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What's your system to: quickly put together a list of things to do in an evening Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Let's say you have:
  • a free evening/afternoon/etc, where you want to knock out some todos
  • your existing smattering of organized tasks in projects and actions, and within those, a handful that you know you specifically want to get done in the next few hours
  • several other tasks not yet in omnifocus that you know you want to get done in the next few hours.

What do you do?

The generic answer is: put the new tasks into OmniFocus in the correct context, and then just switch to the appropriate context(s) and get to work. But for me it's never that simple. In a given context there are always a few things I want to skip over, which is fine, but it would just be nice to have a definitive list without being distracted by other things.

I suppose one solution to this is to use flagged items. I don't currently use flagged items for much other than a vague indication of urgency, so I could start using them in these situations.

Another solution that would require a new omnifocus feature is to be able to put things in multiple projects. so i could throw together a "to do tonight" project and drag things in from other places, which would exist in both their previous and new project. maybe project wouldn't be the right concept here, so we could have a new "List" concept. Or maybe all that would break the point of OF/GTD altogether :-D

Would love to hear how others deal with these sorts of situations.

My memory is fairly terrible, so my first rule is to get everything I don't want to forget into the app. If it's not the single next thing I'm going to do, it goes into the inbox, at least.

Once that's done, I flag the relevant items, then work on my Due Soon or Flagged list until they're knocked out...
Short answer: Pen and paper. Unbeatable.

Long answer: Everything is already in OmniFocus. I'd scan my Due list for the more urgent stuff and then just add some more stuff on there from the relevant Context if I think I have the time.

This is of course assuming I know there won't be any distractions, as on e.g. a Sunday afternoon.
I created a perspective called "Hot List".

Context Filter: Remaining
Grouping: Due
Sorting: Due
Availability Filter: Available
Status Filter: Due or Flagged
Estimated Time Tiler: Any Duration

So this combines the built-in due perspective and the built-in flagged perspective.

It pays off to do your daily and weekly review.

In my weekly review, I unflag everything. Then I'll do a review of my projects and flag certain tasks/projects as my Big Rock(s) of the week to do.

Every day, I do my little daily review:

1. I look at my BusyCal/iCal calendar to see if there are any milestones that are approaching in the next couple of weeks. I know I have to start cranking out projects and tasks if there is something on the horizon.

2. I go to OmniFocus and look at my Hot List perspective. I can see any tasks that have a due date as well as any tasks that are flagged. I will try to work on these today.

Alternatively, I can always go to the built-in Due perspective. Due items are really items that you should focus on first. Then after I complete (or attempt to complete) anything on my due list, I look at my flagged perspective to look at my big Rocks that have gotten my interest/focus.

I just made this Hot List perspective to combine the due and flagged items together.

But the trick is to always do the weekly review so that your Hot List (due items and flagged items) are always relevant. Then you can trust that you'll be on top of things.
Another way to make a list is to open up TextEdit, then just drag over actions from OmniFocus. They'll appear as a link, and if you click on the link, it takes you to OmniFocus, opens a new window showing the project containing the action, selects the action, and you can mark it done.

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