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Do you ever turn off your system? Like, after 7pm? Or are you always "on?" Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Our systems are like never ending to do lists, more intrinsic of course but lately I've been finding myself tackling items in the morning all the way till night. I'll open OF app from any device just to see if there is something that can be accomplished. If so, it get done... If not, then not. But this seems to come at a price of not relaxing, of always feeling something is around the corner.

I can only imagine different people here in this forum deal with this differently and I'm truly interested in hearing how/what you're approach is in not being a slave to your system...
 
I just got back from an awesome 12-day honeymoon trip to Italy. Because my "system" was on the whole time, I was able to NOT work, and instead enjoy time with my bride.

But the whole time, business was still happening. I still received many inputs (emails, voicemails, etc), which I used Omnifocus to capture and organize as usual. In my work, I do not actually get 12 days off. I get 12 days of deferral. LOL

OF and GTD allowed me to stay sane and feel like I was still in control. Very few items were really urgent enough to deal with while I was away. The control came from choosing to not do.

Since the "system" has different modes (Capture, Process, Organize, Review, Do), you have to feel comfortable going into a capture-only hibernation, or possibly just trust your inboxes to work for you when you're ready to re-engage. To me, the purpose of the system is to help increase awareness of projects / inputs to a point where you can make better (more intuitive and more valuable) decisions about your work, including when and where to NOT work.

For what it's worth. :)
 
The most important function that you need in GTD is the review function.

The default review duration in OmniFocus is 1 week. So any newly created projects will have a 1 week review duration.

Not all projects need to be reviewed on a weekly basis. Some projects can be reviewed every 2 weeks, once a month, once a quarter, once every half year, etc.

Go through all of your projects and set them to different review schedules.Use the OmniFocus inspector to set a different date for each project.

Oftentimes, we're always in capture mode and capturing everything under the sun. Even the craziest ideas get captured. The trick is to keep your system refreshed by weeding and pruning every week with the weekly review.

The weekly review allows us to go through each project, determine its relevance:

Is the project still needed? Maybe it is no longer relevant and the time situation to perform this task has passed?

Can I delegate the project to someone else who has better resources (the
time available and/or the skills required to complete the job)?

Has this project stalled and I need to re-word this project or rethink the Next Actions needed?

Does this project align with my higher Horizons of Focus? If I complete this project, will it have enough rewards for the effort needed to put into this project? Will completing this project help me complete something significant on a Higher Horizon of Focus?

I disliked the weekly review because I could spend up to 2-4 hours every Sunday afternoon sorting through my projects to make sure things are going according to plan (well, at least as close to what I think it should look like).

Instead, I like to do a daily review. This lets me break up the weekly review into bite-sized chunks. I click on the Review perspective and look at all projects that need to be reviewed. All of my projects are sorted by Review Date.

I only need to look at anything that needs to be reviewed within the Last Week, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.

Sometimes I'll look at projects that need to be reviewed within the next week but that is a rare occurrence.

As I click and highlight each project, I can either look at the OmniFocus inspector and manually assign a review date to a point in the future after looking at the project.

I can also highlight a project and select "Mark as Reviewed" from the menu bar or type Command-Shift-R. You can also place a Mark as Reviewed button in the toolbar if you wish. When I mark a project as reviewed, it will automatically change the review date to the next review date based on your project's review duration.

I'll be confident to know that each project will show up in the Review perspective at different times. I don't need to look at all the projects every week.

For example, my "Prepare and Submit 1040 tax forms by April 15th" project is set for review on February 1, 2013. I don't need to review this project every day or every week. That just adds to the signal-noise clutter. But I'm confident that this project will show up in my review perspective on February 1st, 2013.


You do have to be vicious during your review. Look for projects that can be delegated to others. Look for projects that have stalled and can be deleted. Look for projects that may sound great when you first captured it but you realize it doesn't really give you any significant rewards or doesn't align with your personal or work-related goals.

