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Feature Request: task prioritization! Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Interesting post about prioritizing.

I wonder if this could be implemented with folders?

Because OmniFocus prioritizes based on order, could folders be created to place projects in?

1. Due. This can be set for projects/tasks
2. Priority: This could be set up with folders.
3. Job / life goals: this could also be folders, with the priority folders as subfolders.

Example:
Fly to the Moon - Folder
--Urgent - Folder
--Must Do - Folder
--Should Do - Folder
--Could do - Folder

By placing projects in the folders, the priority will be set for them. Urgent projects will be at the top of the list.

Although in the GTD system, Should Do and Could Do might be placed in the Someday/Maybe list for review later on.

The EASD folders could be placed within the priority folders.
Fly to the Moon
--Urgent
---My Projects
---eliminate
---automate
---streamline
---delegate

An interesting concept. I start to resist the amount of system maintenance this may introduce. It can be difficult to know the resistance until it is tried on a daily basis.

There is an estimated time filter in OmniFocus, this would allow you to only see the actions that take a certain amount of time and focus on those.

If you want to focus on a life goal, a user could select the Fly to the Moon folder, focus on it, and only see projects that move that project forward.

As far as sub-actions. I find they are a terrific way to plan out a project. When I get to an action that cannot be done I ask myself, what steps do I need to do to move this action / project forward. I then list those sub actions under that action / project. If I get to another action that I cannot move forward on, I ask the question again, what steps do I need to do to move this action forward.
 
I don't know how so many people can have failed to read DA's GTD carefully, and/or form the misimpression that priorities aren't "canonical" (BTW, the theological tone of much of these discussions seems silly & off-putting).

Priority IS 1 of the 4 criteria DA lists as determinants of whether to perform a particular task (p. 49 in my edition):
1. Context
2. Time available
3. Energy available
4. Priority.

IMO, or at least for my business, DA has these criteria in the wrong order.
Priority usually trumps the other criteria, at least to a degree (if it's important enough, I'll work on it even if tired, or put in extra time, etc.). And his order fundamentally misconstrues the context/priority relationship (again, at least for me). Theocratic GTDers treat context as the INdependent variable, when in fact it's usually a DEpendendent one. I.e., a context is a place I go to in order to execute an important task. I'm much more likely to change contexts bec. of priorities than the reverse. Also, in this highly wired age, context has lost much of its discriminating/resolving power in distinguishing tasks. My work's global; there's little I can't do from a hotel in Singapore nearly as well as from my office in Virginia.

Conversely, something DA quite rightly and helpfully warns against but that also seems widely overlooked is using artificial deadlines for what are really ASAP tasks, just to to try to push their accomplishment. My business abounds in fuzzy deadlines, so this admonition is right on target. I suspect, though, that many use the very thing he warns against to compensate for omission of priorities.

BTW flags (which are merely dichotomous) just don't cut it for capturing the range of priorities.

In terms of UI, OF could accommodate priorities just like other selectable columns under the View menu. One of OF's more useful features for me--though I suspect it's probably used by few--is "Estimated time"; I can't grasp why OG includes that, but not priority in the same way.

For me, the lack of priorities is a killer issue. After trying valiantly to use OF, including some of the tortured workarounds suggested for the illogical omission, I've given up on it, although I keep my copy up to date, living in hope that they'll see the light on this fundamental & essentially simple issue.

This is a real shame because of OF good features. At the moment, I'm using ThinkingRock, but haven't decided whether that's really a long-term solution. I wish they'd fix OF. That single change would make a critical difference for me.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bayard View Post
I wish they'd fix OF.
How do you fix something that isn't broken? Yes, agreed, it doesn't have a feature you want. They are on record promising that a general facility which could be used for prioritization will be delivered in a future major release. The best way to make that a priority (sorry) for them is by sending feedback with Help->Send Feedback, not by posting on the forum.

I'm reading DA's latest book at the moment, and while you are welcome to argue that I've misinterpreted it, my reading of the chapter titled "Getting Control: Engaging" suggests that he still doesn't believe that what your tool needs is a priority column. Quoting from p. 179:
Let's examine the variables that have an impact on that decision, which are too numerous and complex to allow you to use a simple priority grading method such as A, B, C or 1, 2, 3 or High, Medium, and Low. You must continually take into acaount the six horizons of your commitments, the three limiting factors for actions, and the three options about what kinds of actions you choose to do.

