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Contexts or Folders? Ah! The dilema! Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Still working on wrapping my head around OF as opposed to Things.

Contexts = tags, right?
Folders is just a means of organization, correct?

How do you keep it simple? It seems to me that too many folders and too many contexts just seems... busy for busy sake? At least to me and I'm looking for suggestions.

i believe in keeping it simple. I currently have two folders: Work, Home. I used to have a couple more: Finance, Tech, Personal. But then I found I rarely had many tasks/projects in Finance, so I moved those items into Home. Same with Personal. Then Tech.

I thought I'd just use Contexts, but that's getting out of control.

Again, what's your method of organization? Suggestions for keeping it simple?

Thanks so much in advance!
Your analogy contexts <- tags and folders <- organization is reasonable.

I have top level folders for Areas of Responsibility, for example ...


I have sub-folders in these areas to further refine them. After this level, I put projects (folders or projects themselves). So, most of my projects are two levels deep. The one exception is the single-action groups that serve to hold the CHORES for the given area. An example ...

Surroundings (area folder)
- Chores @ Surroundings (single-action project)
- House (folder for projects)
-- Roof Repair (project)
-- Landscaping (project folder)
--- Landscaping Company (project to choose landscaper)
--- Yard Layout (project to define yard layout)
--- Landscape (project to complete landscaping work)

My contexts are either locations (work, home, errands, desk, ...), tools (computer, iPod, phone, ...), state-of-action (bills, reviewing, planning, ...), or personnel (spouse, daughter, colleague X, someone, ...).

The beauty of OF (vs Things) is the ability to nest projects in organization and to set projects as single-action, parallel, or sequential. Some folks argue, the ugly of OF (vs Things) is the inability to set multiple contexts (tags).

Hope this helps.

I've been following TRO which is a GTD-like practice. All I can say is please please please add tags to OF. They add an extra dimension that keeps the overall organization and view of things simple, and allows you to focus very quickly on items.

Folders, Subfolders etc is an old paradigm and gets very confusing very fast. In addition to this over complication, reorganizing your lists becomes a chore and almost a 'lock in' that prevent your mind from expanding your lists rather than enriching them.

Tags free the mind very quickly.

I don't like Things for a variety of reasons. I love OF and have tried to use it but the complexity of what I am doing very quickly overruns the product.

There are some web-based tools that provide what I need but I cannot use these in my office environment for security reasons. OF is so close.

To some extent this is why I believe OS's are breaking away from the File/Folder structure into Metadata (read: tags). It's why OS X is so powerful and also why Spotlight works so well.
Anguswa, we don't have any plans to add tags to OmniFocus in the foreseeable future. We do have some ideas on how to address the general underlying need (more flexible list creation/organization) that tags are an attempt to address. Our current plan is to tackle that work sometime after we ship OmniFocus 2.

I know that's probably not the answer you'd prefer, but I figured accurate information now was better than keeping you hoping indefinitely for something we're unlikely to do. Hope that helps at least a little bit.

Of course, we'd be happy to help with any organizational issues you may be running into, either here on the forums or via support mail...
So, is that a statement that OF 2.0 will not include the long-awaited metadata column?
Brian, for one I would appreciate an general overview of what concepts we can expect to see in OmniFocus 2.0, and a progress report if it will ship late 2012/early 2013 as was previously projected.

I hate to sound like I am complaining, but when I look at my wish list for OmniOutliner 4.0, OmniOutliner Mac/iOS document syncing, some form of OmniPlan/OmniFocus sharing/integration, OmniFocus 2.0 (with or without user-defined metadata), I see a long list of promised products and features that I have been waiting on for years now.
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
So, is that a statement that OF 2.0 will not include the long-awaited metadata column?
It is not. Neither is it a statement that it will be included. Knowledge of some things about a subject does not imply knowledge of all things about that subject. ;-)
Originally Posted by Greg Jones View Post
I see a long list of promised products and features that I have been waiting on for years now.
This is why it's so hard to talk about things you haven't built yet. The only honest answer we can give is "we don't know yet, but when we do, we'll say". That's not a particularly satisfying answer, so folks understandably want some conjecture beyond that.

No matter how many caveats you put around that conjecture, though, what folks remember later is a promise. No blame here - it's human psychology. Once we know for sure, we'll say. If we haven't said, it's because we don't know yet. We're working on it. We know we'll get there, but everything beyond that is just a guess.

(Heads-up: there is some mild profanity on the page that link goes to, but it's in service to some of the best writing about this subject I've seen. Apologies nonetheless.)

Thanks for responding to this thread. I've purchased almost every product you folks make, so obviously I support and appreciate your work.

I consider it a bummer to know there aren't any plans to incorporate some sort of tagging structure in the future OmniFocus. The GTD system, as designed by D.A., was a logical improvement over the previous king of organizers, The Franklin Planner. GTD caught on because it fit a new paradigm of how we work. I think that paradigm has shifted again, and a single context just doesn't cut it for the way I work and the number of responsibilities and resulting multi-contexts I have. I could offer many examples, but I suspect you've seen enough by now that you know where I would go already. Please reconsider? Perhaps I did not understand your post correctly?

Last edited by danlandrum; 2012-10-03 at 02:06 AM.. Reason: I corrected a grammatical mistake in the last sentence.
I don't think you misunderstood - a previous post sums up what we see as the downside of introducing tagging. Specifically, it takes your "I can do this" lists and turns them into "I might be able to do this" lists.

Fundamentally, we view "showing things you can't actually do" as undesirable, so we don't want to introduce that tradeoff into the app. We do feel like we have a good understanding of people's desire for more flexibility in organizing their tasks, and we plan to service that underlying desire in the future.

In the meantime, even with a single-context approach, we haven't encountered any situations that OmniFocus truly can't handle with existing features. (Hierarchical contexts, due dates, and so forth.) My posts on this page may be helpful, and if there are areas of your workflow you're struggling with in OmniFocus, we're happy to help.

Of course, reasonable people can disagree about any of the above - my goal here isn't to persuade you that our way of thinking is correct. Just to offer information and/or help.

Last edited by Brian; 2012-10-02 at 04:28 PM.. Reason: add "even with a single-context approach" to soften 2nd to last paragraph.

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