Originally Posted by PhiDelt
This is golden! I just have some questions . First what's the point of even adding the project to omnifocus if I'm not suppose to focus on it? For instance my goals to pursue balance is
6-business and financial success
Hmm.... I can see that a left out a part of my workflow out of here. Here's my personal development workflow. With so many books/DVDs/audiobooks to consume and so little time...
If you'd like, you can type in your projects outside of OmniFocus. I often use OmniOutliner or NovaMind mind mapping to intentionally keep stuff outside of OmniFocus and keep my project/task list low on the visual clutter.
I'll share something about "focus" in OmniFocus that I have found.
I have two distinct types of projects: "Active" and "On Hold".
On the upper left corner of your OmniFocus window, you'll see an icon for Projects mode (a stack of cards with lines on it) and an icon for Context mode (a stack of index cards with the @ symbol).
You do your project planning in Project mode. This is where you create your outline of Next Actions for all the projects that you want to do.
You "do work" in Context mode. You check the available tools you have (I have my computer in front of me; I have my accounts ledger on my desk; I have my bicycle) or the location you're in (I am at the hardware store; I am at home; I am at work) and look at the Context that you are in. I will look at OmniFocus and check my "Work" context to see all the Next Actions that I can do at work. When I am on a train and the only tool I have is my computer, I'll look at the computer context to see what I can do. You'll find the beauty of "Active" and "On Hold" and how it relates to contexts later on this post.
I go to Project Planning mode and see all the folders that I have set up as my Areas of Focus (Personal Productivity, Social Success, Spiritual Enlightenment, Mind, Body, Business and Financial Success). I start off by creating a list of all my projects and populate each project with the various tasks or Next Actions to complete each project.
I go to #1-Personal Productivity and create a list of all my projects that are related to Personal Productivity. Usually it's a book to read, an audiobook to listen to, or a workshop that I am attending.
I try to fill out all the Next Actions for each project.
Then I control-click the project and select "On Hold" from the contextual menu on the newly created project.
I'll repeat with #2-Social Success, #3-Spiritual Enlightenment, and so forth. Keep adding your list of books, programs, or projects for each Area of Focus folder.
Then I would sort each project in Personal Productivity by manually dragging each project up or down the list. The higher up the list, the more important it is for me. During my monthly review, I'll often move a project higher or lower down the list based on what I feel becomes more important for me on a month-to-month basis.
I usually have a single-action project called "maintenance/routine chores" at the very top of each Area of Focus folder. So I'll have a Personal Productivity Maintenance project at the top of the Personal Productivity folder. I'll have another Spiritual Enlightenment Maintenance project that is at the top of the folder.
These maintenance projects usually hold repeating tasks that I need for maintenance. My "Home Maintenance" project has routine chores like "clean the bathroom, cut the grass, clean the cat litter." These maintenance projects are always in "Active" mode.
Whenever I create a new project, I automatically place it to "On Hold" status. The lefthand pane showing all the projects will either have an icon indicating status.
a white index card indicates this project is "Active."
A green checkmark indicates this project is "Completed."
An "X" indicates this project has been "Dropped."
A pause icon (a blue-circle with two white vertical lines) indicates this project is "On Hold."
I often drag the "On Hold" projects below the "Active" to give me the visual clue that I am emphasizing priority to my active projects and putting my "On Hold" projects below. But I do keep my "On Hold" projects sorted by my interest in getting to a higher-listed project first over a lower-listed project.
The "On Hold" status is OmniFocus' term for a Someday/Maybe project. I put all new projects to "On Hold" because I already have my plate full with currently active projects. When I complete a project, I will go to Project Planning mode and look for another "On Hold" project (aka my Someday/Maybe project).
So I'll have ten book projects set to "On Hold". The pause icon signifies that this is a Someday/Maybe book. An "Active" book project is the book I am currently reading.
If you wish, you can set one book in each part of your life (personal productivity, spiritual enlightenment, mind, body, business & financial success) to "Active". These books are your active books that you are focused on right now for the six areas of your life that you have indicated.
Set all the other books to "On Hold" status and these books become your "Someday/Maybe" books. I will get to these other books/programs/audiobooks/DVDs someday or maybe. I like to put my Someday/Maybe books into a box so that I am not tempted away from my currently active book.
Previously, I would have a stack of books that I want to read on my nightstand. But I found myself getting distracted from the current book and reach for another book. I kept doing this carousel and I wouldn't get any of my books read.
I do allow myself to keep one active book from each Area of Focus. I have one personal productivity book, one social skills book, one finance book, one technical skill book, one spiritual enlightenment book, and one guilty pleasure book (currently the Hunger Games --- yes, guilty pleasure). If I don't feel like reading about Finance tonight, I'll switch over to one of the other books. All the other books are hidden in a box in the closet. It's just too easy for me to get distracted and not get any particular book finished.
When you go to "Context" mode in OmniFocus, you will find that you will only see Next Actions in all the "Active" projects. You won't find any Next Actions in all the "On Hold" projects. This helps to cut your context list down by a tremendous amount. This is why I have many of the book projects set to "On Hold" and only one book project from each area set to Active.
If I am currently reading David Allen's book "Making It All Work", this book becomes my active book. All of my other personal productivity books are set to "On Hold" (someday/maybe book). The only Next Action I want to see in Context mode is in the "Making It All Work" project. I don't want to see the Next Action for the project "Read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" or the bookshelf of books waiting for me to read.
When I have finished "Making It All Work", I will check off the I have completed reading it. Then I will go to my "7 Habits" project and change the status from "On Hold" (someday/maybe) to "Active."
Use "Active" and "On Hold" to give you focus on the current things you want done.
I like to follow the 7 Habits tip about 3 Big Rocks. During My Weekly Review, I'll look at my currently active projects. If I feel like I'm stuck in a project (just not getting anything done in this project), I'll probably brainstorm and reorder the Next Actions or reword the Next Actions to get it unstuck. But if I just lose interest or momentum, I'll put this stuck project back to "On Hold" status and select another "On Hold" (someday/maybe) project and change it to active. The newly active project is usually a Someday/Maybe project that I decided to bring back to the forefront. Maybe the time is right or I'll have renewed interest in an old project. At most, I'll try to select my "Three Big Rocks" of the week. These are the projects that I have on my mind.
For books, it can be the six Big Books (one book from each of the six areas you want to work on).
Another tip that I learned about self-help programs. It's so addicting. I've learned to stop going to the bookstore or checking Amazon for the latest self-help book. i already have enough books to read. I use Amazon's wish list to gather up a list of possibly interesting books. I know that Amazon will always have them in stock or I can always buy the eBook on the Kindle or on the Apple iTunes store. If I am at a bookstore, I'll just write the name of the author and title down (or better yet, take a picture of the cover with my cellphone camera). I resist the urge to just buy the book immediately.
I will buy the book only when I finished a current book. This is my own reward system.