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My Path, Roadblocks Towards Getting Things Done w/ OmniFocus: Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Here I am, late at night. Figured I'd write out these lingering OF thoughts in hopes of getting some feedback. I won't drag this out, just get to the points.

Obviously like anyone else exposed to both GTD & OF I want to feel very productive at the end of each day. Lately I've noticed that I'm not exactly doing that. Many times in my first class at University during that day i'll write on the side of my notebook page things I want to accomplish for the day, first regarding all my available actions in my OF iPod Touch app. I'll write many next action steps, so many that hardly a few will be touched at the end of the day. I've learned that I can't get it all done in one day so implemented two repeating actions in OF...

The Morning Review & Evening Review.

These consist of emptying email inbox, mind sweep, OF inbox sweep, looking at available next actions and if they're stuck, etc. . .

Unfortunately these actions hardly get touched in the morning and evening; It seems like I wanted to regulate my mornings and evenings so i'll keep my system up to date yet these "Checking morning/evening review" actions in OF are drowned in the sea of other available actions. I found this interesting.

Secondly, it's obvious to me that i've attempted to add my entire life within OF. It was just yesterday that I left my iPod Touch (which has OF, iCal and Mail) at my friends house. When I returned to retrieve it my friend played a prank on me saying I didn't leave it there. As he had a good laugh I explained to him the OF app, and how I pretty much had my days dictated by OF and iCal. The example I gave him was that I have my entire life on that iPod Touch (& Mac) so nothing is in my mind. (& I pointed to my head saying literally nothing was in there. At 1st he thought I was joking but then he noticed I was serious. Well, I have no problem admitting i've tried to set up every aspect of my life in OF but admit as well at times find it odd that my whole life should be dictated by something other than my spontaneous unpredictability.

As much as I love OF & GTD, and hearing about GTD Professionals falling off the wagon regularly I find it frustrating that the most important projects in my life are usually the ones least being touched. I have a great GTD saying on my home corkboard explaining the reasons for procrastination withing GTD: That Procrastination is either "Apathy" or "Anxiety: Too big or complex, physical discomfort, emotional discomfort or fear of loss or control." Many times when I noticed important projects I just don't touch I take a long moment to notice why I'm putting it off.
I hate this because these important projects that aren't getting touched, lag the entire GTD/OF system.

For example, currently I have university classes as the most important focal point on my list. But they aren't getting done. If we take Math for example (I hate math, incredibly) bi-daily math quizzes and bi-weekly Exams are being thrown at me (very important) but hardly get touched because, I hate it. Before I began this semester many of my projects would simply get done. I remember this summer I would be getting so many of my projects done that when the Weekly Review came, I noticed that I had less than a handful of projects to complete since I was actually tackling what needed to get done in my life; so much so I brought in many someday/maybe items to fill up the time. But something like math, and my lack of actually doing it slows down my whole system. Rather than explaining why one projects in OF would slow almost everything down i'll assume as fellow OF & GTD'er's you know what i'm talking about.

I said I wouldn't drag this post out but end with this:

I, like everyone want to have incredibly productive days and I genuinely feel that i've experienced them, but when very important projects come around my whole system suffers...and rather then thinking that my system will get back to normal once the Math class ends at the end of the Fall Semester, have accepted and welcomed the thought that in life i'll usually have some projects that i'll either hate doing or feel apathetic towards...but they'll be in my OF system because in one form or another are important and play a vital role towards my growth in whichever manner. You'll notice I didn't necessarily ask a question here but rather feel it as an open discussion, not just about my issues but yours. Since we all have the common interest of Getting Things Done and OmniFocus, yet can't talk about this in person feel it be important to discuss the issues that linger on our mind about the system we all implement on a daily basis, that all of us are trying to get right.

*Edit: I quickly wanted to mention that at times I'll procratinate on the Weekly Review, though interestingly after finishing it always thought, "This wasn't so bad. Why didn't I do this sooner?" Well, I just wanted to throw out there that I find it incredibly helpful to scan my OF Inbox before doing the Weekly Review and rewritten everything in my Inbox. Say I have 75 Inbox items, i'll go through each and every one of them, rewrite them still in the OF Inbox and i'll feel refreshed on everything that was on my mind and in my current inbox, allowing me to tackle the OF Inbox and Weekly Review a lot easier.

Last edited by HappyDude; 2009-10-03 at 02:14 AM..
 
There's a lot here; I think I have just a couple of things that I can say about my experience.

I would say, first, that I know what you mean about not having that sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. I think that is normal if, like me, you don't set out a today list, since at the end of the day, there will be probably a whole bunch of things that you still have available that weren't done. I think the beneficial part of the trade is that you get some sense of accomplishment when you complete projects that you wouldn't have seen a way to completing or wouldn't have ended up completing had you not broken them up.

Just briefly, I think that OF can enable procrastination, such as your issue with your math, because it allows you to pick from all of your available actions and, of course, that allows you to just never pick from your math actions. It is a little risky like that - I think you have to be careful.

