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Filtering by Overdue Items breaks Sequential processing Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Does this bother anyone else?

If I have a sequential project:
-Paint the House - sequential
--Research Paint to buy
--buy paint
--paint house

The project has a due date that is overdue. All it's children actions are overdue.

When using the Available filter, I only see the top action, research paint to buy. This is what I expect.

But if I use the due soon filter,
then all the actions are visible, even though the project is a sequential project.

In my mind, the sequential / parallel project should take priority over the due soon filter.
 
It doesn't bother me that it shows as due. If I have a project that is due, or overdue, I'd rather be reminded of the bigger picture that there are multiple actions that need to be completed. Having said that, I would like to see the style preference for blocked actions override the style preference for due/overdue, which would tell me at a glance that there is an action or actions that must be completed first.
 
Well said Greg.
 
Perhaps the right mental model is that the action selector gives you Remaining actions, or a filtered subset thereof (or Completed actions).
  • Due Soon gives you all remaining actions which are due soon.
  • The new 'Due or Flagged' option in the 1.6 Sneaky Peek gives you all remaining actions which are either flagged or have a due date assigned.
  • Available gets you all of the Remaining actions which happen to be Available actions
  • Next Action gets you all of the Remaining actions which happen to be Next Actions

Viewed this way, it makes complete sense that the sequential nature is ignored except for the Available/Next Action choices. From a usability point of view, you certainly want to know that some project actually has 6 (sequential) items due today rather than discovering that fact at 4:55 PM when you check off what you thought was the only one, right? What a nuisance it would be to have to check each project individually after seeing that there was a due item in the context view!
 
I agree that you want to know how many items are due, that's what the badges are for. Often, I'll see contexts that will have badges of due items but will not see all the due items in the context.

Example:
context shows 3 items due
action in context is only one

The meets the first criteria that a user should have an alert that items are due.

However, when I have a project whose actions are split over multiple contexts, and the project's actions must be in a certain order, it only muddies the water to show all those action items in the different contexts.

This causes me to loose trust in the system. Because now, when I look at an action in a context, I think:
wait, I can't do that now, I haven't done the first action of that project.

I no longer trust what OmniFocus is showing me. The other requirement for GTD is that you only see actions that you can do something about. This is the purpose of the contexts.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
I agree that you want to know how many items are due, that's what the badges are for. Often, I'll see contexts that will have badges of due items but will not see all the due items in the context.

Example:
context shows 3 items due
action in context is only one

The meets the first criteria that a user should have an alert that items are due.

However, when I have a project whose actions are split over multiple contexts, and the project's actions must be in a certain order, it only muddies the water to show all those action items in the different contexts.

This causes me to loose trust in the system. Because now, when I look at an action in a context, I think:
wait, I can't do that now, I haven't done the first action of that project.

I no longer trust what OmniFocus is showing me. The other requirement for GTD is that you only see actions that you can do something about. This is the purpose of the contexts.
Hmm, if I do GTD on paper, I'm going to see those actions even if I can't do anything about them, right?

I don't quite see why you can't trust what OmniFocus shows you. You ask to see due items, and it shows you all the due items, including those not immediately actionable. Not showing you all the due items would be grounds for not trusting it, in my opinion.

In my morning review, I use the due views to see which projects have actions due in the short term. For any project that shows up, I pop up a focused window on that project by double-clicking the handle on one of the actions. Over the course of the day I use those windows to work through the items that must get done, and as they are project view windows by default, any necessary sequencing is immediately obvious. Or select all the due items you intend to work on and focus; you can now tweak the view in that window to suit.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
I don't quite see why you can't trust what OmniFocus shows you.
Here is what I mean by trust.

The purpose of having a planning section and a context section is...
you do your thinking first
then you do your doing.

Thinking is in the projects.
Doing is in the Contexts.

When I get to an item that says:
paint the house.

Internally I'm thinking,
okay, let's paint the house.
Then my mind has to think:
wait, no, I don't have the paint yet.

Now I don't trust the system.
I can't trust that OmniFocus is telling me what needs to be done is something that I can do.

Thank God we aren't using paper.

Because in a paper world, you are absolutely right, you would list all the items out in all the contexts. And every time you looked at your contexts you would have to think:
paint the house (nope can't do that one yet because I have to buy the paint first)
mow the grass (nope can't do that one yet because I have to get gas first)
Fix sidewalk (nope can't do that one yet because I have to buy some cement)

If GTD was only done on paper then I would have nothing to do with it.

This is what is meant by trusting the system.
Do you trust that when you get to an action item, it is something that you can take action on.

Last edited by SpiralOcean; 2009-02-17 at 06:35 PM..
 
Here's a challenge for you.

For one week... do not allow yourself to do anything other than what is in your contexts.

If you are doing something, and get a new idea, instead of going off and doing that thing, put it in the inbox and complete the action you started on.

Commit and follow through.

I think you will find as you go through your contexts, that there are quite a few 'actions' that you thought were actions but weren't fleshed out enough.

And there are quite a few actions, that you can't take action on, because something else needs to be done first.
 
For a greater challenge, choose a context and do the top item on the context.

Is it something you can do? Why not? Are there other actions that need to happen first? Is it not due yet? Hasn't started yet? Or is there some resistance inside you that doesn't want to do the item?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
For a greater challenge, choose a context and do the top item on the context.

Is it something you can do? Why not? Are there other actions that need to happen first? Is it not due yet? Hasn't started yet? Or is there some resistance inside you that doesn't want to do the item?
Uh, this is very easy -- when I'm actually doing things, I use the Available or Next Action selector.
 
 


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