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Personal vs. Work setups Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Folks,

I've been using OF for about 18 months, and have tried several times to combine my personal and work lists so I only have a single database. Until the syncing functionality, this was never very useful, but is something that is a lot more realistic now.

Unfortunately I'm hitting some snags in behavior that are blocking me from being completely comfortable doing this, and I'd like your thoughts on solutions.

My current flow is to have "personal" and "work" folders, and sync the database between the two machines. On my "personal" machine, all my perspectives are focused on that folder, and vice versa on my work machine. This actually works almost perfectly in the 90% case: I see only projects and actions specific to the location.

Where this starts to fail though is with contexts.

As an example, I have a "Contexts" perspective. This is meant to show me just the actions I can take in, say, "work". And it does this admirably: My list of actions is only those in the "work" folder.

But the sidebar continues to show contexts that have "personal" items associated with them (even if those items don't show up as actionable). This means that my list of "active" contexts looks like this:

* home
* calls
* blog
*[list of people, personal and work]
* San Francisco
* etc.

Some of these don't have any visible actions because they're in the "personal" folder, yet the contexts show up. I also have items in my "No contexts" view for the same reason.

These are my "active" Contexts, and "active" is supposed to mean "contexts which have actions"; I expect it to properly handle the fact that if I'm focused on a folder, and therefore there are no actions that would show up, that the context wouldn't show up either.

As bothersome as that is, I could live with this. Unfortunately, it has further issues. The badging on the OF icon, and in the menubar show that I have "due" and "overdue" items while I'm in my "work" context, even though those items are actually part of my "personal" context, and I can't do anything about them while I'm at work. This, of course, stresses me out.

(The fact that the menubar shows *all* my contexts is another issue. That's just frustrating.)

When I was using two OF databases, this wasn't an issue. I only saw the stuff that was in that database.

Can anyone suggest changes I can make that would have things work as I'd like them to? I don't want to go back to separate databases of course.

OmniNinjas, is this just a bug you're working to resolve, or is it "as designed" and correct?
 
I'm not an Omni Ninja, but I'm fairly confident that they won't disagree with me saying that what you are describing is the way the product is currently designed to work.

Why not just turn off the due soon/overdue notifications in the sidebar and dock if they give you that much stress? Make a perspective to show you the due soon and/or overdue items, and consult it as often as necessary.

If all your projects are filed either in the work or home folders, you could try marking the other folder as dropped when you start work in one place, then flip it back when you go to the other...
 
True, turning off the notifications is an option, but I never said I don't find them valuable; they're very useful when a project in "personal" is in fact due or overdue. They're just not useful when a project in "work" also shows up while I'm home.

It also doesn't address the cause of the issue, that Focusing on a folder should translate to the list of Contexts displayed. OF already hides Contexts that have no actions in them. Shouldn't it also hide Contexts which, by virtue of not being the currently Focused view, have no actions in them?
 
You could conceivably add an action to any context in the database - that's why we don't hide them. It's not safe to assume that because the projects you're working on don't include any actions for some context, that they will never include an action for that context. ("Active" means "this context could have actions, in other words.)

I could see adding an option to perspectives that would mark some set of contexts as on hold in that perspective - I'll write up a feature request on that and we'll consider it for a future version of the app.

Last edited by Brian; 2008-10-22 at 02:54 AM.. Reason: clarify the meaning of Active
 
Hi,

If I'm reading this correctly I just ran in to a very similar problem when I was trying to create a good work/home split in my DB.

I also had master folders, "Work" and, "Home" that held all the tasks that you would think, but I currently have been trying to downsize my unwieldy organizational hierarchy for sanity and since OF likes to list the whole tree in the project list (i.e., "Work: Specific Project: Sub-Project: etc.) Also, this seems really redundant when, "work" and, "home" are REALLY contexts that I already have set up.

So, my brilliant idea was that I would eliminate the work and home folders altogether, make sure that all the tasks had the appropriate context (or at least, the work or home context if not the appropriate sub-context) and build perspectives based on those contexts, thereby eliminating the redundancy and giving me what I really want to see - projects and tasks to do @work and @home.

