Managing time booked tasks and time sensitive tasks

I’m struggling to work out a system that lets me manage the following. Background info. I run my own electrical contracting business just myself and an apprentice. I have projects ( jobs that have these elements, quote, do actual job , invoice). Then there is the admin stuff for accounting puposes, then family commitments both time and non time sensitive. Etc.
Do I use Omni focus to control my calendar to block out the doing parts and if so how do I get it to do that. As it only drops in a small amount of time for the due date, or so I put the job in the calendar and have a seperate task in Omni focus. My problem is I look at my calendar and see gaps so I fill this with work I.e another physical job and then struggle with time for admin tasks.
So I block book out time in My calendar for admin tasks?
I’m trying to make sure that I spend more time doing than I do organising so any help appreciated.

OmniFocus is not a calendar, so best not try to use it as one. Just use your calendar for that. If you’re struggling to make time for routine tasks, then blocking off time in your calendar to do them is a fine approach.

For your admin tasks, if you see “Admin time” on your calendar, and you already know what to do, then you don’t need any OmniFocus tasks. Just use your calendar for that, perhaps supplemented by a checklist if helpful. If it’s not clear what your admin tasks are, or if they vary, then you could have an “Admin” or “Routines” context in OmniFocus, and put your admin tasks in there. Then, when your calendar tells you its time to do admin tasks, pull up your “Admin” context in OmniFocus, and just start going through the tasks there.

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Thanks for your response, so for example if I had a quote to do that knew was going to take me an hour to write I would block this in my calendar but then have a reference to a project in Omni focus for the quote as to complete the quote I might have several tasks to complete I.e compile material costs from wholesalers, check current legislation with customers requirements etc. But not have any due times in Omni focus just use the calendar for this? Seems to be double entry??

I get confused with when to use the calendar and when to use a task management system as the two seem to over lap in a lot of what I do.

It depends entirely on the nature of your working environment and day.

A task management system is for managing tasks. A calendar is for managing your time.

If you don’t have any trouble doing your projects on time without your calendar, then put them as an OmniFocus project with a due date, and do it “as soon as possible” as your calendar allows. Then you don’t need to block it off on your calendar, because you’ll just get it done by the due date.

But if you are having trouble not getting things done this way, and you find yourself needing to allocate time to it, then you should use your calendar. Even if its “double entry”, if the alternative means failing to complete your project on time, you need to allocate time for it.

So, it may seem like double entry, but if the facts of your working day are that you both need to allocate time for a project and you need to track tasks for it, then you actually do have two different things to manage, so you’re not doubling up - you’re just taking care of both of those things. Even if you are able to manage it in one tool, you’ll still have to spend time organizing both of these things, so using both a calendar and OmniFocus isn’t likely to actually cost more time. You’ll have other things to do where you don’t need to allocate time, and can just go through your lists and complete them when you have time available. And there’ll be still other things to do where a calendar entry alone is sufficient. It depends entirely on what you’re doing, and on what is required to get it done on time.

Some people’s work enables them to keep a very light calendar, and complete almost all of their tasks “as soon as possible”, because that’s the nature of their job. These people don’t need to plan in much detail, and can just keep lists. Other people get so booked up that they’re just not going to have any “as soon as possible” time, unless they go out of their way to create it. These people do need to plan their time a lot more carefully in order to make sure the right things get done. So what tools you need to use and how you need to use them depends on what your working day is actually like, so finding the right way to organize your work requires looking at your working day and figuring out what you need to keep it all under control. That might legitimately be something completely different to what a different person in a different job needs, so there is genuinely no single “right way” to go about it.


Great feed back. I’m new to the gtd and trying to incorporate it into my working day with the type of work I do. Now that you have said it, it seems obvious to book a slot in my calendar so that I get the time sensitive tasks done on time. Sometimes the obvious thing stares you in he face and you don’t see it.