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OmniFocus Analytics - track productivity Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Does anyone see a need to have analytics attached to your OF? This thought resonated with me when i was a heavy user of Things. Every day, as I log in it would tell me how many completed items it was putting in the logbook.

Somedays it was only 5, others it was 50-60. This proved to be a good validation on how productive i was and how well the previous day went.

Analytics like this can give us a good gauge on how effective we are with our GTD process
- Feels busy - but not much logged = not using GTD, or too many unpredictable latest & loudest came up
- Feels busy - but lots logged = productive day
- not busy - not much logged = was it a scheduled down time?

maybe there are some third party apps out there that exist already. if so, please let me know! that can tell me things like:
1. how many actions were completed (maybe even broken out into different contexts)
2. average age of open projects.
3. etc etc.

would love to know. thx group.

Bill
 
While I can understand how this may be beneficial to some, personally I would not find this type of analysis of much value. For what I have to do, there is no correlation between the number of tasks completed and my level of productivity, or the effectiveness of my implementation of GTD. I could accomplish 50 tasks in some days that would have little bearing on what I should be working on, or I could complete 2-3 tasks in some days that would have a tremendous impact on moving my projects forward.

Even assuming that all the tasks I am working on are the best use of my time, not all tasks will take a similar amount of time to complete. Just counting tasks at the end of the day and comparing that number to the day before, or the day before that, does not take into consideration the varying amount of time needed to complete the tasks. I rely more on my daily and weekly reviews to inform my thinking as to how well I am doing what needs to be done.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bnbarry34 View Post
Does anyone see a need to have analytics attached to your OF?
It's an interesting idea, but I agree with Greg. Actions are not uniform. Counting them makes for a rather poor measure of productivity or progress (1).

To really make this assessment, I need to know which actions were completed and which are still active. I think Greg is right: a review is the best way to do this. It also helps to have a perspective showing completed actions, grouped and sorted by completion date.

-Dennis

(1) This is why I find the little progress bar Things displays on its projects to be essentially useless. It's a grossly inaccurate gauge of remaining effort.
 
Your thoughts are noted.

The holy grail is to have a tool that tells you how productive you are doing both from a quantitative and qualitative standpoint. As all actions are of different sizes and importance, and have different contexts as well, this is nearly impossible to track.

However, for me the daily counts of things checked off my list (however raw and crude that metric is) actually gives me a quantitative insight of how i did relative to an average work day for me.

Your points are like stating "the pages you read doesn't directly contribute to learning. you can have 100 pages of junk or 1 page of solid material" understood, and true.

However, I trust that when i have my "manager" hat on, i dont' load frivolous "pages" just for my checkin off fancy. (2 minute rule enforced) and I trust tasks are sized appropriately to my work. If it's too large of a task, then it needs to be broken down. So then these become my "units of work" that I need to blast through.

With that said, using the reading metaphor above.. I put my "Do'er" hat on and manage my self discipline Quantitatively by forcing myself to "read at least 20 pages before 9a. another 20 before noon. and another 20" . And at the end of the day, i have a total number of "pages" / tasks i've blasted through.

sorry to be so verbose in that explanation... maybe i'm just analyzing this whole thing a bit too much
 
I think it's a really good idea to have some kind of benchmark for how you're doing. I think it would be neat to have some kind of graph for the dashboard of how many actions have been checked off vs. how many added; or how many checked off this week vs. the average over the past three months or something. I won't have the time to make that myself but I would definitely use it if anyone came up with it.
 
Again, speaking only from my personal situation, my benchmark on how I am doing is to focus on my desired outcomes rather than the number of action items completed. I want to move projects forward, and looking at statistics of what I have checked off a list will not inform my thinking of how well I am meeting my goals, for the work that I do. Now if I do find myself being less productive than what I believe I should be, then time tracking for a day, or a week, can have value. Tracking time spent on tasks can be valuable, as it identifies a) the amount of time spent on the frivolous pages as well as b) opportunities for improving my workflow when dealing with the non-frivolous pages.

Now there certainly are work roles where tracking of completed tasks has value. As example, in sales there is a direct relationship between the number of customer contacts made and the number of sales generated. I worked in sales in a former life, and I had specific goals of the number of cold calls and follow-up contacts that I wanted to meet each day. The more contact I could make, the more likely I was to meet my sales goals. Others may have work responsibilities where quantity of tasks completed is still important, but less so than the nearly 1-1 relationship of a sales position.

What I would caution against is assigning too much importance to task completion as a productivity metric, even for a work roles like the sales position described above. The volume of calls I made was time wasted if my calls were not targeted to quality leads and/or if my calls were not planned with care. Years ago I would also fill the right-side daily pages of a Franklin-Covey planner with tasks that have little value, just so at the end of the day I could feel good about all the tasks checked off. I also know of people that enter completed tasks into a planner (paper or electronic) after the fact. That may have value if one needs to keep a historical record of a project's tasks, but otherwise it is just busywork.

Looking specifically at how all this works with OmniFocus, one can set up a perspective to provide what Things does (and more) with its logging completed tasks to the log book. Set up a perspective set to Contexts, with Grouping=Completed, Sorting=Completed, and Status Filter=Completed. This will give you a list of completed tasks organized by completed today, completed yesterday, completed in the last week, completed in the last month, last 3 months, etc. Click on the Context folder in the sidebar and it will list every completed task. Click on a specific context to limit the results to only one context, or command-click to get the results for a sub-set of your contexts.
 
Just hopping into the thread to say that I believe that we have a feature request open on something along these lines. All other things being equal, requests with more customer "votes" behind them tend to get worked on first.

If folks would like to see this added, they should send email to the support ninjas and ask to attach themselves to that feature request. Thanks, all!
 
For omnifocus you can use this script to get this charts:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/deadsun...67827/sizes/o/


And to track your productivity the best program is Rescuetime.com, you'll get this kind of stats:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/deadsun...20016/sizes/o/
 
@deadsunrise

Wow. Thanks for the useful links.

-Ed
 
HA! that script rocks! hats off to digitalimago for creating that.

this helps recognize patterns of distractions to help optimize quantifiable productivity!

Bill
 
 


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