The practical suggestion that may help with the math issue is to do a little re-ordering and a little adjustment to your view settings to help remind you how much you have to do your math. This is geared towards OF for the Mac, which I use, and it seems like you are just on OF for iPhone, so I don't know, I hope it helps. In any case, in your project list, I would move your math projects to the very top, or maybe, just below your review project. Then, in the context view, I would group by project or group by context and order by project, so that your math tasks are at or near the top. Then, you just have to remember that these tasks are at the top because you really have to do them.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucas View Post
There's a lot here; I think I have just a couple of things that I can say about my experience.

I would say, first, that I know what you mean about not having that sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. I think that is normal if, like me, you don't set out a today list, since at the end of the day, there will be probably a whole bunch of things that you still have available that weren't done. I think the beneficial part of the trade is that you get some sense of accomplishment when you complete projects that you wouldn't have seen a way to completing or wouldn't have ended up completing had you not broken them up.

Just briefly, I think that OF can enable procrastination, such as your issue with your math, because it allows you to pick from all of your available actions and, of course, that allows you to just never pick from your math actions. It is a little risky like that - I think you have to be careful.

The practical suggestion that may help with the math issue is to do a little re-ordering and a little adjustment to your view settings to help remind you how much you have to do your math. This is geared towards OF for the Mac, which I use, and it seems like you are just on OF for iPhone, so I don't know, I hope it helps. In any case, in your project list, I would move your math projects to the very top, or maybe, just below your review project. Then, in the context view, I would group by project or group by context and order by project, so that your math tasks are at or near the top. Then, you just have to remember that these tasks are at the top because you really have to do them.
Thanks for the reply. Concerning Math I can say that many of these little action steps are due on specific days. I do have OF on my Mac and obviously prefer working out of it than the iPod Touch app but the app still does wonders for me. The only thing I don't like about the app is I can't work as freely or rapidly as I do with the OF Mac app.. I once tried to do my Weekly Review through the iPhone app since I knew I was to be away from home for a few days and I just couldn't do it. The functionality isn't there compared with the desktop app. Well with OF I utilize the Estimate Time and Start Dates if they can't be touched right away. I don't really use the Due Dates, but know I should.

Lately I've been feeling/thinking: Sometimes I just wanna be lazy. I'll start my day eager to get things done but usually by noon, after eating lunch and feel a bit tired i'll want nothing more than to just give myself the freedom to do nothing. For a moment I thought about "doing nothing" and adding that as an action in OF and couldn't help but laugh.
 
A bitter pill goes down better when broken up into pieces. Break down what you feel are your most boring projects into the smallest chunks possible to make them feel less overwhelming. The key to beating procrastination is to make baby steps on a clearly defined roadmap. Not only will the 'boring' project look less intimidating, but you'll find that some of the steps you need to take are extremely tiny and can be done in between stuff you DO like.

When you're a kid and don't want to eat the food on your plate it's common for parents to alternate between small stuff you don't like and bigger stuff you do.

Hide the bad flavors in amongst the good stuff and soon you won't notice.

Also, set extremely small timers for these things, like 2, 5 or 10 minutes. You can do this when you've broken a terrible project into tiny bits. You can also set yourself challenges 'I wonder if I can get all x done by 5pm (in 7 minutes)'

You can only really 'play' like this when things are in really small chunks.

Hope that helps.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BevvyB View Post
A bitter pill goes down better when broken up into pieces. Break down what you feel are your most boring projects into the smallest chunks possible to make them feel less overwhelming. The key to beating procrastination is to make baby steps on a clearly defined roadmap. Not only will the 'boring' project look less intimidating, but you'll find that some of the steps you need to take are extremely tiny and can be done in between stuff you DO like.

When you're a kid and don't want to eat the food on your plate it's common for parents to alternate between small stuff you don't like and bigger stuff you do.

Hide the bad flavors in amongst the good stuff and soon you won't notice.

Also, set extremely small timers for these things, like 2, 5 or 10 minutes. You can do this when you've broken a terrible project into tiny bits. You can also set yourself challenges 'I wonder if I can get all x done by 5pm (in 7 minutes)'
This is really great advice and in conjunction with the time estimate column, incredibly useful in moving things forward. Stuff I like working on, I tend to break into ~30 minute chunks, but the stuff that I can't stand, I break into 5-10 minute chunks. It's been a great help in getting the things I hate to do, done.
 
Something I will add which has been voiced on another thread is to be careful not to micro manage stuff to the point where you're spending more time on breaking things down than actually doing them!!

To address that here's something I've found to be very true too. Once you have managed to do the small steps on a boring project you may find you've started to do the rest of the project without even thinking about it. In effect, breaking down the very first few steps of the project is all that's required to get into the right frame of mind to tackle it without feeling bored.

So I suggest this, to prevent even more boredom - If you are finding projects difficult to start, try breaking the start of the project into about five morsels, and leave it at that.

It's the starting of these projects which is so difficult. Once you've started half the battle is won. By breaking just the front down into smaller pieces you may find you'll start and before you know it the project won't feel so overwhelming and you'll be getting on with it just like any other project. It will become 'unimportant' (as in not feel like a huge mountain you keep ignoring) and can just slot into your other projects that need doing.

Hope that helps. The last thing you want to do is break down a dull project into so many bits you're even more bored of it :P
 
 


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