Personally, I go outside of the box. At the beginning of the week, I look at OmniFocus and click on my “Today” perspective that shows a list of all due and/or flagged tasks. I know I can’t possibly work on all of them. Instead, I look at the Today perspective and write down the three tasks that I really want to get done today. I put this on an index card. I hide OmniFocus (Command-H) to make it disappear from my screen.
Then I work on just those three things on that card. When I finish the three tasks on the card, I go back and choose three more tasks. Repeat ad naseum until the end of the day.
I know that due tasks will always show up in Today. For tasks that don’t have a due date, I flag them so that they will show up in the Today perspective. But I always work on the due tasks first.
This workflow takes care of one-off tasks. But it doesn’t take care of those projects in the near future. I often select three Big Rock projects that I want to work on today and in the next two weeks. I usually create a project/planning perspective that is focused on one project. Then I will print it out. I put this on the wall near my desk. Then I have the list of next actions that are for that Big Rock project. I print out all three Big Rock projects and place them somewhere that is visible. Sometimes, I’ll just put it on my clipboard. Then I quickly hide OmniFocus. I can procrastinate like crazy because i am always looking at other projects.
I seem to find that when I print out the project and its next actions, that is all I can see. Then these are the only actions that I will be trying to complete. I check them off on the page. I write comments on the back of the page if I need to capture some thought that popped up. After an hour of working on the project, I’ll go into OmniFocus and check off those tasks and record any notes that may be associated with it.
I’ve found that focusing on the printouts of my project’s next actions helps me to focus and not procrastinate by fiddling with OmniFocus endlessly.
For myself, I don’t want everything at the front of my mind. I want it placed away into the Black Hole that resides in OmniFocus. The daily review perspective brings up projects at different intervals (daily, weekly, monthly, annually) and will bring them back to the forefront. I can review the projects and determine whether to just keep a project on hold or make it active. Then flag them so that I know these are Big Rock projects.
Placing something into Someday/Maybe relieves me of the burden of having it in the front of my mind. That causes more friction for me. It is neatly tucked away until it shows up on the next review date.
OmniFocus (and all other task managers) is too much of a distraction for me if I can see everything. I need to look at it, grab there one-off tasks and three Big Rock projects and then hide it away. Then I work on this smaller subset of agenda items. But I feel safe and secure knowing that I can just do a comprehensive review of everything just by looking at the OmniFocus Projects perspective.