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Omitting Action Group results from Next Action filter Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Once a week I like to review all of my NAs, but I only consider NAs to be items tied to a standard linear project (parallel or sequential), not simply available actions from all Action Group type projects. Is there any way to filter these out? It's pretty easy to visually jump from one to the next in a long list, since the colour is different, but they really bulk up the perspective as I have quite a lot of action groups.
 
What's an Action Group type project? Do you mean a Single Action List (sidebar icon is a little shoe box)?

You can select only the projects that fit your needs by going through the sidebar and cmd-clicking to add or remove projects, then save as a perspective for future use.
 
Right, the "shoe box". Cmd-clicking (i.e. focussing) is completely unacceptable! :) It shouldn't take ten minutes of hunting and pecking just to get a strict Next Action list. Maybe if I had five projects this would be feasible, but then this really wouldn't be an issue. The matter is having several hundred actions in the NA list, and only around thirty of them being actual "next actions" in the strict definition of the word. The rest are just spam from the blue box groups since they *all* get printed in this filter setting.
 
Right, I think you want to do the step of "saving as a perspective". Check out "Using perspectives to store your OmniFocus window settings" in the Omnifocus help.
 
Another approach would be to make the Single Action Lists be parallel projects, which work pretty much the same but will only show the first available item as a Next Action instead of all available items. Give the perspective option a try, though, as it is very powerful and useful in many different situations. Many of us rarely view our data without one!
 
Thanks, but I already know quite a lot about perspectives and so forth (I've been using this application since the alpha days), this doesn't really address what I'm trying to accomplish though. I already have a perspective for reviewing next actions, the problem is that the available "Next Action" filter does not distinguish between actions which are next in a project, and single-actions which are attached to dumping bins. Since I use both of these types rather heavily, there is a lot of "false positives" in my NA review.

Regarding last comment: There is are some important technical and philosophical differences between parallel projects and single action buckets which I'd rather not sacrifice just for one perspective and one weekly review. That might muddy things up even further than they are. At least now I can visually skip over the "blue lines" in the NA review. If everything was Parallel or Sequential, it would take quite a lot more work to skip over the unnecessary items.
 
I'm really having a tough time imagining why you're not just setting a focus on everything except the single-action lists and updating your perspective with that. Isn't focus supported by perspectives? Doesn't that take out everything that you're having to skip over?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberV View Post
Thanks, but I already know quite a lot about perspectives and so forth (I've been using this application since the alpha days), this doesn't really address what I'm trying to accomplish though. I already have a perspective for reviewing next actions, the problem is that the available "Next Action" filter does not distinguish between actions which are next in a project, and single-actions which are attached to dumping bins. Since I use both of these types rather heavily, there is a lot of "false positives" in my NA review.
As there is no difference between them, that isn't surprising! What is it that you want? The program doesn't have any support for your distinction, and apparently you aren't interested in making the distinction yourself (by only looking at projects, not SALs).

I've attached a rough Applescript which will deselect all the Single Action Lists from the sidebar selection. You select a bunch of stuff in the sidebar, invoke the script, and it will deselect the SALs so that their Next Actions don't interfere with your viewing pleasure. It doesn't work if the Inbox is part of the selection, and if you don't like that or any other aspect of the script, well, you know where the sources are :-)
Attached Files
File Type: zip Exclude SALs from selection.scpt.zip (3.9 KB, 256 views)
 
Lucas, the problem with focus embedded in a perspective is two-fold. First, it eventually results in blind-spots. Perspectives save focus in an intentional manner, not an exclusion manner, or to put it another way they only save what was selected when the perspective was created, and do not automatically select new objects based on type or pattern. So over time, as new projects are created and old ones disappear, the perspective would get "out of date". It would not automatically know to focus on the new parallel and sequential projects that have been created since the perspective was created. While I could manually maintain the focus and keep creating snapshots of the perspective, that introduces human error elements; I might forget to do it every time I create a new project (in fact that is very likely). I'd love it if we could set inversion focus, or exclusion focus and save that to a perspective. That would come in handy for more than this particular scenario. Basically "Focus on everything except what was selected".

The second problem, to reiterate from above: if there were one or two single-action style buckets to omit, then that would be one thing, but there are many, and they are nested all over the place in dozens of folders and sub-folders. It would literally take five minutes just to setup the review, every single time (or submit oneself to the blind-spot problem above and hope for the best). Perspectives store just about everything, even search results! But they are not the answer to every problem, especially when it is a problem at the filter level.

whpalmer4, I'm really not sure how to parse your first paragraph. You seem to be saying that neither I nor the program distinguishes between them, and then offer proof of that by parenthetically saying that I'm trying to distinguish between them?

I think we are all talking about different things or something.

There are, conceptually and programmatically speaking, three different sub-classes of Action (two of which are relevant to this discussion). Next Actions, Single Actions, and Action Groups. If you don't believe me, look in the stylesheet setup. Next Actions can be styled one way and Single Actions can be styled another way. Evidently, OF distinguishes between them at *some* level otherwise I wouldn't be seeing two different colours of action with the NA filter turned on.

All I'm asking is: why does the NA filter also let SAs in, especially when the program dumps all 25 of them (or whatever) per project? NA review is supposed to be a quick run-down of all projects and what it takes to move them forward; identifying blocks or inadvertent compounds and so on. SAs by definition fall outside of that remit.

Thanks for the provided script. I had to adjust it slightly to also de-select folders, otherwise any single-action bucket other than root level buckets will remain visible, since the selection of a folder with mixed items in it implicitly focusses all children. Once folder de-selection is turned on in the script, it can fairly quickly assemble a list of only standard project types which can be focussed.

However, even when properly tuned, saving the results of the script to a perspective will still eventually result in blind-spots as new projects are created. It's a pity we cannot attach scripts to perspectives. :) Though given how long it takes for the script to execute (I really do have a lot of projects), I can understand why OmniGroup hasn't yet implemented such a thing!

Basically this line on my weekly review will need to be:
  1. Load NA perspective.
  2. Expand all items in source list.
  3. Select all.
  4. Run AppleScript to de-select folders & buckets.
  5. Focus.
  6. Switch back to context view
  7. Review NAs

Which is why I am trying to avoid "work-arounds" like this. :) Even with the script removing the five minute selection process, that is still a lot of steps for what could just as easily be automatic with a filter that more accurately matches the internal sub-action class model.

Saving the above to a perspective isn't feasible. Too many projects are created during the course of a week, so it needs to always be updated from scratch.

Last edited by AmberV; 2009-07-05 at 10:34 PM..
 
I didn't think about that issue that your new projects being left out. But, why not modify that script to select all of the applicable projects, set the filter as needed, and then use that as if it was your perspective? Won't it then keep up with your new projects?

Single Actions being included as Next Actions was a choice that was made way back in the public alpha days. There were arguments about it on both sides. If you want the rationale behind it you probably will want to search the forum from way back then.
 
 


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