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Using OmniFocus in a GTD workflow Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I know there are a lot of topics about the implementation of GTD with OmniFocus, but I've been searching for a while and haven't been able to piece together a really good GTD start-to-finish guide with OmniFocus, and I'm a little fuzzy on how certain aspects of GTD are best handled.

David cites a five-step workflow in the book: 1) Collect 2) Process 3) Organize 4) Review 5) Do

While getting set up with OmniFocus, I did a mental dump into my OF inbox of every open loop that I had (collect). I then went through and made decisions about those items--some became projects, others went into a Someday/Maybe text document, some were trashed, and some were put into reference (process). As I made those decisions, I assigned contexts and projects (organize).

It seems like the process and organize steps tend to blend in OF, as you're adding reminders (in the form of projects and next actions) to your system (OF). Does that sound right? Does it make sense in the literal GTD context that some items in your OF inbox become projects, others are next actions in current projects, and that there will be some discarded and moved-out-of-OmniFocus items?

Where I tend to get hung up is in the "review" step. How often should I be reviewing my actions and projects? I know it's possible to set up a Perspective which sorts your projects by "Next Review" in Planning Mode--this would constitute a Weekly Review in the GTD sense, right? I should be reviewing my projects one at a time, assigning any new actions, and making sure that they are where they are. When I'm satisfied, I mark them as reviewed. David also implicates that this is a good time to do another "mental dump" and get current. So is the Weekly Review the time to dump stuff into the inbox, and process it into projects and so on? But surely the Weekly Review isn't the only time to do that kind of thing. After all, using Clippings and Quick Entry, stuff gets funneled into the inbox all the time. So how often should it be cleaned out and its contents processed? And during the week, is most of my time spent in Context Mode, scanning for things to be done? When is Planning Mode typically used?

But what about projects that are stalled? Should they too be reviewed? If a project is stalled because its next action is a "Waiting On," should the Weekly Review flesh that out, perhaps prompting me to check on what it is I'm "Waiting On"? Suppose I decide that I do need to check in on what- or whomever I'm waiting on--should I add an action to that project? Something like "Check on status of repair"? Should that precede the "Waiting On" action? Should it become the next action of the project?

And what about doing? Suppose that I finish an action on a project, and I'd like to continue it, but I haven't assigned any more actions after the one I've completed. Should I head back to Planning Mode and decide on the next action(s)? Does this constitute the "vertical focus" mentioned in the book?

Finally, David recommends having "clean edges" to seven components of your system:

- A Projects list
- Project support material
- Calendared actions and info
- Next Actions list
- "Waiting For" list
- Reference Material
- Someday/Maybe list

Of those. OmniFocus seems designed to handle the projectss list, next actions list, and maybe the "Waiting For" list. Other applications or text documents seem better suited to the rest. Is that a common feeling?

I have a lot of specific questions, but I'm trying to understand GTD and GTD in the context of OmniFocus at the same time. I know it seems like I'm trying to adhere strictly by the book, but I just want to really understand all of it before I decide if and how much I want to deviate. Some of these questions are more about preferences than concrete answers, but I'd just like to get a picture of how OF is used in a GTD workflow, and I haven't quite figured it out yet. Thanks so much for any feedback!
 
Wow that's a lot of questions for one post!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
It seems like the process and organize steps tend to blend in OF, as you're adding reminders (in the form of projects and next actions) to your system (OF). Does that sound right? Does it make sense in the literal GTD context that some items in your OF inbox become projects, others are next actions in current projects, and that there will be some discarded and moved-out-of-OmniFocus items?
Yes, it does. In fact, you would do this if you just used paper and folders. Some things in your Inbox are just parts of previous or ongoing projects, some are brand new ones and some, like reference material, would be moved out of OmniFocus for archival purposes for example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
Where I tend to get hung up is in the "review" step. How often should I be reviewing my actions and projects?
There really is no global answer to this. I think I might even be quoting David Allen by saying you need to review it as often as YOU need to review it. So how ever often works for you so that nothing falls through the cracks.

