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OmniThings; Blackbelts: Please show us your complete workflows Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

nice thinking outside the box! You're right, that isn't the way most people use the flag, but it sounds like it works fine despite the unorthodox approach.
I also bumped up against the lack of explicit "waiting for" in OF. Here's my work around.

If I'm waiting for something, the context is the person who owes it to me. AND, I set the flag for it.

For example:

Item: First draft of pricing proposal
Context: Dave
Flag: On

Then I have a perspective that shows flagged items, grouped by context. This way I can quickly scan the list and see who owes me what.

I find it quite convenient to do it this way, and I wasn't using the flags for any other purpose.
I have a "Waiting" context and under that I have a subcontext for each person that I am waiting for. If I have to wait for "Bob" on something, I just assign it a context of Bob.

Once a day I review my Waiting list and generate follow-up actions if need be.
I have two general types of things I'm usually waiting for, and therefore take different approaches.

The first are those items on projects that I'm primarily responsible for or things that have deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise. These tasks normally get a future start date based on when the response is expected and stay in the appropriate context to following up (ie, "office" if I'm expecting a piece of paper to appear on my desk, "e-mail" if I'm expecting an e-mail response, and so forth). If I haven't received the necessary response/information by the time the start date passes, I re-evaluate at that point, either following up or pushing ahead again as necessary.

The second type of "waiting-for" items are for those projects that are being driven by others, where nothing really happens until the other person gets back to me. In other words, the ball is entirely in someone else's court. These are essentially lower priority tasks and get dropped into a "waiting-for" context. I rarely scan my waiting for context except when something shows up that I know I've been waiting for, although of course all of these items come up in planning mode during my normal weekly review.

With regards to the second question of putting items on hold, most of my "on-hold" items simply get future start dates so that I'm reminded to deal with them. I only put items on indefinite hold for one reason: those items that are thoughts that need a bit more fleshing out to become actions or projects. For this I use a context called "Simmering Pot" which I switch over to whenever I'm in a brainstorming or thinking mode.

The Simmering Pot method works for me as I've discovered that when I feel the need to put something on an indefinite hold it's usually because I haven't thought or planned it through and the task therefore seems intimidating. If it's a simple next-action for something that's doable, then there are plenty of other places it should go rather than sitting in limbo.

Note that my "Simmering Pot" differs from my "Someday/Maybe" project. Someday/Maybe is for longer-term goals like "Learn Piano" or "Plan a trip to Bora Bora." Simmering Pot is used for actions that simply need more brainstorming.

Last edited by jdh; 2010-02-26 at 05:46 AM..
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
Here's another tip:

I have repeating projects set up so that I go through GTD once a day. Things like, processing inbox to 0, processing voicemail to 0. These actions are listed in a context called ingest and are at the top of my context list. I set my context filter to active. When I have completed the ingest process, those contexts disappear, and I move on down to the next context at the top of the list.
Hi SpiralOcean,
I have something similar, but I set up these items in a project with no context (I know what I need to do this dailiy work) instead of a context. Why do you prefer have a context?

In addition, I tried to use the "repeating" feature of the actions using "repeat everything day" or "start again", but it seems that too many actions remains in my omnifocus (I archive once a month) and I'm worried about speed (many times sync with iPhone is a 10 minutes(!!) operation).

The beauty of having a context for these items is: it isolates them into a grouping.

The context is at the top of my contexts list.
When all the items are completed, the context disappears.
When an action item in that context becomes available, the context reappears and I know I have something to do to keep the system working.

This allows me to instantly know if I'm maintaining the system.

My workflow is:
-plan- in project mode
-do- in context mode

sounds like you are doing in project mode.

I always assign a context to an action. If an action doesn't have a context, then it will fall through the cracks. You can change the inbox preference to only clean up items that have both a project and a context assigned.

As for the archiving, when I archive, I set my archive date to tomorrow. This ensures that all completed actions are archived.
An observation about your workflow:

are you using the view filter to only show available actions? This will hide your completed items.

Menu -> View -> Show View Bar
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
sounds like you are doing in project mode.
Well, a sort of mix. If I have at my disposal a particular context (i.e. a person or a place) then I do by context, but if I am in my office, where I have almost anything I need to accomplish things, then I switch to project mode and filter things in different ways (important projects and/or time left and so on...)

Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
I always assign a context to an action. If an action doesn't have a context, then it will fall through the cracks. You can change the inbox preference to only clean up items that have both a project and a context assigned.
I do the same, but I have a lot of work to do in order to create a good personal workflow to better choose... what to do!

Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
As for the archiving, when I archive, I set my archive date to tomorrow. This ensures that all completed actions are archived.
I prefer to always have at least one month in my regular file, but I can reconsider this.

Thank you for your tips.

I use flags as well, but in a different way. In my weekly review, I flag every action I want to keep on my radar (meaning either tasks or "waiting" items to closely track). Then I set a perspective I call Contexts-Flagged.

In my daily review, I give today's due date to items I feel I must attend to today. They show up in red.

So when I look at my Contexts-Flagged list, I see everything I need to see this week, with today's "musts" in red ... and all other items are sitting patiently out of sight until I look at the "master" (meaning flagged and unfledged) Project or Context perspective.

If I change my mind about an item, I just unflag it. And if I complete the item "call Fred to arrange meeting", but was able only to leave a message, I keep the flag and change the context to "waiting-work" or "waiting-personal". (If I want to make a note of when I called him, I have a QuicKeys macro that adds today's date to the item .... If I know that he won't get back to me until next week, I put a due date on it.)

As others have stated, this might not work for some, but it seems to work pretty well for me. As long as I do my daily reviews on the flagged items and a weekly review on the flagged AND unfledged items, it's a trusted system for me. YMMV.

Last edited by rogbar; 2010-05-23 at 09:24 AM..

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