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today status - feature request Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucas View Post
You might try setting the Next Action filter in context mode and grouping by context, which will give you the list of contexts you selected for your top-rated tasks in all of your projects.

If you have a lot of due dates, you might take the approach of setting your due soon horizon to a week and then use the due soon filter and group by context to get the list of the contexts you'll need to be in in the next week.
Thank you for the suggestion. That would be a partial solution, but I really think an important part of planning is figuring-out what Contexts will be required in a given time frame and giving some thought to the most efficient way to "be in" those Contexts - considering their nature (Phone vs. Chicago, etc.) and what is on the hard landscape (must travel to Chicago, need not travel to Phone, etc.).
 
Part of what I feel is missing could be satisfied by a minor change to OF and a minor change to iCal (beyond our reach, I know).

1) OF could have a "Do Date" field in each Action Item (just one additional field!) and the export from OF for iPhone could send that date (rather than Due date) with the Action Item to iCal (and send it as a To Do item), and
2) iCal on iPhone and iPad could show To Do items (which, Apple has not done for some reason).

That would get me a long way toward my "Hot List & Appt" screen (add a couple tools for quickly re-assigning "Do" date, and I would be pretty happy - even though I still think there is lots of opportunity here.)
 
I thought the "start" date would be the equivalent of "OK, you can start doing this task on this date because it is now available"?

I set the start date for "Prepare my 1040 taxes" on February 1st of each year. I assume that I have already received all the necessary tax documents by February 1st. Because the start date is February 1, it pops up in my context list as being available. Thus, I can "do" this project.

Perhaps I read your post wrong?

Last edited by wilsonng; 2010-06-29 at 08:50 PM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JorBru View Post
I think David Allen would agree that some thought about when a task is to be completed is part of the process.
No, actually I think he would disagree. Nothing I have ever read by David Allen has mentioned this level of formal task planning. The only mention of when a task is to be completed is what he calls "hard landscape", tasks that absolutely must be completed at a certain time. And these are generally imposed by outside forces NOT our own desire to do the action at a particular time.

Quote:
To the extent that I have captured Context and Estimated Time data for action items, the system could tell me when I have an impossible plan (either because it requires more than 24 hours in a day, or incompatible Contexts, such as being in Boston and Chicago on the same afternoon).
As it stands OF (and GTD) can never create for you an "impossible plan" because the system doesn't impose it's will upon you, it merely offers suggestions on what you might do next based a a few criteria, context, time available, etc. You are asking for the addition of a "Do date" which could lead to plans that are impossible to achieve and is going to need the addition of a conflict resolution system.

Quote:
add a couple tools for quickly re-assigning "Do" date
And, as you say, conflict resolution will require extra tools because no tool can guess which tasks can be deferred even with the addition of prioritization (please no!). You will ultimately spend more time administering your lists than actually doing the work. Something David Allen points to as a failing in other systems.

Quote:
I don't see a conflict with GTD here. Rather, I see this as a more complete implementation of Allen's vision.
This is polar opposite to GTD.

Quote:
Not recognizing those impossible plans means not realizing that Action due dates might not be met. As the work day/week wear on, there are inevitable disruptions to the plan - the sooner that the implications of such disruptions are understood the better. Often, the most important tasks to be completed are important not because their due date is approaching but because their Context is available now and will not be available again in sufficient time for a downstream task to be completed.
So because of a seemingly simple addition like a Today List we have opened ourselves up to additional work of pre-planning our tasks, while trying to avoid impossible plans, and then having to re-plan everything due "inevitable disruptions" ("Inevitable disruptions to the plan" are one of the reasons David Allen argues against Today lists.). None of which is actually doing work. Doesn't sound like stress free productivity to me.

Quote:
Where OF disappoints is as a planning tool,...
Just as a screw driver will disappoint as a tool to hammer in nails.
Omnifocus isn't a planning tool, it's a personal productivity tool. You should take a look at OmniPlan instead.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsonng View Post
I thought the "start" date would be the equivalent of "OK, you can start doing this task on this date because it is now available"?

