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Hi, I am new to the forum and after a few false starts want to give OF a chance to work for me. I am not totally sold on GTD method so want to use OF a bit like OO with outlining and tasks with duedates/reminders (which works well), but I cannot see an obvious way to mark off an action with some sort of status like 'in progress' or 'abandon till I get time ro something like that'.

Is this something that can be done or is it totally opposed to the GTD philosophy and is not a feature, so that I just see all actions I have outstanding and then have to either mark complete or drop/stall/hold it?

Flagging is not what I want as I use this for priority actions I want to see.

Thanks in advance. I really want to get this to work for me as I use the iphone version too and the apps are very professionally finished.

___
Mark
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmb32 View Post
Hi, I am new to the forum and after a few false starts want to give OF a chance to work for me. I am not totally sold on GTD method so want to use OF a bit like OO with outlining and tasks with duedates/reminders (which works well), but I cannot see an obvious way to mark off an action with some sort of status like 'in progress' or 'abandon till I get time ro something like that'.

Is this something that can be done or is it totally opposed to the GTD philosophy and is not a feature, so that I just see all actions I have outstanding and then have to either mark complete or drop/stall/hold it?

Flagging is not what I want as I use this for priority actions I want to see.

Thanks in advance. I really want to get this to work for me as I use the iphone version too and the apps are very professionally finished.

___
Mark
There are multiple ways to handle this. You can simply create several contexts to meet your need. If you want them to be out of your way until you have time to review these, then you can put the contexts on hold, etc.

So, what I do when I ready to put it off or put into another status, I just assign it to these contexts. I keep the projects intact since I want to know where it came from originally and I can access them via project view, but if you want to put them into some special projects (such as Review) then, you can do that too.

OF is flexible enough to let you design the work flow as you want it to be.
 
One quick way you can do this is to just keep breaking it down sufficiently so you know what the next thing you have to do is. Say you have an action today (3/14) to memorize the first 1000 digits of pi, and you're working on it when the phone rings. The caller is your neighbor reminding you that the two of you were going to fix your fence today. You've only gotten the first 50 or so digits securely memorized, so you go to that action (in project/planning mode) and do Edit->Outlining->Add Child (cmd-}). Type in your next action -- "memorize digits 51-1000" and go off to your other task, knowing that you can resume this one at the right spot when you return to it. You can repeat this procedure recursively, as many times as needed. You can use OmniFocus' arsenal of task management tools (start dates, due dates, flags, etc.) to schedule the execution of the remaining work, if desired.

It's a useful tactic with tasks which might have multiple steps, but are routine (so you don't need to plan it out) and you would normally do all together if not interrupted. When I have such things where I do expect to be interrupted, or might not remember all of the steps accurately, then I use Curt Clifton's Populate Template Placeholders script to stamp out a checklist project to make non-atomic completion of all the steps more reliable.
 
Thanks for the replies.

I think that using contexts might be a good start so I'll try that first.

I suppose I was thinking too simplistically like in Outlook you tag a task as 'in progress' or something like that, and then in Omni Outliner you can add specific styling which gives a nice visual aid ... but I think OF might be workable with a sort of 'status' tag with contexts, I just hadnt thought of that!

___
Mark
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmb32 View Post
Thanks for the replies.

I think that using contexts might be a good start so I'll try that first.

I suppose I was thinking too simplistically like in Outlook you tag a task as 'in progress' or something like that, and then in Omni Outliner you can add specific styling which gives a nice visual aid ... but I think OF might be workable with a sort of 'status' tag with contexts, I just hadnt thought of that!

___
Mark
I think if you get away from the strict notion of what context is, and use context as different categorization, then it opens up OF to a whole new set of ways you can organize. In fact, you can create a mother context (Status) and then have sub contexts such as in progress, waiting, postponed, etc. Also, OF allows you to select multiple contexts for viewing, and then saving those as perspectives . . .

I think if you experiment with these, you will find the work flow that is just right for you.
 
I certainly don't wish to discourage anyone from using OF in any way they find works best for them, but that being said, I think for many people, changing the context of an action to something that isn't a true context (a tool, condition, state of mind, person, or other requirement to make headway on an action) is probably not using the program to its full advantage. That action is now "hidden" from view when you look at a list of actions available in a given context, and you've gained little that you couldn't achieve by simply putting some "tags" in the notes field without disturbing the context.

Just my opinion, but spoken as one who does not believe that contexts have to be as restrictive as suggested in the book.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
I certainly don't wish to discourage anyone from using OF in any way they find works best for them, but that being said, I think for many people, changing the context of an action to something that isn't a true context (a tool, condition, state of mind, person, or other requirement to make headway on an action) is probably not using the program to its full advantage. That action is now "hidden" from view when you look at a list of actions available in a given context, and you've gained little that you couldn't achieve by simply putting some "tags" in the notes field without disturbing the context.

Just my opinion, but spoken as one who does not believe that contexts have to be as restrictive as suggested in the book.
I guess we just have to agree to disagree, but I'm not sure we are that much different in our suggestions. Contexts, for instance, could be life areas that you are engage in (teaching, research, etc.), situations you are place in (waiting for a response, in process), or even places (Grocery store, Home Depot) . . .

Now it's not strictly GTD suggested by David Allen, but I don't simply follow David Allen exclusively, but other folks whose ideas I find helpful. If I can incorporate these ideas that help me organize my life better, then why not? Recently, I found Mark Foster's notion of DIT to be extremely beneficial for me and have incorporated his ideas along with DA's GTD.

In my perspective not broadening the definition of context would lead to using OF not to its full advantage since the program offers so much flexibility.
 
I think that the key for me is to be able to see things visually so I know what I am working on and what is remaining. The views and perspectives do have flexibility but I still can't see at a glance what I may be working on just by using the notes fields.

It is early days for me and I do want to get this to work but OO as an example is much more flexible with say styling and emphasizing of items, and I can easily move stuff about. I am finding with OF that I am seeing things I don't need to see and not seeing things I do want to see - I guess it is just a re-education in getting projects and contexts right in the first place ;-) Now tagging seems like a good feature as would be say coloured flags but unless I missed something, it is not yet (or will ever be?) available.

Quick question : How can I see all DUE items that only have a date? The built-in DUE shows dates but also due with no dates? Is it possible to exclude them?

Thanks again.

___
Mark

Last edited by mmb32; 2010-03-15 at 04:58 AM..
 
To see all actions which have a due date set, go to context mode, group by due date, remaining actions, and close the group labeled "No due date". Save as a perspective for future use. Note that this will include actions which do not have a due date set explicitly but are contained in an action group or project which does. For example, if you've got a project called "File income tax return" which has a due date of 4/15/10, even if you don't assign the individual actions due dates, the program treats them as if they have a due date of 4/15/10, and they will be styled, sorted, and grouped accordingly.

If you need a list of only those actions which have their own due dates set (and in my experience, I'll be surprised if this truly turns out to be the case, and would enjoy hearing why) you probably need to either do some scripting or export your data to a spreadsheet and have a look there -- the export command will export the data explicitly set in each record/task, not the data inherited from or implied by the containing action group or project.
 
Thanks for advice. You are right, I can handle seeing due dates including those not due! It seems to me that using the start column is well worth doing to capture the correct items. Is there the equivalent of a 'postpone' action, so that I dont have to keep on changing the date/time of an action when I have decided not to pursue it ? (Life Balance had this) as I am spending too much time going through the actions and changing their dates!

Thanks again.

___
Mark
 
 


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