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I am slowly bending my old habits into GTD - I am particularly liking the clarity and piece of mind I am getting through the weekly review and OF helping with this. However, where I am struggling is with OF's lack of planning facilities.

When I go through my review though, I want to schedule all my work into blocks of time in my calendar. This way, I know I have captured "it" and schedule the time to work on "it". Doing so, however, requires me to create these time blocks in the calendar app. Why not do this from within OF? That saves me time pushing the buttons in Calendar. After all, I may have start, due and estimated times set already in OF, which is part of the data I need for putting it in my calendar. Ideally, I want to be able to:
1. Set my estimated time in OF.
2. Set the due date.
3. Drag and drop the task into calendar, thereby setting the actual "work on" time.

Ideally the OF task and calendar event should stay linked so that from one app I can start the other, be right at the appropriate content and make changes if I need to.

Am I so off in the left field with this request/workflow? It seems completely natural to me.
 
I think task managers in general are better at letting you manage your inventory of projects and tasks. No task manager is ever good at "time" management.

I've found that if I scheduled a task for 30 minutes but I do it in 15 minutes. I'll sometimes let the foot off the pedal and let the task fill up the full 30 minutes allotted. I use the duration field to help me find small tasks that can fit into my day.

I might have 30 minutes remaining before my next scheduled meeting. I'll look at OmniFocus to find a task that can be done in 30 minutes or less. Or I might find 2 smaller tasks that I can do inside the 30 minute block.

I never like to schedule tasks. What I typically do is choose the 3 big rocks and work on those. I look at OmniFocus and write down on a post-it note the 3 big rocks and focus on those. Whenever i have small blocks of time, I'll look at OmniFocus and fill in the gaps with small rocks (smaller tasks).

Performing some Google Fu, I found the first hit:

http://www.supercoach.com/tvdetail.php?recordID=337




So, first thing in the morning, I'll look at OmniFocus to find my big rocks of the day. When I get through the big rocks, I'll find the small rocks to fit throughout the day. Task managers are perfect to help you find tasks that can fill in the dead spaces found throughout the day.

Whenever I tried to schedule tasks, I'll have walk-in customers, a family crisis (gotta pick up the kid from school - she fell down in the playground), or other outside influences beyond my control. These outside influences can oftentimes destroy my carefully laid out day.

The best I've found is to just schedule time blocks of 30 minutes to 2 hours of "uninterruptible" time and try to go through my Big Rocks or OmniFocus list. I never try to schedule individual tasks to a certain time. Life is too uncertain.
 
@wilsonng: I certainly don't schedule every task but I must schedule the big ones. My schedule is often quickly occupied by having to be part of some advisory board/conference call. If I do not plan my big tasks (rocks) several weeks ahead, my calendar is going to be plastered with all sorts of stuff from others. I get a lot of "I need you on this call at such and so date, can you make it?" Most of these requests are genuine/valid, but if I constantly say yes to them, I won't get anything else done.

Planning once a week, several weeks ahead works well for me. Tasks may turn out to require more or less time that is fine with me. I simply add follow up tasks if needed or shift other stuff in the calendar a bit if I need to make a deadline or put in some simple tasks if I have time left over.

OF appears to have no connection between recognizing tasks and actually scheduling them. It seems to assume that ones calendar is entirely blank in the morning... Weird. OF has part of a schedule: the start and due date (which should have been start, stop and due dates IMHO). So clearly, omni does recognize that tasks need to be scheduled at some point. But OF does not make it easy to link/sync these to the calendar. It does due dates - that is nice, but is is not a schedule.

Its all a bit clunky to me...
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yohst View Post
OF appears to have no connection between recognizing tasks and actually scheduling them. It seems to assume that ones calendar is entirely blank in the morning... Weird.
GTD generally distinguishes between scheduled or time-dependent tasks and next actions that you can do at any time. Omnifocus is a place for next actions. Scheduled and time-dependent tasks go on the calendar.

I don't think Omnifocus assumes your calendar is blank, I think it assumes that the stuff that has to be done today "or it's dead" (in David Allen terminology) _is_ on your calendar, that you do that first, and that the stuff in Omnifocus is generally non-time-dependent next actions.

(if scheduling every task works for you, by all means go for it, but Omnifocus isn't really built to schedule things in that way because GTD doesn't encourage scheduling things in that way)
 
 


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