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I'm trying to use OmniFocus after a long hiatus and dreading looking at my sea of tasks. I'm right back into my old problem of not knowing how to prioritize.

In my understanding of GTD, priority is simply the order you list tasks. That makes perfect sense within projects, which is the only place you choose this order priority. However organizing projects by priority is much more difficult. Every task in one project won't always be higher priority than every task in another project.

So how do I get a reasonable prioritized ordering in context view when I have tons of tasks with hierarchies of subtasks?

It seems having a separate order for use in the context view might solve this problem, although it could be difficult to determine exactly how it should work. Basically, I'd like to determine how tasks from different projects are interleaved.

So if I have these projects:

Take care of finances
- Hire tax accountant
Stay Healthy
- Get scary mole checked
- Make dentist appointment
- Plan a hike

I can reorganize those in context view to:

- Get scary mole checked
- Hire tax accountant
- Make dentist appointment
- Plan ahike

Obviously I could set due dates and sort by date, or use some other hack, but dates get stale and are arbitrary in many cases, and since order is core to GTD, why not let me order tasks in different projects within the context view?

Technically, if I reorder tasks relative to each other that are in the same project, this would also reorder them within the project hierarchy, and vice versa. This could cause OmniFocus to make some arbitrary decisions about ordering when something changes, but I believe that a simple default behavior would make this predictable and intutitive.

Yeah, if you read Getting Things Done again, I do not believe you will find any emphasis on making large lists sorted by priority. In fact, you'll see the opposite. DA is very much a proponent of making a decision as you complete each task as to what the most appropriate thing to do next is, and rejects the notion of creating a daily to-do list.

Look at your tasks. If there are some that are overdue, or due today, do them. Next, take a look at the projects and select a handful of tasks which you think are important, and flag them. Work on the flagged tasks until the day is done or the list is empty. If the latter, and you still have time and energy, repeat the process. Don't make it too complicated; don't waste a lot of time prioritizing or otherwise fiddling instead of doing.
We do have a feature request open on the ability to reorder things in context view without affecting their order in Project view; I'll attach your post to that item in the development database, mitchm. Thanks!

In current versions of the software, I use an approach fairly close to what Bill describes. Flag the most important 8-10 tasks, make as much progress on them as I can, grab a few more, and so forth. That keeps cycles short enough to keep me responsive to changing conditions while still letting me knock out items for stretches of time. Hope that helps!
Hey Brian,

The 8-10 items per cycle solution actually seems to be a very good approach. Although it would also be great to know some more about the priority of the "reorder items in context views" request. Could you shed any light on whether to expect something like this in the next weeks, months or galaxy? Tnx :-)


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