How to have a secondary blank account to tidy a messed omnifocus


#1

Hello. My Omnifocus has been, forsaken for awhile. I kept on adding to-dos, in order to work on it later on, but now it’s really tricky, especially trying to figure out which tags I should add, in which cases an old project is no more necessary and so on.
It would be perfect, in this case, to be able to create a blank temporary omnifocus account, in order to move items one by one from one to another, without risking to lose everything in the way. Without this, acting on one item per time and watching them move as I make any variation would be a tremendous effort.
I thought, since I know that I can open a backup in a separate window, I could make a backup of the current situation, open it, delete what I have now and move in my blank Omnifocus the items one at a time. Just I need to be sure I won’t mess with the sync.
Could you confirm this to me, or suggest an alternative method?
It’s like emptying a drawer to make order in a mess of socks, having them all together i cannot do it without getting crazy!

Thanks for any suggestion.


#2

Why not just remove all dates and tags from the actions in the database, move them all to a “to be added back” folder and begin from scratch, slowly adding tasks from the add-back folder in as and when you need them?

You could f.e. take 10-15 minutes each review day to go through the add-backs and pick some you want to retrieve. And if after a couple of months you think you’re okay, just delete the folder and contents.

I’ve done this twice already and I get rid of A LOT of unnecessary bagage this way.


#3

I agree with @Janov ‘s suggestion. Keep your existing single synced database: there’s no need to complicate things from a tooling perspective, everything is about clarifying what outcomes you desire and what the tasks mean to you, and removing any items which are obsolete or unclear.

Create a new project folder (eg. ‘Archive’) and move all existing projects into that.

Take a day to think about what outcomes/goals you are trying to achieve. Keeping it very simple at first, I suggest creating new projects in OF for:

  • your top 5 to 10 goals or work/life projects
  • routine tasks you must get done
  • a ‘Someday/Maybe’ bucket for everything that clearly doesn’t need resolution any time soon.

Take another day to make a first pass at moving items from the archive folder to your new projects. Anything that is routine should be obvious, and you may find that many items you previously captured can just go into ‘Someday/Maybe’ to be reconsidered much later (removing them from your mental burden).

Note that at this stage you have not worried about tags, dates, etc — just the highest-level structure of the meaning of your tasks in relation to outcomes.

Once this is in place, you can refine the new projects, which are now meaningful to you. Consider deferring tasks, grouping tasks which need to be performed sequentiality, grouping projects into themes, breaking big projects down into smaller outcomes. Flag the most important actions to create a simple shortlist. Only after all this do you need to consider tagging items to create more structure (eg. in what circumstances can you perform each task), adding hard due dates, etc.

Make further passes at refining the new projects, and moving or deleting items which are still in the ‘archive’. In the future, the ‘Someday/Maybe’ folder/project will act as the archive from which you can promote outcomes or tasks to active projects, but it does not contain anything current/important since your system is up to date.


#4

Thank you very much for the answers!


#5

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