The Omni Group
These forums are now read-only. Please visit our new forums to participate in discussion. A new account will be required to post in the new forums. For more info on the switch, see this post. Thank you!

Go Back   The Omni Group Forums > OmniFocus > OmniFocus 1 for Mac
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

 
Action Start Dates Instead of Too Many Due Dates Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hi - I started using OF Mac in late 2008, then OF iPHone and abandoned both in mid-2009 because it just wasn't working for me then.

My life is now more complicated and with more powerful syncing and the beautiful iPad app, I've decided to dive back in.

One of the things that hindered my use and therefore productivity with OF in the past, was assigning due dates that, in the end, really didn't matter (had a sidebar littered with read circles with large numbers in there).

So after spending time reading and watching Sparky's video series and more, I realize that due dates, in my new workflow, will be used sparingly.

Keep in mind I'm not a GTD follower nor disciple of David Allen, I haven't read the book and won't read the book *being honest here. Rather than look GTD and use OF to manage GTD concepts, I look at OF and how it the tool can help me manage those aspects in life that need a bit more organization *or, as we say, get things out of my head so I can't think more clearly.

Sorry for the long intro.

So I capture and set actions and apply only start dates (unless there is a hard due date).

What's important to me in my daily work flow is to review those items that start today or before today and that are note yet completed or even started. These could be single task items without dependencies or sequence but are part of a single or ongoing project.

I can't figure out how to create a perspective that I can look at each day that shows me only those things that start today or earlier. I don't want to see things that start next week, next month or next year. I'd like to look at things I need to start today, and if necessary push those things I won't start to a new start date or otherwise.

And as an old user now coming back, I have to relearn things especially terminology. So the notion of Status or Availability Filter is something I still don't "GET". Who or what is available? When? next action? What about the previous action? Flagged? Not sure why I would other than seems to be an arbitrary field for sorting only. Due soon? Due? Well, we all know that due dates are, in most cases in this workflow, not recommended unless there's a real hard due date.

So why wouldn't there be a start date under these filters?

Thanks again for listening (reading) and I appreciate anyone who can tell me how to get a view of those things that start today so I can get started and working!
 
On the Mac, go to context view, group by start date, close the groups that don't interest you, and save as a perspective, checking the restore expansion box in the Perspectives window. Now you have a perspective that allows you to see recently started actions even on the iPad (context mode perspectives are available on the iPad, though they have to be created on the Mac). The iPad app will do the grouping a bit differently instead of the Mac's "logarithmic" grouping (bigger groups as you get farther away from today), everything is grouped day by day. If you tap and hold on the triangle at the upper right corner of each group, you'll have options to collapse/expand that group or all groups.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
On the Mac, go to context view, group by start date, close the groups that don't interest you, and save as a perspective, checking the restore expansion box in the Perspectives window. Now you have a perspective that allows you to see recently started actions even on the iPad (context mode perspectives are available on the iPad, though they have to be created on the Mac). The iPad app will do the grouping a bit differently instead of the Mac's "logarithmic" grouping (bigger groups as you get farther away from today), everything is grouped day by day. If you tap and hold on the triangle at the upper right corner of each group, you'll have options to collapse/expand that group or all groups.
This is great. So simple.

Curious, though. I see that, at least at this moment, I have a "Started Yesterday" "Start Today" I imagine that if there were items that had a start date previously they'd appear in a "group" and up to me to manage such things.

Since posting I also tried this (but something is weird):

Context View Sidebar selection: Contexts
Context Filter: Remaining
Grouping: Context
Sorting: Project
Avail Filter: Available
Status Filter: Any
Time: Any

Seeems to show me all my tasks starting today or yesterday but also includes some tasks without start dates, but I'm not sure if it's all of tasks w/o dates.

So where is OF getting this data. What does "available" really mean and do I have to tell OF something is "available" or what logic does it use to determine "available"

Thanks!
 
Yes, OmniFocus will create groups as needed.

