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How do I prioritize next actions?!?!?!? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I'm the kind of person that gets VERY overwhelmed when I see 55 things in front of me that I have to (or want to) do - so much so that I wind up getting absolutely nothing done when this happens, because I can't figure out what deserves my attention at any given moment and I kind of surrender. With that in mind, I'm trying to figure out how to prioritize my next action items. I have no problem with my "due today and flagged" perspective, as that is FAIRLY shoter and much easier to manage...the problem occurs once I've accomplished those tasks and move onto my next actions. Upon opening up the perspective, I'm prompted with bunch of next tasks, all of which I want to tackle. The problem is....for example, if I'm in front of my computer and I choose all the next tasks in the "@ computer" context, I see 10-15 items, all of which are assigned to "live" projects (not on hold) and I have a hard time figuring out which is more meaningful. If I only have 30 mins to get things done and most of the items are less than 15-20 mins or so, I can't figure out what to do first. I think I'm actually getting down to the core of a much more fundimental problem of mine (ADD???) but I'm wondering if anyone else falls into the same boat and how they solve this. Maybe I need a good book/read? Thanks in advance.

I just realized this post is pretty similar to my last post (reg errands), sorry for the coincidence, I didn't mean to (semi) double post, I really just noticed now. I guess I'm really facing a crippling problem here.
If they are all important, and you're having trouble deciding, why not just do the first one on the list, and spend the time getting something done instead of agonizing over which thing to do next? Part of the thinking behind the Getting Things Done system which inspired OmniFocus is that you can minimize the time spent choosing what you do by breaking projects down into appropriate next actions.
i agree, it's very tough to focus on the absolutely most important next action when there is a big list. I'm new to omnifocus and gtd and i've heard other people mention shortening their list by using "contexts", but that doesn't as almost all of my projects are at my computer and breaking them down by function isnt really meaningful by my work (except for breaking out email so i can focus on only doing emails). maybe that can work for you. other thing i'm starting to try is flagged items and just break down review cycles to smaller intervals. review active projects at least every day maybe once in the morning once in the afternoon (not necessarily with the review functionality but just a quick scan of the overall projects). then you can review the onhold projects weekly or at some larger interval.

if not, maybe someone has any good solutions for dealing with 20 active projects and next actions?
I have developed a couple of tricks. The most important one is to use due dates very sparingly - for non-negotiable rather than aspirational timelines. You can then, when reviewing a project, push the start date into the future instead of using the due date for planning purposes. In other words, an active task that you do not intend to tackle this afternoon can be pushed forward to tomorrow or next week. This reduces the bloat of your 'today' view and makes the most urgent stuff stand out more. In addition, I use the flags. I would actually really like two different colours, so I could use one set to flag work priorities and another one for home tasks. In the absence of that option I have started adding @1 to the description of high priority work tasks. That is a quick and easy way of making next tasks searchable across projects. Hope these thoughts are of use.


Last edited by ozengo; 2012-01-30 at 01:44 AM..
When I'm looking at more work than I can possibly do today, I pick a few things NOT to do. I set their start dates to tomorrow or next week. Now I've got a smaller list of available tasks that I can get my head around.
Forster's AutoFocus system is basically an algorithm for going through a long list of tasks. for directions. (It's free).

I keep going back to it, even while trying to stay better organized with OF. This thread has made me think that the two might work well together.

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