I set the start date for "Prepare my 1040 taxes" on February 1st of each year. I assume that I have already received all the necessary tax documents by February 1st. Because the start date is February 1, it pops up in my context list as being available. Thus, I can "do" this project.

Perhaps I read your post wrong?
You could begin working on your tax return on Feb 1st (though maybe you could be more detailed and have Actions such as "Receive 1099 from ___" etc. as pre-requisites).

However, you may have no intention of beginning work on your tax return on Feb 1 this year (does Feb 1 fall on a weekend? do you already know that you will not be home?). There are a whole variety of reasons why you might know ahead of time that your Tax Return is not something you want to see on your 'hot list' until some later date. If a change happens, and you find yourself wondering what step to take next - a quick look at the current Context would still show Tax Return as something that is available (assuming you are at Home, it is Feb1 or later, and all forms have arrived) to work on - but when everything is going according to plan I don't want to see Tax Return on today's list.

Start date is still Feb 1 (pending receipt of necessary forms, etc.) and Due date is still April 15 (or enough earlier that you can complete the job). But "Do" date is more fluid. A recurring task such as Tax Return would likely have the same Start and Due dates every year, but would have different "Do" date each year (and the "Do" date this year is likely to get pushed around).

You can mark a task with a Flag on the day you intend to do it. There are two problems with this. 1) You can't set the Flag to appear on a future date (and Start date is not what we want to change - especially with a recurring task that will re-use the new start date), and 2) it is cumbersome to turn Flags on and off in the iPhone version.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by henry View Post
No, actually I think he would disagree. Nothing I have ever read by David Allen has mentioned this level of formal task planning. The only mention of when a task is to be completed is what he calls "hard landscape", tasks that absolutely must be completed at a certain time. And these are generally imposed by outside forces NOT our own desire to do the action at a particular time.
hmmm. I'll have to re-read some DA. It is, to me, so obviously a part of planning to give some thought to when certain tasks (not all) will be worked-on that I can't imagine not doing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by henry View Post
As it stands OF (and GTD) can never create for you an "impossible plan" because the system doesn't impose it's will upon you, it merely offers suggestions on what you might do next based a a few criteria, context, time available, etc. You are asking for the addition of a "Do date" which could lead to plans that are impossible to achieve and is going to need the addition of a conflict resolution system.
Did I say OF could create an impossible plan for me? I meant it would allow me to create an impossible plan.

It certainly permits that now. I can add lots of Action Items with Due dates for this Friday. I can add many more than can be accomplished in the remaining time. I can even tell OF the Estimated Completion of each of these, and it will not give me any indication that I am over-extended.

So, yes. I am asking for an additional data field - but more importantly I am asking for a more complete solution.

Quote:
And, as you say, conflict resolution will require extra tools because no tool can guess which tasks can be deferred even with the addition of prioritization (please no!). You will ultimately spend more time administering your lists than actually doing the work. Something David Allen points to as a failing in other systems.

This is polar opposite to GTD.
But this is exactly my complaint. OF does not currently provide a list of work to be done now. A major tenant of GTD is that there is no point in seeing lots of items on a to do list that have no prospect of being completed now. OF only eliminates from view those items that have an uncompleted pre-requisite or are not yet "available". What about letting me exclude other items that I know I don't what to think about today?


Quote:
So because of a seemingly simple addition like a Today List we have opened ourselves up to additional work of pre-planning our tasks, while trying to avoid impossible plans, and then having to re-plan everything due "inevitable disruptions" ("Inevitable disruptions to the plan" are one of the reasons David Allen argues against Today lists.). None of which is actually doing work. Doesn't sound like stress free productivity to me.
I'm not suggesting more work. You already do some sort of Daily and Weekly review. I just want more benefit from that time.

No need to pre-plan your tasks if you don't wish to. In fact, since the "Today" list would be a perspective that you could delete, there is no need for you to see it at all.

