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Marking actions for attention today Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I thought I had posted this question yesterday but can''t find the post. Sorry if it is a duplicate.

I have been using omnioutliner for years as a todo list. Every day I moved items for that day into a "Today" list. This is very useful for me as it lists what I want to achieve that day and gives me a record of what I have achieved as I check them off.

I'm looking for something similar but more sophisticated in Omnifocus. I can, of course, do the same, i.e. move them into a project called "today." I am hoping however, that there is some way I can leave the items in the projects they are associated with and tag them as items for attention today, somehow. I could flag each item and sort for flagged items, but I would prefer something a bit more sophisticated.

What would be ideal would be a way I could give today as a start date and then they would stay at the top of the list or on a list by themselves until I mark them completed.

I've tried giving the actions for today a start date of today and sorting by start, but they still show up under their project in the order of the projects established in the project column, not with actions for today at the top of the list.

I want the actions for today or that have already started but not completed to show up at the top of the list, or in a list by themselves.

Anyone know how to do this?

Thanks,

--Kenoli
 
Try looking at the actions in Context mode, grouped by start date, sorted by project. Close the group at the top labeled "Start any time", and check the Restore: Expansion box in the Perspectives window when you save the perspective.
 
imo the workarounds via context mode don't fulfil adequately the need for a dedicated today feature, as in cc things.

today i again wanted to regroup, and get a simple list of items to do now, grouped together, and re-orderable - useful for when mental ram is low.

OF doesn't allow this, and it's a serious omission for me.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elektroglide View Post
imo the workarounds via context mode don't fulfil adequately the need for a dedicated today feature, as in cc things.

today i again wanted to regroup, and get a simple list of items to do now, grouped together, and re-orderable - useful for when mental ram is low.

OF doesn't allow this, and it's a serious omission for me.
I am experiencing some similar issues with OF, as reflected in my original question, which the "context" workaround described above doesn't fully address.

I have learned something from OF, which is to think more in terms of "projects" per se and completing projects. On the other hand, this is not always the way actions in my life are organized. Sometimes there is just a list of things I want to do today, not actually associated with a larger project. In a work, business, "enterprise" setting (not mine) I presume it is primarily the case that people's lives are organized into projects they have to complete. When this is the case, I can see that OF helps them avoid losing track of the project goals by focusing too much on actions. Conversely, OF offers help in breaking down projects into actions that help make them more manageable and less daunting.

On the other hand, for those like me not using this in a formal work setting (in my case, as a self-employed person life is a mixture of work and personal activities), I often simply have a list of things I want to do today some of which are not specifically associated with a project, or may be associated with long term goals that have not yet coalesced into a project. Of course I could organize my day into "projects" like fun, eating, entertainment, art, music, though I'm not sure this would be really that productive. It sounds a bit compulsive.

Sometimes there are just things I want to do on a certain day that are not really connected with some larger project framework. The best way I have been able to use AF to organize a list of things I want to do today is to make a project that is called "today" and put these things in it. A challenge here, however, is that some things I want to do today are also parts of other existing projects. I figured out that I can copy them into the "today" project, which kind of works. This gets a bit complicated, however, as there are then two actions in two projects (today and the original project) that I have to track. It would be useful to be able to copy an alias into the "today" project so anything I add to it, or if I check it completed, is reflected in the original action in its original project location.

I have used omnioutliner for years to organize things and in some ways find it much easier to use than OF. I simply use outline headings as projects and move items in those projects into an outline with a "today" heading if I want to do them today. I often actually organize them into groups like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. If I don't get it done today, I move it into the next days, outline.

OF is clearly a project oriented framework, much more than a todo list framework, the framework I am used to. I'm trying to learn from OF and am realizing the value of thinking in terms of projects and completing projects (which too often doesn't get done), but life doesn't always divide itself up in a project framework. Sometimes it also seems to re-organize itself into a new set of projects, making the old list irrelevant. Again, I am sure this is different if you are working for someone and they give you a list of projects to complete.

--Kenoli

Last edited by kenoli; 2011-04-24 at 11:14 AM..
 
I have many actions, some are in projects, some are in Single Action Lists.

