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Advice for handling daily routine tasks Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
My day always starts off with the following
  1. Get in to work
  2. Filter out email I don't care about (alert emails from our server monitors, etc)
  3. Scan for real email (stuff I will need to act on)
  4. Create tasks from those emails
  5. Listen to voicemail if any
  6. process OF inbox
  7. Start working from my "Due" perspective and move on to other projects as time permits

How would you handle this type of routine in your GTD system? I'm thinking I will put this all under a Project "Morning routine" and set the items to be recurring (I'll actually create 5 items for each, one for each day, and recur weekly)

Last edited by tjslogic; 2011-04-20 at 03:30 PM.. Reason: Change title to make sense
Do you need OmniFocus to help you through the routine? If not, I would suggest not putting that stuff in OF, as that's just 35 actions per week of extra clutter (I speak from experience here!) If you do want/need it, what you propose should be fine (I do something very similar). If you ever go on vacation, you can use Dan Byler's Defer script to make rescheduling the tasks easier:

You might also have a look at Kourosh Dini's discussion here:
I don't think I need this stuff to be in OF since it's "ingrained" already into my workflow that I don't even think about it, its just what i know I need to do each morning to prepare for the day.

I just wasn't sure from a GTD standpoint if even stuff like that should be put into the "system"
One thing I know some other skilled OmniFocus practitioners do for this sort of thing (reviews, in particular) is to make a checklist in OmniOutliner, and put a link to the file in an action in OmniFocus. When the action to do a monthly review pops up to the top of the stack, you click on the link, OmniOutliner opens the checklist outline, and you run down the list. OmniFocus handles getting you to run the checklist at the right time, but you don't keep the individual actions in OmniFocus. This helps keep the clutter level down, especially if there isn't any need to refer back to the completed actions. If the routine is already in your daily habit, you should be fine without anything.

As far as GTD goes, the name of the game is making you more relaxed and thus more productive. If making a project of your daily routine actions has that effect, ignore anyone who says you shouldn't do that. Your system, your rules :-)
While it does look nice to have "documented" your daily routine and see that you've already checked off your daily routine tasks, sometimes it may be just too much work to enter it into OF.

I rarely enter this kind of daily routine stuff into OF. The only routine stuff I tend to put in are biweekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-monthly, and yearly stuff. These would be things like:

1. Check my car's odometer to see if I need to change the oil every 5,000 miles.

2. Prepare quarterly department report

I would enter a daily routine task to remind myself to do that task until it becomes rote memory. It becomes ingrained in me so that I don't have to think about it anymore.

it's like a a recipe. You'll probably need a check list if you're preparing a recipe the first few times. But after a while, you'll already know what you need and you don't need to run through a checklist again.

Many folks tend to find OF better at helping you keep track of the one-off kind of tasks and projects.

For my daily routine stuff, I usually just block off some time during the day. My morning stuff usually happens between 6:00 am to 6:30 am. So my calendar just shows an appointment for that slot. I usually have 4 pm to 5 pm time slot that is marked as unavailable for appointments. This is my work wrap-up hour where I try to do all the daily clean up tasks before I close up the shop.
I have six or seven OF projects I use daily (or otherwise regularly). So I have them set up with repeat every day, etc.

I have the times set up appropriately - "morning" starts around 04:00, afternoon work review around 13:00, family evening stuff around 17:00

So great, now I just need an OF Perspective to show them when I get to that time.

The problem I and maybe others have had is that if you focus a Perspective on a project, the Perspective is worthless when you complete the project. Since you should expect to complete a daily project - er, daily - you can't create a durable Perspective to watch it.

But I found that if you create a distinguished folder for only those repeating projects, you can create a perspective which focuses on the FOLDER. Then when you complete the 'daily startup' project, it reschedules itself in the same folder. And since I have start dates, it disappears until the next round the next day.

I have found this very helpful for managing the little stuff that HAS to be kept in mind but is really junk noise for real work.
Another approach is to simply not have the project repeat! You could have the guts of the project be an action group which repeats, or you could have the individual actions repeat. They all have pros and cons. If you don't have to have things sequenced in a particular order, the repeating actions approach has a few significant advantages:
  • You can easily add other items with a different repeat policy
  • You still get the next day's actions on time if you haven't finished all of the previous day's actions

You want to use a container that permits parallel sequencing if you do this (parallel project or single action list). Otherwise, it doesn't work very well at all!

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