The unique combinations and configurations of all of these variables can change many hundreds if not thousands of times in a day. As a matter of fact, every time you decide to turn your attention to a new task, you are at least implicitly attempting to match up your reality with the shifts in your unique priority pattern at the moment.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bayard View Post
I don't know how so many people can have failed to read DA's GTD carefully, and/or form the misimpression that priorities aren't "canonical" (BTW, the theological tone of much of these discussions seems silly & off-putting).

Priority IS 1 of the 4 criteria DA lists as determinants of whether to perform a particular task (p. 49 in my edition):
1. Context
2. Time available
3. Energy available
4. Priority.

IMO, or at least for my business, DA has these criteria in the wrong order.
Priority usually trumps the other criteria, at least to a degree (if it's important enough, I'll work on it even if tired, or put in extra time, etc.). And his order fundamentally misconstrues the context/priority relationship (again, at least for me). Theocratic GTDers treat context as the INdependent variable, when in fact it's usually a DEpendendent one. I.e., a context is a place I go to in order to execute an important task. I'm much more likely to change contexts bec. of priorities than the reverse. Also, in this highly wired age, context has lost much of its discriminating/resolving power in distinguishing tasks. My work's global; there's little I can't do from a hotel in Singapore nearly as well as from my office in Virginia.

Conversely, something DA quite rightly and helpfully warns against but that also seems widely overlooked is using artificial deadlines for what are really ASAP tasks, just to to try to push their accomplishment. My business abounds in fuzzy deadlines, so this admonition is right on target. I suspect, though, that many use the very thing he warns against to compensate for omission of priorities.

BTW flags (which are merely dichotomous) just don't cut it for capturing the range of priorities.

In terms of UI, OF could accommodate priorities just like other selectable columns under the View menu. One of OF's more useful features for me--though I suspect it's probably used by few--is "Estimated time"; I can't grasp why OG includes that, but not priority in the same way.

For me, the lack of priorities is a killer issue. After trying valiantly to use OF, including some of the tortured workarounds suggested for the illogical omission, I've given up on it, although I keep my copy up to date, living in hope that they'll see the light on this fundamental & essentially simple issue.

This is a real shame because of OF good features. At the moment, I'm using ThinkingRock, but haven't decided whether that's really a long-term solution. I wish they'd fix OF. That single change would make a critical difference for me.
Gosh, Bayard. I know you're well meaning. Like me, you just want to co-evolve with what you understand about OF, GTD and all the myriad ideas on the forum for implementing them and DA's ideas/directives. But all these ideas you brazenly bandy about: I'm afraid I have to tell you that you should not have used the word theo-illogical. I have no choice but to inform you that you are guilty of violating the RULES of dissent. You are are now semi-unofficially cast into outer darkness. BTW: what's it like there? I hear it's not so bad!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brooce View Post
Stay GTD Canonical, at least for the first release.

Prioritization is not canonical.
Priorities ARE "canonical"; see p. 49 of GTD: priority is 1 of the 4 criteria DA gives for selecting which task to perform in the moment (although IMO & at least for my business, he has them in the wrong order, partly because priority usually trumps the other criteria & partly bec. contexts exc. lack discriminating power in filtering tasks).

I can't believe how widely people misread GTD and what he says. For another example, he correctly warns against assigning artificial due dates to ASAP tasks (essentially a proxy for priority). Yet all the developers and users of supposedly GTD apps focus excessively on giving the ability to do this.

For me, it makes virtually all GTD-type apps (including OF, which I've tried repeatedly to make work for me) useless.
 
I cannot believe this conversation is still going on.

I have read all his books (multiple times), listened to hours of his podcasts, his other CDs and recordings and it always comes down to priority being something that is way to flexible to capture in a tool.

Why is this so hard for so many people (or so few) to comprehend?

Priority changes, day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute. To spend all your time, capturing, updating, changing and setting priority would be the total opposite of productive and getting anything done.

There is a system you could look into, GPD (Getting Priority Done).

BZ
 
Yes, it's a tired subject. I'm also pretty amazed that this thread is still active. I'm guessing it could be attributed to the fact that there are people who are using OmniFocus as a to-do list program for a semi-GTD methodology. As David Allen has stated, we have to adapt GTD to fit our own personality. We adapt the tools we have adopted to fit our needs.
OmniGroup is promoting this on their OmniFocus page:

Quote:
OmniFocus is designed to quickly capture your thoughts and allow you to store, manage, and process them into actionable to-do items. Perfect for the Getting Things Done® system, but flexible enough for any task management style, OmniFocus helps you work smarter by giving you powerful tools for staying on top of all the things you need to do.
So I guess we can't blame folks for trying to add "priorities" to OmniFocus. There will be folks who view priorities as essential to their "GTD" hybrid system.

