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Why OmniFocus needs priorities! Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Quote:
Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
A floating point valued priority is PRECISELY what LifeBalance uses. You opened this thread by saying that was your holy grail. You don't have to use a re-ordering based interface to change the number. You could view the data and set it explicitly. Presumably people who want to spend their time adjusting priorities would do just that. People who prefer to open a context view, rearrange some items, then crank through them, could use the re-ordering interface.
My concern is not the floating point value - that doesn't matter - it could be a power of 10 for all I care. My concern is the notion that an absolute priority can not be automatically derived from the reordering of a subset. So for those users that don't set an absolute priority (i.e. they have the "priority" hidden,) there is no point in keeping track of this floating point because it is no more meaningful than the actual order. For those that set it manually, then if they reorder an item, I agree that a middle point of the insertion could be a sensible default, but that's all it is.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchm View Post
I read most of it along time ago. As I understand it, priority is a important part of GTD as described by David Allen.
David Allen recommends reading it every now and then. Oftentimes, you'll catch something on the second, third, or tenth read of a book. Every time I read the GTD book, I get a little something different every time. I add layers of understanding based on previous readings. Now, I don't read it every day or every week. I will scan through it once every few months.


I remember reading GTD for the first time and got the collecting part down. It wasn't until much later that I was able to fully understand and incorporate the weekly review into my GTD flow.

In the first GTD book, he just kinda glosses over priorities (unless I am missing something here). He doesn't really focus on priorities but rather on contexts (time, energy available, tools available) to get things done.

I can see that people want priorities because they feel it gives them a sense of "control" over a huge task list. They want to determine by looking at a list which is more "urgent" or has a higher priority to do than others. But how about thinking of your tasks in a different perspective?

I personally gave up on priorities and relied on my intuition (gut instincts) to tell me what I think is high priority and needs to be done now rather than the other tasks.

Read this interesting article about GTD and priorities:

http://www.gtdtimes.com/2009/03/03/a...ng-priorities/



In the words of a famous master "Use the Force, Luke." You can feel it.... You will instinctively know which task has a higher priority and needs to be done. You just have to trust your system

Last edited by wilsonng; 2009-03-18 at 11:53 PM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsonng View Post
In the words of a famous master "Use the Force, Luke." You can feel it.... You will instinctively know which task has a higher priority and needs to be done. You just have to trust your system
The same argument could be made for not using GTD, or any task system, to begin with - use the force you will know what to do. A Jedi Master does not need to prioritize in a database. I do. My instincts have better things to be doing that filtering through 50 items repeatedly that I could have intuitively given rough prioritization a single time.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsonng View Post
I personally gave up on priorities and relied on my intuition (gut instincts) to tell me what I think is high priority and needs to be done now rather than the other tasks.
I'd suggest that you have not given up on priorities, rather you have given up on an A-B-C style system to assign priorities. Priorities, or the presumed lack of in GTD, gets beaten around because if one takes a cursory look at GTD it appears that priorities don't have much of a priority!

The reality, at least in my journey with GTD, is that priorities, for the most part, become readily apparent at the moment of action if all the pieces of GTD are implemented and applied on a daily basis. GTD works best when viewed and applied as a system. There are some who can selectively apply portions of GTD piecemeal, but the majority who do soon become frustrated and abandon GTD without ever experiencing the leverage of applying all the components as a system.

Without question, the single most important aspect of GTD in my workflow is the daily, weekly, and monthly review process. Without the review process, GTD would fail miserably for me. For anyone reading this that needs a refresher on reviews, there is a thread here where Curt describes his most excellent method for reviews. Follow the process and you really are not making a gut instinct call-you are making an informed decision based on a thoughtful review and filtered by the criteria of context, time available, and energy available.
 
That was eloquently spoken. I guess I did mean to say that I attempted to and abandoned the ABC methodology.

Yes, I do rely on my "intuition", gut instincts, informed decision-making, what-have-you instead of looking at a bunch of A's, B's, and C's to make my choices.

I agree with the whole system. Once I got the weekly review part down, then it finally started clicking. Now I'm reaing Allen's new book to expand on my higher Horizons of Focus. It's always refreshing when I read it again and again and get something new each time.

Last edited by wilsonng; 2009-03-19 at 04:37 PM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchm View Post
The same argument could be made for not using GTD, or any task system, to begin with - use the force you will know what to do. A Jedi Master does not need to prioritize in a database. I do. My instincts have better things to be doing that filtering through 50 items repeatedly that I could have intuitively given rough prioritization a single time.
That's why I use the 3 Big Rocks technique. If I have 50 projects that are in active status mode, that means I would possibly have 50 next actions associated with each of those projects.

