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How to deal with energy level & priority Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Quote:
Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
A future version of OF will include custom meta-data fields that will let you do exactly that. In the interim, some people use the estimated time column as a meta-data column.
It's been over a year since this posting. Anyone aware of a planned release timeline for the custom metadata fields feature?

I would love to be able to make use of a priority field, myself, for the purpose of filtering the dozens of (mostly single-action) tasks I have in several of my contexts. Designating certain tasks as "low energy" would also be useful, as David Allen suggests (doing a few "low energy" tasks often gives me the energy to tackle bigger ones).

While I agree that priority is often a relative thing, I still find it useful to demarcate certain (usually single-action) tasks as high or medium priority (or preferably more arbitrary values like numbers, etc). I'm using flagging to designate "high priority" items now, but it's just not granular enough - I'm still seeing *way* too many items.

As for that priority changing over time, I don't think the software needs to worry about that, because as FranklinCovey teaches, there's a difference between Priority (how important it is to do something) and Urgency (how quickly you need to do something). Urgency is already taken care of by the "due date" column, which you can use for sorting/filtering, and OF does nice color highlighting for "due soon/overdue" items, so priority never needs to change based on urgency. Now, having your priorities change based on the priorities of other/new tasks... well, I suppose that can't be avoided. Projects do allow their tasks to be ordered, which is usually how I prioritize things, but it would be nice to have "buckets" to reduce the work involved in having/maintaining a specific order.

Having assignable "tags" would be another good solution to both the "low energy" and "priority" attributes, although my hunch is that custom meta-data fields might prove more useful & easier to maintain. I certainly *don't* want to litter the interface with tags as Things has done, but being able to add a couple extra "custom" columns & decide which ones to show/hide -- that would be great.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eurothespian View Post
It's been over a year since this posting. Anyone aware of a planned release timeline for the custom metadata fields feature?
The last I heard, the metadata column feature was slated for OmniFocus 2.0. Of course, plans and priorities change, so who knows? :-)

-Dennis

Last edited by Toadling; 2009-09-09 at 07:15 PM.. Reason: Typo fix
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eurothespian View Post
While I agree that priority is often a relative thing, I still find it useful to demarcate certain (usually single-action) tasks as high or medium priority (or preferably more arbitrary values like numbers, etc). I'm using flagging to designate "high priority" items now, but it's just not granular enough - I'm still seeing *way* too many items.

I'm sure that it's suggested somewhere earlier in this thread, but do you use the duration field? I often usurp it for this purpose.
 
I think omnifocus don't implement GTD right with energy. Software like Things seems to do it. I apreciate omnifocus and i would like to have this funcionality soon, but if Omni is considering to offer a basic funcionality like this through a paid upgraid (2.0) , it could be the moment to reconsider better choices

Last edited by bushi; 2009-09-20 at 03:10 PM..
 
There are two ways to deal with 'energy'

1. Decide in advance how much energy something will take, mark it up, and then decide what to do later based on your previous energy level.

2. Look at a list of stuff, and see which ones you have enough energy to do at that precise moment.

Many people on these boards will argue that you only know how much energy you have right now and that you are not able to see into the future :)

HOWEVER

I would like to see the 'duration' in OF to be a bit more specific when I search, so I can only see things which I've marked to take 5 mins, 10 mins, without seeing anything else. It's actually pretty easy to guess how long something will take. Easier than imagining how much energy you'd have left in 3.5 days anyway :)
 
Thanks to a tip from Malisa, I've begun using the "duration" field to capture priority for individual tasks, and I really like it! My most important tasks are marked between 1-5 minutes. Slightly less important tasks are marked as 15-30 mins. Anything marked as 1 hour or more is more important than most of my tasks, but not critical. Then I use filtering to quickly view only the most important tasks, which gives me a very clear picture of the things I would like to accomplish at any given time. This really lets me focus, while still keeping *all* my tasks quickly at hand.

Before now, I was using the duration field "properly", but I've found it *much* more useful to decide my task priorities ahead of time & decide what to do next based on those priorities, than to decide what to do based on how much time I have at any given moment. I could spend all day doing stuff that only takes 5 minutes, and I might never get the most important things done! Would be nice to be able to store/use both bits of info (OG folks: custom attributes coming anytime soon?), but if I have to choose, priority wins, hands down.

