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Priority and fuzzy time sensitive tasks/projects Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Forgive me if this issue has been debated in previous threads, I searched for a bit and couldn't find an answer to my specific issue...

One thing that has always made me a little uneasy about GTD is the issue of how to prioritize your tasks for any given time. From what I can gather over multiple readings of GTD, it gives a bit of a cop out by saying that because priorities and how to focus your time is dependent on so many variables (energy level, context, time available, etc...) you can't really 'systematize' this. Fair enough.

But all the same, I personally can't just open myself mentally to the firehose of tasks that is context mode. I have lots of tasks I want to keep in my system, but not all are created equal. I've solved this somewhat with a 'Someday' context that is on hold so that these far off things don't show up in my daily reviews. But there is the question of these tasks that are in GTD purgatory: those that are low priority (but need to be done in the not so distant future), but are important enough that they can't be shifted to Someday.

What I've been doing is reviewing mainly in Project mode because I have an innate feeling about which projects are more important. But all the same, I could have some easily done, quick 'purgatory' tasks that I'm missing by not using Context mode. How do you address this issue, either with OF or with general GTD processes?

Thanks.
 
For me the absolute key is a weekly review, coupled with limiting the number of projects that are active at any one time. I have a lot of projects that are on-hold, but still have short review intervals. Each time one of them comes up for review, I consider whether it's time to activate the project again. For example, this is a very busy week, so I put several projects on-hold just to focus on the essentials. Come Friday, I'll activate several of those projects again, since next week looks more reasonable.
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Cheers,

Curt
 
I take a different approach to the firehose that you may find useful. I arrange my projects by general importance so that the most important projects (though generally not the ones with upcoming due dates) are at the top of the sidebar. I also arrange my contexts so the hardest ones are at the top and the most brain-dead are at the bottom. Most of the time I work in context mode and group by project. So instead of moving projects in and out of on hold, I just look at the first project and concentrate on getting it completed. If there are so many actions in it that I feel overwhelmed, I limit the contexts to just, for example, writing, and say, let's start with just getting all the writing that I have to do for this project done. When you have that done, maybe the rest of the project is not so hard and you can just wrap it up.

I personally handle due dates entirely differently. I look at my contexts grouped by due in the morning and determine whether I will have anything due from my work contexts in the next week. If so, I pretty much do it. I come back at 4pm generally to do the non-work contexts that are due that week. The point is to take due dates off the table so that I can work on my projects strictly by priority.
 
Thanks a bunch for your input, it's always helpful to see what others are doing!

One approach I considered is to use OF's review intervals. What I don't want to do is be constantly renegotiating with myself and worrying that I'm not focusing on my highest impact tasks. So rather than using flags or setting artificial deadlines, I considered marking high priority projects for review at shorter intervals, then creating a perspective in Context mode that filters out all tasks/projects that aren't to be reviewed within the next 3-5 days. This would constitute my most important focus, and would be a go-to after knocking out everything in my Due perspective. The advantage to this is that I will still review the lower importance tasks in my weekly review, but they won't compete with those tasks which I've marked for more frequent review.

Thoughts?

Andy
 
Interesting. That might work nicely. I'm away from my Mac so can't check. Can you group by review date in context mode?
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
Interesting. That might work nicely. I'm away from my Mac so can't check. Can you group by review date in context mode?
No, you can't. But you could use Rob's Where in OF script to query for something like:

projects where (next review date ≤ today + 3 * days) and (status is active)

which will get you a window focused on those projects, then flip it over to context mode. Save it in your query library, and just open a fresh window every morning.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pumblechook114 View Post
One approach I considered is to use OF's review intervals. What I don't want to do is be constantly renegotiating with myself and worrying that I'm not focusing on my highest impact tasks. So rather than using flags or setting artificial deadlines, I considered marking high priority projects for review at shorter intervals, then creating a perspective in Context mode that filters out all tasks/projects that aren't to be reviewed within the next 3-5 days. This would constitute my most important focus, and would be a go-to after knocking out everything in my Due perspective. The advantage to this is that I will still review the lower importance tasks in my weekly review, but they won't compete with those tasks which I've marked for more frequent review.

Thoughts?

Andy
This is very similar in feeling to what I do. I don't really do a weekly review, but rather a rolling review. Each day I try to review every project that has become eligible for review (next review date today or earlier), and I try to do at least one action before marking it reviewed. Projects that are more important get a short review interval, and projects where a lack of progress over the near term is acceptable get a longer one. I use Curt's prime number suggestion to keep from having too many projects to review on any given day, and try to deactivate projects that I'm sure I won't really work on.
 
Yeah, after I dreamed up the whole group by review date in context mode, you guys bring me back down to reality... :)

Thanks for the script recommendation, I'll have to check that one out.

I think I kinda sorta came up with a way to accomplish what I was thinking, albeit not as cleanly as being able to group by review date in context mode...

I use two main levels of folders for my projects: Office and Home, with my areas of responsibility/goals accounting for more subfolders within each. So I just created a perspective in project mode with a focus on the Office folder, available only, grouped and sorted by next review date. The obvious drawback to this approach is that you have multiple contexts grouped together. While I can see how this might trip some people up, it's not really a problem for me given that any task assigned to a project in the Office folder will always have a context that is available while I'm in the office. So while I may have some tasks to review today that involve speaking with someone specific, making a phone call, or working on the computer, all those contexts are simply subcontexts of Office.

I think the key to this approach is not treating the review as a due date, or else its just another artificial deadline. For me this might be a step to include in my daily workflow/review after I blow through my due perspective, representing Covey's Q2 (Important, Not Urgent) that is so vital.
 
 


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