Making sure my planned workload for the day/3 days/week is doable

I have a tendency to take on more than I can handle. My intuition fails me — so I need hard data on the time required to fulfil my commitments. They are recorded in two forms:

  1. Calendar meetings (Google Calendar & Fantastical 2).
  2. Flagged OmniFocus tasks (I religiously record Estimated Times).

I’m looking for an easy way of adding up and displaying the number of hours resulting from the two sources of commitments.

A natural place would be a dashboard on the Forecast view. But it’s not there until Omni Group put it there.

So far, I’m using a combination of

But it’s a bit cumbersome.

Any better (integrated) solutions? Scripts?


You might consider blocking off time for key projects/actions/groups by dragging them into Fantastical. The calendar item will contain a link back to the OmniFocus item and, if the estimate time field has been populated, Fantastical will automatically set the duration of the appointment to match.


Oftentimes I can’t get an accurate time estimate. If I block out a large block of time, my task expands to fill the whole block. Or I underestimate the time needed and an unforeseen factor pops up that lengthens the time needed to finish a task.

I just plan to do 3 tasks and write it down on an index card. If I can finish the 3 tasks, I’ll select 3 more tasks from OmniFocus and write them down on the index card.

Sometimes I like to just churn out a bunch of smaller tasks that are all related. I might just want to work on my computer for the next couple of hours. I’ll select the @Mac context and try to work on as many things as possible in that context. Or I’ll check my @House context and fix a variety of things that my wife wants me to complete when I am at home.

Or I might select one project that I want to make significant progress in. That will become my Big Rock project. I will go to the Projects perspective and “focus” on that project. Then I try to churn my way through the tasks in that project.

It’s mostly about trying to group a bunch of related tasks by project or by context. I’ll try to work through them.

I can generally get a loose idea of what my week would like. But I will try to think of what to schedule today and tomorrow. Looking farther into the future is difficult because something called Life always comes up and smacks us right up the head and distracts us from doing the things we were originally scheduled to work on.

The only really effective way to schedule your tasks is if you have absolute control over your own schedule. That’s a luxury I don’t have.

For time tracking, I use the OfficeTime on my iOS and Mac devices. But there are a few other time tracking apps that might work better for you.

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This is exactly how I work. Anybodyelse working kn this way? Having positive or negative Dxperiences with it?

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One of the challenges using these tools for planning is that they omit to teach users about concepts of time estimates and leave in to the user to take a “best” guess at the estimated duration

The following formula for time estimate is used in the project management field,

PERT is an estimating technique that uses a weighted average of three numbers (see below) to come up with a final estimate.
Estimated duration = (O + 4M + P)/6

The most pessimistic ( P ) case when everything goes wrong
The most optimistic (O) case where everything goes right
The most likely (M) case given normal problems and opportunities

The resulting PERT estimate is calculated as (O + 4M + P)/6. This is called a “weighted average” since the most likely estimate is weighted four times as much as the other two values.
You can then add the stardard deviation (I have not included the formula) which aligns to the probability of completing the tasks within the calculated timeframe.

The issue with planning is that most people do not factor in risks (pessimistic time) and only consider optimistic estimates.

if someone can help write a script to calculate the PERT estimated duration by taking the above variables as inputs; that would increase your probability of sucess ( adding the appropriate Standard deviation) provides greater probability on completed the task in the calculated duration.

In summary, you may think that based on your time estimates you can complete 4 tasks; PERT will show that you can most likely only complete 2 tasks.
This reduces frustration of always feeling behind and missing tasks.

Hope this helps.
Colin Lopez

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Cal Newport says in one of his blog to take the caledar entry make an estimated time and multiple it by 2.5 to have a realsitic time. At the end it is about observing yourself constantly and trying to develop in the matter of realistically evaluating the duration of a task I think.