Basically you need to just use your system and get used to it, then you'll see how often you need to review everything. Some even do it daily, but if you have a lot of projects, you don't want to do it as often as that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
I know it's possible to set up a Perspective which sorts your projects by "Next Review" in Planning Mode--this would constitute a Weekly Review in the GTD sense, right?
Technically it's just a view you customize to your way to make it as easy as possible to review everything, but yes, it's for reviewing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
I should be reviewing my projects one at a time, assigning any new actions, and making sure that they are where they are. When I'm satisfied, I mark them as reviewed. David also implicates that this is a good time to do another "mental dump" and get current. So is the Weekly Review the time to dump stuff into the inbox, and process it into projects and so on? But surely the Weekly Review isn't the only time to do that kind of thing. After all, using Clippings and Quick Entry, stuff gets funneled into the inbox all the time. So how often should it be cleaned out and its contents processed?
Same thing as the weekly review, however often YOU need to do it, is how often you need to do it.

First of all, the mental dump is done in order to get as much as possible into your trusted system. The idea is to get everything in, not 95 percent of stuff, but all of it. Once you have most of it in your trusted system, you don't need to do a dump anymore, but instead what you need is the ability to quickly add new things to your system immediately when it pops into your head. For example in the case of OmniFocus, you could get OmniFocus for the iPhone when it comes out.

So my point there is that you don't need to do a mental dump when you have all your stuff in your system and you add new things immediately.

Cleaning out the Inbox though, again, you should do it as often as YOU need to, but I would recommend doing it regularly. I do it a time or two a day, but I don't have a high volume of important stuff coming in.

But look at it this way, anything in your Inbox isn't actually getting done and you don't even know what's in it until you clean it out. When the Inbox is empty however and everything has a context, you know you are tracking it and it won't fall through the cracks. So do it often enough for YOU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
And during the week, is most of my time spent in Context Mode, scanning for things to be done? When is Planning Mode typically used?
Planning is literally that, planning. So while you can work there, sometimes it's more practical to do so on large projects for example, but usually you only flesh out things there from the next action to the last action and work on the Context side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
But what about projects that are stalled? Should they too be reviewed?
Yes, how else would you know when to activate them again? Or specifically, by reviewing them you won't forget about them if, for example, you are waiting for someone else to do something before you can continue working on them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
If a project is stalled because its next action is a "Waiting On," should the Weekly Review flesh that out, perhaps prompting me to check on what it is I'm "Waiting On"? Suppose I decide that I do need to check in on what- or whomever I'm waiting on--should I add an action to that project? Something like "Check on status of repair"? Should that precede the "Waiting On" action? Should it become the next action of the project?
I don't really have a good answer for this since I personally am waiting for a bit more functionality with stalled actions in OmniFocus.

So instead, I'll just tell you what I do. When I need to pause something, instead of actually putting it on hold, I add a start time to it. A start time hides the item from the Context view until the date you set. And since OmniFocus is smart enough that you can type in different ways in the date fields, I type 1w for example in the start time field, it's easy to do this. In this example it will become active in one week.

So basically I think "how long should I wait on this action before checking in on it" and decide for example "ok, I can wait for 3 days" and so I type 3d in the field and OmniFocus hides it from me for 3 days and after that it pops back in on my list. You can do this to full projects or even single actions.

If I still don't need to check in on it, I just add more time to the start time. Takes mere seconds. And by the way, I review all my actions that are visible on the Context side every morning with my morning coffee.

I only pause projects that are on hold indefinitely like Someday/Maybe lists, if I know approximately when to check up on it, I just add a start time to it. Of course you do review stalled projects in the Weekly Review, so you don't need to do it quite like me, but I still recommend trying the Start Time fields.

