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People Column or Metadata Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I would love to see a column called "who" or a metadata where you could add an address book contact. I know this post is dangerously close to the great "tagging" debate, but here goes:

Perceived Problem:

Pretend that I have the following action items with Jim. They come from different projects and have been assigned different actions. The problem is when an opportunity arises such as Jim calls or walks into my office, I want to quickly find anything that relates to Jim.
  • Follow Up with Jim re: Dinner with Pam [email]
  • call Jim re: buy paper[call]
  • discuss rabies with Jim [agenda:jim]
  • waiting for jim's input on NY trip [waiting for]
  • brainstorm scranton vacation idea with jim [call]

Other solutions:
I could put &Jim in the notes field and then perform a search when he walks into my office.

Any thoughts? (or links to where you remember this being discussed)


Last edited by steve; 2008-06-02 at 06:04 AM..
Hi Steve. I handle this by having a context specifically for people I work with on a regular basis. I keep them under a parent context called People (so the list can be collapsed), with about a dozen named individual contexts inside (like John, Jenny, Mike, etc.). For other, less frequent and less important contacts, I fall back on my more generic "Email", "Phone", "Mail" contexts.

Now, you might argue that by assigning a specific context of "John" to an action, the action loses its original, more generic context of "Email" or "Phone".

That's true, but context is all about choosing the single-most-important person/place/thing/mode/circumstance required to handle an action. In cases where I'm working with one of my key contacts, the most important thing is that I be in touch with that specific person, not the medium over which the conversation is taking place. In other words, I need to discuss something with John and it doesn't matter if it's by phone, email, or face-to-face over lunch. So for that action, the "John" context trumps all other contexts ("Phone", "Email", etc.).


I have also have contexts set for individual people who I meet with on a regular basis, but until your post, I had been filing things under call or email or the person's name depending on the task. So, I am now grouping all NA's under the person's name. It is working well, but I still think that extra column or metadata field would be helpful.

Originally Posted by steve View Post
It is working well, but I still think that extra column or metadata field would be helpful.
Yeah, I guess agree, Steve. It would certainly provide a little extra flexibility.

And don't forget that you can use sub contexts.
For example; if you have one or two people that you have a lot of tasks with you can increase granularity on those only. For people that you only have maybe up to 10-15 tasks with; a flat list(single context) should suffice.
Originally Posted by Toadling View Post
Yeah, I guess agree, Steve. It would certainly provide a little extra flexibility.

Another vote for a people column, preferably it could integrate to the addressbook, so on adding an entry it would narrow down the list as happens now when you are filling in a context. Then when the entry is in you could click on it as a hyper link and have that name pull up in addressbook.


One serious obstacle with this "People" column idea: how would you filter content for a specific person or group of people?

Right now, with people-named contexts, it's easy to focus on just one person or a group by simply selecting them in the sidebar (or Shift-click/Command-click for multiple selections) in Context Mode. It seems like we'd lose that capability with a People column unless there was a new People Mode (in addition to the existing Planning and Context modes) that would list all your people entries in the sidebar, like is currently done with contexts, allowing for nesting and state changes (active, on hold, dropped).

Judging from Omni Group comments in other threads, adding a new view is *not* a trivial thing and would not be taken on lightly. So I think this approach seems unlikely, at least in the near future.

Another option for filtering by people might be to add a new view bar pulldown menu that contains all the peoples' names and is dynamically updated whenever you add/update/delete name entries. I don't know how difficult dynamic updating of a menu's valid set is; we currently have no examples of that in OmniFocus. But another, perhaps more serious, problem is that there'd be no way to select combinations of multiple names simultaneously. The view bar menus, as they work today, allow only a single selection from the valid set.

Unless these issue can be surmounted, I'm not sure a People column would really work for us. Any ideas?

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