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Greetings,

What are some of your tips and strategies for overcoming distraction with OmniFocus? If I grew up in another era, I probably would be labeled ADD and heavily medicated. Notwithstanding this self-diagnosis, I am hoping to use OmniFocus to better focus on my tasks.

I have my share of external distractions at work, but typically, I am my own worst enemy. I can be in the middle of working on one project and then check my email and start running in a million directions.

One strategy that I have use with some success is the procrastination hack mentioned here.

I have also thought about doing something like:Bubbletimer, but I don't know if this would duplicate my desire to get organized within OmniFocus.

One of my difficulties in adopting OmniFocus is that there are so many ways to set it up I find myself constantly fiddling with the various perspectives and views.

Has anybody tried to only work on things that I have defined as next actions within OmniFocus? In other words, if you have another great idea while in the middle of something, create a new project and stick with the task at hand?

I have the feeling that I am always working, but if I am honest with myself, I waste a huge amount of time chasing vapor trails.

I would appreciate any advice that you can offer in being more focused while using OmniFocus.

Sincerely,
Saoirse
 
I have found that it helps to keep my OF perspectives very clean, that is, just limited to only that which I can do when or where I am at the very moment. Create lots of precise perspectives so that you don't spend a lot of time looking over lists. OF gives you great flexibility to experiment with this.
 
I only check my e-mail once in the morning and once in the afternoon. I set my e-mail notifications and instant messenger to no notification. If I turn on e-mail/instant messenger notification, I will jump and check my e-mail to see what has come in. It's better to leave off anything such as e-mail and instant messenger to keep you from getting distracted.

I always carry a stack of index cards held together by a small binder clip. I also went to my office supply store and bought some of these mini-pens. It is about half the length of a regular pen. It fits quite nicely in your pocket. This is my offline capture device. If I get an idea, I quickly jot it down and stay focused on the task at hand.

It would disrupt your flow (especially if you're in the "zone") to stop what you're doing, head to the computer, type something into OmniFocus and then try to get back into whatever you're doing. If I went back to the computer, I would get distracted and suddenly start web surfing or e-mail surfing.

Likewise, when someone comes in with a new task, jot it down and tell them that you'll get back to them. Tell them you're in the middle of a process/task/project.

When I finish the task at hand, I can go back to the computer, check my OmniFocus, enter in any new thoughts or ideas I wrote down and proceed to the next tast. When you finish your task at hand, review what you wrote down and then determine whether you can delegate it, schedule it into your work, or just say no and delete it.

I would recommend checking out the screencasts that the Omni Group has put up for download. They're a great way to see how to work effortlessly in OmniFocus.

Like any tool that is worth using, it does take some time to get the hang of it. It took me a bit of time to use OmniFocus. I learned the collecting and organizing part easily. The weekly review and perspectives took some time for me to discover in OmniFocus. But once discovered, they are valuable.
 
One that I do for interruptions is to tell people that they have to email me their request or I'll forget. This puts the onus on them to submit the request/reminder, and I don't have to stop and enter it on my iphone (or note cards). I'm not a jerk about it, and people have gotten used to submitting requests via email, which lets me deal with it on *my* schedule (emergencies notwithstanding).

Just an option to consider...
 
ahhh. that's a great idea. Then just use the OmniFocus plug-in to convert it to an OmniFocus task!

Brilliant!

That's correct. Don't let other people's emergency become yours. If it truly was an emergency, they would've come in with a five-alarm fire and run around like a chicken without its head.
 
 


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