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My apologies is this has been discussed before but I couldn't find it...

I find myself having tasks that belong to several projects at the same time. Is it possible that instead of having to repeat them, to create aliases so once finished could be checked for all?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JavBlan View Post
My apologies is this has been discussed before but I couldn't find it...

I find myself having tasks that belong to several projects at the same time. Is it possible that instead of having to repeat them, to create aliases so once finished could be checked for all?
Can you give an example of that sort of task ends up like this?

I think, in general, the idea with GTD is for tasks to be specific on a project by project basis.

So while there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting OF to do what you are talking about, it may also be worth considering whether there is another way of conceptualizing the project structure/workflow, so that the task doesn't need to be in, say, three different projects simultaneously.

At least for me, this is one of the powerful things about OF and GTD: the way it encourages/forces me to break my projects/tasks down into more logical bites that are easier to accomplish.

We can only ever really do one thing at a time. So GTD/OF is aimed at trying to help you to break things down in that way.

KS
 
Suppose I have 3 scientific projects running at the same time with it's own tasks.
At certain point some lab tests should have been done at the same place alltogether (in order to reduce costs). They don't have a specific order from the start of the project but they do need to be done before reaching that point.

When they are done, that task is finished, for all of them, at the same time...

To me, in this problem, this looks like the most natural way to follow the project flow path.
Maybe I am missing something.

I understand the philosophy behind GTD, and I do believe one must do the best effort to keep that set of mind in order to accomplish. But I don't expect it to be strictly rigid nor perfect...
 
Maybe you already considered this approach (and I know it's not perfect), but if the lab test is going to be a blocking task for all three of these projects, then perhaps it makes sense to break them up as parallel sub-projects under a larger meta-project heading, with the lab test results separating the preliminary phase of each project from the post lab phase.

By mixing parallel and sequential projects and sub-projects, you can set up some dependencies.

So the big blocks of the meta project are sequential and must move in a linear order (preliminary work, lab test, post lab work). But within the pre-lab and post-lab phases, the three sub-projects under each run in parallel.

Therefore, when you filter by available, you should see the next task you need to do for each one. But you will not be able to move on to the submit lab results step, until all of the preliminary tasks under each sub-project have been completed.

Similarly, in the post-lab phase, each project will show it's next action when you filter by available, but the meta-project won't be complete until you have completed all three of the projects.

So it might look like this:





And when you filter by available, it looks like this if the data hasn't yet been sent to the lab:


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Kingsinger,

Thank you very much for taking the time to help me out.
Very kind of you. Certainly it is a workaround.

I will definitively use your formula.

However, I think my question raised, what could be, a valid improvement for this already wonderful application.

One dimension is good but a bit rigid sometimes. I understand that too many dimensions can become a mess though.

Anyway, as I said before, I think we all know that the constraint and discipline should in our mind first.

Kind regards,


JavBlan
 
Another tactic is to make the blocking action have links to tell you which other actions should be made active. You can make a link to an action by selecting an action, doing File->Copy as Link and pasting that into the note of another action. When you click on that link, you'll get a new window focused on the destination action. If you have three experiments all waiting for the sample to come back from DNA sequencing, you could have a single action list that contains the actual work to be done on the sequencer, and each of those actions would have a link to each project's action ("Wait for sequencing of sample 035-25-XYZ"). When you complete that action to do the sequencing, you click the links and mark those waiting actions as complete, freeing the projects to go their merry ways.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JavBlan View Post
Kingsinger,

Thank you very much for taking the time to help me out.
Very kind of you. Certainly it is a workaround.

I will definitively use your formula.

However, I think my question raised, what could be, a valid improvement for this already wonderful application.

One dimension is good but a bit rigid sometimes. I understand that too many dimensions can become a mess though.

Anyway, as I said before, I think we all know that the constraint and discipline should in our mind first.

Kind regards,


JavBlan
Cool. Glad that helped. I know you're not the only one who has asked for that sort of functionality. Perhaps down the line we'll get it. But there may also be some philosophical reasons why it's not in there (as well as some coding challenges).
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JavBlan View Post
Suppose I have 3 scientific projects running at the same time with it's own tasks.
At certain point some lab tests should have been done at the same place alltogether (in order to reduce costs). They don't have a specific order from the start of the project but they do need to be done before reaching that point.

When they are done, that task is finished, for all of them, at the same time...

To me, in this problem, this looks like the most natural way to follow the project flow path.
Maybe I am missing something.

I understand the philosophy behind GTD, and I do believe one must do the best effort to keep that set of mind in order to accomplish. But I don't expect it to be strictly rigid nor perfect...
If I may offer my opinion. In the original question presented the issue seems to be a single task belonging to multiple projects. In my first understanding this could have been a task of calling someone and needing to speak about the details of project x, y, and z. The common context is the phone; and in a seemingly single action three tasks can be completed. Creating links (alias) to a single task to multiple projects x, y, and z would not solve this issue as potential consequences of skimming over specific project details could arise or confusion of overloading details in all similar tasks might contaminate project reference material. All which could affectively harm any actions performed during the phone call.

In your further clarification of the issue, the problem is not in having the individual tasks, but in the necessity of them being performed simultaneously to save on lab costs and meet budget constraints. This restriction is fundamentally different in its origin from the initial statement and therefore needs a completely different approach. You are correct; the issue requires a multi-dimension solution.

The three steps in finding a solution would be;

1) Review often. GTD specifically coordinates like actions together so everyones common resource of time can be effectively budgeted. It is in identifying with what needs to be adjusted within a project plan where one finds new solutions to such issues.

2) Data presentation. Learn how to present data through perspectives effectively. When I am making phone calls related to projects I do not need to see the shopping list my wife needs completed by next week. However, if I need to see a phone call cannot be completed until one or more tasks in an unrelated context or project are complete—that data becomes vital.

3) Use triggers, modules/templates, and scripts. Each of these could take a while to explain, but understand using varying tools and concepts in association with an OmniFocus workflow can be quite beneficial.

In your requirement of keeping cost down by performing similar lab tests congruently one might only need to place a proceeding tasks in each project to signal a similar tasks needs to be done and each is waiting for the conditions of the others in order to proceed. Once all the requirements across individual projects are met the lab test can be performed. This type of coordination is not necessarily instituted from the beginning of a project and requires proper review to make adequate adjustments.



Finally, if you have not heard of or read "Creating Flow with OmniFocus" by Kourosh Dini, I strongly suggest you purchase the book and take the time to digest it. The author deals with the tool OmniFocus, as David Allen dealt with the GTD philosophy. This book change my entire approach on how to use OmniFocus beyond making seemingly complex one dimensional checklists.

http://www.usingomnifocus.com
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Last edited by Dale; 2012-10-11 at 03:39 PM..
 
I, too, would like alias/clones of actions in OmniFocus. Here's why:

I use a daily project to organize my chaotic, rapidly changing daily agenda. I'd like aliases, so I could clone an action from a project without removing it from the project, and put it on my agenda. if I need to abandon it for today, I could just dismiss the alias, and not worry about where the action came from, because it's still in the project.

GTD is not designed for someone with my kind of time issues. OminFocus could be much easier to use if there were cloning/aliases of actions.

Please don't bother to try to convince me not to use a Project for my agenda. It offers the most useful solution to my situation.

I am interested if there's some kind of a "put back into project" script that could make a workaround.
 
It would be pretty easy to make a script which put a note in the action saying which project and context it was in. Getting it back to exactly the same spot is more work. Is it important to you that the actions be refilled after completion?
 
 


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