I've found that I can declare all 50 projects as "active" but I would actually be only working on a small handful of them during the week.

So I would put 47 projects on hold and make three projects as my "active" projects.

In reality, we can only do so much in a certain time span (such as a week). So if we focus our energy towards complete 3 Big Rocks, we can actually get more done.

By hiding the other 47 inactive projects, I won't have to look at them.

During my weekly review, I would go to the Review perspective and review anything that needs to be reviewed in the next 4 weeks (perspective sorted by review date).

During the monthly review, I'll look for things in the next 3 months.

I can trust my system knowing that I don't have to review 50 items all the time.
 
I've been a registered user of OF since v. 1.0, but I have to admit that I never used it again after an initial period. One of the reasons was the lack of priorities. (Another one was the flawed sequential/parallel mode, but that's another topic.)

I'm disappointed that this quasi-religious war over priorities is still going on.

No one strongly opposes the existence of a duration field, even though David Allen nowhere advocates recording an estimated duration for all your next actions. Personally, I wouldn't use it, but I don't mind it being there. So what is all the naysayers' problem with a prioritization field? If you don't like it, don't use it.

Myself, I want a prioritization field, and not just a workaround, but priorities that sync with iCal's. Using Tags or abusing an existing field won't help with that.

In an ideal world, I could even filter the sync with iCal by priority.

In my book, there are some priorities that overrule contexts, 'energy' and whatever else. If it's important enough, you'll get the tool, find the energy, or move into the right place. And in some other instances, constraints of time, contexts or energy rule. Everythings dynamic, that's right. But priorities are just as valid part of the four-criteria model as everything else. And writing them down doesn't mean you have to be their slave.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alxwz View Post
(Another one was the flawed sequential/parallel mode, but that's another topic.)
Refresh our collective memory, how is the sequential/parallel mode flawed? How would you improve it?
Quote:
No one strongly opposes the existence of a duration field, even though David Allen nowhere advocates recording an estimated duration for all your next actions. Personally, I wouldn't use it, but I don't mind it being there. So what is all the naysayers' problem with a prioritization field? If you don't like it, don't use it.
One substantial difference is that the duration field was already there! It's a popular rallying cry, "if you don't want to use <my favorite feature request>, you don't have to" but it does ignore a fundamental truth which is that your feature (whatever it is) doesn't come for free in most cases. The effort spent implementing it is effort that isn't spent on someone else's must-have feature. That is why many of us push back on requests for things that we don't think are going to bring sufficient value to the community. Sure, there are those who will argue based on their reading of DA's book that this feature should or shouldn't be there, but I don't think they are the majority, and in any case, OmniFocus is not a GTD-only product.
 
If we can all agree that omnifocus uses priority differently than iCal, lifebalance, etc., maybe it would be worthwhile to use this forum to post people's "how do I handle this prioritization problem" questions and get suggestions.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
Refresh our collective memory, how is the sequential/parallel mode flawed? How would you improve it?
First, it didn't work as intended, at least with the version I had installed back then. IIRC, it basically did nothing.
Second, the thinking behind it is flawed. In most cases, I can do multiple parts of a project in parallel, but not all of them. The feature needs more flexibility.

Quote:
It's a popular rallying cry, "if you don't want to use <my favorite feature request>, you don't have to" but it does ignore a fundamental truth which is that your feature (whatever it is) doesn't come for free in most cases. The effort spent implementing it is effort that isn't spent on someone else's must-have feature.
I have the impression that a priorities field is one of the most-requessted features. But there is very strong opposition against exactly this feature. The reasoning is usually "Priorities change". So what?
I use them all the time, and mostly in two ways:
- to make the tasks stand out that are really important,
- to mark some tasks from a long list and work through them in order of importance (and urgency) over the next few hours.
And, btw, priority comes from importance and urgency. Importance usually doesn't change that much. Urgency does.

Quote:
and in any case, OmniFocus is not a GTD-only product.
Which is a good reason to add a priority field. Most time-management techniques (other than GTD and Mark Forster) still use priorities. It's a very basic requirement of most of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucas View Post
If we can all agree that omnifocus uses priority differently than iCal, lifebalance, etc., maybe it would be worthwhile to use this forum to post people's "how do I handle this prioritization problem" questions and get suggestions.
My point was that, given that OF syncs with iCal, I want to be able to use the priority field in both iCal and OF. It's not like iCal tasks have dozens of different fields. But this one is a glaring omission.

As for workarounds, there have been several suggestions (use the duration field, use flags etc.).
 
 


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