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How to organize your files corresponding to OF Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hi everybody,

for quite some time am I looking for a supporting file-organization that reflects 1:1 the OF-projects. I have found a couple approaches in the forum, but they couldn't really help me:
e.g.
http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=13280
http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=12734

The most sophisticated solution would probably be a single (or a few) filefolders* and file tagging (according to the OF-Projects). Unfortunatly the tagging software I have looked at is using a hack on OSX with an unknown future. Besides this insecurity I want to access the data with non-Macs. Eventually I prefer a simple filefolder system. This also helps integrating my iphone via a file client (dropbox, webDAV,..). BTW: Evernote is not an option for privacy and money reasons.

My thoughts to a filefolder solution are the following:

1. One ignores the OF folder hierachy and builds one filefolder for each OF project flat into the root filefolder. The flat structure clarifies the locality for all filefolders. Depending on the use this might amount to a couple hundred (thousands?) filefolders at some point. But one can handle it quite well with spotlight &co. This would mean little adaption of my applescript (see text below)
> How could name-modification be brought to the corresponding filefolder?
(OF internally uses IDs. But using them as names for the filefolders would render them unreadable)

2. To separte active from inactive filefolders one could setup extra filefolders (active, on hold, archived,..) with aliases to the actual project-filefolders from (1). Without alias every status-change would take a manual move of the corresponding filefolder. The aliases can easily be rebuild from scratch everytime something has changed (or on regular basis). It should not be too difficult to write a script for this. Since this would be a OSX-Solution, it doesn't help me on different platforms (my iphone).
> Any ideas?

Maybe someone has a much better approach to this. I shouldn't be the first, having this thoughts. But as said before, I couldn't find anything that integrates with OF. All help is appreciated!

Thanks for interest & patience,
Mathias



I wrote a script based on the Harrison/ Vitacolonna (thanks!) that reads out the OF-Project structure and rebuilds it as filefolders. This system has the problem, that any change in OF needs to be (more or less) manually adapted on the filefolders. Not to mention that it misses the GTD idea of being simple.

Harrison/ Vitacolonna Scripts:
http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=10863

* filefolders: Filesystem-folders (Finder) to distinguish from OF-folders.
 
Can I get a copy of your script?

How are you syncing the files with your iphone?

What concerns (beyond money) regarding evernote?
 
Hi Mathias,

I've just replied to one of the original threads regarding my use of Ready-Set-Do! for files organization (+Dropbox for syncing). I just wanted to add that I agree with your observation re tags: David Allen is in fact quite suspicious of them (there's a good comment about it in one of the recent podcasts), and I've just given up on using them in Evernote as well: cleaned up my tags list, replaced with a long hierarchy of folders (mirroring the OF and files one), and I'm much much happier this way.
 
Hi Mathias,
I think you should give a look at DevonThink.
It is a really powerful personal information database.
You can import file inside it or simply index them (leaving them in their own finder folder structure); you can make links between file and tag them, if you want. It also has an auto classify feature that helps you to categorize or move your documents based on their contents.
It has a lot of features and, even if the UI is not really gorgeous, it definitely worths a try. It is a bit expensive, but It comes in 3 or 4 versions, so maybe your preferred version doesn't cost too much.
I haven't yet started to use it at 100%, basically because I need to study my archive structure very well before start, but in this moment I'm very busy in implementing and studying other aspects of GTD, so for the moment I use it for taking my journal and for saving reference that I may meed in the future ("to be archived", despite of what Allen says...)

Regards,
Francesco
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypotyposis View Post
David Allen is in fact quite suspicious of them (there's a good comment about it in one of the recent podcasts), and I've just given up on using them in Evernote as well: cleaned up my tags list, replaced with a long hierarchy of folders (mirroring the OF and files one), and I'm much much happier this way.
Hi hypotyposis, I'm very interested in this argument. I never really understood how use tag to have benefit. I've always used very robust folder structures for my needs, but sometimes I feel I miss something to get links between data, but tags didn't help me so much.
Can you give me some other informations about the Allen thoughts regarding tags or, even better, tell me your experience?

Thank you,
Francesco
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by magobaol View Post
Hi hypotyposis, I'm very interested in this argument. I never really understood how use tag to have benefit. I've always used very robust folder structures for my needs, but sometimes I feel I miss something to get links between data, but tags didn't help me so much.
Can you give me some other informations about the Allen thoughts regarding tags or, even better, tell me your experience?

Thank you,
Francesco
Hi Francesco,

I think the podcast I was thinking about is the one on "best practices of doing". There's also some relevant stuff in the DA newsletter that just went out today and that emphasises that electronic tools are often too complicated to be useful. I've always heard DA advocate flat lists, and I find a lot of power in this approach.

