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A curiosity question. When you have all of your data in your OmniFocus database, everything set up the way you want, and have a current view of what you, what is your total number of current actions look like? (I know the answer might be different depending upon what contexts/perspectives you use.)

I'm just wondering -- on an average day when you are actually in the midst of doing stuff, how many actions are you typically staring at?
 
My "Today" perspective is the first one I look at. It is a context perspective with the following filters:

Context Filter: Active
Grouping: Context
Sorting: Due
Availability Filter: Available
Status Filter: Due or Flagged
Estimated Time Filter: Any Duration


I figured that the next actions I should work on first are anything that is due within the next 7 days and a very small handful of "flagged" tasks. Every week, I choose unflag everything and then start flagging the group of non-urgent but important tasks that I want to focus on for the week.

I'll work on just these next actions in my Today perspective. If I'm done with these tasks, then I'll go to my "Available" perspective. It is the same as the Today perspective but I changed the Status Filter to "Any". This lets me look at all of the other available next actions I can work on. But I don't go to this perspective until I finish my Today perspective.

If you see all of your available next actions, you might just go crazy and depressed at seeing a massive laundry list that seems to never shrink.


At this moment, my Today perspective has 9 actions. Two next actions are due and seven next actions are flagged).

My Available perspective has 43 next actions that I could actually do.

It's easier to look at a list of 9 actions that you are focused on doing this week. If I had to stare at my Available perspective with 43 next actions, I'd probably feel really miserable right now. Because 43 sounds like a big number and I'll feel like completing 1 action will be like a drop in the bucket. But if I finish 1 out of the 9 actions in my Today perspective, I'll gain more confidence that I'm closer to achieving this week's goals.

Stay focused by looking at the Today perspective. I lose focus on what I want to do today if I'm staring at my Available perspective.

That's the point of OmniFocus' perspective feature. Look at all of your tasks through different filters or perspectives. One perspective to look at Errands only tasks. Another perspective that focuses on work tasks. Another perspective for just home tasks. Another perspective for errands. You can create your own Today perspective to focus on what you want to do today and not look at something that is due next month.

Last edited by wilsonng; 2014-02-11 at 05:08 PM..
 
I've been using OF since it was Kinkless GTD, but it took me a long time to understand the value of hiding as many actions as possible. So now I try to find a way to keep my today list under 5 items to start. Actually, three items seems to work even better, especially if any of those items requires concentrated focus (for example preparing a documents for a couple of hours).

The beauty of OF is that if you finish the 3-5 items on your list, it's not that hard to queue up another 3-5 items.

Often, I'll simply take this list of 3-5 items and put it somewhere else. On a piece of paper, in a text editor, in Trello, etc. But you could probably use the flagging function of OF to accomplish the same end.

The key for me is eliminating the distraction of all the items in OF and just focusing on what needs to be in front of me now.
 
In the morning I start with ALL the items, as I like to do a daily project review (my Review is set to 1 day).

Then I star the items that MUST be done today. I have a view that is designed to see Flagged items, and next task. (Like Wilsong's view).

Plus I have a view with all Next Actions so that if time is not appropriate for the TODAY items, I will work on something that is Next Task.
 
 


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