How many projects, task lists, someday projects you got?

in total, across the board of personal and business life, including someday lists, on going never ending ‘single action lists’ I have a total of 114!

considering a move to Trello for a stronger focus on the most important things, finding I put absolutely everything into OF using the gTD method but in reality my time is limited and probably will never be able to do everything, hence need to prioritise more.

how’s it going with you guys here? how many OF projects you got going on?

Why not prioritize in OF? It’s built for doing such things.

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By the way, I have tried Trello as a complement to Omnifocus. I liked it, but I found that I handled tasks much faster in a conventional task manager and chose Ticktick for some special tasks that I prefer to keep separate.

My recommendation for you, though, is to make more use of the features in Omnifocus. You could for example set projects on hold. You could also use folders to categorize your projects. To me, it is much easier to prioritize among tasks and projects that are of the same kind. You could also make frequent use of the excellent review feature in Omnifocus. Then you could put projects away without worrying about forgetting them.

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Current Stats in my OF system. Someday/Maybe lives elsewhere
Active projects: 209
Current projects: 109
Pending projects: 100
On-hold projects: 42
Completed projects: 59

All the on-hold projects will get moved out of OF into DEVONThink when I do my weekly review as that is where I store someday/maybe projects which includes the not now but soon projects.



Completed actions: 524
Remaining actions: 1473
Actions in Projects on hold: 303
Actions in Contexts on hold: 0
Blocked actions: 893
Sequentially blocked: 283
Awaiting start date: 610
Available actions: 277

Someday/Maybe and any project I can’t work on during this 3 month period lives in DEVONThink. Right now I have 52 lists and each one has somewhere around 100 projects on it. I also have a further 210 projects in Someday/Maybe that have significant project support materials already gathered and in many cases some actions already taken on them. For whatever reason I can’t work on them right now so they are on hold.

I used to keep everything in Omnifocus but with thousands of projects review using OF tools took too long. I can review my DEVONThink notes very quickly because they are basically text files so very quick to read down and say nope, nope, nope, nope and if I find one that yep, time to do this now I can quickly pull it into OF and start it up.

Moving projects out of OF into DT does take a bit longer to do but I’m faster at it now. I expect the moving of the on-hold projects that are listed above into DT to take about 15 seconds per project or less. Most are simply select, copy, paste and move on.


nice. I have been using OF now for about 8 years. I am a landlord fo 2 properties, currently in a long distance relationship and building a second business, where the team (of 2) are not located in the same country either.

So have just moved out of OF and will stop using it now for a more collaborative friendly task manager, was between Asana & Trello, I chose Trello.

If Omnifocus entered the domain of team collaboration, they would kick the ass of many of the big players both in terms of functions and price

I have been using David Allen’s GTD for maybe too many years now, so will give the whole thing a shift around, the whole inbox capture thing I think was encouraging me to put EVERYTHING down, my tasks and projects grew so large.

Something needs to change anyway I used to be more productive when my ‘system’ was less organised, just a calendar, and some paper and pen or text notes on my computer.

need a break from all the reviews seemed like I was ticking off ‘mark reviewed’ for too long each week even with many on a 2 month review cycle etc.

not criticising OF here there is no app more powerful than these guys, their customer service is awesome also. just need a change.

I am enjoying the visual aspect of Trello and I think I can get a little OCD about task lists so it’s doing me good now to have a more ‘messy’ approach.

With the philosophy, if it’s important enough, I will remember, and if I forget, then let’s take it from there, that’s probably 10 years of Buddhist philosophy talking though as in the end we cannot control everything in our life and often life is more enjoyable just letting go and letting things be as they are apart from the abolsute most important things in our life.

anyway going on a bit there, peace out thanks for the comment


I have many projects and single action lists in my setup. But most of my projects have their project status set to On Hold (in the someday/maybe zone). I’m not going to work on these in the next 7 days.

I have a small handful of projects that have an Active project status. These become my current Big Rocks and what I am working on within the next 7 days.

When I finish one project, I can go look at my On Hold projects and choose which ones to start up next. Of course, there are projects that fall into my lap that I have no control over (customer request or new project). So I work on those and maybe squeeze in some of my own someday/maybe projects.