But yes, another way to do it is indeed to add a new action called for example "waiting for status of car repair", so when you check "take car for repair" the waiting for status task pops up. Also an easy way to do it and I do this in some cases.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
And what about doing? Suppose that I finish an action on a project, and I'd like to continue it, but I haven't assigned any more actions after the one I've completed. Should I head back to Planning Mode and decide on the next action(s)?
When you flesh out your project and decide on a next action, you shouldn't decide JUST the next action but flesh out the entire thing from the first step to "what will that project look like when finished" and every single step along the way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
Does this constitute the "vertical focus" mentioned in the book?
Vertical Focus means the different levels of actions or projects as follows:
- 50,000+ feet: Life goals
- 40,000 feet: 3-5-year vision
- 30,000 feet: 1-2-year goals
- 20,000 feet: Areas of responsibility
- 10,000 feet: Current projects
- Runway: Current actions

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
Finally, David recommends having "clean edges" to seven components of your system:

- A Projects list
- Project support material
- Calendared actions and info
- Next Actions list
- "Waiting For" list
- Reference Material
- Someday/Maybe list

Of those. OmniFocus seems designed to handle the projectss list, next actions list, and maybe the "Waiting For" list. Other applications or text documents seem better suited to the rest. Is that a common feeling?
Projects and support material and reference material I would say is usually best to have in a different system. Basically that would be your file cabinet or the digital version of it. After all, you can have support material of all kinds, some digital, some not, PDFs, text files, images, videos etc which OmniFocus can't handle.

Besides, the GTD method even says you should have your reminders in a trusted system, in this case OmniFocus. And reference and support material easily accessible when you decide to act on it.

So you need to decide the best way to do it for you. In digital form you could use folders named accordingly and just dump stuff in them, properly named of course. You could use the various apps made specifically for that purpose like Yojimbo or DevonTHINK. Any way you like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
I have a lot of specific questions, but I'm trying to understand GTD and GTD in the context of OmniFocus at the same time. I know it seems like I'm trying to adhere strictly by the book, but I just want to really understand all of it before I decide if and how much I want to deviate. Some of these questions are more about preferences than concrete answers, but I'd just like to get a picture of how OF is used in a GTD workflow, and I haven't quite figured it out yet. Thanks so much for any feedback!
Once you get the hang of OmniFocus I really do suggest reading the book again, you will look at everything from a different viewpoint now. Even David Allen himself has said that people should read the book again after 6 months of reading it.

And you need to test how to best use OmniFocus to your liking, I personally still change some things from time to time and only just recently started using all the features in OmniFocus. I started out without using start times, perspectives and such, just simply. And I've been using OmniFocus for close to 6 months now.

I hope that answers most if not all of your questions. Most of the things you mentioned really do depend on how you like working, so there are no concrete answers. I merely stated my ways and what David Allen has said.

Last edited by MJK; 2008-06-27 at 02:37 AM..
 
Yey for me, I actually hit the 10,000 mark limit on that single post and had to shorten my answers ;)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJK View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod
here I tend to get hung up is in the "review" step. How often should I be reviewing my actions and projects?
There really is no global answer to this. I think I might even be quoting David Allen by saying you need to review it as often as YOU need to review it. So how ever often works for you so that nothing falls through the cracks.

Basically you need to just use your system and get used to it, then you'll see how often you need to review everything. Some even do it daily, but if you have a lot of projects, you don't want to do it as often as that.
OmniFocus gives you some help here that allows you to tailor your reviews to your needs. I usually do a daily review, but I don't review everything, just the stuff that has come up for a review. You can build a perspective that will show you your projects grouped by next review date, and then just adjust the review frequency (and next review date) in the Inspector as desired to make sure various projects get the review attention they need. For me, there's a tradeoff between not seeing things often enough (-> little progress made) and seeing things too often (-> little progress made) and this setup helps me find the sweet spot that keeps things moving along.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJK View Post
Yes, it does. In fact, you would do this if you just used paper and folders. Some things in your Inbox are just parts of previous or ongoing projects, some are brand new ones and some, like reference material, would be moved out of OmniFocus for archival purposes for example.
Okay, that makes a lot of sense. Collecting is where I feel strongest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJK View Post
There really is no global answer to this. I think I might even be quoting David Allen by saying you need to review it as often as YOU need to review it. So how ever often works for you so that nothing falls through the cracks.