If you don't weed or and prune your OmniFocus list, you'll keep getting more debris. You'll eventually have to perform some heavy-duty housecleaning to kill those wayward projects that don't really belong.


I'd also use Start dates more frequently. Set start dates on different projects. Some can start today. But you can schedule a project or task to become active to a different point in the future. It no longer becomes available to you in Context view until that date. That's a nice way to schedule things out over time.

I also set all new projects to "On Hold" status. This immediately becomes a Someday/Maybe project. During my review period, I'll see that there is a pause icon on the project indicating Someday/Maybe. Then I'll decide if I want to activate it this week or just keep it in Someday/Maybe (On Hold) until the next review date for this project.

I set all new projects to "Someday/Maybe" because I already have enough active projects on my plate that i want to finish. I don't need to add this new project to the active list unless it has muscled it way into the projects that I really need to get done in the next 7 days.
 
I prefer to switch off doing part of my system after work. I still capture though as it's not that tough. I devote after work hours to sports, my kids and wife. That is it. I schedule 1 hour for doing smth from my @Home list on Sunday when I feel re-energised.
 
I would say this is not necessarily a system problem but more of a "driver" problem. You're the one driving the system and how you go about it is up to you. Personally, I have boundaries around when I'm working and when I'm not. I don't mind working 12-16 hours a day if I have to, but I understand that I will need downtime some other time to catch up.

I think that's very important to not become a slave to your lists.
 
I wouldn't say I ever turn my system "off," in fact, my system is what keeps me from having to worry about things while I'm trying to enjoy my free time. When something comes up while I'm at home, on vacation, etc, I'll enter a quick inbox item. I know it's been captured, so I don't have to think about it any more, and when I get back to the office, I'll process my inbox.

Having said that, one important notion that is highlighted in the GTD methodology is having multiple inboxes. It is recommended that you have the fewest number of inboxes that work for you, but for me, that is a minimum of 3 - OF, email, and voicemail. If I see an email or voicemail that does not require me to action it immediately, I'll leave it where it is. It's captured in it's own inbox, and I can incorporate these items into OF once I am back in business mode.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pwcrossl View Post
I wouldn't say I ever turn my system "off," in fact, my system is what keeps me from having to worry about things while I'm trying to enjoy my free time. When something comes up while I'm at home, on vacation, etc, I'll enter a quick inbox item. I know it's been captured, so I don't have to think about it any more, and when I get back to the office, I'll process my inbox.

Having said that, one important notion that is highlighted in the GTD methodology is having multiple inboxes. It is recommended that you have the fewest number of inboxes that work for you, but for me, that is a minimum of 3 - OF, email, and voicemail. If I see an email or voicemail that does not require me to action it immediately, I'll leave it where it is. It's captured in it's own inbox, and I can incorporate these items into OF once I am back in business mode.
I totally agree in regards to keeping my system active and nearby. I do a thorough scan in the morning and at night. Mini weekly reviews, well morning and nightly reviews. This is a must for me as the morning review allows me to know what direction I'm taking my day in, where I flag two to three actions that if completed I would consider it a successful day. At night I have five great spreadsheets that track my nutrition, like what I ate during the day, how much I exercised, miles wise... And a few more ranging from finances and how much I studied for the day. I love seeing graphs to chart my progress. My system is always with me and I lOve it...

The one thing however... Considering I live in omni focus is that on the iPad I can minimize certain contexts, such as "home" when I'm not home which I love. However on the iPhone I'm forced to either see only one context at a time, or all of them. That's what makes me take out my iPad more, the fact I can vIew the contexts I wanna see.

As for the inbox technique, I love it. However for me, personally omni focus is where I reside so the moment I get an email Or voIcemail I always send it to my omni focus inbox, even if it's just a quick copy and paste of the email. I love having an empty gmail inbox. Always. Even if my omni focus inbox isn't, but it usually gets processed during either the morning or nightly review... Or free time in between, say at a dentists office.
 
 


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