You might want to head over to the DA Co forums for some more detailed discussion of this kind of stuff. In my personal experience, I've had problems managing tags from Things to Evernote, etc. I understand that they can be made to act "just like" folders/projects, but I tend to always over-tag.

I've mentioned in another thread that I recently returned to a flat list of projects in OF (i.e., 0 folders to discriminate between projects). I'm very happy with this choice: it forces me to make a decision as to which projects should be active and which should be sent to someday/maybe during the weekly review. I can see how tagging would drag me into making more distinctions, which would create much drag on my system.
If you take a look at Todd's Ready-Set-Do! page (fair warning: can get a bit wordy), I think he has a very, very good implementation of strict GTD which includes in my personal experience the best system to organise files on a Mac. I tried tagging folders before that, and I had the same problems I mentioned above.

In my case, and if I have to think about it, I believe the tags were encouraging me to "leave things in their places" without giving an order to them that mirrored the order you get in a physical filing system. Being able to mirror this workflow in my electronic system gives me a great feeling of control and clarity, the kind described in GTD, but maybe it's just me (although I swear I'm not hooked on an IV of Jack Daniel's as discussed regarding certain senior members of the forum in another thread!).

Hope this helps; I probably haven't thought this thing through entirely so I'm interested in your questions as well as in your own experiences.

Cheers,
 
Hi hypotyposis,
thank you very much for sharing informations and experience.
I tried to reduce my folders in my project list to the essential, but I think I will never remove all of them.
For a basic example, I think about the separation of work projects from personal ones: during the weekend, I rarely want to see work projects, I want to have at my hand all the projects in my personal world (friends, family, householding and so on) and exclude work projects. Since not all my personal projects has a "Home" context, or something like that, the only way to accomplish it in OF is by creating folders.

Regarding the tag, I'm not using them in the project list: I never had the need to do that, and very, very rarely I felt the need of multiple contexts.
But I'm interested in tagging since I'm going to create my new personal digital filing system. I have to say "New" because the first one was very inefficient and chaotic: I have made some studies about it during last months, and I hope to structure it during my vacation, in august.

I've always used many folders to archive my stuff, but I understand that, while the folders can achieve the "vertical" categorization, tags can give you an horizontal categorization, giving you the ability to cross-reference material in a very powerful way.

As I said in another post, DevonThink gives you all the possibilities: I didn't study it very well, but since it has also a very powerful fulltext search engine, sometime I ask myself: do I really need to tag contents? In 99% of cases, I will use words that are already inside the article I categorize, so is it necessary?

But, well, I think this is going to be a bit off topic from this forum. Or not?

Regards,
Francesco
 
Hi Francesco–

Thanks for sharing your experiences!

So, for me personally not separating work/home works very well. That was actually one of the first insights I gained from reading David Allen. I get your point about separation of the doing, but contexts work well for me in this respect. I see how it could be different for someone else, though.

I like your notion of tags providing "horizontal categorization". However, what I've been trying to implement in the past few weeks which has been very successful so far has been to think about what title I really wanted to give a note or a file in Evernote or NotationalVelocity/SimpleNote. This works better for me, because I tended to create unnecessarily specific tags, and end up with a plethora of tags that didn't help me organize anything at all. Working with the titles gives me an analog to my physical filing system, where I have an alpha index (folders) and then "tag" or "title" each document in the folder with a typed label. Using search in the electronic format helps bridge any gap, but so far there hasn't really been any (mirroring my system across all software pieces has been very effective in this respect, however much resistance I initially felt about having lots of folders for projects in Evernote).

I'm a gadget freak so I've toyed with DevonThink in the past and your post tempts me to play with it again, but I think I'll refrain from it as I'm finding that the current solutions include perfect portability of all the stuff I need across iPad/iPhone on top of Mac, which is a true requirement for me now (I've essentially decided not to buy any software that doesn't have an iOS counterpart).

I'm always off-topic on forums, so I couldn't answer your last question ;-)

Take care,
 
Are there any script kitties out there who could create something like this for OmniFocus users? This is a current solution for Things users and it recreates a File Hierarchy based on your Projects Hierarchy.

Not sure how well it works, but it is a cool idea:
http://www.jazzaround.net/

Something we could definitely use in OF if it works as well as I hope it does. :)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by policarpo View Post
Are there any script kitties out there who could create something like this for OmniFocus users? This is a current solution for Things users and it recreates a File Hierarchy based on your Projects Hierarchy.

Not sure how well it works, but it is a cool idea:
http://www.jazzaround.net/

Something we could definitely use in OF if it works as well as I hope it does. :)
Wow! This does look VERY good! I second policarpo's request!!!
 
 


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