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Projects within Projects - Help understanding to do it the correct way Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I'm a fairly new OF user, and I like it a lot.

However, there's one thing I don't really catch; How to create and use projects within projects.

The problem for me is, that almost everything I do is a kind of project. For example, we have just bought a house, and there's a lot to do and restore in the house.
Buying a new fridge for example, involves comparing fridges, talk to a salesman, talk to some friends, look at fridges, having the right measurements, being a low powerconsumer fridge, etc etc. Many of these things are projects in themself.

When I created this kind of situations before OF I could easily do it in a text document, someting like this:

HOUSE
Kitchen
Buy new fridge
Comparing fridges
Fridge 1
Fridge 2
Fridge 3
Talk to a salesman
Person 1
Person 2
Person 3
Talk to some friends
Friend 1
Friend 2
Look and feel at fridges
Fridge 1
Fridge 2
Fridge 3
Having the right measurements
Fridge 1
Fridge 2
Fridge 3
Being a low powerconsumer fridge
Fridge 1
Fridge 2
Fridge 3
These projects and indenting can be made in OF with the Add Child command. However, when creating a new task with the Quick Entry Shortcut the only Project I can choose is "HOUSE", I want to be able to choose the underlying Projects as well...

So, basically my questions are:
- What is the difference between Add Project and Add Child?
- How can I create a project within a project?
- Is that the right way to do it or is there a better way?
- Am I not thinking in the right way at all?


I have looked at the video, but I haven't read the manual yet...


Thanks for any advice!
/andreas
 
A folder called 'House' and a variety of projects within it is one way of doing it

You can do it just the way you say - but quick entry doesn't give you access to children

You say you are new to OF - how new are you to GTD? Sorry to ask but the way you've laid out your approach doesn't look very 'next action' - ish

What it DOES look like is quite a few projects that could be running parallel under the banner 'House'

Sorry to be boring, but it's important
 
Thanks for the non-boring answer! :)

Yes, I am new to GTD. I am desperately trying to collect all my tasks and doing something good out of it. Unfortunately I have work, family, hobbies and children that takes all of my time...

It's never too late though, so I thought that our house project would be nice to do the "right" way.

Today I have some folders called Private, Work, Some Hobby projects, etc. Maybe I need to read the David Allen book... When I have the time. :P
 
Without reading the book you will probably keep asking the 'wrong' questions on this forum, which means we can't help you much :)

Your example above is the kind of list that used to have me feeling overwhelmed and do nothing. Lots of stuff there that can happen simultaneously, mixed with other things that probably need to be done in a certain order.

One thing I CAN say about your example is that the way it is laid out gives you too much to look at at doesn't help you focus on the NEXT ACTION you have to take. I know it's only a very rough example you have given, but it shows you haven't read the book :)

Put simply:

1. Stop calling things tasks and start calling them 'next actions' (you will see NA a lot on these boards). It will get you in the frame of mind that EVERTHING must lead to the next action you must do to accomplish something, and if there is no next action, it is done.

2. If there is no 'next action' for something you need to do, it is quite simply a single action and can go in a list of other single actions that don't seem to need a sequence.

3. If something you want to do can easily create more than one next action it is called a project. A project is a sequence of next actions. The project is finished when all the actions done it in are finished. Unlike traditional projects which people normally think off as pretty big like 'Fix House', projects in GTD can be very small. The point of this is to create very small actions in an attempt to break down everything into easy to digest actions to prevent you feeling overwhelmed.

Now also there is the idea of contexts which you also haven't mentioned. In GTD, a next action can be part of an overall project, but also a context. You may be phoning someone about a fridge (@phone) or going to look at a fridge (@shops) or even researching about fridges on the internet (@computer) - these are all part of the same project but each requires you to be in a different place or mode of working. The idea of OF and GTD is for you to mark which context each actions falls into, so that you can sort the data depending on where you are or what mode you're in.

