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I am pretty new to OmniFocus. Trying to figure the best way to organize my lists.

It may seem like a simple and silly question but I also may be trying to make a bigger project out of this then it needs to be so any suggestions for the following question/s would be appreciated.

Aside from creating to-do lists, projects and grocery lists I keep a fairly extensive list (on paper) of books - stuff to read, fiction - non-fiction, reference, music, CD's, movies etc., things to research - artists, links, subjects, as well as places, restaurants, stores- (I think you get the picture)

Looking for suggestions with the use of the folders, actions, etc

I had thought of just having a separate app for just lists but I think I would rather be able to just keep everything in one place.

I've been experimenting with this as well.

One way I've begun to start keeping lists of books to read, movies to see, wish list or ideas is:
Create a single action project and assign it to a default context of the same name:

Create Wish List Context
Create Wish List Project
Select Wish List Project
Open Inspector
Change to Single Action Project
Assign Default Context of wish List

Then I either place the project on hold (right click on project and set to on hold) or the context on hold (right click on context and set to on hold) to hide it from my daily workflow.

In my daily workflow I have the view bar set to active projects and active contexts.

Some of my lists I have different applications for:
I use Netflix Queue to track movies to see
I use SplashShopper for my grocery items. (Allows me to assign by aisle and sort)
I use OmniOutliner for lists like these. OmniFocus is very much focused on projects and actions. It feels like I'm working against the grain when I try to use it for other things. The disadvantage of putting lists in Outliner is that there is no iPhone counterpart for it. Having not made the iPhone plunge, that isn't yet an issue for me, but your mileage may vary.

Although many have tried to turn OF into a database manager, it is just not a very good one. Of course, that is not its intended purpose. It is an extremely well-designed GTD-based task manager, and when used as such can yield amazing results.

That said, however, as a transitional holding place for data, a place into which you can just dump stuff until you can deal with it later, OF can be of enormous help. For example, I have different OF single-action lists in my system (Ideas, Miscellaneous, etc.). These are nothing more than temporary holding places for items similar to yours, each with an appropriate context (Amazon, Netflix, etc.).

So, let's say that I come across a book that looks interesting to me, or a movie I'd like to watch, I enter it into the appropriate OF single-action list--Miscellaneous in my case--along with its context (Amazon or Netflix), and just leave it there until the next time I'm in either one of those websites. Then, later, when I'm in one of those sites, say on a weekend, I will select their context in OF and quickly enter all that is listed there, checking them off as completed actions as I go along.

As for a permanent database manager, I use DevonThink Pro, but OF helps me with the workflow for that as well. In OF I have DevonThink in my context list, and each database as a sub-context of that. This allows me to quickly list a series of items in an OF list along with their appropriate DT contexts. Then, the next time I'm in one of those databases, I will select its corresponding OF context and transfer over all of my entries.

After some trial and error this system works well for me. Hopefully, I have given you some ideas that you can use for your needs.

Last edited by keone; 2009-02-14 at 11:00 AM..
I concur with the two previous replies. I use OmniOutliner for lists and I use DevonThink Pro for my support files. I also use my Amazon wish list for things I want to buy.

It's just a couple of extra things to look at during my weekly review. It's a little awkward shoehorning in a wish list or support reference materials into OF but it can be done.

OF can't be a swiss army knife. For example, OF is perfect for my personal next action list but OmniPlan is better suited for handling projects with multiple people and variable dependencies. It would be a bit more difficult to use OF for this sort of project.
Thank you for the replies-
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
I've been experimenting with this as well.

I'm trying this process out. This might work well for me - thank you

Last edited by Brian; 2009-02-16 at 09:15 PM.. Reason: fixed missing end-quote tag.
I also use OmniOutliner and DEVONthink Pro. I tried Circus Ponies Notebook for about 6 months but I could never get comfortable with it.
I like to differentiate between actionable items and reference material. Potential actions, like books I want to read, are stored in the someday/maybe section of omnifocus. Reference material (like links) should be stored with other reference material, wherever you keep that. I think the key to maintaining OF—and the challenge—is to separate these two types of "stuff". If you start putting potential actions in your reference material, without also putting a placeholder in your action lists, then these items will keep haunting your psychic RAM. Similarly, if you start putting too much reference material in your action lists, then you'll encumber your action lists and they will become less effective.

In general, I list books I'm planning to read either in a general reading list (a sequential project) called "Books to read" or, if I have books related to one of my other projects, I'll list those books as actions in a separate sequential project. For example, I might have a project called "Make page layouts", but I want to brush up on my graphic design, so I make another project called "Brush up on graphic design" which consists of several actions like "Read Principles of Graphic Design", and so on for the other books. What this does is limit me to one book at a time, in each subject, which is the only way I will get through them.

Last edited by abh19; 2009-02-19 at 09:06 PM..

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