My usage is wholly different than before, so let’s take a dive into my OmniFocus workflow for 2020!
One of my major issues with any task management software has been putting too much into it. To combat that, I’ve created a Notion page called
Productivity Rules of Engagement to outline what the acceptable use of my system should be – for me.
Some of those aims include:
- Nothing goes into OF unless I’m fully committed to doing it.
- If I’m not working on it in the next 3-6 months, it’s not in OmniFocus; instead, it lands in my project incubation database in Notion.
- Use other tools for capture (Drafts, Bullet Journal, MindNode); put only processed stuff in OmniFocus unless I absolutely need to capture it there.
- Deferring tasks I’m not doing right now will only be deferred by 1 day, 1 week (to Sun), or 1 month (first of month).
- Flags are not used for priority, but to signify work I’m intending to do this week.
- Priority tasks are tagged with the
- Review projects are named with a emoji
- Single action lists are surrounded in
I used to have a lot of folders in my setup, but this time around, I’m aiming to keep it super simple.
- Projects - All projects I’m committed to working on. They are not divided by area of responsibility, but they are ordered by priority from top (highest) to bottom (lowest).
- Actions - These are single action lists for areas and recurring system management projects.
- Triage - I place projects that need some massaging or completion here prior to integrating into one of the other folders. Right now my monthly, seasonal, and annual review projects are in this folder until I can build the checklist out further.
I went hog wild with tags in my last go-around with OmniFocus. Definitely not doing that this time.
My philosophy with tags isn’t to denote context, but to call out special cases.
- Priority - Tasks that should take higher priority over others in the system.
- Agenda - Items I need to bring up with people in the next month.
- Routine - Routine tasks to help the “world keep turning”.
- Review - Tasks related to my review process.
- Waiting - Pretty self explanatory.
As with tags, I went crazy with perspectives last time. This is the part that still needs some refining, but these are mostly what I’ll stick with.
- Fire - My overdue, due, and flagged tasks. The way I think about this is these are the tasks to move the needle or keep the fire burning, hence the name.
- Available Work - Once I’m through my ‘Fire’ tasks for the week, I move on to available work. This perspective shows all active projects with available tasks (no empty projects here). Since my list is ordered by priority, I work from top to bottom.
- Active Reviews - Reviews are what keep the ship in order, so I’m doing daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, and annual reviews. This perspective shows any that are active and in need of completion.
- Inactive Projects - Simply a quick way to view any projects that are deferred, on hold, or have no remaining actions.
- Tasks Deferred Now Available - Sometimes I defer tasks to a day if I absolutely have to do it then. This perspective shows any task that is available and has a defer date set, effectively showing any tasks that may need addressing.
As with every productivity system, refinement and iteration is in order. However, after realizing that you don’t need to put everything in a tool like OmniFocus, but instead bring it all into a bigger system of tools and processes, things get much easier to manage.