I need some help with my process for managing actions/tasks, and extra emphasis when emails are involved. I have been trying to implement GTD utilizing my trial version of OF2. I recently was promoted to management and am keenly aware of my lack of time management skills, and followup.
I understand how to collect all of your stuff in the inbox… how to process your items, assign context based on next action, give items with more than one action a project name, do/defer/delegate. However, when other technology is involved my system falls apart. How do I integrate this system with something like MS Office? Do you put every email you need to reply to, or take action on into the system? How do you manage your email folders in relation to your OF? I guess I am looking for best practices, or ideas to make this a success.
I am dedicated to learning the process to improve my efficiency, but need some guidance.
For mail, I apply the two-minute rule. Each mail which takes less then 2 minutes I reply to or archive immediately.
For each mail which will take more time (and maybe several actions) I make an action, inbox-item or a project in Omnifocus. The mail itself is moved to a folder “In progress” in my mail app.
This way, after handling all my e-mail, the mail inbox will be empty.
I process all my meeting minutes more or less the same: actions which take less then two minutes I perform direct, other items go into Omnifocus with a note referencing to the minutes.
After this, I can begin to handle my Next and/or Today list of actions in Omnifocus.
You mention MS Office so I assume you use Outlook for email/calendar. While I use the built in Mail.app and Calendar.app, much could be the same. I use OF2 on my home Mac, my iPad and iPhone. At work, I use the iPad and/or iPhone; out and about it’s the iPhone.
From a GTD perspective, the calendar is sacred. For me, I have all appointments in Calendar.app. I have OF2 place events for due dates and times for tasks as a convenience via the iCal subscription feature. I also have all my calendars but the Omni Reminders one (to prevent duplicates) linked to OF2 for the Forecast perspective. One pain is that I must maintain two calendars since work has an internal Outlook system that cannot be synced to my iDevices. Beginning of day things get a copy in my iCal.
Any home email items that become tasks go into OF2 via Clip-a-tron. I then flag the email in the Mail.app, but could move them to an “Actions” folder if I needed to due to volume. Currently, I do not get a lot of home emails that become tasks. At work, we are Outlook and my iDevices cannot be on the network, so it is all manual task creation and I then move the email into an “Actions” folder until the task is complete.
OF2 is my list manager. It replaces all the GTD lists (next actions, projects, waiting, tickler, someday/maybe, etc.). How you organize them is a personal preference, just like using the paper system. All my OF2 items enter thru the Inbox. I use the Reminders integration on my iPhone with an OmniFocus list to give me Siri support.
Finally, I use Evernote as my digital reference system. Things can and do move from OF2 into Evernote. Again, I don’t have a high volume of this, so I use Evernote’s email support for email items that go to reference and hand enter other items. I also have a paper file cabinet at home for reference material.