Any advice how to organize work in OF?

Hi there, Just started to use OF for more complex tasks then ‘remind me to call…’ ;-)

My job is to manage all kinds of changes which our customers want us to implement.

So I thought of the following:
->Project Folder: Customer Name
–>>Larger projects
–>>single RFC’s

And for education:

Project Folder: Training

Projects: Classes


I’m struggling with the setup. I use OF only in iOS (work environment is MS/Citrix)

I can make folders, I’m able to make projects within those folders, but I don’t know how to set tasks within those projects?

What do you think? Is this the best way to get a grip on my business actions? Can anyone give me some advice how to make it work, or how to do it better?

There is no ‘One size fits all’ here. Your approach is sound and similar to how I group stuff but you will have to experiment to get what works for you.

It can take a year or so of ‘tweaking’ to get a workflow that is optimised for the way tasks hit you and the way your brain works. The weekly review is critical (alternatively randomise the review dates of projects and do a couple of reviews every day)

Until omnigroup get round to fixing the search (which isn’t a search, but a filter) you have to set up the project view so that it is easy to navigate. The projects view is really for planning what has to be done. With contexts and perspectives for doing - the ‘what can I do now’.

I use folders to help me organise projects. For me the folders are areas of focus (my various businesses, plus house, and self) There are some projects that don’t sit in folders but are ‘loose’ in the list - that works for me. I know there are people who have a folder for all the ‘loose’ stuff. There is a businesses that has two folders (I have two ‘hats’ in that business.)

I only have single level folders (I don’t nest them, though this is possible)

Within the folders I have my projects. There is frequently a single action list for an area of focus (which contains the Just do it actions). Everything else is a parallel or sequential project.

All too frequently within parallel or sequential projects there are blocks of tasks that should be grouped. Pressing cmd-] will indent an action and create a group. These groups can be set to parallel or sequential themselves (independent of their containing project or action group) and can be nested to give as much granularity as you need. I try to keep mine as small as possible. BTW cmd-[ moves actions to the left (out-denting). Groups can be expanded/contracted as needed.

It sounds like there may be routine 'steps in your work. There are some scripts (search the old forums and these ones for template script) that enable you to use Templates. I don’t have many duplicating projects any more, but when I did the template scripts held the answer. A full project outline was kept in a template folder and set to on-hold. When I needed to run the project again, I ran the script that prompted for all the appropriate info and made a new copy. All I then had to do was drag it into the right location in my structure.

As I had a ‘learning opportunity’ in a project I would update the template so that the task appeared automatically the next time that I ran a similar project.

As a final couple of bits of advice:

  1. Have as few steps/actions as you can get away with as this eases planning and completion of actions. For example ‘Get dressed’ is probably more efficient than ‘put on underpants’, ‘put on left sock’, ‘put on right sock’…
  2. If you can stretch to the expense, get and follow Kourosh Dinis’ book and purchase/watch the Macsparky field guide on omnifocus.

Hope this helps

1 Like

I also agree with the single level folders approach. Keep it as flat as possible. I always hate drilling deeper into subfolders.

As answered above, create a folder for the different Areas of Responsibilities/Focus in your life. In my life, I have:

Personal Development

You can add others such as:

Big Brothers, Big Sisters (or whatever volunteer organization you are part of)
Homeowner’s Association

Create your projects in each one of these folders (Areas of Responsibilities/Focus).

Single Action Lists can be created to hold all of those one-off actions. As an example, I have Single Actions Lists for:


If your life isn’t terribly complicated, you can have just one Single Action List and label it something like Miscellaneous. My life is complicated enough. So I usually break my single actions into different Single Actions Lists… This helps me differentiate between Family single actions, House single actions, Office single actions, and Personal single actions.

I agree overall with the suggestions given so far.

Personally, I am less hesitant to create nested Folders. Sometimes, the need to organize stuff just demands it. For example, here is a path to a one of my Projects in a sub-Folder …

  • Teach : Fall 2015 : MTS 601 : exams : MTS 601 F15 Exam 1

I also have a host of single action Projects to deal with the administrative aspects of my different Areas of Responsibility (AoRs) or primary Levels of Action (LoAs). For example …

  • Teach : @Admin > Teach
  • Surroundings : Farm House : @Admin > Farm House
  • Well-Being : Finances : @Admin > Finances

When you are working with OF just for the work side of your AoRs, and when your customers are your LoAs, you might be comfortable to put another folder layer …

Customer J Smith (Folder)

  • Unit Rescale (Folder)
    – Rescale Proposal (Project)
    – Rescale Budget (Project)
    – Rescale Projections (Project)
    Customer S Sue (Folder)
  • Market Analysis (Folder)
    – …
  • Project Rescale (Folder)
    – …

Hope this helps.


Action groups are fine for planning as you mention, but sadly, for execution are a mess due to the way perspectives treat them. Is it not so for you?