Can I implement the GTD practice of having an action item on 2 lists

I’ve created a number of projects with detailed to-dos and am wondering if/how I can implement the GTD practice of adding one of those to-dos to another list when its time to act on them.

If, for example if I have project for building a bedroom I might during a review choose to act on two items: pick up nails at the hardware store and measure the floor in preperation for buying flooring. The first item I would like to duplicate on my Errands list and the second I would like to put on the Timely Actions list so that they pop up for action. As is, it seems I need to move them out of the project that they belong to, act on them, and then move them back when they are done feels awkward. I realize that context is part of the answer but in pure GTD context is just a modifier to use with the main action lists. Am I looking at this wrong?

Not a GTD purist here but I think Contexts are your answer. By giving a context of “Errands” to a task like “pick up nails from hardware store” from the “Building a Bedroom” project list, OmniFocus takes the work out of duplicating that task to an Errands list—the Errands list is now simply the “Errands” context.

Your task “measure the floor” could be given a “House” context because you have to be in the house to complete it. Therefore you can see that task in the “Building a Bedroom” project as well as the “House” context.

I do not use a “Timely Actions” list because I flag tasks that I want to complete soon. That would make the “measure the floor” task show up in a third list (Flagged perspective). If you had to complete it by a certain time and added a due date, the task would also appear in the Forecast perspective, a fourth list.

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With some experimentation, you might be able to mix parallel action groups (sub projects) and sequential action groups.

By doing this, you might have available the House context of “measuring the floor” and the Errand context of "
pick up nails" available at the same time.

It will take some time to figure out. Ou’ll have a “Building a bedroom” project and maybe have a parallel action group called “prepare for building bedroom project” which represents the first phase of the project. These are items that can all be done regardless of order. After the “prepare for building bedroom project” action group, you can have another action group called “Tear down and rebuild bedroom”. This will contain the next phase or list of actions that can be done. It can be either sequential or parallel depending on your needs.

If the project is huge, I might just create a folder called “Building a bedroom”. Then I’ll create projects representing each phase.

  1. Prepare for bedroom renovation phase
  2. Renovate bedroom phase
  3. Cleanup bedroom phase

Then I can set the status of Project #2 and Project #3 to on hold. I’ll leave Phase 1 to active status and work on that. When I’m done with project #1, I’ll set that project’s status to complete and set phase #2 to active. It helps me to break down the entire project either into action groups inside one big project or break the project down into phases to put inside a folder.

I wouldn’t worry about following GTD by the book. Use GTD as your foundation and guidelines. As you become more comfortable, you’ll be able to adapt it to your needs as your find tweaks and workflows that might suit your situation more easily.

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