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Quote:
Originally Posted by refulgentis View Post
If you follow even the most basic tenet of GTD (next actions), The Hit List is relatively useless because it can't make this distinction for you.
Sorry, that depends on how you use it. I see it this way:

It is not on the system to tell you what the next action is, that should be entirely your decision. The system needs to display/filter the available tasks depending on context in order to help you decide what the next action will be, and to not overwhelm you with flood of actions. You decide then what to do depending on time/energy/priority... I find the THL's tasklist representation in that far more GTD compatible than OF's.

Also, one of the OF's more serious problems is the typography choice. The lists are far less readable than the lists in THL, and when you have many actions and projects that becomes really important thing.

I have read GTD book more then a few times now, and managed to set up pretty strict system based on it. It has been built in OF, but it works even better for me in THL.
 
I've just moved every single action of mine over to THL to see how it fares. Here's one good thing that's come from having @context and /tags - the ability to differentiate between locations, people and states of mind

All things physical become contexts like @phone @shopping @computer

People simply become tags with their name /steph /patricia

And also I use tags to denote stuff like /research and /someday - to me this is much nicer than giving them an @context, as the @ symbol, to me anyway, always make me think of physical locations and things and I have NEVER been happy putting people and concepts into the @context idea.

Also, because this system of doing things is flexible and expands as you use it I can have:

Talk to Steph about research project @library /steph /research

If a new person crops up in your life who you may have to do a whole lot of work with, simply adding the /name tag instantly creates their tag without you having to do anything.

I don't understand why some people here think being able to use tags means we're all going get lost in a sea of 'crazy tagging' while our GTD goes out of the window. Far from it. I think the great things about tags is they are dynamic and you can have more than one attached to an action.

I can click /steph and see all the things I have to do with Steph. I can click /research and see all research based stuff I have to do. And I can click @library and see what else I have to do at the library.

Having two types of context, one for physical location and another for 'other stuff' is great. If you use tags sparingly it's very useful indeed and I find myself less conflicted with this way of working that wondering how the heck to put a phone call in the @phone context when in fact I'm calling /steph about /research. Which you can't do in OF.

So after just an hour messing about with THL my conclusion is that multiple contexts for an action coupled with the idea of different types of contexts (as in @contexts or /tags) is incredibly useful and prevents a lot of the non-intuitive short-circuiting I experience when using OF.

By the way, I tried tags in Things and hated it as it was all over the place. In THL it's neat and tidy, and you can create smart folders in the project view which act like context filters.
 
I do believe that OmniGroup is considering some form of tagging and or meta-data for OF 2.0 .
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmilovan View Post
Sorry, that depends on how you use it. I see it this way:

It is not on the system to tell you what the next action is, that should be entirely your decision. The system needs to display/filter the available tasks depending on context in order to help you decide what the next action will be, and to not overwhelm you with flood of actions.
You lost me here, I admit I didn't give THL more than 15 minutes, but in the time I gave it, it doesn't do anything you say a system needs to do.

It doesn't give you the available actions -- it gives you every darn action in that context. It overwhelms you with a flood of actions that might be completely impossible for you to do, because they depend on actions in earlier projects, and there's no concept of a start date either.

Please correct me if I'm wrong -- it seems like a fantastic piece of software, but I can't have it around if I can't dump everything into it, and I can't dump everything into it because I have a ton of areas of responsibility and actions to perform at this point in my life, and without some very basic filtering, like Action 1 is available but Action 2 can't be because Action 1 hasn't been completed yet, THL is literally useless, because it can't generate lists of even actions that are truly available for me to decide the next action.

This means that simply figuring out what I have to do each day requires searching each context, mentally filtering it by if its available, and then mentally filtering it by if its a next action, mentally filtering it by if its a priority, mentally filtering it by if I have time for it. With OmniFocus, I have to do half of that work.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by refulgentis View Post
This means that simply figuring out what I have to do each day requires searching each context, mentally filtering it by if its available, and then mentally filtering it by if its a next action, mentally filtering it by if its a priority, mentally filtering it by if I have time for it. With OmniFocus, I have to do half of that work.
That's a good point, refulgentis. It's the same problem that immediately turned me off from Things. Once I had a 1,000+ actions in it, I quickly realized that it was just going to be too much effort to scan the entire list every time I wanted to determine what's available.

I think it's largely those basic "next/available/remaining" rules in OmniFocus that give the app its reputation as being complicated. But it's also those same rules that make OmniFocus so powerful and a joy to use once you understand them.

-Dennis
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by refulgentis View Post
You lost me here, I admit I didn't give THL more than 15 minutes, but in the time I gave it, it doesn't do anything you say a system needs to do.

It doesn't give you the available actions -- it gives you every darn action in that context. It overwhelms you with a flood of actions that might be completely impossible for you to do, because they depend on actions in earlier projects, and there's no concept of a start date either.

Please correct me if I'm wrong -- it seems like a fantastic piece of software, but I can't have it around if I can't dump everything into it, and I can't dump everything into it because I have a ton of areas of responsibility and actions to perform at this point in my life, and without some very basic filtering, like Action 1 is available but Action 2 can't be because Action 1 hasn't been completed yet, THL is literally useless, because it can't generate lists of even actions that are truly available for me to decide the next action.

This means that simply figuring out what I have to do each day requires searching each context, mentally filtering it by if its available, and then mentally filtering it by if its a next action, mentally filtering it by if its a priority, mentally filtering it by if I have time for it. With OmniFocus, I have to do half of that work.
No, it does not have the sequential filter, but I find out I can have much more usable and better filtered lists by using tags and smart folders instead (I also have many projects and actions).
 
