Weekly goals and omnifocus

I’m still learning to use OmniFocus, and I am trying a method where I flag my primary daily tasks, but I’m curious if anyone uses a way to emphasize their weekly goals? Right now I put them into Evernote, but I’d love to hear other options.

I would highly suggest checking out Getting Things Done, it is the primary methodology behind a typical Omni Focus workflow and without understand the key components of this methodology it might be though to really make sense of why things are where they are.

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Thanks. I’m working through it now! I expect it will take me some time to get the bugs sorted out.

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Yeah totally, it took me a few solid weeks to get into the swing of things, but I have no idea how I ever lived before this. :)

Wishing you the best of luck!

I’m a hardcore GTDist, and have used it for the last decade. I have found value, though, in goal-setting in the course of a Weekly Review for the next one.

In OF, I have a Goals context which sits second front he top of my Contexts list, where I will articulate per-project things I want to see progress (some of my projects are pretty long term). Obviously, this isn’t necessary for projects that last only a few days, and while I could use the Notes field for this in my Projects (clarifying the outcomes that these projects are moving towards), I found a separate task in my face to be more effective.

I also have a Goals perspective to focus me in on those things through the week.

Of course, YMMV, but I found this to be a great complement to project-level planning and context-level doing.



Thanks. Can you help me better understand how you implement this? For instance, if a particular task is a weekly goal, do you change it’s context to @goals? Or do you add a new set of tasks as goals?

Yup, I have a Goals context, second form the top of my Contexts. I use tasks with a Context of “Goals” to represent what I want to achieve between its creation and my next Weekly Review, so those tasks/goals each belong to the Project they represent progress in.

In this way, I see the goals when I look at Projects, but I can also look at them through a Goals perspective that I made (requires OF Pro), which groups tasks by Project, including only the Goals Context.

Hope that helps, @nomyrealname!


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I like to visit my projects perspective every week and pick three projects. These three projects become my Big Rocks for the week. I like to print out the title of the project and the overall goal about what will be achieved. I put it on my wall near my desk.

Then I focus on each project in OmniFocus and print out the next 5-10 tasks. Then I’ll print that out and put it in a clipboard. I work off of these pages and check them off when I’m working on them.

It is nice to be able to select the tasks and select Edit > Copy as Taskpaper. Then I paste the clipboard contents into a text editor and print that out.

When the week is done, I can either elect to continue working on the current 3 Big Rocks or swap them out for 1-3 other projects.

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@wilsonng Great workflow! Similarly, when I do set my goals, I carry a max of 3-4 for a week, because yeah, more is unrealistic.


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Three Big Rocks seems to be a nice amount. Projects are the big dreams and goals we want to work on. Having 3 big rocks on top of our daily maintenance tasks will keep us busy for the rest of our lives.

I always seem to get stuck in the day to day things such as balancing the checkbook, daily/weekly office reports, routine tasks.

So it does feel nice that we can do our daily busy work and still find time for our big rocks.

Thanks all, great to hear about your approaches. For what it’s worth I’m a college professor, and I typically have 2-4 unencumbered hours a day to work on my daily tasks and big picture projects. My job is nominally 40% teaching, 40% research, and 20% service, but more realistically it is 30% service, 50% teaching, and 20% research. My goals with GTD and Omnifocus are to make sure my time is distributed appropriately among my responsibilities, to find ways to focus more on research, to grow more as a scientist and teacher, and to work fewer nights, weekends, and holidays. Like many of us, there are a thousand distractions every day that threaten to keep me from working on my Big Rocks. Also, like many of us, my job responsibilities tend to exceed a reasonable work week.

What I’ve been doing is defining a primary set of weekly goals that are associated with important projects on which I am passionate about, a primary set of “essential goals” that are time-dependent and significant (8-10 hours long)–tasks that are not necessarily fun, but are required (like grading tests or reviewing an NSF proposal), and then a series of smaller tasks that I need to get done (e.g. write HW4, or fill out form X, email person Y).

For contexts I use teaching, research, miscellaneous, and service. Every week on Sunday I modify an Evernote note “Weekly to do” that lays out these tasks. Then in my daily review I examine what has been done on that list, review my Omnifocus lists, and create a “Daily to do” with a rough schedule (such as “2-4 pm, work on task X”, “4-5 pm meeting with students”). Big Rocks get scheduled in the mornings if possible so I can prioritize them. Most days I revise this schedule as a log that I upload to IDoneThis. But I don’t really analyze this regularly.

I’m still reading the GTD book and implementing the techniques, and I feel like I am not using Omnifocus as efficiently as I could be, so I find others’ use cases on these forms very helpful.

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