Got Version 2 How do you restart your life in OF?

I have no less than 1,500 actions in OF. I havent used the program in one year. But, I painstakingly captured everything I wanted and needed to do. Thusm many of my long term plans still exist behind red letter notifications alongside even more short term to dos for projects and life situations long past. Not all of the old projects are completely trash or I could just delte them. many of the projects contain “modules of activity” I need for current and future projects.

How would you review/update an old,huge,useful database in OF2?

I am blessed with ADHD which means. I can spend hours head down in the software and hae no idea what I accomplished once tomorrow comes. So I plan on doing this in small time blocks. I ppreciate your thoughs in advance.

I did read a couple ADD threads regarding use and believe once I get the database back to integrity and my mind out of overwhelm, I can apply the techniques discussed elswhere in the forums.

I’m sure there are better ways, but I exported all my OF1 items to taskpaper and started clean. I made sure I tagged my highest priority stuff with an easy to find label and added that back first. From there I’ve been slowly adding and purging items.

Like you I had way too much stuff in there. It’s a great forcing function to actually have to manually type those back into OF to see if I still want to do them. My someday maybe list is getting a lot shorter :)

I think one of the hosts from Mike on Mics podcast has ADHD and uses OmniFocus to help deal with his ADHD. It’s Michael Schechter. You can see him here:

There is a link somewhere where he says he uses OmniFocus to help him.

Here is what I would do:

We can capture everything we want - our dreams, crazy ideas, mad scientist schemes (complete with evil doctor sinister laugh), and hopes. Capture all of those things. But do not assign a due date for a project if it doesn’t need it. Sometimes we can mistakenly assign a due date such as (I’d like to finish this by next week Friday). But if next week Friday comes and goes and nothing happened, then it’s not a real due date. A project’s real due date is the date that signals that this project should be finished. If it doesn’t finish by the due date, then bad consequences occur. For example, I try to finish my 1040 Taxes by April 15th every year. If I don’t finish by April 15th, then I can incur financial penalties.

You might have a project that you want to do like “Create a small garden in the backyard for my wife’s flowers.” Don’t set a due date for next Friday. If next Friday passes, nothing happens. There are no severe consequences besides the wife’s glaring stare and rolling her eyes because I let this project slide. But I can live with the death stare for a while.

I would clear the due dates for all of your projects. Then set the project status to “On Hold.”

The first thing to do is declutter your OmniFocus list. Go through the garden and take out all the weeds that make your garden ugly. You need to go through your OmniFocus projects and delete projects that are no longer important to you. Don’t hold on to projects that have become stale or no longer important.

Once a week, go through your projects in the project perspective. Start deleting those projects that are no longer important. Maybe your wife asked you to paint the bedroom in a blue color three months ago. But it is no longer important to her now. Ask her if she still wanted it done. She might just say “no, it was just a thought and I don’t really want to paint it blue anymore.” Then you can just delete projects that you thought were important before. Projects will sometimes have an expiration date and is no longer important after some time has passed.

You also need to look at your projects and determine if the bang-for-the-buck or effort-to-reward ratio is worth it. Sometimes,a project might be a lot of work and you’ll realise that all the work wasn’t worth it after all. The returns that you get for the effort you will be putting into the project must be large enough for you to still keep it in your OmniFocus list.

Now that you have decluttered and deleted projects that are no longer important, you can trust your OmniFocus list because it has been refreshed to reflect your current state of mind, Your OmniFocus projects list will contain projects that still mean something to you. Don’t keep any projects that have lost its appeal.

I make sure every one of these special projects have their project status set to “on hold.” This prevents all of these projects from making your available actions perspectives too long. Any project that is set to “on hold” is a project that I will someday or maybe start. It becomes a Someday/Maybe project. I won’t start on this today. But I’ll put it on the back burner for now. I will start this “on hold” project someday.

I have a single action list that is always active, never on hold. It is a routine maintenance single action list.

I have a Home Single Action List and a Work Single Action List. These are just various one-off tasks that I need to do to maintain my life. Things like:

Single Action List: Personal Maintenance Tasks
Buy toilet paper (we’re almost out)
Pick up the mail at the Post Office
Take daughter to buy a new pet hamster
Bring the car in for an oil change

Single Action List: Work Maintenance Tasks
Create list of contacts for follow-up interview
Audit accounts receivables

But all of my other special projects have been placed on hold. Once a week, usually Friday afternoons for me, I will go through my On Hold projects and determine which project I want to work on in the next 7 days or next week. I will set just one to three projects to “active” status. Setting a project’s status to “active” will let my project tasks become available. When you have a perspective’s view settings with the filter availability set to “Filter by availability: Available”, you get to see the next action for you to work on - one step at a time.

If you have too many projects with their status set to active, you’ll just get overwhelmed and see lists of actions for every project. You only want to work on the active projects. All of your someday/maybe projects (on hold) will be hidden. Why look at a project that is on the back burner? Just leave the project status set to “on hold” and don’t worry about it. Just focus on the one to three projects that you’ve set to active.

When you set just one to three projects to active, you’re gonna be focused on those projects and nothing else. When you finish a project, set the project status to complete. Then you can work on your other active projects. Your “on hold” projects will always stay inside OnniFocus waiting for you.

But don’t forget to always check weekly and delete any projects that may go past their expiration date.

I see that Asian Efficiency has a blog post on rebooting your OmniFocus. Take a look here:



I do exactly the same, just using the “Review” perspective for that purpose.
Great comments @wilsonng.

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thanks @ediventurin. I use the review perspective every morning. I usually set different review intervals for different projects. This helps me to break up the review throughout the week. Some projects don’t need a lot of hand holding. So, I’ll set those projects to review intervals of 2 weeks or more. Other projects that I need to pay attention to more will get shorter review cycles (one week or less).

Bt @osochs needed a reboot. So, he’ll need to go to projects perspective to see everything. Alternatively, he could highlight all of his projects and use the rightside inspector to change the review date to today. That will make everything up for review.

I do a system-wide review using the project perspective about once a month or whenever I feel like I am liking control. I remembered when I had to coordinate a funeral for a family member and I knew that the next few weeks were gonna be turned upside down. So, I had to sit down and a system-wide review just to make sure everything was gonna be taken care - delegating certain things, contacting other people to appraise them of my situation and delaying certain projects, etc. The system-wide review was helpful to make sure that everything else was going to go smoothly without my attention while I took care of the funeral arrangements. It was also therapeutic as well.

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Already considered using Review perspective every morning,but it’s just too much for me.
I have a certain daily review routine with just a few steps, but actual Review perspective is only used for Weekly Review, which for me means Friday afternoons.