Time consuming and Priority arrangement


I’m new to GTD and OmniFocus, and I have some questions.

GTD is about collecting and processing tasks – I collect tasks, and process them, and then decide what to do in Next Actions. To be more specifically, I process item into projects or single actions, and then flag “tasks” I think I should do in that day.
However, here is the thing, how can I make sure I have enough time to finish these “next actions” on time?

For example, I have to finish a report next week, and I have 5 related actions for this “project” (sub-tasks).

  1. Should I mark a due date on this project?
  2. Should I make a plan about when each sub-task (or single action) should be done before next week, so I can make sure I can deliver the report on time?

It seems there is no “step” in GTD to handle this issue. GTD collects a lot of actions, but GTD doesn’t care about “when” the sub-tasks should be done. These sub-tasks will leave in the Next Action List, and I don’t know if I have the right progress – for example, what if the last task takes 2 days to finish, but I don’t finish the other 4 tasks before the “Deadline - 2days”, which means I might not be able to finish the last task on time?

Is there any convenient way to solve this issue?


Now, one of the most important steps in GTD according to David Allen is exactly what you are referring to: Processing (the step immediately following capture). There simply is no way that anyone apart from You can tell how long a task will need in the completion- in OF you can simply enter the duration of the tasks into the “estimated time” slot- when planning your day you can aid your estimation of being able to handle it all in a given day. No software will be able to do that without having an idea of how much effort this will be for you. Good thing is that after a while of being used to do these estimations, you get an idea how much is enough. My approach is rather low level planning (2-4 tasks per day) with the potential to flag some more stuff after completion.
Sorry, but you won’t find any task manager out there relieving you of that responsibility.

Of course, in the same manner it absolutely makes sense for you to cleverly place and then pay attention to due date reminders and deadlines: in OF you have plenty of tools for the job: flags, due dates that show off in your calendar, defer tasks that turn up in your Forecast view on the respective day and combinations of those. My favorite is the deferred flagged task: on the day of your picked deferral this flagged task will not only start showing up in your today view but also will remain in your flagged view afterwards, so you can’t forget about it. There is also this neat deferred date script that I find so wonderfully useful for non-flagged tasks that get pulled from the past into today.

Hope that helps… Oh, guys, please listen to the podcast, it is chock-full with tips and tricks for GTD people of any knowledge and experience level. David Allen rules ;-)

I’m wondering where I can find this podcast?

It is hidden behind that blueish linky thing in my previous post reading “David Allen” ;-)