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I am quite the productivity and organization junkie. Unfortunately this doesn’t mean I’m productive and organized...

I have most of my things organized in OF, but whenever I look at my things I go "naah, not this one. And this one is boring. And this can be done another day" and so forth!

I'm killing myself with a thousand things to do, but I don't want to do them "right now".

Anyone that feels the same way? What can you do to get more productive?
 
A few general thoughts:

You may need to further break down those tasks which you keep putting aside. Make the next action a more palatable bite, and it will be easier to take that first step. Once you get some forward motion, continuing is usually easier. Reluctance to tackle that first next action could be an indication that you haven't really figured out what it is you need to do.

Another source of stuck projects is lack of commitment. Maybe you aren't tackling any of those next actions because you aren't really committed to the project. Re-evaluate whether the project is something important to you, and put it on hold or drop it if you aren't committed to getting it done. Be ruthless! You can waste a lot of energy looking down lists of actions and projects you aren't going to do, so don't do that. You can always bring them back from the deep-freeze later if needed.

If your lists are stocked only with actions on which you can make immediate progress, and to which you are committed, moving forward should be easier. Open OmniFocus, bring up a Next Action view for the available context(s), take the top action on the list, and do it. Repeat until the list is empty.

Another tactic that may be of some use is to combine reviewing and doing. If you've got all of your next actions down to reasonably small chunks, try doing the first next action on each project as you review it (within the limits of possibility, of course). Use OmniFocus' splendid review feature to keep track of what has been reviewed, and set the review intervals according to how often the project needs to be bumped along. If you can force yourself to do just one action each time you review a project, setting the review interval on that project to 1 day will get you steady progress. If, on the other hand, you find that at the end of the day, you've only gotten through the 1 action for a handful of projects and have barely started to scratch the surface, that might be a good indication that either you are overcommitted, or your next actions are too large for this style of working, or perhaps both. If you decide this might be a workable approach, and you have more than a couple of dozen projects, you might want to investigate my suggestions on review spacing, which can be found by searching for "prime number review".

Sometimes just bringing up a list of tasks sorted by duration and tackling a handful of the shortest ones is a good way to get moving, too. Sometimes the satisfaction of checking things off as complete isn't enough to overcome inertia, but it is enough to keep you going once you've gotten started. Make it easy to get started!
 
As mentioned here a few times in the past, Mark Forster's SuperFocus (used to just be called AutoFocus) uses a very different approach to tasks than GTD--the biggest feature, to me, is it's built in processing that insists on dismissing (for later review, NOT dismissed forever) tasks that haven't been touched in a number of circles through the list.

Unfortunately, it works great on paper and not very well on software, including OF (in fact, I'm here on the forums looking for thoughts on implementing SuperFocus in OF). (SF calls for cycling through the page-units, which are not very well represented in software).

http://www.markforster.net/blog/2011...uperfocus.html

Would love to hear if anyone has made the two work together!
 
I tried SuperFocus for about three days and abandoned it. I had developed a template in Evernote that approximated the look and feel of a piece of paper, and I felt as though I had everything I needed to give it the college try. I gave SuperFocus up because I found myself just cycling through my lists of tasks and not really doing anything. It was almost as if "cycle through tasks" became a task that I just kept doing over and over.

I read GTD a year ago and I need to read it again. On another topic in the OF forum, someone said to break GTD down one step at a time. I really liked that idea. So I'm focusing on capturing right now. I went out and bought some 3x5 index cards and Zebra telescopic pen and made a hipster PDA for capturing while I'm away. And I'm dumping everything into my inbox and working from there. Once I feel as though I've created a solid enough habit, I'll move on to Processing.
 
I keep hoping that OF will come out with a feature that actually does the tasks you put in the list. That would be a worthwhile upgrade!

Until then, I'll share a new rule that I'm implementing with myself: If I have a free moment where I want to do something, I look at a task that I could do in that free moment, and I still decide that I don't want to do it . . . . then I put the task/project on hold. I have a special list, separate from Someday/Maybe, where I stick these items. Then on weekly review, I try to be honest with myself as to whether I'm really going to do this or not. I find this gives me two advantages:

(a) I weed out tasks that I'm not prepared to do at the next opportunity. No point in having them in the list if I'm not going to do them when I have the chance.

(b) It's easier to decide whether to drop them if I'm faced with the certain knowledge that I've already passed up at least one chance to move them forward.

The net result so far for me at least has been to sharply reduce the number of projects I have going. I still haven't really bottomed out yet, though, because I still regularly find things creeping into my action lists that I later realize I don't actually intend to do.
 
Stargazer,

that's an interesting approach. I use OmniFocus' collection tools extensively, and often collect stuff that really doesn't belong in OmniFocus, just because it is so convenient and I know I'll be able to find it later. The downside of doing that is that my Inbox is rarely empty, and usually has a lot of stuff that I can't bring myself to throw out, but I don't really want to (or know how to) process. Naturally, this makes me less interested in processing my Inbox in general, which isn't good. I think I'm going to take a page from your book and use this tactic on my Inbox — if I go to process my Inbox and skip over something for more than a day, off it goes to the scrap heap. Thanks for the idea!
 
Thanks guys! A lot of valuable thoughts, indeed.

Appreciated!
 
 


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