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Pruning OF for the New Year? Big picture vs detail Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hi everyone - I've been using GTD / OmniFocus for quite a while (and kGTD etc. before OF) but am now looking at my document and feeling overwhelmed.

I have so many projects with actions and am feeling like all the day-to-day stuff has gotten mixed in with the 'big picture' items. I own my own business and am feeling mired in the 'working in the business' minutae rather than the 'working on the business' bits.

Any ideas for pruning and parsing OF for the New Year? Right now my to-do lists and overdue lists feel a million miles long.

I've never fully untilised the 'review' and long-term planning functions well in OF and think it's time to start! Any primers, FAQs, or good threads that might help me out?

Many thanks for any ideas....
Jennifer
 
Realised this should prob go in the main OF section. I'll repost it there.
 
Hi everyone - I've been using GTD / OmniFocus for quite a while (and kGTD etc. before OF) but am now looking at my document and feeling overwhelmed. I have SO many projects and actions as well as overdue actions. (!)

I've never fully untilised the 'review' and long-term planning functions well in OF and think it's time to start! Am feeling overwhelmed by the day-to-day vs. big picture items.

Any primers, FAQs, or good threads that might help me out?

Many thanks for any ideas....
Jennifer
 
I think everyone's system pans out differently according to each individual situation . I'm in the middle of David Allen's latest book " making it all work " He's made me think more about " Levels of focus "

So now I have grouped my projects and single action lists into folders that apply to each " area of responsibillity " in my life and work .

According to D.A. the every day tasks are run-way level focus , the projects in my life are 10,000 ft focus and areas of responsibility are 20,000 ft focus.

It's very easy to just click on a focus area folder [in planning view ] and and use the " sort by next review " option in first column to monitor the various areas .
 
I think the weekly and monthly review is essential in GTD. It helps to prune the tree and keep it manageable. Otherwise it's just one big blob of tasks that just stares at you and laughs. You'll just keep adding to it and not prune it every once in a while.

I like to go into Review mode and then click each task/project as "Reviewed" when I get a chance to go through it all.

It appears you've gotten the collecting part down. The collecting part allows you to capture anything that interests you that you want to either dabble in, become involved in, or have a look-see....

Now you have to do the sorting part. The weekly review is essential here. Once a week, I use OmniFocus' review function to help me keep my tasks down to somewhat manageable levels.

For example, I'd like to look into getting a dive instructor's license or professional race care driver. But it's not necessarily something I place as urgent. So I'll put it in my Someday/Maybe folder.

During review time, I'll look at my Someday/Maybe folder and see if I am still interested in it. I'd delete it if my interest has waned over time.

Be ruthless with your task list. Look for tasks that can be deleted (nothing important really happens if I do it or not) or delegated (let someone else handle it).

Sometimes when I review something in the Someday/Maybe list, I'll elevate it and put it as my Big Rock of the Week or Big Rock of the Month. The someday/maybe list holds all the projects that I've been meaning to do and may get around to it. I'll review it and then determine one of several actions:

1. I'll just delegate and hire a contractor or specialist to do it for me (especially if it is not a task that I'm familiar with such as welding, major house repairs, or taxes).

2. I'll drop it (it's nice to have a swimming pool in the backyard but I don't think it's necessary quite yet).

3. Move it out of Someday/Maybe and into the Projects folder. Now it's on my plate of things to do.



If you are being overwhelmed by your task list, I'd suggest looking to see what is really important to you and then delete any tasks that just take up time and doesn't necessarily advance you to your personal goals.

Yes, that means you need to make goals. Kinda like a new year's promise.

Maybe you can look for books and blogs about simplifying your life?

I just started reading this other web site about simplifying my GTD setup

http://zenhabits.net/2008/07/the-beg...a-guided-tour/

http://zenhabits.net/2007/04/zen-to-...tivity-system/


This fella's variation on GTD has really helped me with my GTD setup. Together with OmniFocus, I'm able to keep track of my interests that I never got around to (Someday/Maybe) and actually start tackling them one at a time. I've been reading up on blogs about simplifying your life to help keep my stress and blood pressure down.

