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Contexts or Folders? Ah! The dilema! Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Still working on wrapping my head around OF as opposed to Things.

Contexts = tags, right?
Folders is just a means of organization, correct?

How do you keep it simple? It seems to me that too many folders and too many contexts just seems... busy for busy sake? At least to me and I'm looking for suggestions.

i believe in keeping it simple. I currently have two folders: Work, Home. I used to have a couple more: Finance, Tech, Personal. But then I found I rarely had many tasks/projects in Finance, so I moved those items into Home. Same with Personal. Then Tech.

I thought I'd just use Contexts, but that's getting out of control.

Again, what's your method of organization? Suggestions for keeping it simple?

Thanks so much in advance!
Your analogy contexts <- tags and folders <- organization is reasonable.

I have top level folders for Areas of Responsibility, for example ...


I have sub-folders in these areas to further refine them. After this level, I put projects (folders or projects themselves). So, most of my projects are two levels deep. The one exception is the single-action groups that serve to hold the CHORES for the given area. An example ...

Surroundings (area folder)
- Chores @ Surroundings (single-action project)
- House (folder for projects)
-- Roof Repair (project)
-- Landscaping (project folder)
--- Landscaping Company (project to choose landscaper)
--- Yard Layout (project to define yard layout)
--- Landscape (project to complete landscaping work)

My contexts are either locations (work, home, errands, desk, ...), tools (computer, iPod, phone, ...), state-of-action (bills, reviewing, planning, ...), or personnel (spouse, daughter, colleague X, someone, ...).

The beauty of OF (vs Things) is the ability to nest projects in organization and to set projects as single-action, parallel, or sequential. Some folks argue, the ugly of OF (vs Things) is the inability to set multiple contexts (tags).

Hope this helps.

I've been following TRO which is a GTD-like practice. All I can say is please please please add tags to OF. They add an extra dimension that keeps the overall organization and view of things simple, and allows you to focus very quickly on items.

Folders, Subfolders etc is an old paradigm and gets very confusing very fast. In addition to this over complication, reorganizing your lists becomes a chore and almost a 'lock in' that prevent your mind from expanding your lists rather than enriching them.

Tags free the mind very quickly.

I don't like Things for a variety of reasons. I love OF and have tried to use it but the complexity of what I am doing very quickly overruns the product.

There are some web-based tools that provide what I need but I cannot use these in my office environment for security reasons. OF is so close.

To some extent this is why I believe OS's are breaking away from the File/Folder structure into Metadata (read: tags). It's why OS X is so powerful and also why Spotlight works so well.
Anguswa, we don't have any plans to add tags to OmniFocus in the foreseeable future. We do have some ideas on how to address the general underlying need (more flexible list creation/organization) that tags are an attempt to address. Our current plan is to tackle that work sometime after we ship OmniFocus 2.

I know that's probably not the answer you'd prefer, but I figured accurate information now was better than keeping you hoping indefinitely for something we're unlikely to do. Hope that helps at least a little bit.

Of course, we'd be happy to help with any organizational issues you may be running into, either here on the forums or via support mail...
So, is that a statement that OF 2.0 will not include the long-awaited metadata column?
Brian, for one I would appreciate an general overview of what concepts we can expect to see in OmniFocus 2.0, and a progress report if it will ship late 2012/early 2013 as was previously projected.

I hate to sound like I am complaining, but when I look at my wish list for OmniOutliner 4.0, OmniOutliner Mac/iOS document syncing, some form of OmniPlan/OmniFocus sharing/integration, OmniFocus 2.0 (with or without user-defined metadata), I see a long list of promised products and features that I have been waiting on for years now.
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
So, is that a statement that OF 2.0 will not include the long-awaited metadata column?
It is not. Neither is it a statement that it will be included. Knowledge of some things about a subject does not imply knowledge of all things about that subject. ;-)
I have read several posts on here why GTD / single context is the way to go. I agree, and also I agree that any task should only exist in one project at any given time. But here is a very good reason why we need an additional way to organize things :

I have Root folders by Overall type of task : Work, School, Home etc, then under this the individual projects and single action lists go. Then contexts are organized by what I need to complete the action (computer, being at my office, at a particular client, or needing the internet ) Also very useful. Now here is a good example why I (we) need Tagging : I have a weekly meeting at the office, at which we review projects for various clients etc, assign tasks. Now I don't want to make this a "project" because these tasks exist outside of the meeting in there own projects, folder structure (such as client A... ), but I would love to be able to tag these tasks with "weekly meeting task" so when it came to to review these tasks in the meeting I could just focus on this tag and there they are. Key to this is we should be able to focus on the tag and view then further look at them by context or by project organization or location etc. Another example is I have tasks on a help desk,I really want to organize these in there own project /context, not have a "helpdesk projects".

Hope this clarifies things well enough so that this can be implemented and that it is shown it doesn't break any GTD methodology.
Grangej, the thread you started is pretty similar to the topic under discussion in this one, so I moved your post here. I know you mentioned reading previous threads, but if this wasn't one of them, it might be helpful.

It would be helpful if you could expand your feedback a bit, as well. Are you currently using Flagging, for example? Your meeting example would be one case where that perspective might help.

I have Context-mode perspectives set up that cover tasks related to the folks that are in the meetings I go to. That and the flagged perspective to catch any random/one off tasks works for me, but if that doesn't work for you for some reason, that'll be good to know about.
OK. I had an epiphany last night. The ONE missing piece to work effectively is ...


This additional dimension in the GTD database can handle the >people, *tools, ... that are needed to complete a given task.

My request to OmniGroup is then ... rather than tags, add RESOURCE as an additional dimension in the OF database. Allow RESOURCE to be a completely separate dimension for searches and perspective definitions. Then we can define views of tasks with such demands as

* (DUE DATE: today) + (RESOURCE: >colleague) + (CONTEXT: @work)
* (CONTEXT: @errands) + (RESOURCE: >spouse)
* (CONTEXT: !reading) + (RESOURCE: <none>)
* (CONTEXT: !reading) + (RESOURCE: <any>)
* (RESOURCE: *computer) + (DUE: soon)
* (RESOURCE: >(all people, no tools)) + (DUE: today)
* (RESOURCE: *(all tools, no people)) + (CONTEXT: @home)


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