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Feature Request: FIFO Perspective for Inbox Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
When processing my inbox, I often have the counter-productive tendency to process the items first that are easiest to process. Ideally, I would like to process inbox items one at a time, as David Allen suggests, but when there are 20 items in my inbox and I can see them all at the same time, it becomes very easy to pick and choose which items to process. So, in order to process in a more GTD fashion, I would like to see a "Process" perspective made for OmniFocus.

This "Process" perspective would be a perspective that would show one only item in the inbox at a time. Users could select whether to have items be processed on a First-In, First-Out basis (FIFO) or Last-In, First-Out basis (LIFO). Once the user had processed the current inbox item (added it to a project and selected a context), the next item in the inbox would appear in order to be processed.

If this feature were to be implemented, I think it would lead to a boost in productivity for a lot of users.
Interesting idea. Use Help → Send Feedback to submit feature suggestions to get them entered in the development database. (See this sticky thread at the top of the forum for details.)

Sorry about that. Didn't know I shouldn't post feature requests in the forum. I will submit the idea through OmniFocus.
Posting to the forum is fine. People here like to discuss new ideas. I just wanted to make sure you knew that official requests should go to the feedback address.



Originally Posted by Antidote View Post
Sorry about that. Didn't know I shouldn't post feature requests in the forum. I will submit the idea through OmniFocus.
It's not that you shouldn't post them here, it's just that they won't be counted :-) If you've got a good idea, there's nothing wrong with running it up the flagpole here as well as sending it in with Help->Send Feedback, as you might drum up some support for the idea, or provoke some discussion that leads to an even better feature request.

I'm no stranger to procrastination, cherry-picking the easy stuff, etc. so bear in mind that this isn't coming from someone with a "holier than thou" attitude. I don't think it particularly matters that you might process your inbox out of order -- so long as you do process it down to zero on a regular basis. But if it isn't getting processed down to zero regularly, that means there are probably some things in there that you are resistant to dealing with, and that's the real problem. If you don't have the intestinal fortitude to grind through them, is having a perspective that offers them up one at a time to you going to make it any different? You'll still have to convince yourself it is time to finally drain the swamp and open that perspective. The LIFO option isn't going to do you any favors if you are resistant to getting to zero either; you'll do the stuff that just came in that is easy or fun, and the rest will just ferment, as it does now. What I find works best for me is to process the Inbox as often as possible. This has the advantage of reinforcing the habit and keeping the amount of work to be done to a minimum. The easy stuff gets done first, right? :-)
I also tend to go for the "low hanging fruit" first. If nothing else, it clears my inbox a bit, making it easier to focus on those more difficult tasks.

It's been a while since I last read The Book. Does DA really discourage processing the easy stuff first?

Yeah, on page 122, his rules are
  • Process the top item first
  • Process one item at a time
  • Never put anything back into "in"

but as I said, if you are getting the Inbox to zero on a regular schedule, and not spending a lot of time dawdling about trying to decide which item to process next, I'm not sure there is any great harm in doing it FIFO, LIFO, alphabetically, randomly, or by any other metric. I think his rules have more applicability to a paper-based Inbox than an electronic one where grabbing the 37th item is just as easy as the top one.

I usually start out by sorting the contents of the Inbox by Date Added (using the Edit->Sort feature) if I think there's a good chance I won't get through the whole thing. That way I'll usually do at least a few of the older items before breaking down and looking for the easy stuff!
Originally Posted by Antidote View Post
This "Process" perspective would be a perspective that would show one only item in the inbox at a time.
As a workaround you could dump your inbox items into a "Process" project, and then display only the next action.... Though I guess that only works if you process your inbox by dragging actions to their appropriate places within other projects.

I don't use the sort functions much, so I don't know if you could get the items in reverse order (for the LIFO option you mentioned).
This is a great idea -- I'd like it available system-wide, not just in the inbox.

You'd select one or more meticulously arranged projects or context… then press the "action mode!" button, and it would only show you one actionable item at a time. bam bam bam.
Have you looked at the OmniFidget widget? You point it at one or more contexts, and it hands you next actions which you can either do or skip. It's on the OmniFocus product page.

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