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Putting Actions on Hold Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I am converting from iGTD to OF and am trying to decide how to handle tasks that I know I want to do soon but that I do not want to display on my Context view yet. I will use my finance actions as an example problem:

I have a bunch of Single Actions regarding my personal finances. Here are a few examples:

Schedule Bills to be auto drafted on the same day of month
Create a new savings CD
Read an article on investing
Review Budget
Change Life Insurance to be drafted from a different checking account

Currently I have these in a Single Action List called "Single Finances" in a Home:Finances folder. Each Action could be in a different context such as @Errands:Bank, @Home:Computer:Web, etc..

I am trying to avoid having a bunch of these actions showing up in each context or my single action list. It is making these lists too long. In iGTD, i would just mark some of these actions as "Maybe". This would hide the action until I did a weekly or monthly review, then i could re-evaluate if any of these actions are ones that I want to do very soon. I do not see a way in OmniFocus to put specific actions on hold. I can only put Projects and Contexts on hold.. correct?

If this is the case, do you have suggestions on how to handle this? I have been reading through the forums and have found some ideas. The best idea i can come up would be to do something similar to this.

Idea: I could have two Single Action lists in my Home:Finances folder. One would be an On Hold list and another would be a Active list. Then I could set the On Hold to be reviewed each week or each month.

Problem: This results in a lot of single action lists. If i do this for each category (ex. Finances, Health, Home Repairs, etc..), I will end up with a lot of lists.

I understand creating projects like "Create a budget" and putting that on hold, but it is difficult for single actions.
How do all of you handle this?
Do you have any better suggestions?
Thanks!
 
Three ways to handle it that I can think of, two of which you mentioned.

1. Create a separate project/single action list and mark it as "on hold". I wouldn't do this unless, as you mentioned, you really wanted it to be a separate project.

2. Put it into a context that you have marked as "on hold". This puts all those items that are similar in the fact that you don't want to deal right now, though dissimilar in other ways (different projects) into one spot to review when you are ready (weekly?). I am getting used to this and think it's often the right solution for me.

3. Assign a future start date. If you know when you want to deal with it, then you can make it "disappear" until then. It will remain in the proper context and project, and can be seen there by setting your view bar to "remaining" or "all" but won't show when you're looking at active/available items only. I use this a lot to push things ahead. For example, if I know that I want to clean out the garage during Thanksgiving week, I can set a start date accordingly. I can build the project with all the proper actions/contexts and I just won't see them show up until then. I use these often to hide M-F things I think about on the weekend, and vice versa.

I'm personally starting to utilize the on-hold context more for the 'I think I'd like to do this in a week or two or three' type things. Because if I have to keep changing the start date, it's a bit disheartening. Also, sometimes when reviewing on hold things, the mood strikes me and I can knock out something earlier than I would have seen it if I had guessed at a start date.
 
malisa,

Thanks for the response.

Option #2) I like this option. How many on hold contexts do you have? I am thinking that I would have one corresponding to each Life Area (@Work:On Hold, @Home:On Hold)

The only problem with this is that there is no way to view all on hold items for a given context. So if I am at home on my computer and just want to see if there is anything on hold that maybe i should work on now, i cant really do that. I would have to scan the entire @Home:On Hold context.

Option #3) I agree, I do not like moving start dates around.
 
I just have one, but now that I think of it only my home actions get assigned to it. My work set up tends to lend itself more to putting full projects on hold, so the thought hasn't come up.

That being said, I've just recently made this switch based on something I read here. I'd do a search here for on hold and waiting to read some good recent stuff. I can't recall the thread.
 
I found this post which has already discussed this:
http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=8079
I put my vote in!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ngilmore031 View Post
I found this post which has already discussed this:
http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=8079
I put my vote in!
It's my understanding that Omni tracks requests based on feedback submitted via Help>Send feedback, rather than forum posts, so be sure to do that as well if it's something you want to ask them for.
 
Just a note/tip.
Single actions should be relatively rare. You should be more liberal with what you consider to be a project and much more granular with your "next actions". Most of the single actions you mentioned above for example are indeed projects. The "next action" should be something dead-simple and easy to perform with virtually no mental resistance. What is the first physical action that you need to perform to "Create a new savings CD" for example?
Currently "Create a new savings CD" is an "open loop" because you have think about how you would start doing that.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by colicoid View Post
Just a note/tip.
Single actions should be relatively rare. You should be more liberal with what you consider to be a project and much more granular with your "next actions". Most of the single actions you mentioned above for example are indeed projects. The "next action" should be something dead-simple and easy to perform with virtually no mental resistance. What is the first physical action that you need to perform to "Create a new savings CD" for example?
Currently "Create a new savings CD" is an "open loop" because you have think about how you would start doing that.
colicoid,
Thanks for the tip. I have tried reviewing my lists but i still see a lot single actions that really are just actions.
"Create a new savings CD" really is only a single action. I should have worded it differently. Maybe, "Fill out online application for flex CD on Bank of America website". But that is the only step i need to do for that. I see no reason to create a project.

I also have a bunch of just random things like:

Read an article related to Java Development (@Computer:Web)
Kobe (@Errands:Restaurants )
Archive Data in OmniFocus (@Computer)
Discuss lights in parking lot (@Agendas:Meetings:Monday Meeting)
Create a twitter account (@Computer:Web)
Take GTI to VW Dealer for 2 Recall Fixes (@Errands:Auto)
Find a remote for TV downstairs on Ebay (@Computer:Web)

So, I still seem to have a lot of these and I would like to be able to put the ones on hold that I do not want to do right away.
 
That's just the kind of thing I put in an on-hold Someday/Maybe folder. At review time, things move in and out of that folder depending on my aspirations for the next week.
 
Im not saying single-actions don't exist or anything. I'm simply saying that people in general way too often throw projects with multiple actions into a SAL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ngilmore031 View Post
"Create a new savings CD" really is only a single action. I should have worded it differently. Maybe, "Fill out online application for flex CD on Bank of America website". But that is the only step i need to do for that. I see no reason to create a project.
If I asked you to start filling out that form RIGHT NOW, I bet you couldn't do it. You would have to go to the bank of america website first. You would probably need to find the form hiding on some webpage there first. You might even have to log in to to fill it out. There might be information that you need to gather before you can complete the form. I'm not exactly sure what a flex CD is but there might be other stuff too. Microscopic tasks like this create mental resistance that in turn creates avoidance behavior. But lets not get silly, maybe this action really is a single action to you; maybe you hav the address memorized and maybe its just a question of typing in your email and press a button. Maybe you do this 3 times a week and its all natural to you. In that case sure. Otherwise you might need to put a next action in there...

The trick is to bypass all the nightmare-ish thoughs about the task that your brain conjures up and trick your brain into letting you start the task. Once you get going you usually realise that it wasn't so bad and you can safely complete the rest of it.

E.g. If you have a mentally taxing document to write, your brain often won't let you. If you can somehow fool yourself into thinking: "I'm not actually going to write the document, I'm just going to open Word and type type in the title of it" - the rest of the document usually sort of writes itself.

This is one of the corner stones of GTD but I didn't think of it in this way until very recently and I've been doing this for a fare amount of time.

And yes, the need to put individual actions to on-hold is absolutely there.
Email omni about it otherwise they won't put a vote towards it in their database.
 
 


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