I ONLY put due dates on actions that have a hard due date. That way I never have an option, they must be done today unless all @*## breaks lose.

I go through my lists every morning and "flag" a few actions that I want to put extra effort into completing today for whatever reason, if there are any.

A "Today" perspective is rather easy for me. It contains only things that are "due" and actions that I flag. The orange and red items on my Today perspective have to be done, all the others can be renegotiated if something unexpected shows up. Since this list contains things that I am "doing", it is displayed in Context mode.

After that's all done I move on to my "Focused Projects" list which contains one or two projects that I want to move forward more than the others. After that - on to the Next Actions list.

I found the first time that I tried to set up a "Today" list, I populated it with many actions that I wanted to get done and very rarely finished them, and I never made it to my Next Actions List. I as time went on those actions that were on my Next Actions List were not getting done and would suddenly show up as "hot" items and then I would flag them to put them on my "Today" list. Before long my Today list was longer than my Next Actions List. It became kind of useless at that point.

Now I'm really careful about what I flag and what I put due dates on. My Today List usually never has more than 3 or 4 actions on it, if there are more then it will only be actions that are due.

Doing things this way works for me, I get what HAS to be done done, I spend a little time focused on my important projects and spend the rest of my day doing Next Actions.

Last edited by atreinke; 2011-04-24 at 04:15 PM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by atreinke View Post
I have many actions, some are in projects, some are in Single Action Lists . . .
This helps and I appreciate your taking the time to describe your process. I can see that there is a bit of a learning curve for OF but that learning it may result in learnings beyond just how the software works, e.g. an expanded perspective on good time management.

There are clearly new things for me to learn about managing tasks. I can see that OF is pretty flexible. I just need to find the patience to get into it.

Software is a challenge since it is really a reflection of how the programmers organize their thinking. It always seems as much about understanding the programmer as anything else. I always have a bit of a resistant edge to doing this, wanting the software to be organized the way I think.

I haven't given up. Thanks for the responses to my ongoing struggle.

--Kenoli
 
In the general context of what you are doing, you are correct that OF is more of a project-centric system. You might be interested in my review in this regard within the thread about Things -> OmniFocus http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthre...t=20583&page=3.

In my daily processing flow with OF, I am actually trying hard to avoid creating a perspective that shows "I WANT to Do This TODAY". The concepts of "want" and "today" are too nebulous and subjective it seems. Instead, I work first on creating a perspective that shows "I Should Do This First". Due dates only get set based on external requirements, not based on when I might WANT to do something. Start dates are also based mostly on external contingencies, not based on when I WANT to start something.

After I have this perspective, I flag actions that I choose to do for a foreseeable time frame (say, a few hours). Once those actions are completed, I return and choose again what to flag.

I have found that choosing actions in chunks to be done within a concrete, foreseeable time frame (a few hours) is a lower stress mode of operation than creating a list of what I THINK I WANT to do in the more nebulous "Today" time frame.

In your case, with a dominance of single step actions, you might consider first creating a single-action project to store them and secondly creating a perspective that shows only actions focused in that project.

HTH
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by atreinke View Post
A "Today" perspective is rather easy for me. It contains only things that are "due" and actions that I flag. The orange and red items on my Today perspective have to be done, all the others can be renegotiated if something unexpected shows up. Since this list contains things that I am "doing", it is displayed in Context mode.
How do you generate the list in context mode that shows both the items due and the items flagged.

When I click on the flag option in the menu, it pulls me out of context mode.

I'm working on it . . .

Thanks,

--Kenoli
 
Thanks, HTH -- These ideas are useful.

--Kenoli
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenoli View Post
How do you generate the list in context mode that shows both the items due and the items flagged.

When I click on the flag option in the menu, it pulls me out of context mode.
The built-in Flagged list shows you *only* things that are marked flagged. You want to create a new Perspective similar to the one that ksrhee mentions in this post.

(Once you've made the perspective, you can access it under that menu, or you can use the steps in this thread to add it to the toolbar of your OmniFocus window, the way the built-in Flagged list is.)

Hope this helps!
 
 


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