also @Computer (which actually assumes my personal machine or a connection to it, not my work computer). Phone, and contexts for my folks and my gf. That works for me.
 
-Omni - stuff that needs to be done when I'm physically at work (may or may not actually be work activities)
-Computer - at work or home computer
--Laptop - stuff that has to be on my personal computer, like uploading photos
--Groceries - yes, this is a computer context b/c of fresh.amazon.com
--Amazon - so I can batch orders to save on shipping
--Bugs - accessing our bug-tracking database from home is cumbersome, so I like to batch these
-Home - chores, looking up stuff in files, etc.
-Out the Door - anything that needs doing in that awkward transition between other contexts, like "take book from home to work". I can't act on it while I'm in either the Home or Omni context.
-Broadway - errands within walking distance
-U Village - another cluster of errands
-East Side - another errand cluster
-Downtown - another errand cluster
-Phone - calls that need to be made during business hours. Other calls tend to go in the Home context
-People (this has several sub-contexts for specific people or teams)
-Waiting - I hardly ever use this. It's mostly a relic of the default data
-Research - a dumping place for half-baked ideas. Maybe this shouldn't exist...
-Someday/Maybe - another dumping place, which may or may not be redundant with Research
---------
I think I'd have all these contexts even without an iPhone. When I am about to head out to U Village, for example, I'd like to be able to quickly retrieve all the errands for that neighborhood and maybe print them out or write them down.

Last edited by Lizard; 2008-11-21 at 03:27 PM.. Reason: fixing formatting
 
Hey Lizard thanks for the " out the door " context idea .. I've been thinking about that exact need lately " does the dog have water " etc etc .. take leftovers to office for lunch today ..

Personally I like to use " evernote " for half baked ideas, free account w/mac desktop app and free iphone app work great , and they don't clutter up my OF database .

Last edited by ext555; 2008-11-22 at 05:12 AM..
 
Hey, that is a nice idea! I'll confess that I misread Lizard's post the first time and took "Out the door" to be the parent in her errands hierarchy, but this way makes a lot more sense! When I'm planning an errands run, I don't have any trouble remembering to eyeball the appropriate contexts, but walking the kid to/from school never seems like an errand and so I'm frequently forgetting to take this, that, or the other thing with us (fortunately there are two trips a day so when I get back home and realize I didn't check the School context before going there, there's a shot at recovery!)
 
I'm using Omni Focus in a much more traditional prioritized to-do list manner than a GTD manner. The key to this for me was being able to group my tasks by project and then by priority, context for me wasn't as important. The way that I have it setup is that project names are the key functional areas that I manage (product name, general management tasks, HR, etc.) and context are set as priorities (high, normal, etc.)

Then I setup a context view that is grouped by context and sorted by the due date providing me with a standard way to look at all my tasks in priority.

I'm sure that there might be other ways of accomplishing this but it solved my current way of managing tasks while I spend some time considering a move to a GTD task management process.
 
not trying to fix something that's not broken , but you also have the option of grouping projects in folders named for the key areas you manage , then by focusing on individual folder or group of folders , you'd see all the projects and tasks related to that group only .
 
 


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