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Hi
The following might be a little bit confusing.
I'm (relatively) new to OF and I made a couple of mistakes in the beginning. I used OF for collecting thoughts, notes and ideas primarily. So I decided to just start projects that I put into several folders with headlines like ToDo, Ideas, Notes, Info, Private, Business, Books,... Sometimes I created projects and added actions fitting the title of the project or the parenting folder sometimes the action was the project. I added a context of the same title to every project and/or action. Now I have tons of projects and actions and I am lost. So when I want to use OF now as what it is meant for - GTD - I am drowned in so many folders projects and actions that I cannot really use it. Instead of using OF I have to use Things from Cultured Code.

But because of I have marked every action with the same context like the parenting folders and projects before (ToDo, Ideas, Notes, Info, Private, Business, Books,...) every entry shows up in my context area.

I want to do the following: My plan is to keep of course all the actions I've got and convert projects to actions so that everything I ever put into OF only shows up in the in the context area. In my opinion I then would have an empty project area where I can then add only projects I really need to do. I could take actions from the context area and assign them to new projects I want to get done.

So the questions are:

1) How can I convert projects into actions to minimize the mass in my project area?
2) Can I convert folders or their content into actions?
3) How can I empty my projects area without loosing anything and keep everything in the context area?

Right now I make use of OF only as a kind of thought collection and when I want to get things done I use Things from Cultured Code as mentioned above. But I don't want to use 2 apps - I want to stick to OF as my only GTD software.

Please help ;-)

Vulgo
 
The way OmniFocus is built, every action must either be in the Inbox or in a project.

So, you could put everything into a single project ("Miscellaneous" or "All the things" or whatever name suits you). Any action or project that you drag into that single project will become an action inside that project.
 
another way of doing it .. I have projects [actually single action lists ] for each of my contexts so the "misc " list doesn't get too huge : )

OR create single action lists to match your life areas and put the corresponding actions into each .. " family actions " " home repair " etc .
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizard View Post
The way OmniFocus is built, every action must either be in the Inbox or in a project.

So, you could put everything into a single project ("Miscellaneous" or "All the things" or whatever name suits you). Any action or project that you drag into that single project will become an action inside that project.
Thank you - so does that mean that I can drag an action from a project to the inbox and make it this way a kind of standalone action?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ext555 View Post
another way of doing it .. I have projects [actually single action lists ] for each of my contexts so the "misc " list doesn't get too huge : )

OR create single action lists to match your life areas and put the corresponding actions into each .. " family actions " " home repair " etc .
Thank you for your quick answer. This is more or the less what I've accidentally been doing in the past but my OF is rather confusing ... I just would like to have the possibility to un-assign actions from projects without loosing them, So it seems to be the best way for me to let them live in OF just as actions with a context to pick them up anytime later and reassign them to whatever project - but that is obviously not intended to be so ...
 
I am going to address two additional points from you comment, but first lets address your questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vulgo View Post
1) How can I convert projects into actions to minimize the mass in my project area?
2) Can I convert folders or their content into actions?
3) How can I empty my projects area without loosing anything and keep everything in the context area?
Lizard and ext555 are correct in expressing the necessity of actions to be within a project (sequential, parallel, or single actions). This translates as follows.

Inbox: this functions like a project and any action or project placed in the inbox will remain, or in the case of a project become, an action.

Library: this functions like a folder and any action or project placed in the library will become, or in the case of a project remain, a project.

Folder: these are used to group similar projects together and any action or project placed in the library will become, or in the case of a project remain, a project.

So, to answer question (1), move any projects you wish to become actions into the Inbox or create a project in the Library to move these project into.

To answer question (2), folders cannot be converted to projects or actions. If you wish to convert the contents of a folder to actions, I suggest creating a project with the same name and moving the contents of the folder to this newly created project.

