Describe Your Workflow: Perspectives, Contexts, No Slipping of Tasks through the Cracks

I have been using OF for some time, but I am still relying on my brain to figure out (subconsciously) what I need to be doing right now.

After experimenting with a number of different perspectives, I have narrowed it down to two which seem to work best for me so far:

Perspective 1 (“Important”) allows me to see the tasks according to due dates of projects and their tasks; I do not assign due dates to the tasks (only occasionally). If the project has a deadline, I assign one. I also have some projects (like learning to play the piano) without a deadline since it’s an evolving skill. This perspective is helpful to let me know about projects and tasks due soon, but when I look at the list 'Due within the next month", I feel like things will slip through the cracks because i have not plan of attacking that list.
Context Filter: Remaining
Grouping: Due
Sorting: Due
Availability: Remaining
Status: Any Status

Perspective 2 (“Today/Tomorrow”) helps me see what I have to do today since it’s organized by start date. I wish that I had the option to exclude all non-work related items, but I have not been able to figure it out. I like the perspective on days when I am on a roll, and I work through the to do list. However, if I do not follow through with what I need to finish each day, I end up with a long list of items whose start date I need to change. That’s not very productive. In addition, this perspective lets me see projects I have started a month ago and a long lists of tasks from various projects with various priorities yet to be completed. How do I tackle that? The list is too long and the decisions too many for this to take only 5-10 mins of the day so I can decide on which task to focus.
Grouping: Start
Sorting: Project
Availability: Remaining
Status: Any

When I use these perspectives, I am not quite sure why/when to fit in the contexts. I understand their usefulness in theory, but not within the workflow I have. I have a number of contexts which make sense to me: full focus, writing, phone, hanging around, brain dead, etc. However, I do not actually use them in a productive way. How can I do this? After I complete my to do list for the day?

A typical confusing and unproductive scenario for me is to do this: I work in my 'today/tomorrow" perspective and check off a few items. Then I decide to click on a context (full focus) because I feel particularly in the zone, and when I see the long list of tasks and projects, I no longer feel in the zone.

Long lists confront me in my “Today/Tomorrow” perspective also if I dare to scroll up or down: scrolling up, I see long lists of tasks from projects I started three months ago or a year ago. The projects that do not have an assigned due date or start date, stare at me all the time too.

Please give me feedback and tips on how I can make the workflow smoother. Or perhaps you can share your experience with how your workflow with contexts, perspectives, and a good way to not let any task slip through the cracks.

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Re: long list in today/tomorrow

Maybe you can try to shorten the perspectives above by changing availability to “Remaining.”

There is really no need to look at the next five steps when you have to focus on the next available action. When you finish the first available action in the project, the next should pop up in today/tomorrow.

I also have a perspective that focuses on one context only. An example is my @House context perspective.

Group actions by: ungrouped
Sort actions by: due
Filter by: any status
Filter by availability: Available
Filter by duration: any duration
Filter contexts: Active

Sidebar selection: @House (context)

When I am at home, i will see just the things I can do that are available. I won’t see anything that is remaining. This shortens my list.

My @Office perspective has the same settings but the sidebar selection is set to @Office. I only see available actions that I can do when I am at the office.

My @ Mac perspective is focused on the @ Mac perspective. Whenever I feel like grinding out some work on the computer, I will visit this context perspective and look at all the available actions for @ Mac.

Thanks, wilsonng. I use OF 1 on my computer. I cannot find the Sidebar Selection, though I think I saw it last night.

I will experiment with perspectives showing the next available action. For now, after toying for about 15 mins, I see the following problem: tasks in projects with deadlines appear in sequence; however, tasks (pay bills) in a project ‘Money’ which has no deadline do not appear, so it will slip through the cracks if it’s not first in the list of items in that project folder.

For your Money project, you might want to change the project to Single Action List That will make all the tasks in the Money project available regardless of order.

Another way is to also change the Money project to a parallel project. That should make all project actions
available as well.

Oh gosh, it’s been a long time since I touched OmniFocus 1. I grabbed an old MacBook just to look at OmniFocus 1. You can create a perspective with all the settings. Then click on a context to show that context only. You can use command-click to select a group of contexts. Then go to perspectives menu and select “Take snapshot” to save the current window settings into an existing perspective or use the command "Save this “Save window as > new perspective”.

This should save the contexts that you selected in OmniFocus 1. I guess OmniFocus 2 does it differently now.

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@Anna_123 I personally can’t stress enough the value I have found in reviewing. I also made sure to set review intervals if I ended up doing a big brain dump and created several projects at once, that way I avoid having to review 90 projects on the same day.

Reviews are a really important part of my personal workflow because I use due dates very sparingly. I think Reviewing would help keep things from slipping through the cracks, so long as the review interval isn’t too large - i.e.: pay bills shouldn’t be reviewed every three months, since most bills are due monthly.

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