How to organize information as roles?

Hello everyone! I’m new to the forum, but I have a question I would like to ask the group.

I am used to planning life based on my role. Dad, Work-Job#1, etc…, organization-committee chair, etc.

I am just learning Omnifocus and relatively new to GTD. With projects (made up of actions) and context being where to do said projects/actions, is there a way to organize this info by which role it applies to?

Would it be @dad or @Work-job#1 etc? Yet those tasks can often be done anywhere… Would the tasks be organized by folder under Projects? Or with a #tag to keep things in an assigned hierarchical (and thus #alphabetical-tag order?

Sorry for the ramble. I’m new and trying to organize this correctly (for me) from the start.

Any ideas or suggestions?

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I organize my projects in folders: one folder for each role. This way your projects are visually separated from each other in the project outline. For one-off tasks I have a single-action list in each of the folders.

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As @vloris says, folders are generally the way to go. They’re called “Areas of Responsibility” in GTD. I have eg:

Home and Family
  Project 1 
  Project 2
  Project 1
  Project 2

Importantly they’re ordered by priority, so anytime I’m looking at things unsorted in context view I get the “most important” area’s items first.


Thank you both so very much. That is a big help. I appreciate you taking the time to respond. Thanks!


You’re welcome! That’s what these forums are for :)


First of all, I’m not asking for a tagging feature in OF - unfettered tagging is a trip down a rabbit hole since who can remember what tags we used 3 weeks ago when they assigned then and they seemed logical then?

However, I do think there’s a place for Roles to which projects can be associated. For example, this project (e.g., C++ migration to 64-bit architecture) of mine is based on my role in the organization as a Technical_Leader (since I’m the C++ expert), Employee (since this is a strategic direction of the company I work for) or Mentor (since a colleague whose project this is has asked for advice, and I’m the C++ expert). Hence a Project -> Role is a 1->Many relationship. The number of roles is constrained since we typically only play a small but varied number of roles inn our lives - unlike, Tags - Imagine tagging a project to read Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time? Literature, Job, Classics? In other words, roles tend to be associated with functions we perform rather than interests we have.

Note that “contexts” that OF does support could be abused for the purpose for roles but tends not to be. We use contexts like “At Home”, “At Computer”, etc that David Allen has advocated. Although Contexts should be in a one-to-one relationship with the action, we could assign a “Buy Milk” action, which should be an Errand Context, to be assigned to a “generic” context like an “Anywhere” context. I am not advocating this at all, just pointing out that the introduction of any attribute (like Context) could be abused.

Roles seem to be a bona fide attribute of the GTD practice and is highlighted throughout in David Allen’s revised book. I would recommend roles as an attribute of a Project rather than of Actions. I think it’s more typical we are involved in a project as a function on one or more of our roles - actions are such things we do to accomplish that project.

Would be interested in others’ comments

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