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I want OmniFocus to open every day at a certain time showing me calendar events in iCal, giving me an option (prompt me) to add things to my inbox (like e-mails etc) and get going with my daily review.

Then I want to inbox, just like I do with my physical inbox - the two minute rule, filing in a tickler file, putting references in folders and so on. One thing at a time should show up and prompt me to act on it. Then I want OmniFocus to remind me to have a look at what I am Waiting for. I want to not miss any part of the GTD-system since that would mean a crack in a complete system - something will get lost and then goes my trust and then I might as well not do it.

Can one set up OmnoFocus to feed me ONE action at a time and have some sort of hud always present to remind me what it is I am supposed to be doing, how much time I have spent on it and serve me the next task/action when I am done?

Last edited by EvoPro; 2008-02-01 at 12:49 AM.. Reason: Shortening
For the first part, you might be able to cobble something together with Automator?

I don't see how the HUD idea, as it applies to processing the OF inbox, would be possible without adding another mode to OF. Is it really that hard to work down a list of items in your OF inbox, and perform a simple workflow on each item out of habit? This is what you would be doing with a paper-based system after all, and it is necessary for processing your other input inboxes (e.g. email, paper inbox, voice-mail).

I do agree that a count down timer helps with inbox processing (OF, email, voice-mail, paper inbox). Given the other inboxes that need processing and the number of free OSX timers, I've no problem using a timer outside OF when I feel the need to use a timer.

I'm a little conflicted here, as I can see how your suggestion might help someone trying to establish a good GTD inbox processing routine; but I'm also concerned with the notion that OF is or should be a complete GTD system. It is not, nor is it intended to be so (or at least I'm fairly certain that is not Omni's intent).

The OF inbox is for actionable items. This has been discussed in some (many?) other threads, but OF is not intended to be your reference archive nor is it intended to be your calendar. Also, there is no way for OF to know the various factors that you are supposed to be considering when you select a NA to perform. How can OF know how much time, energy and creativity you have available at a given moment? Therefore, how can it select the next task for you?

I do agree that having at least one timer built into each task would be very helpful for tracking reportable project time or billable hours. That said, project reporting and recording billable hours usually require other applications anyway . . . or at least that is the world I live in. FWIW, I do track time in OF for some non-corporate projects in the notes fields.
Stats are a big one missing from OmniFocus... In every view (Context/Planning) it should show you stats at the bottom. Done, doable, Projects, tasks.

Numbers are my friend.

Thanks yucca and BwanaZulia for your thoughts.

I have tried to work with "Ready-set-Do" ( and I love the way it prompts me to empty my Inbox, make my daily review, make my weekly review and how it guides me through every important GTD-step to analyze next actions in projects. It is not just a depositary for to do lists and a place to break down projects - it actually helps to get things done.

The drawback is that it looks "horrible", it uses folders as actions, it uses scripts and changes names on folders and the risk is that a few things will get lost in the otherwise brilliant tickler file. It also has to have a bunch of folders on my desktop and even if I love the basic idea of what this set of scripts are all about, I need the visual pleasure and cleanliness a program gives.

I have now started to learn AppleScript (looks simple enough) and have even started to build my own app in Xcode that will do what I want. It will use iCal, OmniFocus and OmniPlan and be my personal coach and assistant!

I will let you know when I am done and share the experience!
GTD isn't about "forcing" or "making" you do anything. It is a system you are supposed to go to when you have the time/energy to actually do something.

Hundreds of pop-ups and alerts actually don't help you do anything, just keep you busy closing windows and pop ups.

A weekly review can be a repeating project.

A daily dump of your inbox can be a repeating project.

I disagree.

GTD is a way to establish new habits and to see to that nothing falls out of the loop and also to see to that you don't have to use your brain and mind to keep things in. To get these new habits, any support will be helpful. To make inboxing in my computer as much like my physical inboxing I want to only see one thing at a time. To do my actions, I only want to have one thing popping up at a time - If not, part of my brain will start to prioritize, something I already did while inboxing.