DA also argues against a tech solution more sophisticated than what could be done with paper and pencil. With OF, we have a computerized system that could be eliminating some clerical work. It would be nice to see more creativity in its design so it did more than just present filtered lists.

By avoiding the issue, OF forces us to maintain off-line lists - a much greater inefficiency. There is much info that the system could gather from us (during a regular review) that would help with those disruptions. The person that isn't planning ahead isn't being as effective as possible. The person that plans ahead with a different tool is doubling-up on some data-entry/maintenance.


Quote:
Just as a screw driver will disappoint as a tool to hammer in nails.
Omnifocus isn't a planning tool, it's a personal productivity tool. You should take a look at OmniPlan instead.
OmniPlan is great for managing more resources, but we are talking about personal productivity.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elektroglide View Post
there are multiple workarounds for a today type perspective in omnifocus. lots of posts about how to filter this or that, due/start etc etc.

however, these workarounds all miss the main point of a "today" list, which is that the items aren't necessarily related to any specific thing or date (and therefore can't be filtered). what things on a today list have in common - the only thing - is that there is some intention to do it or in some way focus on it today.

this involves intuition, spontaneity, emotion, energy and other resource levels, etc. the decision to include an item is a human one as well as a binary one.

the today list is primarily about focusing just on specific selected items in a specific timeframe, and excluding all else. what goes on that list, as i have said, involves many more factors than can be assigned within omnifocus or any software.

using flags for today as many have suggested monopolises the feature and excludes it from other purposes, making the flag a de facto dedicated today feature.

there are pros and cons in having a today list on which items appear when due. however, having the feature doesn't mean that it has to be used - there can easily be options for not having due items appear in it, or one can simply ignore it.

there is no way round it - today is a valuable feature for real world focus enhancement. there are good reasons why so many things users like it, and i think it should be added to the omnifocus feature list.

(ninjas have received my vote for a today feature)
I have used both programs in the past, but I always come back to OF for its flexibility, OTA syncs, and efficiency (ease of data entry/manipulation).

One thing I never understood is why people have such a difficult time emulating Things' today's list in OF. OF can more or less emulate Things' Today list and much more.

I have a perspective called Today that pretty much emulates Things's Today with one exception of manually moving tasks within the list, but then I get the option to group the tasks by context, projects, due, or start dates.

Of course, I can set up other perspectives to suit my other work flows as well. I have a perspective that lists all the remaining actions grouped by due dates; so that I can scan the future work load at a glance during my weekly or morning planning. This is just one example of many.

So, I for one, would take OF over Things given that OF can be customized to fit my work flow rather than I have to change my work flow to suit the program's rigid structure.

Another thing I have learned using both programs is that I was spending way too much time trying to overcome the limitations and rigidity of Things rather than getting my work done, which is why OF is more productive and valuable for me.

YMMV.
 
there are multiple workarounds for a today type perspective in omnifocus. lots of posts about how to filter this or that, due/start etc etc.

however, these workarounds all miss the main point of a "today" list, which is that the items aren't necessarily related to any specific thing or date (and therefore can't be filtered). what things on a today list have in common - the only thing - is that there is some intention to do it or in some way focus on it today.

this involves intuition, spontaneity, emotion, energy and other resource levels, etc. the decision to include an item is a human one as well as a binary one.

the today list is primarily about focusing just on specific selected items in a specific timeframe, and excluding all else. what goes on that list, as i have said, involves many more factors than can be assigned within omnifocus or any software.

using flags for today as many have suggested monopolises the feature and excludes it from other purposes, making the flag a de facto dedicated today feature.

there are pros and cons in having a today list on which items appear when due. however, having the feature doesn't mean that it has to be used - there can easily be options for not having due items appear in it, or one can simply ignore it.

there is no way round it - today is a valuable feature for real world focus enhancement. there are good reasons why so many things users like it, and i think it should be added to the omnifocus feature list.

(ninjas have received my vote for a today feature)
 
Any chance you could stop spamming multiple threads with this, elektroglide?
 
multiple threads. same valid point, sufficiently made to my satisfaction.

spam... big word.
 
 


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