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It's all about Perspectives, I think. Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
So, here's the next thing I'm trying to figure out.

I have all these projects now, and under each projects I have a bunch of actions. All, or all most all of my actions have contexts, and (go me) some even have start and due dates.

Here's where the question get dangerous, because I'm going to touch, ever so lightly, on.... priority (GASP!)

I want to see all the tasks, across all the projects and contexts, that are due today. In keeping with the way I have been told OF allows me to handle priority I want to rearrange those tasks, with the ones that are most important to me at the top, and less important at the bottom. This is the "as many levels of priority" as there are actions, that Ken noted in the already infamous Priority thread.

I watched the short movie on perspectives, and it seems as if that's the tool I need to make this happen, but so far I haven't been able to get the view I'm looking for. The issue that I'm dealing with is that I can not rearrange actions across the range of projects I want to work on in any given day. Each action stays in it's own project. So my first action of the day might be in project X, my next two in project Y, and the fourth in project Z. The thing is I don't want to see the projects, just the actions.

Thinking of it here I wonder if I have failed to implement the context correctly. If I had put all of these actions under the same context (like Work) I could sort by context view and get them all, then arrange them as I like. Of course, some of them are phone calls, some are email, some are other. If I put the phone calls under the context of Work they won't show up when I'm sitting at Starbucks and think I could get a few phone calls taken care of.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpathomas View Post
So, here's the next thing I'm trying to figure out.

I have all these projects now, and under each projects I have a bunch of actions. All, or all most all of my actions have contexts, and (go me) some even have start and due dates.

Here's where the question get dangerous, because I'm going to touch, ever so lightly, on.... priority (GASP!)

I want to see all the tasks, across all the projects and contexts, that are due today. In keeping with the way I have been told OF allows me to handle priority I want to rearrange those tasks, with the ones that are most important to me at the top, and less important at the bottom. This is the "as many levels of priority" as there are actions, that Ken noted in the already infamous Priority thread.

I watched the short movie on perspectives, and it seems as if that's the tool I need to make this happen, but so far I haven't been able to get the view I'm looking for. The issue that I'm dealing with is that I can not rearrange actions across the range of projects I want to work on in any given day. Each action stays in it's own project. So my first action of the day might be in project X, my next two in project Y, and the fourth in project Z. The thing is I don't want to see the projects, just the actions.

Thinking of it here I wonder if I have failed to implement the context correctly. If I had put all of these actions under the same context (like Work) I could sort by context view and get them all, then arrange them as I like. Of course, some of them are phone calls, some are email, some are other. If I put the phone calls under the context of Work they won't show up when I'm sitting at Starbucks and think I could get a few phone calls taken care of.
If I'm understanding you correctly, what you really want is to be able to make a list of stuff you're going to do today, picked from the available tasks, ordered by whatever means you like, so you can just "line 'em up and knock 'em down" right? (You can't manually sort items in a context view, as far as I know, only in a project view, btw.)

You can't quite do that strictly within the confines of OmniFocus. However, if a list of actions without their associated contexts would be of use, it's easy to do, and won't cost you anything. Pull up your desired context view that shows all the potential candidate actions. Select the whole mess, or pick and choose to build up the selection. Now invoke OmniFocus->Services->Textedit->New Window Containing Selection. Rearrange the items in the resulting Textedit window to suit. Get to work. When you've gotten something completed, just click on the item in the Textedit window, and within a few seconds you'll be looking at the corresponding item in your OmniFocus window, ready to check it off.
 
Thank you, that's an interesting solution.

You're right to say I want to "line 'em up and knock 'em down," but when you put it that way it starts me thinking that maybe I'm missing the point.

Still wrapping my head around this....
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpathomas View Post
Thank you, that's an interesting solution.

You're right to say I want to "line 'em up and knock 'em down," but when you put it that way it starts me thinking that maybe I'm missing the point.
Why? Which point are you missing? I'm probably missing it too :-)

I don't think DA mandates (mandates? who is he kidding?) that it is necessary for you to go back and look over all of your available next actions each time finish one and are ready to start another. I think he'd be delighted you found his ideas to be of use in building your own framework for getting things done. If that includes pre-computing your list of the next 2, 7, 19, or 436 things you are going to do today, and you get the swamp drained more effectively that way, go for it!
 
