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Perspective with all and only flagged due and next? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hi everyone
Sorry if this is covered but after half an hour of browsing (interesting stuff!) I do not find an answer.
I would like a perspective that shows me ALL and ONLY my flagged, due and next actions.
I can set availability to NEXT ACTION and STATUS to DUE OR FLAGGED but that loses me any next actions that are neither due nor flagged (following advice from many in these forums I am trying to learn to use due and flagged sparingly).
Do I need two distinct perspectives one for next action and one for due or flagged or is there a way i am missing to combine them into one perspective (hope so!).
No way to combine them, and I question why you would want to do so. Unless you do the flagged and due ones first, you could end up working essentially all of your non-flagged, non-due tasks first. Consider your project named "Fun stuff I shouldn't be doing until everything important is done": you're going to get a next action from that project in your proposed view, and it is probably going to be the one you want to do first. You do it, check it off, and start looking for the next thing to do but now there's another action from that project listed as a next action!
Ha ha - you mean I should be using omnifocus to help me be more disciplined?

I guess I am just looking for a way to have everything important in front of me, with the MOST important things highlighted. It is good to be able to focus on what you have previously decided is most important - but I find myself getting edgy when I can ONLY see those previously decided things (what if I forgot something else that is even more important??). I guess this is one of those psychological shifts we need to make (much discussed on these forums) if we want to really get things done.

Thanks very much for your reply. I do like omnifocus but like many here also wish it had just a tad more flexibility. Then again, I also wish I had just a tad more self-discipline!
Bring up the flagged/overdue view (which you already have, right?), and work on everything there, which by virtue of being overdue or imminently due or flagged is your collection of stuff you need to get done immediately, if not sooner. I agree with the "use due dates sparingly" crowd, though I'm of the opinion that you can be more liberal with them so long as you get them done the harm comes, in my opinion, when you have due dates in your current work that you regularly ignore.

Once you've got those fires put out for the day, bring up your next action view of all of your projects and work on whatever seems appropriate.

One of the vital features of OmniFocus which can help you make good choices there is the Review feature, which allows you to make sure you are regularly looking at each of your projects. When you bring up a project view grouped by next review, OmniFocus shows you your projects in order of when they were last marked reviewed (command-shift-R, or add the Mark Reviewed button to your toolbar). When a project is marked reviewed, the next review date is updated by the project review interval for that project, so you can have projects that get seen every day, or every 3 days, or every year, you pick (I think the default value is a week). During the review, you make sure the project reflects the current reality, add or change actions as needed, maybe flag or unflag actions or the entire project, etc. and generally make sure it is proceeding as desired. A nice workflow for making sure all of your projects keep moving along is to force yourself to do one (or more) action from each project as you review it, though this will work best if you keep your actions reasonably sized. You adjust the review interval for the project in the inspector. Once you've marked a project reviewed, it is moved in the view to the appropriate group and the next project to be reviewed is selected. If you do some reviewing every day, and review all the projects whose next review date is today (or earlier), then you shouldn't have any projects falling through the cracks because OmniFocus will help you systematically monitor all of your work.
Great advice there; thanks, Bill. :-)
Yes, great - thanks very much. It is true I do not use the 'review' feature in such a principled way as you describe. i tend to review all my projects every day or two to make sure I am on top of things. I do get a lot done - but I dont relax as much as I would like! I will try your advice - though I can see straightaway it will not always be possible to do all the essential things at the start of the day. I will have to look as I do now at the due or flagged list several times and when there is none of that that can be done immediately, then look at the next action list.

I do appreciate omnifocus and the hard-line GTD approach up to a point - I just really think it would be better for people like me to be able to plan with priorities or some other kind of tags than with dates. I am one of those users who is self-employed with many projects but relatively little time-based structure to each day. I think people like me end up using dates (start or due) as kind of de-facto priorities, constantly changing the dates on things to reflect their current importance. Or if I have to plan with dates, I would prefer to have some kind of visual interface where I could move things around on a calendar rather than having to arbitrarily say 'I'll do that in 3 days' without being sure how many other things I have said I will do in 3 days.

Anyway - thanks a lot for the time you take to give advice! it is appreciated.
Like many people, I sometimes alternate important (flagged) and urgent actions with routine or easy tasks. I don't think there's any good reason I shouldn't be able to slice and dice my data the way I want. The lack of orthogonality and completeness in OF's filtering and sorting is a continuing source of dissatisfaction for me. I don't think what Lunatrix is asking for is unreasonable, but the tools just aren't in OF to do it.

Last edited by mcogilvie; 2012-01-26 at 08:45 AM..

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