Trouble sticking to a workflow

Hi friends,

I know this isn’t an OmniFocus issue, and has probably come up before, but I am wondering if anyone can help me out. I am a procrastinator. I love to plan my work, but I don’t like to work the work. This is a me issue. I tried to simplify and use Wunderlist but I still put stuff in my system and didn’t do it. I moved back to OmniFocus because I have a lot going on in my brain that I need to get out and OmniFocus works best for that.

So the bottom line is: who do I spend more (or at least as much) time doing than planning?

Thanks for your help!


Awareness is half the battle!

Here are a few questions I might myself if I were in your shoes. Not knowing much about your work or life or workflow, these may or may not mean anything, but hopefully a start!

  1. Am I breaking down my actions in to clear activities that are visible and understandable?
  2. Am I putting things I am actually going to do on my list?
  3. Have I deferred things I can’t start yet?
  4. Am I putting all my actions in to my system or am I keeping some things in my head or other places?

I guess the big theme here is that if a list is repelling you, it is the content of that list (and not the tool) that is the problem. Make sure the content is actionable, clear, and meaningful, and that anything else is either redefined, deferred, or deleted.

Just my two cents as a starting point,


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When you start putting stuff in, you tend to collect a lot of stuff. Every once in a while, you will learn to curate your projects. Start becoming your life editor. Is a task or project in OmniFocus for a reason? Is the effort-to-reward ratio high enough for you? Is it still relevant or is it outdated?

Start deleting or cancelling tasks or projects that are no longer relevant. This will help clear the signal-to-noise ratio. We can easily get discouraged when we just keep piling more stuff that isn’t relevant.

Start learning to say no to projects that may not align with your goals. There will be projects that you can’t say no to. Projects from your spouse or your boss are such examples. Negotiate with yourself about what you can really do.

I like to put all new projects status to On Hold. Then I only set 2-3 projects to active status. When I finish one project, I will go to another on hold project and change the status to active.

Think of the On Hold project as a someday/maybe project. It’s a project that has your interest but you aren’t going to start on it in the next 7 days. The only projects that will be active are anything that you would like to do today and the next 7 days.

Everything else is on hold (someday/maybe) until you finish your current active projects.


Thanks everyone!! This was a big help to me. I had struggle with a Someday/Maybe project/folder versus a Context. I think it works better for me to have it as a context and use a perspective (of the same name) to go through anything that may or may not be relevant. Thanks again!

Thanks Scotty. I did find I was putting projects as single actions. For example, I have ton of hangers from dry cleaning so I added “Get rid of hangers” as an action. That is an action, but it does require a next action. Like 1 call dry cleaner and ask if they recycle, 2 bring in hangers. That is the least amount of actions required.

Since last week i have been more aware of how I am adding tasks so I don’t have to think about it twice. I also added an Evening Review to may tasks for when I get home to add anything from Drafts or my notebook to my system.

Thanks again!

Try a paper list. You can’t customize that as much. I had OCD tendencies for todo software, tried paper for three months, and it changed the way I work electronically. Take a look at Mark Forster’s AutoGocus or FVP. The first two days are very uncomfortable, but there sure was a lot less organizing and more doing.