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How use OmniFocus to deal with non-action items?? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I'm currently evaluating Focus and comparing it to Inbox and Things as one system for GTD.
I have trouble using OF to deal with non-actionable items!? Am I missing something obvious or is it just designed more for projects and actions period.

When i collect i get tons of stuff and miss the ability to create buckets for non-action items such as - some day or reference.
Is there a way of doing this manually or does OF come in once one has processed and defined the action and/or project?

Apologize if this is an self-explanatory or dum question but I'm new to this software. (seen both tutorials of course)

Any suggestions are appreciated.

best /Dom
 
I think most people handle someday/maybe items by simply creating the desired project and putting it "On Hold". You can then use OmniFocus' rather sophisticated view controls to display only what you want.

In my library, I have far more items "On Hold" than "Active". In my daily and weekly reviews, I skim the "On Hold" items and decide if they should be promoted to an "Active" status.

I really like this approach because it allows me to see "Active" and "On Hold" items side-by-side when OmniFocus' View Bar is set to show all remaining projects. This makes planning much easier for me than having the items only visible in separate buckets/views.
 
I keep someday/maybe items in two places. First, as Toadling does, I will sometimes generate a project in OF and then put it on hold, or put it in a folder that's dropped. But I keep a separate someday/maybe list in an OmniOutliner document too, and review it from time to time when I want to focus on potential things to do rather than actual things that need to get done.

Reference material I keep outside of OmniFocus, except for short notes to myself that I know I won't need after I complete an action. For my scholarly research I use DEVONThink Pro; for most other reference material I use Journler, which has a scheme for linking to individual entries. I just copy the link in Journler and paste it in the notes field of the OF project or action, so I can, in a flash, open the reference.
 
I'm no expert in the use of OF, but one thing that I've found to be incredibly useful is to setup a context called "Note". This context has a status of "on hold", so these items won't appear in any of my real context lists.

I use the "Note" context for all sorts of project-related notes, things that I know I'll need to know in order to complete the project, but which don't directly involve an action. Sometimes I'll just dump something in as a note, and then turn it into an action at my next review time once I've had a chance to think about it. But, for me, the ability to dump non-actions into a project so I can remember them and deal with them later has been fantastically useful.

Hope this helps...

- Erik.

PS: Because the "Notes" context has a status of on hold, I do have to be careful that a note doesn't make an entire project on hold. A few times, I've had to rearrange the actions within the project so that it has a real action at the top, or switch the project from serial to parallel. It'd be great if we could have a "non-action" status for a context, that acted like "on hold" but didn't stall the project. Just a thought...
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by erik_westra View Post
I'm no expert in the use of OF, but one thing that I've found to be incredibly useful is to setup a context called "Note". This context has a status of "on hold", so these items won't appear in any of my real context lists.
I do something similar, but I call my context "Thinking". Anything that requires deeper thought before I can proceed gets assigned this context, effectively placing the project on hold until I've come to some kind of conclusion about the action and changed its context, added new action(s), or checked off the blocking action. I also often log some notes in the note field so I can always go back to review my decisions at a later date.

I have saved perspective that allows me to pull up all my "Thinking" actions. Then, whenever I'm going to have some time alone with my thoughts, like before a long drive or my morning run, I review the list for something to occupy my mind.

Last edited by Toadling; 2008-03-15 at 03:15 PM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toadling View Post
I think most people handle someday/maybe items by simply creating the desired project and putting it "On Hold".
I really like this approach because it allows me to see "Active" and "On Hold" items side-by-side when OmniFocus' View Bar is set to show all remaining projects. This makes planning much easier for me than having the items only visible in separate buckets/views.
Thanks for that! I do apprecite the fact tha OF alows for filtering in this way and enhancing focus and giving clutterfree UI.
I am a bit worried about the fact of having to "invent" these little tricks to actually get to a fully trusted GDT system. I know that eventually we all get tempted to custom- and module our apps as we grow in and out of them - still, i'd like OF to fit the the GTD harder.
I have to play arround to see if I can adopt your view. There is one thing I won't budge on and that is compromising the GTD methods - i'd rather have paper but be able to follow the method rather than messing myself in a "regular" - "just add this and you'll see it will work" - scenario. You guys know what I mean ;)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianogilvie View Post
I keep someday/maybe items in two places. First, as Toadling does, I will sometimes generate a project in OF and then put it on hold, or put it in a folder that's dropped. But I keep a separate someday/maybe list in an OmniOutliner document too, and review it from time to time when I want to focus on potential things to do rather than actual things that need to get done.