Thanks for the tip, Malisa!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BevvyB View Post
There are two ways to deal with 'energy'

1. Decide in advance how much energy something will take, mark it up, and then decide what to do later based on your previous energy level.

2. Look at a list of stuff, and see which ones you have enough energy to do at that precise moment.

Many people on these boards will argue that you only know how much energy you have right now and that you are not able to see into the future :)
In my mind, the energy level a task "requires" has little to do with how much energy you *have* at any given moment, now or in the future. Fixing my car requires a lot of energy, at least for me. Sorting baseball cards (something I haven't done since puberty), requires very little. Yes, you can get very fine-grained about this when you add a ton of tasks, but I feel like that's missing the point.

When I'm feeling really lazy & don't want to do much, I often try to think of stuff I could do while the TV is on. Things that don't require a lot of thought/attention: do laundry, pay the bills, send Dad a birthday card, send a quick e-mail to a friend, etc. Would be great to have a list of such things made up ahead of time & retrievable at a moment's notice, because if I'm really feeling that lazy, I'm not going to want to scan through a bunch of tasks that require a lot of energy in order to find one that doesn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BevvyB View Post
HOWEVER

I would like to see the 'duration' in OF to be a bit more specific when I search, so I can only see things which I've marked to take 5 mins, 10 mins, without seeing anything else. It's actually pretty easy to guess how long something will take. Easier than imagining how much energy you'd have left in 3.5 days anyway :)
I'm not sure I understand... OF does have this. You can sort and/or filter by duration (aka "estimated time"), and you'll only see things that are marked with your chosen duration (or less). I guess if you want to see things that take exactly an hour, you're probably not interested in seeing the stuff that takes 5, 10, 15 or 30 minutes (which could be a huge list). If that's the case, I agree with you. Would be nice to be able to modify the filter to be able to *only* see things that take "exactly" an hour vs an hour or less (both are useful in different scenarios). In my own case, if I can't filter my tasks down to a single page/screen, I often feel a bit overwhelmed & find it hard to focus/choose a task.

As a workaround, you could filter by 1 hour, then do a reverse-sort on duration, so all your 1 hour tasks show up at the top of your list. Not as great as having the "other" tasks disappear from your view (and thus, your mind), but still pretty good. Then just save a perspective to capture this view, so you can later pull it up quickly with a single click/keystroke. (I *love* perspectives!!!)

Last edited by eurothespian; 2009-09-21 at 03:13 AM..
 
Yes, I want ONLY, not 'as well as things that take less time than that' :)

Regarding energy, I hear you. However, it's a bit of both and the system needs to be flexible enough to allow us to work with energy the way we want. Sorting through some of my clothes is low energy, but would take me about five hours, making it high energy.

There is energy you have now, and energy things take, and there is a difference in the energy some things takes depending on the state of mind you're in! Walking the dog after I've just been to the shops uses less energy relatively speaking than after I've just got up and haven't had my first coffee yet.

Regardless of all that, whatever OF does about energy it should be flexible.
 
I would like to see energy required field. This would allow more powerful perspectives e.g. 'show me sub 5 min tasks that require low energy while I'm at work' for that one last check-off for the day before wrapping up.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhysbwaller View Post
I would like to see energy required field. This would allow more powerful perspectives e.g. 'show me sub 5 min tasks that require low energy while I'm at work' for that one last check-off for the day before wrapping up.
I think I understand where you are coming from there but I wonder if that would not lead to problems comparable to those that emerge if you do not use the due date restrictively. If I take myself as an example, I am a lawyer doing corporate/business. Often I do phone calls, meet people or dictate a document. How would I determine "low", "medium" and "high" energy? What if I have to work a lot for a week and don't get more than four hours of sleep? Does that mean I am on low energy the next days? Does that in turn mean the "medium" energy stuff falls through the cracks? That might turn out badly since usually those things that you should ideally do when in the state of what I guess you call "high" energy are the most important ones. So if I am tired due to long working hours, the important stuff stays undone?

And: how do I plan ahead for that? Is dictating a letter a medium or high energy task, given that I don't have to move but have to concentrate on every word I use? I think that might become a bit problmatic in day to day use...
 
 


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