Pop ups will help me to get back on track "You are now doing task X and have spent 20 minutes on it. Do you want to defer, continue or reevaluate this task?" - when I surf around and read news instead of GTD or "Remember your goals and stick to your GTD-system" when stuck in procrastination or feeling 'down' - and also to get my actions served one by one, without seeing the list they are taken from to remove one more distraction from my brain.

I am sure I will be able to set up OmniFocus to meet my needs. I will use Think to block out all other programs on the screen while doing my inboxing and I will script things to follow the GTD-system strictly.

This is a bit of the point Alan makes in his teaching: either you follow the principles of GTD and get a clear head and things done, or you compromise and spend time managing and missing. I and many others have tried GTD for some time and come to the same conclusion - it works as taught!

It is amazing that there still is no complete GTD solution on the market for handling your digital computer life. Until then I will script my way to a functional and complete GTD workflow.
Agree somewhat about RSD. I tried to like it. Really. The idea of a complete system GTD integration that could handle any file on my machine, leveraged the filesystem instead of proprietary software, used only scripts and the finder sounded (still sounds) great, but the scripts are clunky, inflexible, and kinda annoying. RSD's task management is waay overblown for when you just need to jot down a couple things, and there's no good way to see actions associated with a project as you type new ideas.

Still, parts of Ready Set Do are pretty helpful if you want a whole-machine approach to GTD. I agree that there's no good solution for handling files of ANY type. I want a GTD method for actioning anything on my laptop--downloads, page grabs, notes, attachments, apps, bookmarks, et al and I dont want to have to lock them in an app.

If you ignore the folder-as-action thing, or even ignore RSD's actionables folder altogether, you can still scrape good ideas from the setup. You can still maintain reference, project file and inbox folders, for example. I still use the review scripts, even, because they're occasionally helpful for when I have big, vague projects that need to be nailed down.

You've probably already figured out that you can set a recurring alarm to open your iCal events by using any number of Alarm apps or iCal itself. You an also look into Midnight Beep's Inbox if you're really, really into the timer thing.

But, if you're still working on a scripting solution, I'd be interested in what you've got working.
Originally Posted by View Post
I want a GTD method for actioning anything on my laptop--downloads, page grabs, notes, attachments, apps, bookmarks, et al
I've never tried RSD, and frankly, I know absolutely nothing about it. But doesn't OmniFocus provide the ability to take action on anything on your computer? I mean, couldn't you just link the desired file(s) to the notes field of actions in the OmniFocus outline? And with Leopard, you can even preview those items later with Quick Look.

This is actually something I've been moving towards in the last few of weeks: using OmniFocus as kind of a front-end for managing my actions when dealing with items in the filesystem. For example, after downloading a new installer, I leave the disk image or zip archive in the Downloads folder but link it to an OmniFocus action: "Install Firefox 3 update". If I'm cleaning up some CSS for my web site, I link the CSS file to another action: "Reorganize typeface styles for personal blog". If I have a folder of photos I want to share with grandma, I link the entire folder to an OmniFocus action: "Upload photos to Grandma's Ceiva." I have a repeating action, "Create offsite backup with SuperDuper!", with the SuperDuper! application itself linked into the notes field.

All of these items still reside in the filesystem; they're only linked to my OmniFocus database. So I can find them with Spotlight, or by browsing in the Finder, or by reviewing my OmniFocus actions and projects. By using OmniFocus as the front-end, I'm essentially applying metadata to the files, folders, and apps that gives them meaning in the context of my life and the things I want to accomplish. Yet, everything remains independent.

Originally Posted by View Post
...and I dont want to have to lock them in an app.
I guess I don't understand this. As long as you can still run the app (i.e. you don't suddenly switch to a different OS and toss out your old machine without transitioning) and the app can export your data in a usable format (or better yet, the original format), there's really no "lock-in", is there?

The "whole system" approach kind of reminds me of midnight inbox. You might give that a try. I thought it took too much effort but it might be right for you.

If you want just one action to do, why don't you try the OF widget? It seems perfect. It doesn't have a timer, though, if that's what you're looking for. It might be a good start for making whatever it is that will help you get more done.

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