Start any time
Started more than a year ago
Started within the last year
Started within the last 6 months
Started within the last 3 months
Started within the last month
Started within the last week
Started yesterday
Start today
Start tomorrow
Start within the next week
Start within the next month
Start within the next 3 months
Start within the next 6 months
Start within the next year
Start more than a year from now

As for the second part of your question, you asked to see all the available tasks, grouped by context and sorted within those groups by project. That's what you received. By default, tasks are always available, without any action required on your part. What makes a task not available is one or more of the following:

task is completed
task is in a sequential project or action group, and is not the next action
task has a start date assigned which is in the future
task is assigned to a project or action group which has a start date assigned which is in the future
task is assigned to a context which is on hold
task is assigned to a project which is marked dropped
task is assigned to a project which is marked on hold
task is assigned to a project which is in a folder which is marked dropped
 
I actually grew tired of putting start dates on all of my projects.

I did a reboot by setting all of my projects to "On Hold" status. This indicated to me that these projects became my Someday/Maybe project. You can also create a folder called Someday/Maybe and drag everything into that folder. Have a Someday/Maybe folder for Work, Home, etc. if you need to separate them further.

Then during my Weekly Review, I'll go through the list of projects and active a handful (three to five) projects. These become my Big Rocks of the Week to focus on for the next 7-10 days. I'll put some currently active projects back to "On Hold" and turn some Someday/Maybe projects back to "Active."

I use start dates on projects only when I know I can start then on certain days. For example, I know that the boss is coming back on March 1st. So I'll set the start date for a project on March 1st so that it becomes active and available to me.

But for most other projects that can start at any time or at my discretion, I'll just set the project to "On Hold." I can trust myself on the Weekly Review that I'll see the "On Hold" projects and determine what I can and cannot do this week based on my workload. It also helps to set proper review intervals and/or review dates for each project.
 
@whpalmer4 *thanks so much for that clarification. I continue to learn these things and your overview is a great help.

One thing I noted in your explanation:

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsonng View Post
task is assigned to a project or action group which has a start date assigned which is in the future
So I wonder what happens if I have a task that originally was assigned an earlier start date, but then I move it to a sequential or action list that has a later start date? I'll lose track of that until the list or project start date comes around, huh? Something to watch, I think.

@wilsonng *interesting approach to project management and it might work for me on some things, like projects with multiple tasks etc., since I use OF a lot for capturing action items from email, for following up to email and reminding me what I'm "waiting" for on projects or email/phone calls, I'm using start date to tickle me on these things to see if i need to drop them or ping a contact that I'm waiting on.

The other thing that I haven't got my head around is the single action item "thing" or "Icon" -

For example, I have an ongoing projects called 'rental property'; occassionally a tenant needs something done, bids need to be received, or other action items need to happen. Much of these are single action items that happen over the course of months. But that is set up as a project and not a single action item *and I use this concept of start dates to tickle me on follow up and necessary action.

Am I not doing this correctly from your best practices?

Thanks
 
I don't use the start date as a tickler. It just messes with my mind about when projects should really start.

I put almost every project to "On Hold" status. I set projects to "Active" only when I am ready to start working on it in the next 7-10 days.

Here's how I set up my ticklers - I use the Review perspective and set the review dates and review cycles of all my projects to different intervals.

Some projects that need to be monitored more closely will have a shorter review interval (1 day to 1 week). Projects that don't need frequent monitoring will have a longer review interval. Some projects can be reviewed on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-monthly, bi-annually, or annually.

On night before or first thing in the morning, I click on the review perspective to see all of my projects that need to be reviewed today or tomorrow. Projects that have a review date of today will appear at the top of the list. This is my tickler. I can determine whether or not to set the project to active or keep it set to on hold. Then I select Edit menu > Mark Review (Command-Shift-R). I'll know that I have reviewed this project, decided to keep it on hold or make it active, then mark it as reviewed. The reviewed project will be cycled back into the future for further review based on the set review cycle. I can also use the Inspector window and set the next review date manually.

This makes it easier for me to handle ticklers instead of resetting the start date over and over again.

I also know that my projects will stay on hold until I decide to put it back into active mode.
 
 


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Start Dates-Due Dates and iPhone behaviour glen.saberton OmniFocus for iPhone 4 2013-03-19 02:24 PM
Advice on due dates versus start dates Ed P OmniFocus 1 for Mac 4 2012-03-18 07:58 AM
Start Dates, Due Dates & Estimate Times. HappyDude OmniFocus 1 for Mac 5 2009-07-06 12:34 PM
Basics ? Project Dates vs Action Dates amg OmniFocus 1 for Mac 7 2009-04-16 12:13 PM
context view using start dates vs. due dates bpwhistler OmniFocus 1 for Mac 6 2008-11-20 03:52 AM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:47 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.