Basically you need to just use your system and get used to it, then you'll see how often you need to review everything. Some even do it daily, but if you have a lot of projects, you don't want to do it as often as that.
So is there a distinction between those kinds of reviews and the Weekly Review mentioned in the book? Is it just a more thorough or more deliberate process of going through the workflow steps?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJK View Post
First of all, the mental dump is done in order to get as much as possible into your trusted system. The idea is to get everything in, not 95 percent of stuff, but all of it. Once you have most of it in your trusted system, you don't need to do a dump anymore, but instead what you need is the ability to quickly add new things to your system immediately when it pops into your head. For example in the case of OmniFocus, you could get OmniFocus for the iPhone when it comes out.
Right, that's the point of the whole "ubiquitous capture" which was kind of spun off from the book. OF is going to be the first iPhone app I get--Notes just doesn't cut it, and the whole...email-yourself-a-task thing makes me a little nervous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJK View Post
I don't really have a good answer for this since I personally am waiting for a bit more functionality with stalled actions in OmniFocus.

So instead, I'll just tell you what I do. When I need to pause something, instead of actually putting it on hold, I add a start time to it. A start time hides the item from the Context view until the date you set. And since OmniFocus is smart enough that you can type in different ways in the date fields, I type 1w for example in the start time field, it's easy to do this. In this example it will become active in one week.

So basically I think "how long should I wait on this action before checking in on it" and decide for example "ok, I can wait for 3 days" and so I type 3d in the field and OmniFocus hides it from me for 3 days and after that it pops back in on my list. You can do this to full projects or even single actions.

If I still don't need to check in on it, I just add more time to the start time. Takes mere seconds. And by the way, I review all my actions that are visible on the Context side every morning with my morning coffee.

I only pause projects that are on hold indefinitely like Someday/Maybe lists, if I know approximately when to check up on it, I just add a start time to it. Of course you do review stalled projects in the Weekly Review, so you don't need to do it quite like me, but I still recommend trying the Start Time fields.

But yes, another way to do it is indeed to add a new action called for example "waiting for status of car repair", so when you check "take car for repair" the waiting for status task pops up. Also an easy way to do it and I do this in some cases.
I like that idea; I wasn't exactly sure how to make use of the start and due dates, so I'll give that a try.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJK View Post
When you flesh out your project and decide on a next action, you shouldn't decide JUST the next action but flesh out the entire thing from the first step to "what will that project look like when finished" and every single step along the way.
That makes sense to me, but I would imagine that there are some projects which can't be fully planned until some of the action steps are completed--for example, the next action after researching something may be to make a call, but you won't know who to call until you've done the research.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJK View Post
Projects and support material and reference material I would say is usually best to have in a different system. Basically that would be your file cabinet or the digital version of it. After all, you can have support material of all kinds, some digital, some not, PDFs, text files, images, videos etc which OmniFocus can't handle.

Besides, the GTD method even says you should have your reminders in a trusted system, in this case OmniFocus. And reference and support material easily accessible when you decide to act on it.

So you need to decide the best way to do it for you. In digital form you could use folders named accordingly and just dump stuff in them, properly named of course. You could use the various apps made specifically for that purpose like Yojimbo or DevonTHINK. Any way you like.
I've planned to look into both Yojimbo and DevonTHINK for the digital side of that purpose--maybe even EverNote, though I'm not sure if it's flexible enough. Do you have a preference?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJK View Post
Once you get the hang of OmniFocus I really do suggest reading the book again, you will look at everything from a different viewpoint now. Even David Allen himself has said that people should read the book again after 6 months of reading it.

And you need to test how to best use OmniFocus to your liking, I personally still change some things from time to time and only just recently started using all the features in OmniFocus. I started out without using start times, perspectives and such, just simply. And I've been using OmniFocus for close to 6 months now.

