OmniFocus Screencast Follow Up

Thanks everyone for the comments and questions about the second OmniFocus Screencast.

There were a few questions in the feedback here and at MPU. I’m responding to them with this post.

What no single action lists?

I didn’t cover it but I do occasionally use single action lists. I generally think in terms of projects.

I wonder how many tasks you manage in OF, and how many NA’s you have on your plate on a regular day?

Currently: 197 Projects, 1470 Actions

A lot of the projects are sequential. It takes me about 20 minutes to clear the inbox in the morning and it ranges between 30 and 80 actions. The actual daily list is usually about 30. These numbers are skewed however. I’m an attorney. I run a nerdy blog and podcast. I write books. I’m a dad. I’ve got tasks telling me to pick expert witnesses in nine months and reviewing corporate strategies with clients in two years.

And do you really abandon the use of contexts (given your Day Start perspective, which is grouped by project? And what makes this in your opinion different from a Project View?)

I don’t abandon context view. That comes in Episode 3 but I use context mode all the time during the day (usually on the iPhone and iPad) to knock tasks down.

How do you manage tasks you keep putting off? (When do you kick them out/alter them/etc.).

It’s all about the review. Be brutally honest. If it is not going to happen, kill it. Stay tuned for episode 3.

Do you create start dates for both projects and action items?

Action items: Usually.

Projects: Not usually but on occasion. When I do set them, they are normally with repeating projects.

Do you use the same methodology for “due dates” [use only if 100% necessary] for your calendar too? Picking tasks every morning seems reactionary and less intentional then scheduling out important projects. How do you schedule a meeting in OF / sync up your calendar?

I don’t schedule a meeting in OF. I set meetings in my calendar. I may have some tasks for an important meeting that requires preparation. Those tasks normally have a due date the day before. I think I talked too much about the peril of due dates. I use them all the time. I just don’t over use them so I don’t ignore them when they show up. Before I figured this out, I’d have 20 due items and OmniFocus felt like the boy who cried wolf.

If there is an item in your inbox that is less than 2 minutes to complete (for example: write quick email to David), do you simply punch it out and check it off as you are processing inbox?

Small items like that don’t even land in OmniFocus. I just do them.

The idea of Someday/Maybe lists is to have a place to park things that are grabbing your attention…but that you don’t have a specific commitment around. It sounds like you’re already doing this in a sense and are creating a reminder for yourself to revisit these items within a finite amount of time (e.g. 3 months). An alternative would be to revisit these items as part of a weekly review…or even once a month in some cases.


Do you use OF to keep lists of books to read, videos to watch or is OF not really ideal (ironically) for lists of potential items?

I don’t use OmniFocus for this. I used to do it in Zenbe Lists. About a year ago I moved the lists to Simplenote.

I am using Projects for my clients and am curious why you use Folders instead. Thanks again.

Often I’ll have multiple projects for a single client. (i.e. Apple Corporate General, Apple v. Samsung, MultiMillion $$ MacSparky Acquisition)

The Next Episode

The next episode should publish on the weekend of May 14. That episode will focus on getting tasks done and review. I’ll also do some follow up if there is time so get your questions in.