Hmmm - I can't do that? Really? Doesn't that seem like the perfect use of a perspective? Even the word, "perspective" connotes a specific place or spatial orientation at its root. It seems to me that it would be even more appropriate to have perspectives based on a focus of specific contexts rather than on specific projects.

Can I not focus on a context and eliminate all others in the same way that I can focus on a project and eliminate all others when creating a perspective?

Thanks,
Tate.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
You could conceivably add an action to any context in the database - that's why we don't hide them. It's not safe to assume that because the projects you're working on don't include any actions for some context, that they will never include an action for that context. ("Active" means "this context could have actions, in other words.).
OK, that makes sense. I hadn't thought about the add-to-a-context issue. I suppose it's the same issue with projects: even if a project is "on hold", it's still available in the project list when adding an action.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tate View Post
So, my brilliant idea was that I would eliminate the work and home folders altogether, make sure that all the tasks had the appropriate context (or at least, the work or home context if not the appropriate sub-context) and build perspectives based on those contexts, thereby eliminating the redundancy and giving me what I really want to see - projects and tasks to do @work and @home.

Hmmm - I can't do that? Really? Doesn't that seem like the perfect use of a perspective? Even the word, "perspective" connotes a specific place or spatial orientation at its root. It seems to me that it would be even more appropriate to have perspectives based on a focus of specific contexts rather than on specific projects.

Can I not focus on a context and eliminate all others in the same way that I can focus on a project and eliminate all others when creating a perspective?
Turning it around and using Contexts is certainly an option. I'm going to think about that some and see if it maps against how I think about my projects and actions.

You can "focus" on contexts, by selecting them in the Context sidebar. You can create a perspective with that selection.

Hm. Something to consider....
 
Selecting the context is a way of viewing only those, but when you switch back to planning view there are ALL my projects sitting there and distracting me from what I can get done now (i.e, are available to me because I'm in a certain context - @Home, @work, @mac, etc.)

Again, I guess I'm thinking about what a context actually means as it relates to the concept of a perspective and it seem to me that the very idea of having a perspective (i.e., excluding certain tasks and projects so you can FOCUS on others) really has a lot more to do with a context (i.e., a limitation or situation you find yourself in that makes some tasks possible and others not) than it does any certain project, which may contain many tasks that are not available to you right now even if you want to work on that project.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tate View Post
Selecting the context is a way of viewing only those, but when you switch back to planning view there are ALL my projects sitting there and distracting me from what I can get done now (i.e, are available to me because I'm in a certain context - @Home, @work, @mac, etc.)

Again, I guess I'm thinking about what a context actually means as it relates to the concept of a perspective and it seem to me that the very idea of having a perspective (i.e., excluding certain tasks and projects so you can FOCUS on others) really has a lot more to do with a context (i.e., a limitation or situation you find yourself in that makes some tasks possible and others not) than it does any certain project, which may contain many tasks that are not available to you right now even if you want to work on that project.
Perspectives are more powerful than you might realize. You can create a perspective for planning view which is focused on your work projects, for example, and screen your personal projects from view. You can also create a perspective that doesn't show the sidebar. The perspective mechanism allows you to remember a set of settings of pretty much everything about a given view, from the actual data selected (all, or a subset), the window arrangement, view bar settings, settings in the opposite planning/context view, etc.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tate View Post
...and since OF likes to list the whole tree in the project list (i.e., "Work: Specific Project: Sub-Project: etc.)
Depending on where you find this unwieldly...you can uncheck "Show full hierarchy..." in Preferences under the Settings tab. I don't remember what the default is, and I think there are times when they still show up (like the drop down list when you type a couple letters to assign a context), but thought I'd mention that that option is there.

I follow any thread like this because I still struggle with contexts and usually end up viewing things in planning mode (by project). I KNOW there's a better way than what I've got and I'm still trying to find it. I really appreciate hearing how others are working.
 
 


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