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Is it a context, an action, or should I just calendar it? (aka confused newb) Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Warning: This is an unbelievably basic question from someone who is painfully new to all this. However, if my brain worked in a way that I could organize myself, I wouldn't need OmniFocus probably.

I'm a little confused about how to 'classify' things that touch on multiple areas, and I'd appreciate hearing how some of you might approach this. Here's the scenario:

I created a folder called "Health" and expect this to include researching and managing a condition I have, making doctors appointments, going to the gym, picking up my Rx, couch-to-5k (in my dreams) and so on.

Picking up my Rx is an errand. But so is "Go to CVS" which might include a running list of stuff that I need to buy at CVS, including my Rx. I have to get the Rx on a very regular basis, so then it occurred to me that I should just use iCal and calendar the CVS trip as a recurring event at which point I would collect everything on the list.

However, scheduling an exact time every month to go to CVS seems unnecessary. So it's back to a recurring task "Schedule trip to CVS" (I realize this seems like overkill, but I constantly forget to go in time, so this is a fairly realistic example for me). Then there's a second task: Go to CVS.

Should I just include the Rx on a standard list attached to the CVS task?

As far as contexts, they're both errands. But going to CVS isn't something that would strictly fall into my "Health" folder -- some of it might be 'Home maintenance' (like lightbulbs). Technically, I suppose the Rx is a sub-context of errands (Errands:CVS), but it's the only thing that strictly I need to do there.

Everything but the Rx can be gotten at other places, like Target. I go there with far less frequency, but sometimes I need to, and then might as well combine everything.

Or is it really just two tasks (Pick up Rx; Misc. household shopping) that can, but don't have to be, completed in the same place?

[As a side note, I want to be sure that the tasks have lists attached to them so I'll have them on my Palm when I'm in the store]
I am assuming that CVS is a store? If so, I would make CVS a context, and then put the Rx task in that context (and any other items you need to buy there). Make it due a couple of days before you run out, and then you should see that you will need to go to the CVS in the next couple of days when you do the daily review. Then when you are near the CVS (or decide to make a special trip) you print out the entire CVS context like it was a shopping list (or just view it on your iPhone when it comes out :P).

You could make 'Store' a seperate context; anything in the store context can be purchased in any store, but those in the CVS context can only be bought at the CVS. Then when you are standing in the CVS you can have a quick look at both the Store and CVS contexts (maybe have a perspective to save this view for you) to see what you need to buy.

Sound good?
Better still, create an errands context and make CVS a subcontext of errands.

Then you can look at CVS-related tasks when you're going to just CVS or look at all of your errands if you're headed out and thinking about doing more than one thing.

Then anything you need to get at CVS you put in the CVS context, including your scrip. Subcontexts are really useful especially for errands since you can classify something as an errand and further classify it by exactly where you need to go. That way you can look at all of your errands easily (just look at the errands context) and you can easily choose to look at only the errands that currently interest you (click on the CVS context). Set up a subcontext under errands for any store you frequently visit.

I honestly suspect that errands were the primary reason Omni put subcontexts in OmniFocus; probably what they were thinking of when they designed the feature.
I think a CVS context (or subcontext) is really creating too many buckets, especially when you're dealing with something as simple as a recurring run to the pharmacy. There are tons of CVS locations, so just put it on your errands list. Maybe when the iPhone app comes out next month, you'll need to add a "cvs" context to take advantage of the cool errands feature. For now, I'd say just throw it in errands.

I have a single actions list (called single actions) where I keep simple actions that don't necessary belong to a project. I would just throw it into that list because it really doesn't belong to any project, and you'll miss it in some views if you throw it in a folder. I use this rule of thumb: If something is so simple that organizing it makes it more complicated, DON'T.

I have very complex projects that are organized by area and sub-area, but simple errands like this are best off in a single action bucket. I'm brand new with Omnifocus, too, but after the tools I've used in the past, this is a breeze. The naturally unorganized feel a need to over-organize when they break down and decide to organize. I know I do, but I resist it. Don't overcomplicate it and it won't overcomplicate you.

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