I hope that answers most if not all of your questions. Most of the things you mentioned really do depend on how you like working, so there are no
Your advice has been very valuable. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
OmniFocus gives you some help here that allows you to tailor your reviews to your needs. I usually do a daily review, but I don't review everything, just the stuff that has come up for a review. You can build a perspective that will show you your projects grouped by next review date, and then just adjust the review frequency (and next review date) in the Inspector as desired to make sure various projects get the review attention they need. For me, there's a tradeoff between not seeing things often enough (-> little progress made) and seeing things too often (-> little progress made) and this setup helps me find the sweet spot that keeps things moving along.
Ah, so you give different projects different review intervals, and then use Perspectives like "Daily Review," "3-day Review," and so on?

I think I'm getting there...but I thought of a few things that I didn't mention last time:

Is it typical to leave completed projects in the database, and to use filters to only look at current projects? Does not deleting them bloat the database or cause performance issues?

How are people using flags and due dates? Is it more common to put anything with a due date or time-sensitive into a calendar?
 
First off: Browse through the archives on this forum. There's LOTS of advice and opinions on the best way to structure your workflow, outside of OmniFocus itself.

Some ideas based on specific questions, in no particular order:

Reviews:

Review frequently. I skim through my list every 1-3 days, and try to do a detailed review/inbox purge at least once a week. When I stick to it, my life becomes much easier and I stop caring about how many more Applescripts I need to get my workflow PERFECT. Review is the key component of GTD, and one that is overlooked by software because it cannot be automated. (excepting an iCal reminder and some blocked out time)

Reference Material:

Software has its place. I like Yojimbo, myself, for keeping random notes. It can encrypt data and it's easy to get information into/out of it. Plus Applescript support. I'm sick of apps that don't support scripting. If they're a key part of my workflow, they've got to have it. YMMV.

But the software is secondary to HAVING the documentation. Spotlight makes it easy to keep your information in individual files (text, docs, spreadsheets, whatever is appropriate) and folders without the need for a snippet program.

Better to DO than to futz with software. Although the futzing is fun, it isn't DOING.

Waiting/Stalled:

A waiting is a reminder of someone else's action. But it is my action as well. They have the football, but I still want to make the touchdown. (If I don't care and I've just passed it off, I won't store a "waiting" action -- it's up to them if they want to hand it back to me)

On my review, I'll say, "Gee, Louise STILL hasn't gotten me that spreadsheet, I'd better call her up" and I'll do just that. Probably right then, too. (2-minute rule)

Capture:

Don't rely on your tech. NOTHING works better than a pen and paper. I keep a couple business cards in my wallet for the usual reasons. As likely as not, they end up with scribbled notes. (I've gotten used to asking strangers if I can borrow their pen)

Emailing, JOTTing, and even leaving yourself a phone message to get your tasks into your inbox is all totally fair, and often faster than loading a program, keeping your battery charged, etc.

Perspectives, Views, Contexts:

You can waste a lot of time trying to get things perfect. My first run (with Kinkless GTD) had me setting up DOZENS of contexts, many of which I never, ever, ever, used. Now I have four. They change, though, all the time. Perspectives change even more often. (Nothing like a toolbar button to focus in on your #1 project so you can make some progress on it!)

Your workflow and your software are mutable and are there to serve you. Any decisions you make now are only set in bits and bytes. You can re-context, re-project, and re-factor your plans to whatever seems better once you get into it.

For now, capture everything, define your next action (don't worry about planning the whole project if it isn't right there in your head -- decide what to do NEXT and put it on the list, then move on), keep track of your open loops (projects), and keep your eye on the prize (goals).

Sorry, I get preachy on this stuff, but I speak from experience. Take it or leave it. :)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
Ah, so you give different projects different review intervals, and then use Perspectives like "Daily Review," "3-day Review," and so on?
Well, not exactly. My perspective for reviewing simply groups projects by next review date. I review the projects in the "Today" group, and any projects that were supposed to be reviewed in the past, and I usually don't bother looking at the groups for the future unless I'm trying to procrastinate :-)
Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post

I think I'm getting there...but I thought of a few things that I didn't mention last time:

Is it typical to leave completed projects in the database, and to use filters to only look at current projects? Does not deleting them bloat the database or cause performance issues?

