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Ok I just upgrade to Omni Focus last month from Things and kind of overwhelmed. Sorry if these questions have already been asked and answered. I have the Mac version, iphone and ipad several areas I am having problem with - I was hoping to get some help with.

1. One of the problem I am having is trying to figure out what I am doing daily - in regards to start dates. I put a bunch of start dates on actions and followed the David Sparks video on perspectives (Today, Available Context & Clear) but I get a bunch of items that don't have any start dates in these. I also do not get everything that has a start date that has passed and also every action in several projects show up on Today with no dates assigned to these at all. I really like the forecast view however if they do not have due dates and the start date was yesterday I can not figure out how to find it.

2. Removed - Answer found

3. Is there any way to add in a next action with a start date but no specific time?

4. My sort by start date is greyed out so I can not select or sort my start date so my next actions are all over the place by date. Can someone tell me what I am doing wrong?

Last edited by iTracy; 2012-11-16 at 08:02 AM..
Welcome to the forums, iTracy! Happy to help.

Regarding the first question: one thing that may be helpful to know is that if you assign a start (or due) date to a project or action group, it not only applies to that item, but to all the items it contain.

(If a project is due today, then by extension, all the items in that project is due today, for example.)

That may explain some of what you're seeing - if there are other items that are still confusing, get in touch with our support ninjas; if you send them some screenshots, we can figure out what's going on here.

If you specify a day but no time for a task, OmniFocus for Mac will have it start at 12:00 that morning. As early as possible on that day, in other words.

Regarding the sorting problem: can you help us help you by letting us know which edition of the app you're having trouble in, and whether you're in context or project mode? That'll give us more info that'll help explain what you're seeing...

Hope this helps, and happy to answer more questions...
I think the first place to start is with your workflow - there are a wide number of possibilities, but this one works for me...

I use start dates to prevent things appearing before I can do anything with them. I tend to put start dates on items rather than on projects.

I only use due dates for the drop-dead deadlines (and then I usually set the date a few days before and tweak the item text so it is clear what is needed e.g. Finalise and submit tax [Pay B4 27 Jan] )

Proper design of projects and nesting using folders and action groups then enables me to distinguish between 'Stuff' and Next Actions.

At this point I have a huge range of next actions that I could do.

Some stuff, like general calls is routine and I know will get done (Use calendar to schedule call and email checking times)

At the start of the day I review those actions and flag as few as possible to indicate 'do today'. I only schedule stuff for about 1/3 of my 'work time'.

Critical calls/emails might be treated as a special action and flagged.

My aim is to ensure that as far as possible, ALL FLAGGED ITEMS ARE COMPLETED TODAY!.

Of course life happens, so occasionally the first thing tomorrow will be to review/remove the flags on any outstanding flagged actions.

Getting a workflow that works for me has taken a while, and still isn't perfect. Reading on the forums might highlight a few alternative workflows that suit you better.

Critical for me was:
  • simplifying my contexts
  • Using my Diary (or day planner) to 'protect' and 'schedule' doing time - blocks for each flagged item.
  • Selecting one 'task of the day' - this has to be done before I go home/to bed.
  • limiting the number of other 'flagged' tasks to 1/3 of my day (I can always find more stuff to do if I have time after all the flagged items are cleared)
  • Stopping all alerts, email prompts and distractions while I am in 'doing' mode (quit mail and messages apps)
  • Making time to properly plan projects (and action groups inside projects) so that only stuff that can be done is visible.

I appreciate that you will already have invested a fair amount of / $ / on the various versions of OF, however I made significant progress in understanding OF when I invested in Kourosh Dini's eBook.

Good Luck.

BTW - What was question 2? - Please leave the original questions but edit to Include the answer you found - someone else might have the same problem and your solution could save them lots of time.

Last edited by philrob; 2012-11-18 at 08:00 AM.. Reason: Spelling

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