I did take a look at Daylite and the GTD+Daylite QuickTime movie they made at MacWorld 2009. Kinda interesting how they were able to retrofit Daylite into a GTD-capable system.

Every now and then, I'll take a gander at all the other systems by downloading the new demos of the other programs and I keep coming right back to OF.

For non-GTDers, Things and THL would appeal to them. But I think I'm sticking with OF.

I do like the idea of syncing to iCal so that your OF tasks are available system-wide. I'm contemplating a way to use OF as my task manager and then some other calendar and contact program.

Last edited by wilsonng; 2009-04-11 at 12:18 AM..
 
Having initially used OF before switching to Things for 9 months, before switching back a couple of months ago, I've realised that there are various features that only OF has that make it the product for me.

Out of curiosity, I've played with THL for probably around an hour or so in total and aside from the lack of sequential filter (already mentioned) the following make it an 'interesting' development but not one that I could actually use:

Getting things in - As an example, many of my tasks come from email (via Mail.app). In OF, there is nothing lacking in this respect. With two key strokes I get the whole message stored in notes and a link back to the original. Processing emails is a joy. Quick entry boxes are prevalent in both Things and The Hit List but they should be the minimum in such applications. I think only OF has taken them further.

Viewing notes - With OF, I can use QuickLook on links to files within my notes. It's a small point that can make a lot of difference.

Support and Development - Despite being the most mature of the 3 main players, OF is the one that seems to offer the most going forward. I love sneaky peaks. I also feel same that the OG peeps are there for me should I have a problem.

Reviews - I can see that THL (via smart folders) can let you build a perspective type 'view' but only OF (as far as I can see) gives thought the the actual review process.

Focus - When I used Things, it started to look cluttered. I can see the side bar in THL taking on that burden as well. A simple focussed list that the 'Focus' button in OF gives me, is exactly what's needed sometimes.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finlay Boo View Post
Having initially used OF before switching to Things for 9 months, before switching back a couple of months ago, I've realised that there are various features that only OF has that make it the product for me.

Out of curiosity, I've played with THL for probably around an hour or so in total and aside from the lack of sequential filter (already mentioned) the following make it an 'interesting' development but not one that I could actually use:

Getting things in - As an example, many of my tasks come from email (via Mail.app). In OF, there is nothing lacking in this respect. With two key strokes I get the whole message stored in notes and a link back to the original. Processing emails is a joy. Quick entry boxes are prevalent in both Things and The Hit List but they should be the minimum in such applications. I think only OF has taken them further.

Reviews - I can see that THL (via smart folders) can let you build a perspective type 'view' but only OF (as far as I can see) gives thought the the actual review process.

Focus - When I used Things, it started to look cluttered. I can see the side bar in THL taking on that burden as well. A simple focussed list that the 'Focus' button in OF gives me, is exactly what's needed sometimes.
I felt the need to chime in. I've used Things and THL for several days (not just a few hours) as my main system to see if they offer a better planning system and workflow. Initially, I thought Things and THL would serve me better, but I'm back to using OF; so, that should tell people something.

Over the years, I have come to realize that I spent too much time planning and not enough time doing, and some of the books I've been reading lately confirmed my realization wasn't delusional (ZTD and The Power of LESS). So, I need a system that is quick and flexible for me. As far as flexibility is concerned, there is nothing that beats OF. I understand that it doesn't have multiple tags, but I don't really miss it. It goes back to spending more time planning, not acting. I can quickly find things in my list and organize my list effectively so that I can focus on a few things I need to be working on each day and get those things done. In fact, I would argue that the minimalist approach to tags would be better, not worse. For those of you think I only manage or work on a few projects or tasks, well that's not the case, I have more than 30 projects in my OF, and most of the projects have several items already.

There are a few things that I find OF that is superior to Things or THL. 1. Review - this is a critical step in my system. Given many projects, I need to review my projects at least once a week (at different times of the week for different projects) to make sure I'm making progress on all my life areas. OF makes this "easy" whereas I can't find an easy way to do this in the other two. The smart folder in THL doesn't help when it comes to this. 2. Perspectives - this is where the power to filter your projects/list so that you can focus. As I said before, I need to focus on a few things each day rather than trying to do zillion things; so, the ability to focus would be important. THL does a good job doing this, but right now I can't filter based on my projects or hoist (focus on) certain projects; so, it's still lacking in my book. 3. Ease of Entry - both Things and THL offer quick entry and other methods of entering data into the program, but I have always found OF to be the quickest and most efficient in entering my data into the program. Again, I don't want to spend "hours" capturing items (back to planning vs action), and OF allows me to enter things quick and forget about it via keyboard shortcuts, smart fill, etc. Furthermore, I think OF so far has the best integration with other programs (e.g., Mail, Safari, etc.).

The only thing I think missing from OF that THL offers that I find it useful is Smart Folders. With Smart Folders, I think I can use OF as repository of certain information so that I can organize information the way I want it do use it. So, hopefully, with 2.0, OF will have this feature, and I can get rid of other program I'm using to do this now -- Tag. For some of you think I'm not being consistent (given what I said about tags), yes, I do find tags useful, but not as a planning tool, but as an information organization tool.

Just my perspective on planning/action and getting things done in your life.
 
Am loving THL already (despite using OF since beta and Kinkless GTD before then...). It's so easy to drag and drop email messages, URLs, etc. and it instantly prefaces them with action lingo. The interface is lovely, too.
 
 


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