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I've tried a different approach to OF, and I thought it might help others.
I've started using Time as a Context.

My working definition of an OF Context is:

"a condition that you require in order to perform the action."

The condition may be logistical (I can't buy milk until I'm at the store), or a preference (I like to return calls while walking the dog). Though not strictly required to perform the action, preferences are a decision you've made about what is required to perform the action.

Most discussion of Contexts covers the main categories:

Places - Post Office, Home, Work
People - Spouse, Boss, Friend
Equipment - Computer, Fax, Shredder
Circumstances - Board Meeting, Online, Email

I've added Time to this list of Contexts. Sometimes, you need/want to perform an action at a particular time of day. For example, "walk the dog sometime in the afternoon."

I like working from a daily agenda, like a timeline. So I set up a set of Time Contexts just for Today. Every evening, I use OF to plan the next day, put tomorrow's actions on the agenda by changing their contexts to the appropriate Time Context.

Here's how I've implemented this:

I called the parent "." so that when Grouped by Context, I see the time context without being distracted by the name of the Parent.

Notice that I have one context for each waking hour, plus more general times like Morning, Afternoon and Evening. I treat the hours as appointments, and the general times as catch-alls for the rough estimate of when I want to perform a task.

I view my Daily Agenda in Context Mode, Grouped by Context and Show Available. This will only show the hours that contain available actions.

For hard appointments, I copy/paste from iCal into the Quick Entry box, and then type in the Start Date and assign a Time Context. Show Available will hide the appointment until the Start Date arrives, when it will appear in the appropriate Time Context.

At the end of the day, review your Daily Agenda and reassign any remaining tasks. You can change the start date and/or the Context, so you can keep the action on the Agenda for a later date, or assign it to another Context to be reviewed later.

I've only just started using this, but it seems to be a useful approach for people who prefer a daily time schedule.

Let me know how it works for you.
I'm curious to know if you tried using start dates / times, and if so what advantage has this method ("time as context")? I'm intrigued but it seems I could do the same with start times and save the context for one of the more standard ones.


Originally Posted by julienl View Post
I'm curious to know if you tried using start dates / times, and if so what advantage has this method ("time as context")? I'm intrigued but it seems I could do the same with start times and save the context for one of the more standard ones.
My OF process, like many other folks, is evolving. I run everything on start dates, and only assign real due dates. I'm still using time as a context, but as my life gets more hectic, I'm streamlining my categories so it's all easier to handle.

In this thread, the amazing Rob Trew wrote an applescript that converts iCal events into OF actions. I find this tremendously helpful.

I'm moving away from hour-by-hour contexts and relying more on larger blocks of time. It reduces time spent on OF. I also find myself creating contexts around certain big events, like "Before Big Meeting" and "After Drive Home"

Of all the ways I've tried implementing OmniFocus, this is producing the best results. I like having an agenda for the day at my fingertips, and seeing where everything fits in the day.

Have you tried it yet?
Playing around with this idea , seems to me the view would be better served as sorted by " due " and not project ? This way instead of using contexts for each hour , if something is legitimately due at 1pm , just include that in the due date . Listed under the " afternoon context " it's going to sort above the standard due task time that OF auto assigns [in my case 5:30pm ]

just a thought .

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