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Suggestions for Maintaining Balance AND Getting Things Done Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Sorry if this has been addressed...I'm sure it has in some way. I did a search and nothing came up so..

I spend 20 hours a week traveling to my client and am struggling to keep up with things at home...honey do's, home maintenance, and hopefully some downtime. I leave my house 5am Sunday to the east coast and return Thursday 2pm

I'd love to hear how some of you maintain a work/life balance and maintain forward movement on personal projects.

My professional life is doing well but I have very little time for a personal life and I'm looking for any suggestions.

Thanks!
 
Simplify your life...

During the capture phase, we capture everything that is on our minds or on our plate. A lot of your projects/tasks are agreements with yourself or others to do this or do that (such as your honey do list, *sigh*).

But now that you have everything captured into your system, it is time for you to edit your life. Be vicious. Be realistic. Hopefully you will have an outline of your life goals and/or your areas of responsibilities (your role as a spouse, parent, boss/supervisor, subordinate, your position in the community (volunteering)).

Then you must determine if your areas of responsibilities truly reflect what you have today. Sometimes a role (such as soccer coach or president of your Parent-Teacher Association or on the board of the Homeowners Association) was fun for the last five years but now you have other more pressing interests (example: becoming a divemaster). You have a limited amount of time every week or month. You may have to resign from one post so that you can take up another role.

You'll have to be realistic about your time and energy. We can do everything for everyone.

Simplify your life by streamlining your roles and responsibilities. A recent example for me was adding the role of becoming a father. Previously, I had time to hang out for happy hour with my friends and I could attend many parties without having to worry about any dependents. But when I had two kids, I knew I had to trim down the happy hour after work parties and assume the new role of father. I've had to reduce my role in the community and with my friends to spend time with my family.

During your weekly review, take a look at your various projects and determine which projects are still relevant or aligns with your life goals or areas of responsibilities. Projects that sounded cool when you brainstormed the first time suddenly seems like something that you really didn't want to put your heart into. So just delete it. Or put it in a text file or OmniOutliner document called "Pipe Dreams." Then you can always refer to your Pipe Dreams file and put it back into OmniFocus in the future.

Be honest with yourself and know that you don't have more than two hands. Put all of your projects on hold by setting status to "On Hold" in the inspector window. During your weekly review, activate a handful of projects (three to five) by setting the status to "Active." This list represents all the projects that you want to make progress on for the next seven days.

All the active projects will have Next Actions that will be shown in your Context view. All the "On Hold" projects can be seen in Project mode but will be hidden in Context mode.

One of the best things you can do is to start over from scratch. Select File> Backup Database and save your current projects/task to this backup database. Then just clear out all your contexts and projects. Start over from scratch and rebuild. You can open your backup database in a separate window and copy and paste to your new OmniFocus database. You'll be editing your life and figuring out what projects should remain and what can go.

Sometimes you'll have too many things going on and you've lost sight of your life goals (the things that really matter to you). You just have to start over with a new OmniFocus database.

Every week, you will always add new projects and tasks to your OmniFocus database. But every week, go do a weekly review. Look at your projects list and see what can be deleted.

This should help you weed out all those useless projects that are no longer relevant.
 
wilsonng: Great reply!

I periodically find myself overwhelmed. This happened recently. Here are some things I've done that I find helpful.

Reduce distraction

- Use email rules/filters to shunt list emails into a "read" folder. Then review that folder daily, and read them, delete, or archive. I find it much easier to quickly skim or delete them in that folder, than when they fester in my inbox. In my inbox, I may have angst and go "hah" (that's a David Allen quote ;) about a lot of list emails. Of course, unsubscribing to lists you really don't read makes a lot of sense.

- Rigorously reduce US Mail and phone lists by registering with ADVO and do not call lists. That only goes so far; then send emails to companies that are communicating things to you that you don't want.

Set appropriate OF "review every…" cycles

A lot of my projects (especially someday or maybe ones) are on a 6 month or 1 year review cycle.

Review at least one single action list thoroughly during your weekly review

Look at each action in the SAL, and clarify, prune, augment.

Ensure you have an appropriate next action for each project

This can be helpful when in action mode. Maybe even filter for "next action" to make focusing easier.

Last edited by omnibob; 2012-09-30 at 07:28 AM..
 
Thanks.

Yeah, reducing distraction is part of the simplifying mantra.I used to subscribe to hundreds of podcasts, RSS feeds, magazines (via US Mail), and e-mail lists.

Over time, I eliminated podcasts that were interesting at first but then I found myself just wanting to finish an episode without actually listening to it.

I also took a look at all the RSS feeds and eliminated the ones that I really never read.

The same thing happened with the various Google groups and Yahoo! groups. I just deleted my time-wasters. If I wasn't going to read it, why bother letting it sit inside your inbox?

I eliminated a lot of magazine subscriptions that just sat in the bathroom. I switched to Flipboard to subscribe to a lot of the magazine RSS feeds. But even then, I would be more picky about what news feeds I subscribed to.

Keeping your OmniFocus database manageable is an essential part of the system. If you don't refresh it by tossing out the garbage, you'll never trust that list. You'll always be worried that a project is lingering in the background when you know you should just drop it.
 
Thanks for the helpful feed back.. great suggestions. I have reduced several things that waste my time. But I think I need to be more militant about the remaining..

Thanks Again!
 
Yes, great reply.

Another approach I've used to getting focus is to look at your projects in OF, figure out which you are going to focus on and then pull out 3-5 tasks you are going to do in the next day or so.

It's important to remember that you can only do one thing at a time. The more committed you can be to just doing that one thing, the more likely you to do it.

I have taken to putting my 3-5 priority tasks into a file in NV Alt.

Then, with Geektool, I publish that task list onto the desktop of my computer. So anytime I look at the desktop, it's easy to see what I'm supposed to be focusing on. If I edit the text file, Geektool updates the info on the desktop too.

From there, I've been trying to use the Pomodoro method to dig down and focus on one of those tasks for a solid 25 minutes. Then, I take a rest, etc. Unless the Pomodoro is devoted to admin or e-mail, I try to only check e-mail in between the Pomodoros.

It's not a perfect system. Probably, you can accomplish a lot of it inside OF, without doing what I've suggested. There's just something about the act of choosing the tasks and writing them down in a separate place that helps me to invest in those as a priority. Perhaps, putting all you project folders on hold except for 3-5 gets you about the same place. I just prefer to leave OF as kind of my repository of stuff and if I put folders into on hold that are still actually active projects, I worry that I'll forget about them in there. But that's probably my issue/fear/problem.

The bottom line is that once you have your task/info/projects, etc inside of a tool like OF, you have a lot more options in terms of how you can mold it to your needs (or use it in other tools).

Beyond that, I think it's worth think about some of the concepts in this piece that references the 4 burners theory. It's implicit in wilsonng's post, but this article perhaps adds some stuff to it to think about.
 
One of the best things you can do is to start over from scratch. Select File> Backup Database and save your current projects/task to this backup database. Then just clear out all your contexts and projects. Start over from scratch and rebuild. You can open your backup database in a separate window and copy and paste to your new OmniFocus database. You'll be editing your life and figuring out what projects should remain and what can go.

Sometimes you'll have too many things going on and you've lost sight of your life goals (the things that really matter to you). You just have to start over with a new OmniFocus database.

Every week, you will always add new projects and tasks to your OmniFocus database. But every week, go do a weekly review. Look at your projects list and see what can be deleted.

This should help you weed out all those useless projects that are no longer relevant.
 
 


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