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Hi there at the Omnifocus Forum,

I have a general, maybe uncomfortable question. I'm struggling for years with Omnifocus. I always liked the idea of being super-efficient and always tried to push myself to use Omnifocus whenever I could.

I have a lot of small (and some bigger) creative projects and jobs that I'm doing for a living and I thought it might be a good idea to include Omnifocus into a creative life. I structured my projects and nailed down my tasks and organized my contexts into Production / Errands / Research / Be Creative / etc... but soon after doing a lot of organizational work and structuring my days I often happened to avoid OF, because suddenly all these little ideas and things to do to make the day complete, all what used to be fun, suddenly turned into 'tasks'.

In these times of avoidance I've kept putting to-dos and ideas into the lists and the lists were getting bigger with less and less tasks getting done. Some of the things I used to like doing, suddenly were no more fun because suddenly they were mere tasks that disappeared into the Omnifocus-System and were spit out at the other end in a certain "Context", that was completely "out of context" inside the project that I wanted to do.


In Omnifocus context view I am not working on one job in its completeness, as a whole, I am working in contexts, that expect me to be like a machine, as if I was programming myself to work like a machine.


It's as if I'd program for example a 'lazy Sunday' (as an awkward example, just to illustrate my idea better). Instead of getting up and stretching myself and making some coffee and then go to the terrasse and drink that coffee, a natural linear way of doing things naturally, Omnifocus compresses everything I'd do the whole day and I'd get up in the morning (bed), stretch yourself (bed), put clothes on (bed), put clothes off (bed), go to bed (bed), next context coffeemachine: make coffee (coffeemachine), make coffee (coffeemachine), make coffee (coffeemachine), etc,... for sure one will say: but you can make more differentiated contexts! yes, that's true! but how differentiated is a to-do-list supposed to be? Do I really need to program that?

or another extreme: if i was a painter and i'd put all the tasks that i need to do to make an image into Omnifocus (finding inspiration and sketching an idea and buying paint to painting itself to having the painting finished) and I use Omnifocus because I'm working on several paintings, doesnt this make the wholesome experience of painting a picture from start to finish a mere "task-group"? Like: context (inspiration): think of theme for picture a, think of theme for picture b, think of inspiration for picture c, context (artist's supply): buy blue paint, buy blue paint, buy red paint, etc etc etc....


I understand that Omnifocus makes it easy to work on a lot of projects and is able to compress a lot of different tasks into easy lists that can be 'just worked off'. For example I think it is absolutely the right tool for someone who's a programmer working on a lot of different codes and small task-sets that do not need a lot of "wholesome" context.

Another example: a watch-maker is repairing watches, because he loves watches. He repairs one watch after another, in the process he becomes one with the watch, learns it to know from every angle, knows its little secrets. For sure he could organize all steps he needs to finish repairs on his watches, so instead of repairing one watch he's repairing 5 at the same time: context (screwdriver 1): open watch a, open watch b, open watch c / context (screwdriver 2): etc etc etc... the watchmaker will not "be one" with his small mechanical watches anymore, he will just work of the tasks as efficiently as possible, as if he's working at an assembly line.


I'm not sure anymore if I want this in my life. I've struggled for 5 years to implement Omnifocus into a life that I always wanted to be a fulfilled and creative life. I've always struggled with the contexts and the "mere tasks" of "buy bananas (supermarket)", "say hello to neighbor, thanks for feeding the cat (staircase)" and always had phases of avoiding to look into Omnifocus, while still putting project-idea after project-idea into it. I struggled to re-contextualize everything after times of avoidance, to flesh everything out into a lot of little sub-tasks and folders and contexts and my task-list with project-ideas turned into longer and even much longer task-lists that were mere lifeless "tasks" that I'd have to work off instead of grand ideas that need to be filled with life and also passion...

In my opinion Omnifocus sucked out all life out of my projects for more than 5 years, out of my work that I used to love and out of my very own life. I always blamed myself that I'm the one who's not able to cope with the sudden "bleakness" of my day-to-day-life and that I would need to be even more organized to "Get Things Done": "buy present birthday sister (project:life/family&friends/birthdays, context:shopping, yearly repeat)"...

Today I was re-structuring my Omnifocus-list and realized that not I am the problem, but that Omnifocus and GTD is the problem. I'm giving it up. I dont want to be a robot anymore. I won't read any more forum posts on how to structure my context-lists and if it's good to name a folder "urgent" or not, because Omnifocus is missing the ability to prioritize single tasks. I've had enough. I was so stupid to think that Omnifocus could make my life super-efficient because a super-efficient life is not a life anymore.

I will go and buy a small squared notebook tomorrow and a pencil: my new project-planning-device. I will not put it into Omnifocus: "buy notebook and pencil" (project:own_stuff/go_analogue, context:town/errands/office_supply). I can keep that in my head.

Thank you for your understanding.

Last edited by aeiou112358; 2014-04-01 at 03:59 PM..

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