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How to deal with energy level & priority Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Is it too nebulous to say that getting that lump checked is a high priority item? That won't change.

Mow the lawn - medium priority. That won't change.

Read that self help book - low priority. That won't change.

If for some reason my friend tells me I just HAVE to read that self help book, I can raise the priority if I want to. But that's a decision that pretty clearly belongs in my GTD process. The whole point is to get concepts like priority all out there, on paper or in a database. Simply keeping that in your head, and having to think when you glance over that item "geez, didn't Jenny tell me to read that" defeats the whole purpose of GTD.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchm View Post
Is it too nebulous to say that getting that lump checked is a high priority item? That won't change.
Agree.
Quote:
Mow the lawn - medium priority. That won't change.
Disagree. The longer it goes, the harder it is to cut. Many tasks are the same way -- beyond a certain point, the difficulty/cost goes up rapidly.
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Read that self help book - low priority. That won't change.
Again, not necessarily so. For the first two weeks of the checkout period from the library, it might be, but when it needs to go back tomorrow, it better get a boost!
Quote:
If for some reason my friend tells me I just HAVE to read that self help book, I can raise the priority if I want to. But that's a decision that pretty clearly belongs in my GTD process. The whole point is to get concepts like priority all out there, on paper or in a database. Simply keeping that in your head, and having to think when you glance over that item "geez, didn't Jenny tell me to read that" defeats the whole purpose of GTD.
I haven't read the latest David Allen book yet, but in my many readings of "Getting Things Done" I have yet to notice the presence of language telling one to make priority rankings (and update them frequently)...but if you find it to be a valuable addition to your workflow, do it!
 
It's perhaps non-obvious, but the order of projects in Planning Mode is effectively a way of setting priorities. In Context Mode, after sorting and grouping is applied, items appear in their order from Planning Mode. I've taken to rearranging my projects during Weekly Reviews to reflect their relative priority over the next week. This is easy to do because I try to keep a limited number (around 30) active projects and the relative priorities of those projects don't change a lot. The typical adjustment is for a long-term project to move up through the project listing over time.

I also use folders to group projects by life roles. This can get in the way of using project order for setting priority. I haven't done anything to work around that problem yet, but it hasn't bothered me much in practice.
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchm View Post
I completely disagree that priority is too nebulous to record. While it may be the 4th factor in the GTD decision process, once you are in a context, know your time available, and know you energy level - you need to decide which of those 100 tasks that fit the current criterea to do! I might have a high energy right now and am at my computer ready to work, and have a list of 100 30 minutes tasks. How can you possibly do that without recording some sort of priority?

If priorities change over time, then reprioritize! Prioritizing is an essential part of managing your life and time. Perhaps your list is small enough that you can glance at the whole thing and pick out the top priority ones, but mine is not.
It's not necessarily a question of how long or how short one's list of tasks is, but I can see that there may be a challenge in how you have defined your projects and/or the actions in your projects, or your review process in general. I'm sure that many of us may have 100 actions in various projects, or even 100 projects in one form or another (active/inactive/someday-maybe), but when looking at a context during the day, do you actually have 100 active projects/single action lists, each with a next and available action of 30 minutes?

If I did, then I'd re-evaluate my Weekly Review and Daily Review process as well as the structure of my projects and actions. I may have 100 hours of tasks that I want to move forward in some form this week, but there is no way I want to have 50 hours of actions available to me in a single context during a single day. Even if an A-B-C priority system worked for me (and it doesn't), having all those choices available wound ensure that I would never take action on the lower ranked tasks. When I work a meaningful Weekly and Daily review process, I am able to prioritize on the fly because I have already applied a filtering process during the review.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
Disagree. The longer it goes, the harder it is to cut. Many tasks are the same way -- beyond a certain point, the difficulty/cost goes up rapidly.

Again, not necessarily so. For the first two weeks of the checkout period from the library, it might be, but when it needs to go back tomorrow, it better get a boost!
What I would really like to see is a priority system that scales by time. Life Balance has a great implementation of this, where you set a due date for an item, and a lead time. When you are more than three lead-times past the due date, the item does not appear on your To Do list. At two lead-times out, it is about half of its normal priority. And once you get to one lead-time out, its priority is set to maximum. That way, you can set a high priority for something like returning a library book, and its position on your To Do list will change over time as you get closer to the due date. It really is an elegant system, and I wish that OmniFocus had something similar.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BwanaZulia View Post
Priority: If you tried to capture priority on every task, project, context it would become a very complex system. If you changed the priority of one task or priority, how would that effect the other projects and tasks. If your lists are small (under 20) priority can be determined in seconds by a quick glance, much faster than capturing, plus the priority of any of those tasks could change in a second.
And how many of us have small lists of items? Under twenty? Show of hands? Clearly, having a priority is important for those of us who have large lists of tasks, so we can narrow it down to the top 20 or so that we want to look at right now. And again, priority does not need to be a complex system. You lower the priority of one project or task, and it goes down on the list. What is difficult to understand about that? Make the priorities relative to parent projects or folders, and you have a detailed priority system with very little work involved to maintain it. And for people who don’t care about priority, you could just ignore the new system and everything would be the same as it is now. I still don’t understand why you are so opposed to this.
 
What I don't understand is why this is still being debated. The Omni Group has stated multiple times that user-defined metadata columns have been planned all along. You could use them for priorities, tags, people, or whatever you want. So why do we keep rehashing this topic?

-Dennis
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toadling View Post
So why do we keep rehashing this topic?
Personally, I am bringing up the topic because I would like something more than just a metadata field (unless that field lets you do calculations based on the value of other fields). I would love a priority field that scales based on the due date, or the priority of parent tasks. I could do the math myself; if you could put calculations in custom fields…ooh, I’m getting excited just thinking about it!
 
I believe (if I can solve it) that I will have an applescript work around for personal metadata soon. I'm using it for this very exact reason (the four important issues when choosing a task)... and I have a small standalone app (applescript) that helps you filter based on your work criteria (using the filter pane in Omnifocus). I'll post back here if I have success (so far I've been breaking the metadata that's already in notes with my scripts, so that's the stopping point currently).

The important bit for me with metadata is that it's applescriptable, and extensible in such a manner that we can leverage it for smarter task selections. Just like OmniFocus' namesake- focusing, we need a way for the computer to help us focus onto tasks that are doable in our current context of (priority/energy/time/etc.). While OmniFocus does a fab job of this for most purposes, if our lists get too long, we really need a bit more help. [ultimately long lists that are hard to parse for daily work = bane of GTD, but that's for another website / and discussion all together] So, I see metadata as one method to help us whittle down our large number of tasks.

[Perhaps we need a semi-smart AI to say: "You haven't looked at these projects in XXX days/months, put them on hold? lower priority? etc."]

Anyways, this little reply isn't too important, just wanted to let you know I know how you feel, and I may have a solution if I can get the scripts to work finally.

Cheers!
-Allen
 
Hi Allen,
Great news about the scripts you're working on.
I have long worked on ways to whittle down my long lists to make them more manageable.
I think a lot of it comes down to which actions I've made available.
But I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
Paul.
 
 


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