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BZ, why would you want to know all that? What will you actually do with that information? Whereas a simple running item count of the inbox will tell you how many items you need to get processed that day (and how many items remain). Processed would mean moving the item(s) into an existing project, starting a new project, or just dealing with that one item. Personally, I don't want to know how many total tasks I've got, or how many projects I've got going. It seems like information overload to me. Knowing the work that needs to be done that day seems far more focused, valuable and GTD-like than what you're suggesting.
I want to know all of that because when I am in "Focus" mode I want to know what I am focusing on. Is it all of the things? Half? A quarter?

I agree it is not very "GTD" like, but there are some things that an application can add to help beyond GTD.

GTD also doesn't mention anything about history, but that, I have found, is very useful in terms of digging up things to do.

A simple indicator, at the bottom of the screen, wouldn't get in your face, but would let you know if you are in focus mode or not, which I think is good design.

Why bother to have word, sentence and paragraph count in a word processor?

Same with OmniFocus ... just because you don't need something doesn't mean it shouldn't be there for me. (sorry if this sounds snarky).

I can see another use for the counts ... if I get used to having around 100 active Tasks/subprojects, and over the course of a few weeks the number shifts a lot, it means I'm falling behind -- either with recording tasks or with doing them.

It would be very nice to have a Stats preference that would allow us to set the statistics we see in a bottom bar ... maybe in v2.0?

here's a crazy idea for the inbox

If you've seen Ethan's recent screencasts about cleaning up one's desktop, he advocates using Hazel to have files that you haven't looked for a few days be automatically deleted. It forces you to get disciplined about processing your junk.

What about an expirary date on inbox items, to enforce the very GTD-esque inbox processing discipline?

...too dangerous?
Originally Posted by markbrown00
What about an expirary date on inbox items, to enforce the very GTD-esque inbox processing discipline?

...too dangerous?
Certainly too dangerous if you can't turn the feature off when you take a 10 day backpacking trek.

What might work better is color coding ... someone on these boards suggested starting with a pale background tint, deepening until it was 100% saturated. Having tasks in the inbox scream RED would get my attention.

perhaps, rather than an inbox item expiring after 10 days of inattention from it's creation date, it would could expire after the item is ignored 10 times. Each time you open your inbox you would be incrementing the expiary counter on inbox items by 1. This would prevent your backpacking problem.

But it is starting to get a little convoluted now.
kGTD has a color code aging system which seems to work ok. Personally, I rather just filter on age than have something change color.

My, this is becoming an interesting and rather protracted discussion. Thanks again, Mark, for starting it.

BZ and Liz, I think the main point of our disagreement is in the display of information rather than the access to it. For example, I use DevonThink every single day, and it has a feature called Database Properties. Click on it and you can find out everything you ever wanted to know about that particular database--twelve different summaries actually--such as number of words, number of HTML pages, and so on. So, if I wanted to know how many pimples there are on the grand butt of my database, I would simply click on that, look at it and say, "Oh, how nice!"

And, to your point, Liz, on word, paragraph and sentence count, most of the better writing programs that I am aware of--and I do not include MS Word in that category--provide access to that information either on a constant basis by preference or when selected, but they are not constantly staring you in the face. And even in Word, while I grant you that word count appears at the bottom of the page (e.g. 12/155), paragraph and sentence count are only available when Word Count is selected in the Tools menu. (Maybe they are at the bottom of the page, but I've never seen them.)

So, when BZ says that he wants to be able to look down at any moment and see a running count of all of his tasks and all of his projects, fine. I don't. Therefore, it seems to me that the best way to satisfy both would be the option to turn such a feature on or off, or to have it accessible like DevonThink. Come to think of it, perhaps that option should apply also to the inbox item count (the actual start of this thread); some would want it, some wouldn't.

One last point: With OF, didn't Omni set out to design an app based on key GTD principles? If so, then let's not be so quick to dismiss those principles out of hand, especially one as basic as staying focused like a laser on your next action steps (do this and your projects will take care of themselves). It seems to me that to stray too far afield from those basic tenets would be in keeping with designing some other project management program, but not one modeled after GTD.
I don't want to get into a GTD vs Non-GTD here but...

Maybe I am not being clear.

The problem right now is if you are in Focus mode (feature of OmniFocus) other than the button in the toolbar, you cannot see the other things (projects/folders/etc). I was suggesting a simple little status bar at the bottom of the screen just giving a quick indication of what you were looking at.

It wouldn't/shouldn't be any more in your face than any status bar at the bottom of any application (Firefox/OmniWeb/etc).

A preference to show and hide it would be nice for those who don't care.

i just noticed that the quick entry box gives you an inbox item count... perhaps that already fits my needs. Although it would be nice to see the same count in context view

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