To answer question (3), there are distinct views within OmniFocus; project view and context view. The structure of projects and actions does not change their context. For instance, an action in the Inbox with a context of "Phone" would keep its context if moved into a project in the Library. The point of these two views is to have one to manage and plan your projects and the other to view tasks which need to be completed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vulgo View Post
I want to do the following: My plan is to keep of course all the actions I've got and convert projects to actions so that everything I ever put into OF only shows up in the in the context area. In my opinion I then would have an empty project area where I can then add only projects I really need to do. I could take actions from the context area and assign them to new projects I want to get done.
All items in OmniFocus are a project, a task, or a task group. Essentially any tasks added to the library area become projects unless they are moved into a project. The tasks you see in the context view are all of the tasks in the project view. If I am understanding correctly you want a list of tasks without a context assigned to them and from this list you will drag the ones you want to complete to an appropriate context. This can work, but I would suggest you to consider reading more one the features of OmniFocus and the book by David Allen to help in working with the software and understanding how contexts are traditionally used within the GTD methodology.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vulgo View Post
...Now I have tons of projects and actions and I am lost. So when I want to use OF now as what it is meant for - GTD - I am drowned in so many folders projects and actions that I cannot really use it. Instead of using OF I have to use Things from Cultured Code.

But because of I have marked every action with the same context like the parenting folders and projects before (ToDo, Ideas, Notes, Info, Private, Business, Books,...) every entry shows up in my context area.
This relates to your use of contexts. I suggest two points for you to consider; 1) read the book "Getting Things Done" by David Allen to better understand the principles of GTD, and 2) determine the structure you would like to implement.

Here is an example from what I can glen out of your posts as a possible structure. I am assuming many of your actions are a collection of thoughts and not necessary actions you are wanting to address currently, but still hold to be important.

Inbox
↳Initial place for capturing individual thoughts/actions
Library
↳Work [Folder to group work related projects]
| ↳Project 1 (Containing tasks to acted on)
| | ↳Single action
| | ↳Single action
| ↳Project 2 (Containing tasks to acted on)
| | ↳Single action
| | ↳Single action
| ↳Project 3 (Containing tasks to acted on)
| | ↳Single action
| | ↳Single action
↳Home [Folder to group personal related projects]
| ↳Project 1 (Containing tasks to acted on)
| | ↳Single action
| | ↳Single action
| ↳Project 2 (Containing tasks to acted on)
| | ↳Single action
| | ↳Single action
| ↳Project 3 (Containing tasks to acted on)
| | ↳Single action
| | ↳Single action
↳Someday/Maybe [Folder to group work related projects]
| ↳Ideas (Project of type single actions marked as on hold to prevent it from showing up in context view)
| | ↳Single idea action
| | ↳Single idea action
| | ↳Single idea action
| ↳Books (Project of type single actions marked as on hold to prevent it from showing up in context view)
| | ↳Single book action
| | ↳Single book action

Now, this is just a quick sketch up of a possible structure. Using the different project types and placing projects on hold will hide tasks depending on how your view settings are setup. I am sure if you consider what type context you wish to assign to each task you then can see all related tasks within context view for any specific context.

I know this was a long post. OmniFocus is a fantastic tool for showing a portion of tasks at a time; reducing a long list to a smaller and more manageable one.
 
Hi Dale, wow - that is really an impressive answer. Thank you for your thoughts and sharing your knowledge. I think I will really follow your advice and check out that book by David allen. Regards, V.
 
If you are interested a good resource for OF1 is the book "Creating Flow with OmniFocus" by Kourosh Dini.

http://www.usingomnifocus.com
 
Good post! Same problem for me
 
Hi there,

Don't know if this helps, but the way we typically suggest people configure OmniFocus is to only assign a context for current Next Actions. Any "future" Next Actions should still be assigned to the project, but with no context assigned. That assumes a few key settings/views:
-Parallel type for all projects
-Remaining view for all contexts

That sets up an easy way to create a Project, and capture relevant Next Actions, but only the ones you can do now are assigned a context to choose from. So in the example attached, only current next actions have a context. As soon as "Book housesitter can be done" it will get assigned a context. I can't do that yet, because I don't even know the dates we're going.

This also gives a quick way to see which projects don't have a current Next Action, which would be something you'd be looking for in your GTD Weekly Reviews.


____________________
Kelly Forrister
David Allen Company
Senior Coach & Presenter
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