It sounds like you have too many active projects and can’t gain traction on any one of them. I’d rather focus on a small handful of projects and work on those.

The app (OmniFocus, Todoist, 2Do, Things, etc.) is just a tool. It is more important to have the system or series of workflows that can help you. Create the foundation and the building blocks that you can carry to any system. I experimented a lot and did a reboot. I restarted with a pen and paper system and then built up my different workflows (capture, organize, do, review). After I got the foundation built, I started to fish around for an app that could do it. The biggest thing that have kept me with OmniFocus was the review workflow. I couldn’t find a review system that I felt comfortable until I got into OmniFocus. I know I can do the review in other apps and am willing to adapt my review workflow to them but I’ve liked OmniFocus’ review perspective the most.

Have you tried Googling for “Omnifocus Workflow” and see what results come up? You might find some workflows that fit you. Or you can take parts of what you liked from others and create your own.

Google is a free way to look for workflows. You will find great value in some of the commercial offerings from respected authors such as MacSparky’s OmniFocus Video Field Guide, Kourosh Dini’s Creating Flow with OmniFocus, Tim Stringer’s Learn OmniFocus, Joe Buhlig’s Working with OmniFocus among other offerings. You’ll most likely get your money’s worth by studying what others are doing and fitting some of their workflows into your own system.

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What does your DEVONThink structure look like? How do you organize your text lists? Is a project a line of text, or a text file for each project within a folder?

It varies depending on the nature of the material.

My DT Structure is as follows:

Top folder Active_Projects
Subfolders under that for project support material for current active projects that are in my OF system. Within those folders are the notes, emails and other materials for that project.
examples: Bowie Schoolhouse Grant, 2019 Art and Ag Tour, Lightroom Cataloging, Glass Plate Negative Scanning etc.
Top folder Equipment and Software
Subfolders for some of my hardware and software for things I need as reference, tip sheets, other misc notes, sometimes manuals etc.
examples: Equip. - Kindle, Equip. - Macintosh, Software - DEVONThink, Software - Lightroom etc.
Top Folder GTD Info

  1. GTD Someday/maybe Misc - contains individual notes where each note is a separate S/M project these are usually things that have been worked on a bit so take more than a line or 2 to place mark where I am but do not have any additional project support material.
  2. GTD Someday/Maybe Lists - individual notes for each S/M list that contain 1-2 line descriptions on possible S/M projects. The notes in this folder have titles like ABWMSA Projects to Do, Farm Projects to Do, Books to Read-Mystery, Books to Read-Thriller, Books to Read-Misc, Books to Read-SciFi, LambTracker Projects to Do and so on. There are 60 of these lists right now.
  3. GTD Someday/Maybe Projects - Within this are the folders for things that probably were in Active_Projects at one time but have been moved off my lists either due to the season changing or some other reason. They are typically full of lots of project support materials from emails, to notes to documents drawings pictures etc.
    Top Folder Reference My short form electronic reference filing cabinet. Contains folders filled with notes but typically not documents.
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Thats super helpful! Thank you.

I’m at the point where I, too, have too many “ON HOLD” projects in OmniFocus and am looking for an alternative to simplify my OF experience.

I current dabble in both OmniOutliner and DEVONthink. Both seem like reasonable places to put someday/maybe material.

Currently doing some learning on both softwares to decide on the best solution.


I used OF for a long time but am MUCH happier with S/M material in DT instead. So much easier to handle IMO.

Blockquote Current Stats in my OF system. Someday/Maybe lives elsewhere
Active projects: 209
Current projects: 109
Pending projects: 100
On-hold projects: 42
Completed projects: 59

@OogieM that still seems like a ton of active projects. Respectfully how can one be working on so many projects at one time?

EVERYTHING that takes more than 1 action is a project. I keep everything active that can be worked on in this current 3 month period.

If you look at that there are currently 109 active projects. 100 are pending a start date sometime later. That start date could be later in that season or in some later season. In any case I’m not actively working on them.

