Limit your WIP to gain your sanity!

Let me preface this by saying that this concept may be very obvious to some, but to me it surely wasn’t! I hope this may bring some clarity to others in my situation.
I’ve been using Omnifocus for about 2 years now. Although its great, I have become increasingly frustrated with it not being “more agile” with more “power features”. So, I did what some do: started looking for another software solution that I thought would make me more productive, if only I had more features to work with! Over the course of the last two nights, I have spent nearly 10 hours researching and testing. I settled on Remember The Milk and 2DO. Both had great features, but lacked some that OF had. This got me down. So, I sat back and took a hard look at my projects.
I had an AHA moment: I simply have too many tasks to choose from! Seems obvious I know. Every day more and more tasks came in while less than that got completed.
During this intense mind sweep I remembered a concept I had heard from another method: Kanban. That concept was LIMIT YOUR WORK IN PROGRESS (WIP)! This was the key to relieving some of my task overload anxiety.
I immediately put every project on hold that did not meet the following criteria:
Has a due date
Is a recurring task that is flagged (meaning its either a daily, weekly or monthly task that populates in my HOTLIST prospective)
I ended up putting over 100 projects on hold! I then scrolled thru my “available” prospective and realized I am now only seeing the most in tasks, ones with actual meaning and not a bunch of someday/maybe’s mixed in!
I also deleted over 15 custom perspectives I thought I needed as well as context that were just causing more clutter.
This has lead me to a new morning practice:
Clean out my inbox, if not done from night before
Look at my “hotlist” perspective to get an idea on how full my day already is (criteria: flagged or due)
Review the “available” perspective (only available tasks (not on hold), sorted by context and then by due), flag future due items first and others as time allows for the current day.

Sorry for the long winded story. I hope some other find some use out of it!!!


Congrats on unlocking the mystery of WIP!

I also put all new projects to On Hold status automatically.

I have a custom project perspective called Big Rocks projects. Every once in a while or whenever I complete a Big Rock project, I will go to the perspectives editor and change the Project focus that I want to work on for the next week. Typically, I’ll have 1-2 house projects, 1-2 family/personal projects and 1-3 work projects in this Big Rocks perspective. When I finish a project, I add another project to the project focus.

I never put my admin stuff in here. It is just special projects that have nothing to do with administrative work (bills, weekly reports, repeating projects, etc.).

when I create a time block in my calendar, I will often focus on one of the Big Rocks in the Big Rocks perspective. This has been my saving grace in omnifocus.

I do agree wholeheartedly that we should just narrow our focus to a small handful of big rock projects at any one time. Trying to have everything active is theoretically nice but tends to keep me scatter brained.


You got it! I have seen this as a recurring theme in alot of your responses to others as well. So you helped me in this light bulb moment!!!