~10 years with GTD and OF - my experience distilled into a single post


Thanks for your response. I’m going to give this some thought. My OF system is in some ways the opposite of yours – I use a lot of single action lists. Many of my projects involve the same steps, over and over, and I know them by muscle memory by now. To write an article, I open my notes and supporting documents, open a blank markdown document, and get to work. When I am done writing, I uploaded to our content management system. Then I start the next article.

I have a single action list called “writing,” with individual items that are the names of articles that are researched and need to be written.


@colicoid, I tried to condense my questions:

  1. Normally things like “buy eggs” or “pick up laundry” would be single-action list items for me. Would you create a separate project for each of those things, or do you create projects like “Buy groceries” and “Run errands?” Or, do you avoid putting that level of action in OF altogether?

  2. What standard folders did you create?

  3. What were your standard contexts?

  4. What custom perspectives did you use?

  5. How did you organize items into a “weekly” list? Did you have a folder called “weekly” and just drop what you wanted to complete that week into the weekly folder?

  6. What was your daily review and flagging process like? Did you just read through everything in your weekly bucket and flag what you wanted to achieve that day?

  7. Did you complete weekly reviews? If so, did you spend the recommended 60-90 minutes on them, or did you do a more abbreviated version?

  8. I’m struggling with how to create and manage a “tickler” file. One way is to defer items in your inbox and leave them in your inbox, but then you run the risk of actually missing reviewing them on the day you’re supposed to review them. Or, did you ignore the defer date setting and rely solely on the “next review” date? If so, did you end up with a review list that listed tasks from a variety of areas, including inbox, projects, someday/maybe?

  9. There are a few ways of managing someday/maybe items: 1) Creating a folder called “Someday/Maybe,” pausing every on hold project and dropping it into that folder. 2) Creating a SAL, pausing it and dropping every project and task into that list. 3) Creating a paused Someday/Maybe context and adding tasks to that context. How did you manage your Someday/Maybe items?

  10. Did you use shorthand for your project titles or write them out as complete-able items. In other words, “Sign up for new health insurance plan” or “New health insurance?” It’s a nit-picky point, but I’m curious. I believe the purist GTD approach is to write out the full project title, but sometimes the project title gets so long that it is cut off and hard to read in the standard OF view.

  11. Based on your weekly list and use of flags, it sounds like you didn’t buy into the GTD principle that work should be context-driven rather than priority-driven, because the real world interrupts pre-defined priorities too frequently. Am I reading that right?

  12. What did you do about “waiting for” items? If you were waiting for someone else to act before taking a next step on your project, would you make a note of it in Omnifocus, or did you just leave a project without a next action listed, knowing that the ball was in someone else’s court?

Thanks so much for your help!