As for the 109 that were at that time current and active. That was in April of 2018. That is right before lambing and is our busiest season. I can’t roll back to see what they were now but they would have included things like shear, vaccinate, blood draw and testing, hoof trims, dewormer, get irrigation set up, get pasture fences repaired, get sheep water lines set up, prepare the lambing pasture, check and update all sheep records (that alone is several projects) and also things like what knitting, weaving, scrapbook, photography, drawing and spinning project I was working on plus all the ongoing household stuff like how to handle the bills. That was also right when I was doing some major work on LambTracker, is when we were fighting a fracking threat to our valley. So a number of projects in those areas of focus were active, things like writing letters to the various government officials and organizations, filing formal protests, tracking legal fights and so on.

Right now I have
Active projects: 193
Current (available) projects: 108
Pending (deferred) projects: 85
On Hold projects: 25
Completed projects: 63
Dropped projects: 12
I usually archive out my completed and dropped projects at my weekly review. For various reasons due to some computer issues I missed doing the clean-up all of January and this is my first weekly review in February. The dropped projects listed above represent ones that could only be worked on during the October-December season and so they got dropped out of OF as they are back in DEVONThink. The Completed project represent all those finished since the end of December. As I do my review this week I know Iv’e finished another 8-10 projects since last week and have probably added back in some more.

I have about the same number of active projects now. Focus areas this time around include some major house decluttering, major changes to LambTracker, learning a new programming language and more.

I use GTD to manage my entire life, not just work so that is also a reason for a long list of projects.

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awesome explanation thanks so much! When you move projects from Omnifocus to DevonThink, how do you do it? Just copy the tasks and create a text note?

312 projects, 2615 actions at the moment.

It’s easy over time for your number of projects to increase quickly, especially if you treat them in true GTD fashion as anything with more than 1 action. And using templates to create projects means that your Actions number can grow massively too.

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I have text notes for major someday/maybe lists. The number of separate lists grew organically as I decided one was too long and found a way to split it off . So say it’s a farm project, the project title would get copied into the farm projects lists, the actions I had already identified would get copied under that indented 1 tab space and any notes in are indented under the item where they are.

I tried using DevonThink for planning projects, then I moved to an outliner called Dynalist it’s an outliner like OmniOutliner, but much slicker and more intuitive. It’s even got an Inbox shortcut, so if I think of something that I’m not committed to acting on immediately, I can capture it to Dynalist – it’s kind of a GTD for not-now/someday/maybe.

I must be in the minority here, I never really understood the desire to break everything down so reasonably simple tasks become “projects” no matter what “GTD” tells you.

From my perspective nearly every task has more than one degree to it, for me it’s simpler to just write “set up CMS” than it is to write out every sub task associated with it, (maybe 10 core ones + project specifics). I do it regularly and making a project or action group out of it would take more time ticking things off, even with templates, than just getting on and doing it. I just keep notes in a text file as I go and move any relevant ones to OF if needed.

I can not understand how anybody can reasonably have 200+ active projects and expect to not sink under the onslaught.

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It’s like plate spinning

You don’t work on all 200 projects at once. You give one project a little twist, then move on to the next. Each project gets just enough attention to keep it going.

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Even so on the basis of an eight hour day and five minutes per project that’s only 160 projects touched every (7day) week, and that is without life rearing it’s ugly head and intruding.😬

I have three active (usually two coding and one other) projects running which I “touch” every day. I have at most ten queued up for the future, each one gets five minutes reflection time at the end of each session to review what has been done and perhaps what needs to be added or changed.

Other than that I have a good few SAL’s for routine tasks, and one for each active client. Processing these takes two-three hours each morning. Future things are saved in a “considered” tag as single items which are fleshed out into projects as and when I can see me doing them.

With this system I am managing 50+ active clients, all their requested changes, websites, domain renewals, server admin blogging and social media work. I also run four personal business websites, keep up to date with code techniques, design trends and tech in general plus manage to have a real life of sorts.

I still can not imagine handling what seems to be some of the workloads mentioned here if the projects have any real “meat” and are more than just a two/three action quickie.

Perhaps “What qualifies as a project?” is a whole other thread (without the GTD dogma preferably) as I suspect there is a range of views on this.

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