If priorities are added to OmniFocus, I hope there's a way to hide the priority column since I'll never use it. I'm assuming that OmniFocus 2.0 will have tags or some other mechanism to handle the priorities desire that some folks are having. So we'll have to take a wait and see approach for now. The OmniFolks did say that they're eager to see OmniFocus 2.0 in 2010. So I guess they'll find a way. They have been logging user requests and forum requests for priorities and are investigating ways on how to add priorities into OmniFocus 2.0.

I agree with BwanaZulia's quote of David Allen that priorities are so fluid that it would be impossible to capture, track, and update in any given moment. But there will be a portion of the OmniFocus users who thinks they can. To them, I say "good luck." If if works for them, more power to them.

Last edited by wilsonng; 2009-12-15 at 02:08 AM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BwanaZulia View Post
I cannot believe this conversation is still going on.

I have read all his books (multiple times), listened to hours of his podcasts, his other CDs and recordings and it always comes down to priority being something that is way to flexible to capture in a tool.

Why is this so hard for so many people (or so few) to comprehend?

Priority changes, day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute. To spend all your time, capturing, updating, changing and setting priority would be the total opposite of productive and getting anything done.

There is a system you could look into, GPD (Getting Priority Done).

BZ
+1...

The task is either a crisis and needs to be done NOW before anything else or it isn't. If it's a crisis, don't waste time fiddling with productivity pr0n. Get it done.

Or... Flag it for HIGH, leave it alone for MED, send it to someday/maybe for LOW.

Stay strong Omni Group. Priorities are not needed.
 
Hi there,

I understand the sighs of those who support David Allen and think that prioritisation is so flexible it would take too much time to manage with a tool.

I've tried DA's methods and they just didn't work for me (as seemingly many - considering this topic is still around). For me there are just too many tasks that slip through my radar when I don't have a proper system to prioritise them. This doesn't have to be filigrane prioritisation. Just 'brackets' of importance would suffice.

But DA supporters, don't worry there is a solution that would make both parties happy without ruining OF and this would simply be 'tagging'. [Similar to how Things does it in fact....] You can add a P1 to P5 tag, a high medium or low tag - you can customise your prioritisation system just as you like and then use OF's fantastic perspectives to work with the tags.

I think OF promised us this for some next release in the future. In fact, 'tagging' could also solve the 'waiting problem' I have: (just tag an action as 'waiting' and you can create a perspective for tasks you are waiting for without disrupting their location or content).

The question is: When, finally, is OF going to release this revolutionary software?! I've been waiting for this ever since I bought OF a year ago... My productivity just seems stifled without the promised functionality. It's 2010 now guys! OF can you please give us some guidelines on when in 2010 the new software is going to be released?! Don't leave us in the dark like this... Is it more like January 2010 or more like December 2010?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BwanaZulia View Post
I cannot believe this conversation is still going on.
I can’t believe that you’re still complaining that people want a feature which, if implemented, will be transparent to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BwanaZulia View Post
I have read all his books (multiple times), listened to hours of his podcasts, his other CDs and recordings and it always comes down to priority being something that is way to flexible to capture in a tool.

Priority changes, day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute. To spend all your time, capturing, updating, changing and setting priority would be the total opposite of productive and getting anything done.
That is oversimplifying to an extreme. No one spends “all their time”*changing and setting priorities, any more than you spend “all your time”*setting contexts, creating next actions, and reviewing tasks. Priorities do NOT change all the time. This statement is ludicrous on the face of it.

Doing the dishes will always be more important than alphabetizing my DVDs, so I would like to make sure that “Doing the dishes”*bubbles up to the top. And since GTD task lists are not sorted in any particular order, why not allow some extra information to sort by? Sure, I could scan the entire list and see what tickles my fancy at a certain point in time, but why not save myself some time and have more-important tasks near the top?

Personally, I think that David Allen is a little too absolute when it comes to GTD rules. For example, why does OmniFocus show tasks that are overdue? According to GTD, you should only set a due date when the task MUST BE completed by that date, and is worthless after that. So if OF is strict GTD, it should hide overdue tasks. But it doesn’t. Why? Because OF is MORE FLEXIBLE than strict GTD. Adding priorities is another way that OF could be more flexible and more useful to more people.
 
 


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