Reference material I keep outside of OmniFocus, except for short notes to myself that I know I won't need after I complete an action. For my scholarly research I use DEVONThink Pro; for most other reference material I use Journler, which has a scheme for linking to individual entries. I just copy the link in Journler and paste it in the notes field of the OF project or action, so I can, in a flash, open the reference.
Thanks for that! I checked out Journler - seems great - will toy arround.
I know that finding the "perfect" app is impossible and we all have to spread our activities over several specialized appz - just, I don't want to spread out and loose the "trusted and quick-enough system" that gtd builds on.
I have tried many appz before Indmaper, Outliner, notes, things - problems is that one ends up with 4-8 appz youst to support ones day - and atleast for me..i know my mind will hog the psychic RAM reminding me where I can find everything...and i got thoss appz just NOT to have to do that.
I'm just venting my mind here. i know many appz are needed but i appreciate your views an sharing OF so I can fit this app to te true GTD methodology.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by erik_westra View Post
I'm no expert in the use of OF, but one thing that I've found to be incredibly useful is to setup a context called "Note". This context has a status of "on hold", so these items won't appear in any of my real context lists.

I use the "Note" context for all sorts of project-related notes, things that I know I'll need to know in order to complete the project, but which don't directly involve an action. Sometimes I'll just dump something in as a note, and then turn it into an action at my next review time once I've had a chance to think about it. But, for me, the ability to dump non-actions into a project so I can remember them and deal with them later has been fantastically useful.

Hope this helps...

- Erik.

PS: Because the "Notes" context has a status of on hold, I do have to be careful that a note doesn't make an entire project on hold. A few times, I've had to rearrange the actions within the project so that it has a real action at the top, or switch the project from serial to parallel. It'd be great if we could have a "non-action" status for a context, that acted like "on hold" but didn't stall the project. Just a thought...
Erik,
nice to follow a bit of your work flow! I 'm aiming at this that you mention in your PS; in order for GTD to function and offload our minds we can't mess around to much and put our own reminders - I'm honestly having trouble accepting that somewhere in the middle of all the projetcs, notes, reminders, buckets etc in OF - "there could exist something that will ruin fluidity and put entinre projects on hold or just. I am trying to dump so much into a gtd app that it feels ridiculous at times but after all - gtd is "simple" I'm getting confused about the "most suited app for gtd" as so many are emerging all the time and everytime they introduce something new and smarter. Atleast on paper and low tech management system gtd works but it looses speed and cant handle the volumes of notes and inboxes i'm used to...I will toy arround with OF some more to see how it can be trusted to offload my mind ;)
Appreciate your input!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toadling View Post
I do something similar, but I call my context "Thinking". Anything that requires deeper thought before I can proceed gets assigned this context, effectively placing the project on hold until I've come to some kind of conclusion about the action and changed its context, added new action(s), or checked off the blocking action. I also often log some notes in the note field so I can always go back to review my decisions at a later date.

I have saved perspective that allows me to pull up all my "Thinking" actions. Then, whenever I'm going to have some time alone with my thoughts, like before a long drive or my morning run, I review the list for something to occupy my mind.
I hope that your "thinking stuff" won't become an "stuck in between bucket" on the way from Inbox to...action ;) Potentially a big energy drain no? But if it keeps you inspired and effiscient it has to work. For me, I'd unconscuously loose some energy not putting things like that into calender to work as a tickler file. GTD says that having things come back at us with a bit of surprise, after you offloaded them and "forgot" in a trusted system - we become more creative, motivated and enthused as oposed to not be motivated or not having an answer and track it on a list. sorry if I'm a pain - i just work for my black belt ;) Had to many appz and system come and go - you know how it is. /Dom
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dominiqueg View Post
I am a bit worried about the fact of having to "invent" these little tricks to actually get to a fully trusted GDT system. I know that eventually we all get tempted to custom- and module our apps as we grow in and out of them - still, i'd like OF to fit the the GTD harder.
But placing Someday/Maybe items on hold isn't some little trick I invented to shoehorn GTD into OmniFocus. It's the intended use. And I personally think it's a better approach than forcing items into a separate container. OmniFocus just provides a new take on the Someday/Maybe list that isn't really possible with a paper-based system. The end result is basically the same thing.

Although OmniFocus doesn't require the use of GTD, it seems to me to be one of the more GTD-friendly apps in the category.

Last edited by Toadling; 2008-03-16 at 08:04 PM..
 
 


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