I. Am. Overwhelmed. One full-time job. One consulting gig. Multiple start-stop side-hustle and writing ideas that don’t get off the ground.
So I’m going to try and get some focus and follow-through. I’ve been using OmniFocus for years on and off but clearly never got to a place where I’m using it productively. I’ve got 123 projects, 515 actions, 8 folders and 172 tags.
Problem focusing, problem following through. Hoping to leverage OmniFocus to its optimal capacity.
Any advice welcome as I dive into other posts and see what I can learn here.
Reviews are the single most important thing that makes gtd and OmniFocus work for me. At reviews I decide what I’m going to work on for the next day, week and/or month. If you don’t perform regular reviews you may feel that things are getting out of control.
If you can put projects on hold, do so. If you can put defer dates on projects, do so (both important parts of my review process) The lower the number of options you have to choose from the better.
Beyond that, if you practice gtd properly and still feel overwhelmed, you may simply have too much on. That’s when you need to start saying no to people.
I had this issue too until i started using the review perspective on a regular basis. Once you assign the correct review time interval eg some things need to be reviewed every day but others every 6 months. This takes time to go through but once they are set up up right the reviews which i do every 2-3 days are short and quick to do.
Also the other big change was to use the Today perspective on a daily basis - well it’s pretty much all i look at as i work through the day. You can focus within the Today perspective by choosing a subsection in the Today list eg all my client projects are in a folder called Client Projects and if i select that in the Today list all i will see are things due today (or overdue) that are client work. Using the Today perspective reduces the clutter to just a few things very easily and quickly. As mentioned - i go here multiple times a day as i work through the to do list of actions for the day. It helps so much to be able to just focus on what’s needed today.
These two areas made a huge difference to me - wrangling what was previously a very overwhelming OF setup with what i thought was too many projects and action items.
Hope this helps. Good luck!
Use OmniFocus as a storage, but don’t over schedule.
You can daily review, weekly review, monthly review. make scheduled thing have due. If can’t complete just defer or skip.
When you get into that situation, I think it’s time to step back and think about the bigger picture. Where do you want to be three months from now, a year from now, five years from now, when you retire? In Getting Things Done, David Allen refers to these as the higher level perspectives. Spend some time thinking about those—and include uncertainty in them, too. Then take time to do a careful review of all your projects in the someday/maybe folder and decide which of them needs your attention in the next month. Move those into (an) active folder(s), and also create a project to review your someday/maybe list with a review date 3-4 weeks in the future.
Then don’t look at the someday/maybe folder for a while, and just work on the active projects. I actually keep most of my someday/maybe stuff in an OmniOutliner document that’s not in OmniFocus so I can’t see it there.
Also, I want to second what @Geoffairey wrote: If you are using OmniFocus well, and following GTD (or whatever variant works best for you) carefully, and you’re not frittering away time doomscrolling, ruminating, or otherwise avoiding work, you may just be trying to do too much. In that case, keeping most of your to-do list outside OmniFocus might be a big help. A full-time job and a family life are already all that you should be expected to handle. A side gig on top of that is a strain. Adding more strain is probably not the way to go.
A final note: 172 tags seems way too many, unless you have a lot of contacts and need tags for each of them (in that case, nest them under a more general “contacts” or “agenda” tag). Having been an OmniFocus user since before OF existed (with Kinkless GTD for OmniOutliner), and a participant in the alpha test program, I understand the shift from contexts to tags but I still think it’s useful to think of tags in terms of GTD contexts, and not multiplying them beyond necessity (as William of Occam might say if he were alive now).
Thanks Brian. Great suggestions. Especially moving things out of Focus and into Outliner. I think that will reduce the sense of out-of-controlness I’ve been experiencing.
@brianogilvie Any tips on how to export everything in OmniFocus to OmniOutliner? (Including non-project inbox items).
You might like to consider making a copy of your Omnifocus file instead. Rename it to something suitable and save it somewhere else. Then you can delete projects from your ordinary Omnifocus file, and simply doubleclick on the copied file to open it in a separate window in Omnifocus from where you can drag the projects back when you need them.
Good suggestion; thank you. I opted though to do a complete export to Airtable which captured everything beautifully, deleted almost everything from OmniFocus except for current active projects.
Airtable is amazing BTW.
One thing I would like to see Omnifocus fast track is ability to drag and drop the right nav bar components – I would love to have “Notes” display higher up instead of all the way on the bottom where I have to scroll to see it; also, ability to add multiple notes would be nice.
This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.