Of course, there are some things that can't be avoided easily (the boss) but at least a big portion of my life has become more manageable.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsonng View Post
i just started reading this other web site about simplifying my gtd setup
Maybe it's just the hour, but it's hard not to snicker when encountering an article titled "Simple Living Manifesto: 72 Ways to Simplify Your Life" -- I guess nothing is ever as simple as it should be, including simplifying your life :-)
 
In today's day and age where competition is fierce and your attention is scattered across many different committments, I'm all for simplifying one's life. I can understand the apprehension and snickers. I was there once too...

I'm a firm believer in simplifying now. There's just too much noise out there trying to win my attention. I thought I was missing out on a lot. Now I'm much more focused on the things that are important to me.

Previously, I had many things tugging at me - my Xbox, my Playstation, my Nintendo, my cable TV, my stack of DVDs that I bought from Amazon, the backlog of magazines that I get through the mail, dinner movie dates with my couples friends, dates with just my wife, playtime with my daughter, the stack of books sitting on the nightstand, the iTunes playlist of audiobooks waiting for me to get to, all the podcasts I've accumulated and never gotten around to, my gym membership.....

The list goes on and on.... I thought I needed and wanted all of these things and activities. But after reading about simplifying one's life, I now have more time to focus on the things that really matter and can combine a few commitments together

Combined my video game time with my daughter now.
Tossed out all the podcasts that I never got around to
Eliminated most of the magazine subscriptions I never read
Spend time with wife and daughter at the gym
Started to donate many books that I thought I wanted to read and decided it wasn't worth it

You get the hint.

List can go on and on. jenniferp can eliminate a lot of stress by performing a weekly review. it's the best way to prune one's task list down to manageable form by determining what is important and what isn't.

As for the "72 ways to simplify your life", you don't have to do *** ALL *** ways. Just take the ones you want and leave the rest for later. Now that's called "simplifying your life." ;-)
 
Here’s a specific response to your question Jennifer, just something quite particular that jumped out at me yesterday as I was creating a new project and defining its first couple actions.

I knew I wanted to get to it soon, but I couldn’t figure out how to TRUST that it would be brought back to my attention at the right time. It was really in a gray area: definitely due soon-ish, but not at any particular time, and neither important enough to deserve a flag, nor unimportant enough that I could afford to forget about it ... what to do? How to make sure it gets paid attention to sometime in the next couple weeks?

D’oh! Review!

In a forehead slapping moment, I realized this is what review intervals are for. Just set a daily review on it. Make OF keep pushing it at me ... not as “due” or flagged as “important,” but just as something that I need to be reminded of. Regularly. Until it happens.

That’s what reviews are for. That’s how you can TRUST that you won’t drop a ball.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniferp View Post
Any ideas for pruning and parsing OF for the New Year? Right now my to-do lists and overdue lists feel a million miles long.

I've never fully untilised the 'review' and long-term planning functions well in OF and think it's time to start! Any primers, FAQs, or good threads that might help me out?

Many thanks for any ideas....
Jennifer
This is tricky because it sounds like you're saying that you can't really DO all the stuff that needs to be done, rather than it being a lack of organization. I guess there's no magic way to handle this except to delegate things or work longer, unless the truth is that you're so overwhelmed by the tasks that you never do any of them. I do this sometimes. I spend so much time in disbelief that there is so much to do, that I never actually do anything.

Two things I do in OF in this case.

1. I use flags to mark items that absolutely must be done today, especially since I use Due Dates and often have more items due today than I can handle. This forces me to be knocking some items off the list, rather than just staring at the list. I also pay attention to contexts when possible to keep things grouped in such a way that I can save some time. If this doesn't work it's time to prioritize - putting some things on hold, or delegating, assuming there is someone to delegate to. :^}

2. I do the high-level Review on Sundays and not during the week. This way I have more relaxed time to consider where I'm going. If I trust my thinking from Sunday, then I can have more direction during the week.

The Review will probably be depressing for awhile as it tends to remind you about the things you've completely forgotten, which makes the load even heavier. But it serves to get Next Actions or Flags in place so that you have a way to get things moving.

I haven't mastered this yet, but I'll continue to work on it until I do.

Mark
 
 


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