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A Perspective Containing a Focus *AND* the Inbox [Feature Request - email support] Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
That said, I'll make sure a feature request gets filed on this so the team knows you'd like to see the app handle this differently, psidnell. Thanks!

My preference would be that the inbox behave like any other project, and No Context like any other context: then they can be used as part of your workflow more flexibly.
My preference would be that it be an option to keep Inbox items from showing up in the rest of the world. Just because it has been captured doesn't mean it is going to be kept and acted upon. Do, defer, delegate or discard are the four paths out of the GTD inbox. Items in the Inbox are not yet commitments; they become commitments when processed.

Nothing in this post should be interpreted as opposition to psidnell's request to rationalize the behavior of the Inbox I'm in favor of that, and do not believe it is incompatible with my desire to keep the Inbox contents walled off when not wanted.
Psidnell, can you give us more information on how the ability to see the inbox at the same time as some focused or selected projects is useful to you? Specifically, how do you use this and what is it let you do in your workflow?

It is true that current versions of OmniFocus present the inbox and your project list in the same window, but the Inbox isn't "just another project". It's actually a totally different thing that just appears happens to appear in the same window as your projects. Different fields, different behaviors, but our presentation of that difference isn't clear at all.

FWIW, people consistently tell us that OmniFocus for iPad is easier to use and less confusing, and it already enforces this separation. You can see your inbox or your projects, but not both on the same screen. Future versions of the Mac app may handle this differently so we can make the conceptual/functional difference between the two lists clearer there, as well.

That all said, we'd love to hear more about how you use this in your workflow so we can consider that info as we think about what to do here. Thanks!

Last edited by Brian; 2013-01-17 at 04:43 PM.. Reason: fix typo, combine paragraphs
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
FWIW, people consistently tell us that OmniFocus for iPad is easier to use and less confusing
I bet if you polled a large section of the population, you would get a substantial agreement with the proposition that a 4 function calculator is easier to use than a typical scientific/programmer calculator. Just about everyone who shelled out more than $7 so they could own one of the latter would be really, really unhappy if 4 bangers became the only option. I personally get very nervous listening to all the talk about making the Mac app as friendly as the iPad app; much of the reason why the iPad app is easier to use and less confusing is that there's substantially less functionality! It's okay for someone using both iPad and Mac apps to have the iPad be OF Lite if the Mac app can still handle the heavy lifting. It's not okay if the Mac app turns into OF Lite!
I have one particular project I do for work and when I'm ready to sit down with that project I work out of a focused Project Mode with the Inbox in view. There are often many items that have accumulated in the inbox that need to be brought into the project. While working on that particular project on my laptop it is very helpful to see the future items and all the various contexts like Waiting For... at the same time. Clearing the inbox, reviewing the project, and acting on remaining actions can all be done in one sitting and in any order that seems convenient at the time. Of course I could not use Omni focus on the iOS in this way but in this particular case that is not a problem because this project requires the use of several applications that run on the laptop OS. Historically (yes, I've been using this app along time) I came to this method of working because I could see the inbox at the same time. If I did this the traditional way, by clearing the inbox first, I would still have to move the actions around among the action groups within the project itself before changing the focused view from Project to Context and this method saves me some of that tedium.
This is the only time I use OmniFocus in this way—otherwise I work out of Context mode and do not expect immature actions that are still in the inbox to appear.
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
Psidnell, can you give us more information on how the ability to see the inbox at the same time as some focused or selected projects is useful to you? Specifically, how do you use this and what is it let you do in your workflow?

I spend most of my work day at my desk with a focus set on my work folder.
I usually have two windows open:
  • A big context window with all available actions (focussed on work).
  • A small context window with all due/flagged actions (focussed on work).

I often use OSX/IOS quick entry (and now the new mail/sync service) to get things into my inbox while I'm on the desk phone or in a meeting (with my iPhone). The vast majority are work related and small tasks.

Consequently I'd like them to appear in my work focussed available context window (above) under "No Context", as they would if I wasn't focussed.

Obviously I could select a project/context on entry (if using the right "clean up inbox items" setting) but that would be less "quick".

I don't know what the technical feasibility of this is (although I have peeked at your db schema and generate reports from it with python:-)) but there would seem to be no usability penalty for the inbox to be a project that can't be deleted/renamed. Then when you create a focussed perspective you could choose to include/exclude it to get any behaviour you want - including the current behaviour (although a tad more consistent).

Hope that made sense.
Very helpful - thanks! Passing the info along to the rest of the team.

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