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Check Next Action Verbs for Specificity Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
During my weekly review, I make it a point to scan my next action list for verb specificity. I have a tendency to be too vague, and use project verbs like "finalize" and "implement." When I see these words, it's a red flag that tells me I haven't yet broken a project down into actionable tasks.

Next to my desk hangs a list of common next-action verbs, against which I routinely scrutinize my next action list. This afternoon, I hacked together an Applescript that does this for me. It uses OmniOutliner Pro to maintain a running list of appropriate next-action verbs.

To install, copy "Check Verbs.scpt" to ~/Library/Scripts/Applications/OmniFocus. Then, copy "Verbs.oo3" to your Documents folder. (If you'd like to store this document somewhere else, just change the VerbDocPath property at the top of the script.)

Select "Customize Toolbar..." from the "View" menu, and drag the "Check Verbs" script to the toolbar. Back up your document, then click and wait.

Unrecognized verbs will be marked with a unicode glyph, set to a pointy finger by default. The script remembers which tasks have been checked, and won't mark them again on future checks.

Due to limitations in the OmniFocus Applescript interface--or in my abilities as a programmer--this script only scans actions which have been assigned a context. I've chosen to view this as a feature, rather than a bug. However, in the future it would be wonderful if we had a way to iterate through a collection of tasks, regardless of their structural context. Omni?
Cool idea! Thanks for sharing the script.

You might take a look at my Verify Next Actions Exist script, posted in another thread. It uses a recursive tree walk to visit all the nodes in the project tree. You could tweak it to do your verb check on leaf nodes.

Cool idea. Nice job.

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