I could go on. And on. But I thought I'd give you a very quick overview on GTD and OF and now tell you to go and read the book :)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BevvyB View Post
Without reading the book you will probably keep asking the 'wrong' questions on this forum, which means we can't help you much :)
Sorry to latch onto that specific sentence, but in my experience the OmniGroup are very specific in saying that OmniFocus isn't *just* useful for GTD-diehards, but for anyone who likes to be organised. I, for one, am quite organised (largely thanks to OF), but I've never read the original GTD book.

So for the OP, I feel, the "correct way" doesn't have to be GTD-specific.
 
The thing that I would say about having actions that make sense is make the action either "something that can be done all at once" or "once done, it could be a good time for a break." So in your example above, you have getting fridges measured separately from finding their power requirements. I think it's more likely that when you're getting the measurements for a particular fridge you can find out at the same time what the power requirements are. If fridges are all sold at the same place, you might say that finding all of the measurements and all of the power requirements for all the fridges is a single action, since once in that location, it probably wouldn't make sense to leave without getting all the measurements. (I don't know if the fridge measurements are what you are talking about, maybe it's measurements in your home, but I hope you understand what I'm saying). So the list of actions that I might have might be: talk to salesman 1 about fridges; talk to salesman 2 about fridges; talk to friend {1 2} about fridges; look at fridges, get measurements, get power requirements for the fridges; decide on best fridge; buy fridge.

The "add child" command can help for organizing your actions and changing how actions become available but it doesn't really work well for outlining information and not really well for being a "sub-project" either. Keep in mind that your actions are going to become a flat list in context mode. Accordingly, there aren't really subprojects in OF.

I think you'll find it a lot easier as well if you make "Buy New Fridge" your project and put it in House and Kitchen folders as necessary. If you also want to have general Kitchen or House actions organized together, you could put single action lists in the Kitchen or House folders for holding those non-project actions. If that makes you more comfortable, do it; but I don't think you get a lot of value when you're in context mode from having every action filed into the most exact project. I've found that over time I get a little sloppy with which project I put actions into and it doesn't really make all that much difference. That may be an acquired taste though.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by intranation View Post
Sorry to latch onto that specific sentence, but in my experience the OmniGroup are very specific in saying that OmniFocus isn't *just* useful for GTD-diehards, but for anyone who likes to be organised. I, for one, am quite organised (largely thanks to OF), but I've never read the original GTD book.

So for the OP, I feel, the "correct way" doesn't have to be GTD-specific.
There's a world of difference between not being a "GTD diehard" and not knowing the basics of GTD. Most OF users are probably not GTD diehards. But to use OF effectively, you must at least know the basics of GTD. That's why the default projects it gives you when you first start up OF involve ordering a copy of the GTD book. OmniFocus could, of course, be shoe-horned into other systems, just as you could use a car for a house, but don't be surprised if you're not pleased with the results, if you're not familiar with how GTD works.

Along the same lines, my basic advice for andreas is to get a copy of the book and read it. It will help you understand how to set up projects like this the right way.
 
Thanks for the answers!

Even though my first intention with OF is not to use it as a GTD organizer, I think GTD is interesting, and will probably help me with my life. So I will slowly learn, and with your answers I understand a little bit more.

The book will be ordered and read as soon as I can.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by abh19 View Post
There's a world of difference between not being a "GTD diehard" and not knowing the basics of GTD. Most OF users are probably not GTD diehards. But to use OF effectively, you must at least know the basics of GTD. That's why the default projects it gives you when you first start up OF involve ordering a copy of the GTD book. OmniFocus could, of course, be shoe-horned into other systems, just as you could use a car for a house, but don't be surprised if you're not pleased with the results, if you're not familiar with how GTD works.
So you're basically saying that because I haven't read the book, I can't use OF effectively? Seems like a fairly gross generalisation. OF is a very powerful program, and custom perspectives/views mean I can organise myself very effectively, regardless of your assumption.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by intranation View Post
So you're basically saying that because I haven't read the book, I can't use OF effectively?
Not at all. I said that "to use OF effectively, you must at least know the basics of GTD."

The easiest way to learn the basics is to read the book, but there are other ways.
 
 


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