How are people using flags and due dates? Is it more common to put anything with a due date or time-sensitive into a calendar?
I do leave my completed projects in the database, and the perspectives that I use for keeping work going select Active Projects or Remaining Projects only. I've seen it suggested that having a lot of stuff in the database doesn't slow things down too much so long as it isn't being displayed, and my experience hasn't given me cause to dispute that suggestion. I'm hopeful that Ken & crew will be able to keep the app efficient enough that it won't be a worthwhile use of my time to spend much time pruning completed projects.

I tend to use start dates more than due dates to manage my efforts. I do put due dates on things that really have hard due dates, but using the start date to keep my eye on the ball works better for me. As for flags, I tend to look things over while doing the daily review in the morning and I'll flag actions or whole projects that I want to concentrate on for the day. I like the "group by" options in context view because they effectively give you a free sort operation and then you can still sort by flagged, etc. I don't bother with iCal except for keeping track of appointments.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
So is there a distinction between those kinds of reviews and the Weekly Review mentioned in the book? Is it just a more thorough or more deliberate process of going through the workflow steps?
Again, it depends, I'm still taking new things into use from the GTD method, I can't take the whole thing at once, takes time to really wrap my brain around it. I did understand most of it, but when I read the book again, I understood things differently and so I'm still in the process.

But I review my Inbox once or twice a day and I review everything twice a week usually, but I don't really need to do it more than once. In fact, I have a recurring task that takes place every sunday to do the Weekly Review.

But yes, you should do a very thorough review once a week, that's what David Allen said and I agree. I mainly do more than one review because I'm still tweaking the way my OmniFocus is set up and I need to make sure I didn't lose track of anything by making changes :P That would be my own little problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
Right, that's the point of the whole "ubiquitous capture" which was kind of spun off from the book. OF is going to be the first iPhone app I get--Notes just doesn't cut it, and the whole...email-yourself-a-task thing makes me a little nervous.
Emailing tasks works very well though, since OmniFocus works with mail and if you use MailTags, it works with that too. So the point is, the message gets automatically parsed and thrown into your Inbox or library.

But I don't have access to email all the time and even if I did, I would still prefer to have OmniFocus at my fingertips. Quick Entry in OmniFocus is the best thing ever when I'm at the computer, getting OmniFocus on an iPhone would be perfect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
That makes sense to me, but I would imagine that there are some projects which can't be fully planned until some of the action steps are completed--for example, the next action after researching something may be to make a call, but you won't know who to call until you've done the research.
True, I just wanted to make sure you didn't misunderstand the point of planning out the next step and mistake that for needing to plan JUST the next step, but the whole process.

The important thing of course is to have the next step since that means you can get things going forward and if you don't have things in your head what to do after that next step, then you can add to the project later. The next step is the most important thing.

But if you DO know several steps, then adding them right away is of course the best idea.

And sure, there are projects like that, but then you just add those new actions when they come up in the research.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
I've planned to look into both Yojimbo and DevonTHINK for the digital side of that purpose--maybe even EverNote, though I'm not sure if it's flexible enough. Do you have a preference?
No, I only use folders on my Mac at the moment to store stuff, I haven't been happy with any of those apps yet. For one, I hate most of their interfaces. But I do check them out now and then, waiting for something new.

But I luckily don't have that much reference material yet, but I do know more is coming thanks to certain possible changes coming in my life. So I might need one soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
Ah, so you give different projects different review intervals, and then use Perspectives like "Daily Review," "3-day Review," and so on?
I don't but I know many people indeed do that. A weekly review is enough for me to handle my stuff, I do more because of the tweaking I do which I mentioned earlier in this post.

