When I organise tasks and projects in OmniFocus, I often have a problem with the limiting hierarchical organisation into folders and projects. The reason: Projects can be relevant to different areas of focus and tasks can be relevant to different projects – in both cases I don’t know where to put things. The “artificial” and unsatisfying decision I have to make here has a major negative impact on my workflow and often causes tasks that are difficult to categorise to clog up my inbox for a long time.
A recent example of a task belonging to different projects in my area of focus “Farming”:
I have the task “Learn how to interplant several crops in one bed” (not just using one bed in the garden for one crop, but putting another crop or several crops into the gaps between the plants of the first crop). This is relevant for the project “Learn how to grow vegetables profitably” (space is used more efficiently, plant health and yields have the potential to increase), but also for the project “Learn how to improve soil health” (according to the principles of soil health, it is better to have a diversity of plants in one bed than just one kind, to have more living plants/root mass in a given area and to cover more soil).
This is just one example, I often have similar problems. In general I’m moving more and more away from organising digital content into categories/folders and instead use tags and/or full-text-searches that allow much more flexibility. I can see that projects/tasks have a “natural” hierarchical structure which makes them a bit special, but the software should still allow overlaps (tasks belonging to different projects or projects to different areas of focus) – just because I think these actually exist in life. Forcing users to keep projects entirely separate and non-overlapping just creates unnecessary work/friction that from my perspective doesn’t have any benefits (except from possibly being easier to implement)…
Allowing tasks to be part of different projects would of course require some thoughts (e.g. about where tasks inherit defer and due dates from if there are several options), but I think that would be worth it.
What do you think about this? Have you had similar problems?