I think more the OF way is to arrange your projects in the order of priority & the actions within each project in the order of priority in planning mode. OF assumes that if one project is more important than another project, then all the actions in the first project are more important than all the items in the second project.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucas View Post
I think more the OF way is to arrange your projects in the order of priority & the actions within each project in the order of priority in planning mode. OF assumes that if one project is more important than another project, then all the actions in the first project are more important than all the items in the second project.
Gee, I don't see that at all. That would be an unnecessarily restrictive model, in my view. Actions from one project might be of more urgency or importance than those from another project which overall is more urgent or important than the first one. Say I'm working on a project with Tom that is behind my current main project in importance, but I'm going to be finished in half a week with my main project and then the project with Tom will be back on the front burner. However, Tom leaves for a two-week vacation tomorrow, and I've got to get his changes before he leaves. Not having those changes will block progress on my work until he returns, so that task better be done no matter what before he leaves.

I think the rich palette of grouping and sorting options in context mode also belies the notion that we are intended to sort the order of our projects by priority. The group by project in context mode (which then sorts by the order of the projects in the planning mode sidebar) certainly gives us the option to work that way if we choose, but the presence of Edit->Sort allowing the arrangement of projects by such obvious prioritization schemes as alphabetical order makes me dubious that Ken, Ethan, et al have some expectation that we'll sort our projects only by priority! I'm sure I can dredge up comments by various Omni folks saying things like "plan in project/planning mode, work in context mode" and the only way that meshes with my interpretation of your comment is if you're grouping by project, which is but one choice of many. Their suggestions on the use of folders to organize projects also tend to suggest a more flexible viewpoint.

Perhaps I'm just not understanding what you are saying here. I do agree that arranging the actions that make up a project by priority makes sense to the extent you can freely arrange their ordering.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpathomas View Post
Thinking of it here I wonder if I have failed to implement the context correctly. If I had put all of these actions under the same context (like Work) I could sort by context view and get them all, then arrange them as I like. Of course, some of them are phone calls, some are email, some are other. If I put the phone calls under the context of Work they won't show up when I'm sitting at Starbucks and think I could get a few phone calls taken care of.
No, you're doing fine - you just want to take the next step in setting things up. ;-)

Switch over to context view, then use the options under the View menu (specifically, the options between "Sidebar Filter" and "Flag Filter") to come up with settings that grab the tasks you care about, while filtering out the tasks you don't.

I'm being vague here, because folks use perspectives in a bunch of different ways to apply whatever 'I need to work on this' criteria they came up with. If you want to do a quick review of your projects, flag some actions you want to work on, then see just the ones that you've flagged, that's one approach folks use. If you set a lot of due dates, the built-in 'Due Soon' perspective may work for you.

In any case, once you find some filter settings you're happy with, you can select
Perspectives -> Save Window As New Perspective
to capture those settings for future use.

Now, you can access those settings all at once and see the tasks that fit your criteria, without needing to set all that up.

My personal setup is
Sidebar Filter: Remaining
Grouping: Ungrouped
Sorting: Project
Status Filter: Due Soon

And the last two on the "Any" settings. I never enter duration info and I rarely flag stuff.

(If you wanted to use that 'flag stuff, then work on it' method I mentioned before, you'd want the Flagged filter set to "Flagged".)

Does that help at all?

Last edited by Brian; 2008-06-18 at 03:39 PM.. Reason: added the parenthetical
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
Actions from one project might be of more urgency or importance than those from another project which overall is more urgent or important than the first one. Say I'm working on a project with Tom that is behind my current main project in importance, but I'm going to be finished in half a week with my main project and then the project with Tom will be back on the front burner. However, Tom leaves for a two-week vacation tomorrow, and I've got to get his changes before he leaves. Not having those changes will block progress on my work until he returns, so that task better be done no matter what before he leaves.
The default behavior of OmniFocus matches Lucas' description, but that's in the absence of any other filtering or sorting you may do in context view. If you select Perspectives -> Revert to default view, then within each context, actions from the project at the top of the list in Planning view would show up first, followed by actions from the second project, and so forth.

In the example you provided, you'd probably want your context view sorted by due date; that way, whichever task needed to be done first would appear at the top.

You're both right, in other words. ;-)
 
Actually Brian that helps a lot. Thanks for the explination.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
The default behavior of OmniFocus matches Lucas' description, but that's in the absence of any other filtering or sorting you may do in context view. If you select Perspectives -> Revert to default view, then within each context, actions from the project at the top of the list in Planning view would show up first, followed by actions from the second project, and so forth.
Ok, now I get what he was saying. I still don't see that behavior as implying anything about priorities unless one chooses to work that way. I look at the context list and I see a list of choices for what I might do next, and the ordering is irrelevant unless I make it otherwise by grouping/sorting/filtering. Certainly a "pure" GTD implementation (whatever that is) wouldn't enforce anything like that. You did the right thing, too :-)
 
 


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