However, I do in fact review everything happening soon every morning. In other words, every morning I check everything with an active context.

But again, doing reviews is one of the most important things in GTD that will make you trust the system. Once you review them enough times so you really see that NOTHING falls through the cracks, you can trust the system.

And just keep that habit up, reviewing as often as you need to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
Is it typical to leave completed projects in the database, and to use filters to only look at current projects? Does not deleting them bloat the database or cause performance issues?
Actually all the actions you mark as done are still in the database, so those don't get removed either. But I would say you shouldn't delete old ones anyway, they are just text and so very small on the hard-drive and I'm on a 3-year-old computer right now and no performance issues from my 6 months of actions.

But I would suggest marking completed projects as done. You can after all mark a project as Active, On Hold, Dropped or Completed.

I have my Planning Mode set up in the View Bar to show Remaining items, which means it hides the dropped and completed projects and actions, but shows active and on hold ones. So basically anything I still need to do, it shows, everything I've done, it hides.

Sometimes you do need to check "what was that one thing I did that time?".

And since you mostly work in Context Mode, having empty projects in your database isn't really a problem since you won't see them, but at least in the Weekly Review, when you see a finished project with no more actions in it, you should mark it as Completed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaMethod View Post
How are people using flags and due dates? Is it more common to put anything with a due date or time-sensitive into a calendar?
I flag everything that I absolutely can't change, as in, the most important things. But I'm sure others will have better ways to use them.

Due dates are simpler though, I decide I want to or need to do an action on a day, I add that date to the field. I mean, not everything needs a due date, by the way, start and due dates aren't linked so you can add a start date without a due date.

I don't use a calendar anymore, simply because I don't like to add stuff in iCal and OmniFocus separately and while there is a sync option, it only adds stuff from my Context view to iCal as To Do items. I don't need 50 To Do items in no particular order to show up on the side of iCal.

I emailed The Omni Group a suggestion to add items with due dates as Calendar Events instead of To Do's hoping for some tweaking I could do in the settings to preset what becomes an event, what a To Do and what an all day event.

So yeah, what I want out of the calendar is a visual way to see my actions, not just a list of To Do's on the side.

Oh and after that rambling, I could even answer your question :P Is it common to add things with due dates to a calendar was the question?

Well you can and it depends on the person, BUT I would strongly suggest you just get used to the GTD way of working first, THEN decide if you want stuff on your calendar.

The idea is, you have your lists in front of you and there are due dates on some of them (in this case, this means in OmniFocus). You go through them in OmniFocus and you don't really need to be reminded of anything the same way, no beeps for "you gotta do this now" or anything like that.

It's a different way of working but it works (no pun intended).

Last edited by MJK; 2008-06-28 at 01:13 AM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iNik View Post
First off: Browse through the archives on this forum. There's LOTS of advice and opinions on the best way to structure your workflow, outside of OmniFocus itself.

Some ideas based on specific questions, in no particular order:

Reviews:

Review frequently. I skim through my list every 1-3 days, and try to do a detailed review/inbox purge at least once a week. When I stick to it, my life becomes much easier and I stop caring about how many more Applescripts I need to get my workflow PERFECT. Review is the key component of GTD, and one that is overlooked by software because it cannot be automated. (excepting an iCal reminder and some blocked out time)
Excellent tip! Do browse the forums, this is where I learned most of the ways I use, an incredible amount of tips here.

And that is what I tried to explain in my post just now, but he said it much more clearly: review is the key component of GTD and can't be automated.

Frankly, I wouldn't use iCal reminders at all, you don't need them once you learn the GTD method of working.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJK View Post
Excellent tip! Do browse the forums, this is where I learned most of the ways I use, an incredible amount of tips here.

And that is what I tried to explain in my post just now, but he said it much more clearly: review is the key component of GTD and can't be automated.

Frankly, I wouldn't use iCal reminders at all, you don't need them once you learn the GTD method of working.
Here's a great thread on reviewing (which includes some suggestions for automating the process).
 
 


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