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How to sort daily to do lists from "big list" Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I've been beta-ing Omnifocus for months. I'm trying to use it to keep track of all of the projects I have going, with sub-tasks on projects. I end up with a several large hierarchical lists.

My daily to-do priorities, aren't usually based on context or a specific future deadline, but rather based "todays priorities" as assess at the beginning of each day. What I need is to select items from the big list, so that I can create a sub "todays focus list" at the beginning of the day. But I can't figure out how to really do that.

Another problem is that I need a multicolumn view, to see the top level priorities in each project as they bubble up. I find it hard to see the top priorities in Omnifocus with more than one project (each with a hierarchical list). By having everything in one column, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th projects get listed behind the first, even if they are of equal importance - making you dig around to see what needs to be done. I'd like to see my top priorities in one glance. Any way to do that?
 
You've used the word "priorities" a number of times, even though GTD (and OF) doesn't support priorities. However, regarding your desire to have a "today's priorities", could you use flags and filter by flag?
 
I use the flags, like pvonk mentions, to highlight my most important tasks for the day or week. Sometimes I flag an entire project, but usually I flag just the key actions that I want to accomplish or at least work on. I also created a perspective in the planning mode with these filter settings: Remaining / Folder / Unsorted / Remaining / Any Duration / Flagged. I have this perspective saved and call it my "Flagged Perspective" - and I have it's icon & name on my toolbar.

So, first I do my daily or weekly review, where I flag the projects and/or actions I want to focus on. Then, when I am done I click on the Flagged Perspective to see just my flagged items. For me, I usually do this for my work-related projects and actions, so the last thing I do is select my "Work Projects" folder in the left-hand pane. Now the only items I see in the right-hand pane are my flagged work-related items. I can print this list out or - what I usually do - export the list to Taskpaper to get a text file that can be printed or sent over to my Windows laptop that I use at work. I'm pretty happy with the results - at least until I get my iPhone and Omni comes out with their slick iPhone version of OF!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvonk View Post
You've used the word "priorities" a number of times, even though GTD (and OF) doesn't support priorities. However, regarding your desire to have a "today's priorities", could you use flags and filter by flag?
<snicker> Apparently David Allen doesn't have clients </snicker>

Seriously, why do people say such foolish things. Everything has inherent prioritization. If I give you a set of 30 tasks. You are going to rank them by priority first, context second. It doesn't matter if you have 6 other tasks of the same context, if you need to move on to next highest priority to satisfy your clients deadlines.

There is also linear priority. Task A must happen before Task B. OF does this well, so long as you have only 1 project. The list is inherently ordered by what needs doing first. But if you have a second project of equal priority to the first with its own linear list of tasks, it appears prioritized behind the first since OF doesn't have multicolumn views.

When you have hundreds of tasks in a dozen different projects, there must be a way at the beginning of the day to decide what to do next. Context isn't really relevant until you sort what needs to happen first.
 
GTD recognizes and counts on the use implicit priority, and dispenses with explicit notions of priority. If you don't (or won't) get with the program, you should at least lay off the snide remarks, tah.
 
I use OmniFocus (with Jott/Twitter input) as a ubiquitous capture system. When I really need to 'shut the world out' and make progress on critical projects without distraction, I find myself turning to the decidedly low-tech Printable CEO templates by David Seah.

A useful corollary to GTD/OmniFocus, Seah's tools (Emergent Task Planner, in particular) allow me to timebox and plan my day, rather than working from one task to the next.

Highly recommended.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tah View Post
<snicker> If I give you a set of 30 tasks. You are going to rank them by priority first, context second.
If you use "context" as GTD defines it, then you can only do the tasks that are appropriate in the current context. If I'm at the office, I won't do the "buy milk" now, even if in my wife's mind, that has top priority. You first look at context. Of the tasks presented for that context, then you do whatever one you want.

It's been a while since I read Allen, but his method is to take the "next" action for the current context and do it.

OF does provide a sort of priority, in the way of time. If I have 15 minutes left before leaving for home, then I can filter my next actions by time and do those that can be done.

I guess I've secretly wanted priorities incorporated in OF (I use flags), but I can see where if one relies primarily on priorities, then that isn't GTD. I can see having priorities appear when in one context and having filtered the actions by "energy" or time. For me, priority would be the last determinant, since the others (context, time, energy..) are absolute - you can't do a task if it doesn't satisfy any of these. However, when you filter down to this level, THEN priorities can help determine which task to do first.
 
Yes. If you have taken the time to develop your contexts (and time available - since OF allows you to use that too), you will have a list of tasks that is short enough to deal with the other factors (including priority) entirely in your head . . . one could say that it is almost instinctual.

If you are struggling, you either need to come to terms with contexts (a very common problem - I've been there), adjust your approach to implementing GTD, or accept that the GTD methodology is not a good fit for you.
 
I think we got going in the wrong direction in this discussion. I am not advocating a priority column (high, medium, low, etc). These are nearly useless, and take too much time to manage changing priorities. The inherent order of a list implies priority, and this is what OF gets right. My problem is:

1. The list order to organize priority breaks-down if you have many projects, unless there is a column view, which puts different projects side-by-side, and allows implied ordering of different projects to be independent of one another. (this is how I did things before OF, I had my lists in excel with a column per top level project)

2. Someway to apply a "what needs attention today/this week" Filter, BEFORE focusing on contexts. I think the context only doesn't work well for many people. If I worked for a large corporation and had 1 major project every 9 months, together with my daily household tasks, phone calls, etc. context-only focus would work well.

But My life is not so simple, I have 15 open projects at any one time, each with 50-100 tasks, with schedules for each being moved around my me, my clients, and external issues on a regular basis. I have hundreds of tasks in OF. Focusing on the "phone call" context is not useful, because there are 100 phone calls that need to be made. First you need to filter what are the important ones first. I do this by daily planning: "what do I want to get done". By crossing off of my daily list, is also how I can see I'm accomplishing things. If I'm looking at just the master list, or a context , I'm just overwhelmed. Also, by nature the master list will always grow faster than I can cross things off.

What I'd like to do is start my day, select what I'd like to accomplish from my OF master list, to create a daily digest focus - which would be my goals for the day. As I work off of my daily list, I can then filter by context. It keeps things manageable.
 
Quote - - > Focusing on the "phone call" context is not useful, because there are 100 phone calls that need <-- End Quote


This sounds to me like you need to have more than one Phone Call Context.
 
 


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