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The old Next action in parallel project thing Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I don't mean to rehash what I know is a old issue, but as I'm digging into OF, I got bit by this behavior. I searched the forums, and read some old threads and understand that there is a GTD convention at play here:

http://forums.omnigroup.com/showpost...62&postcount=2

"the Religion of GTD permits only one next action per project, regardless of the sequential or parallel setting."

It seems that people new to OF will continue to be confused as to why all items in a parallel project aren't "Next" (like the behavior seen for single action lists/Buckets).

I know one has to guard against feature creep, but it seems a simple pref would be warranted that reads (with radio button choice):

For Parallel projects:
First Item in list is considered as Next
All items are considered as Next

I don't view lots of choices in prefs a bad thing - to me they really aren't the same thing as feature bloat.

The engineering is already done, because this is exactly how buckets behave now...

-P
 
It seems to me that a parallel project is the logical equivalent of a bucket. So the available actions should look and function like those in a bucket.
 
Making parallel tasks work like buckets makes the most sense to me. I.e., just eliminate the distinction between "available" or "next" or whatever. Parallel tasks are all next actions (because any one of them can be done to move the project forward) and only the first action of a sequential project is a next action.

I was surprised to see the distinction when I first used OmniFocus... it does not help to "get things done". Yes, you can differentiate between "unrelated single actions" and "related parallel actions", but, honestly, so what? They will all get checked off soon anyway (well, hopefully :-).

I would definitely not want to see more pref bloat for such a minor thing, though.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ptone View Post
"the Religion of GTD permits only one next action per project, regardless of the sequential or parallel setting."

It seems that people new to OF will continue to be confused as to why all items in a parallel project aren't "Next" (like the behavior seen for single action lists/Buckets)

-P
As you say, as a new user, I was confused as to why parallel items are not considered next actions. Then I learned how "Available" worked.

Still, for clarity purposes, I think "next" should mean next, and that parallel items should show up when someone chooses "Next Actions". Let's match the meaning of a word with the actual function of a selection!

I do appreciate having the two choices, just not the names chosen for them.

How would I use what is now called "Next Actions" ... Well, I could see that if I wanted some extra focus, to eliminate clutter and narrow down tasks, there are times when I may want to choose one task to keep a project moving. It's kind of like a narrowing of "Next Action" to "Which Next Action" for a project.

It's common sense, for a parallel project, that "Next Action" should select all of the parallel items.
 
As you say, this was extensively debated before on the forums: I also had an email conversation with Omni about it. IIRC the reason they settled on the current system was that preference for the 2 ways of doing things was about 50:50, so they though this was the best compromise. A preference would be nice, but I can live with it the way it is - I just have my filter permanently set to "available" in context view. :)

As an aside, you can copy the style of a next action (select one, hit format > copy style) and paste it onto an available one (format > paste style), then all the available actions will look like next ones. You still have to set your filter to available, of course.
 
As a contributor to the ancient debate on this issue, I'll limit my response now to one remark and one corollary:

Remark: If all actions in a parallel project are considered Next, then there is no difference between Next and Available actions.

Corollary: if you find the distinction between Next and Available actions unhelpful, simply change the styling of one of the two so that they look identical, and then always use the Available filter rather than the Next filter.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Journey View Post
It's common sense, for a parallel project, that "Next Action" should select all of the parallel items.
I always use "available" and leave "next" to those who adhere to GTD and who like "next" as it's defined there. However, a "next action" to me does not mean a bunch of actions. It's the next action. Even for a parallel project. Allen is quite specific about that, which is why I'm happy Omni introduced "available" for people like me.
 
 


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