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Why I find "Next action" misleading! Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I find the functionality of "Next action" in omnifocus lacking in it's ability to implement GTD methodology.

"Next action" only acts on actions that have been assigned a "due date" rather than listing the "next action" to move the project forward.

"Next action" filtering becomes useless unless I choose to assign due dates. But sometimes and for some projects, none of the actions have a "due date". They just need attention when and where possible and therefore i just order them in hierarchical way with the next action as the top action.

I work mainly in the planning mode - as my context rarely change. So, I do the collection, organising and processing in the planning mode. As well as the actual actioning of tasks, also in the planning mode.

In fact very few of my actions have a need to have a definite "due" date.

I experimented with using "due" dates for everything (for the sake of using them), but the list became bigger and bigger and unmanageable and now I have the same feeling of "due dates" as JRArseneau on a very much related post here: -

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRArseneau View Post
I agree, it'd be nice to see this as I too have a lot of actions that don't necessarily have due dates (I think I have an aversion to due dates).

I know you purchased OF, but you may want to look at "Things" as they have a different philosophy to this approach (not that I'm advocating for the competition!) :)
http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthre...ghlight=action




SUMMARY
So this is a "feature request"

Can a "Next Action" show in every single project (regardless of whether or not it has due actions.

please let me know if i'm missing something obvious!
 
I'm not sure I understand. Next actions *do* show up in all projects in purple text, regardless of due dates. In fact, I also use very few due dates but filter on next action all the time. The only place next actions don't is in single-action lists, I believe.

Am I missing something?

-Dennis
 
You don't need to have due dates set to have the next action filter work. You may be doing something to make it look that way, but it isn't generally true. There's not a due date in sight here:





Corresponding context mode views:



 
Dennis,
The purple items that you mention only show up if you have also assigned a context to an action. The problem that I have - as mentioned above (my context rarely change - or should i say 99% of my work is in 1 context). Therefore 99% of my actions have no context assigned to them.

Therefore I don't see the purple actions that you see.

All i see with "next action" filtering is empty project lists

Another very similar posting in the (iphone section)

http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthre...ghlight=action


also


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Case View Post
On the Settings screen, you can set Contexts to show only next actions. They're still grouped by context, but each context will tell you how many next actions it contains.

Does that help?

Ken, No this does not help as the vast majority of my actions have not been assigned any context

From the other forum posting (link above), there is mention of perspectives being able to help. I can't see it though as my perspectives have the following options: Inbox, projects , due soon, flagged and review
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wayne4 View Post
Dennis,
The purple items that you mention only show up if you have also assigned a context to an action. The problem that I have - as mentioned above (my context rarely change - or should i say 99% of my work is in 1 context). Therefore 99% of my actions have no context assigned to them.
Well, that's your problem. You throw away a large part of OmniFocus' feature set when you do that. Go to the sidebar in Context mode. Click on the "No Context" bin. Click in the main pane of the outline and do Cmd-A to select everything. Now bring up the inspector and set the context of everything to some context, any context. Start enjoying the rest of the functionality of the program instead of working with both hands tied behind your back!
 
No, I'm not complaining too much. I am still hopeful that Omnifocus can work for me. Maybe I should have said that 95% of the time my context stays the same, but I still have a list of 40 different context (people, places & situations). So, I do find the context idea useful and helpful.

I'm realising that I'm with a small group of people whose context rarely changes (talked about on 43 folders) & this requires a special way of working with omnifocus. It needs it own methodology.
There's Lots of advice and systems that other people offer, but these are mainly from people who assign a context to everything. This explains why I have tried other people's systems and why they haven't worked for me.

The omnifocus experience at the beginning was overwhelming (a steep learning curve!). I stayed unproductive for months. For many many months omnifocus was doing the opposite of what it was intended. I was getting nothing done! I just could not get it to work in the way that i wanted.

I had real problems with trying to make sense of many things, including the filtering options. In my opinion the filtering options are the most unintuitive part of the omnifocus experience (every day I still get into trouble with filters). The only filter that I have used successfully from the beginning is the search function (I use it constantly).

Omnifocus is still my "preferred choice" application. However, I have experienced "Things GTD" application. It shows the "Next Action" of every project (regardless of whether or not due actions have been set and regardless of a context or not (you can set it by: "view" "next actions steps" & give a figure between 1 and 10). It really is a great feature.

I can now see how omnfocus would have had an immediate pay-off if the "next actions" worked as it does in "Things GTD app".

I persist with OF because i feel that i can eventually "find my own way". I'm in too deep now to give up. More and more i'm reflecting and realising why I have struggled so much in trying to master this application.
 
As a work around to the above,

I have now started to do the following

1) added a context called "none" (although this could equally be called "computer")

2) I have started assigning this context to each "un-contexed action"

Painful! with plenty of projects and 100's of action projects

BUT IT DOES TURN OMNIFOCUS INTO A SYSTEM WHERE I CAN FINALLY GTD WITH THE "NEXT ACTION" FEATURE
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wayne4 View Post
As a work around to the above,

I have now started to do the following

1) added a context called "none" (although this could equally be called "computer")

2) I have started assigning this context to each "un-contexed action"

Painful! with plenty of projects and 100's of action projects

BUT IT DOES TURN OMNIFOCUS INTO A SYSTEM WHERE I CAN FINALLY GTD WITH THE "NEXT ACTION" FEATURE
Shouldn't be painful at all if you do as I suggested -- a handful of mouse clicks and you've done the whole lot! Then set the default context on your projects so newly created actions where you don't specify a context get the default context assigned. You could even do that in one bunch by selecting all the projects, bringing up the inspector and selecting your "none" context for the default context setting.
 
Genius!

whpalmer

It has Just registered what you meant...

It has just taken me 30 seconds to assign my 500 actions (with NO context) into a context. I didn't realise that the combination of "context mode & the inspector" could assign a context to such as MASS amount of actions

Thank you very much, you can't believe how much your advise has helped me and saved me hours of time

Genius!
 
Err... Go to your context view and click on the "No Context" bucket. Then select all and assign a context in the inspector.
 
 


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