What do you do ...When you don't know what to do?

I have a problem that I don’t know how to deal with. Maybe it takes some creativity, brainstorming, or just relaxing, but I don’t know what to do about it right now. This has to come up a lot; maybe you’re having a relationship conflict, a communication problem, or you’re stuck in the middle of a job task. Figuring out a solution will take time and work, but, sometimes, you just need to step away and do something else for awhile. The key thing is NOT to forget about it. These issues have deadlines, even if they’re not clear.

How do you use OmniFocus to keep track of the things you don’t know what to do about? …do you just put a task like, “Figure out how to communicate to my boss that I don’t want this project, without making him mad.” or “Find a way to make an extra $20,000 this year.” in a project for that area of your life? …do you leave it in your inbox until you have something more specific? …do you have a special list of tasks with vague stuff like this? …do you leave it in Evernote and just have a task to review Evernote every so often just to keep these things in mind?

How do you handle the things you don’t know what to do with?

Depending on the problem/issue I have two ways of handling it:

  1. define a project with a first task something like “think about X”. Most times I defer this task for a week or so. This helps make to create some distance and do fresh thinking after a while.
  2. I follow rigorously the five phases of project planning of David Allen. Sometimes I’m suprised at the outcomes I get.

Sometimes I combine 1) and 2)

And don’t forget: it can also help talking about it with someone


@lexvo’s thoughts are great here.

I love the power of defining a project called “Figure out what to do about…”. It’s very freeing, because instead of spinning on “ohmygod how am I going to do this?”, I can settle on “what am I even doing?”. Next actions being research x online, talk to so-and-so for advice, etc. help me ground on changing the outcome from delivering the thing I’ve been worrying about to defining what the thing even is.

This is much more psychological than technological. An interesting problem, and I’m keen to see how others respond here.

Good luck!



I have a single-action @Admin project in each of my top-level folders. I put a reminder task there. For example …

@Admin - Hobbies

  • decide how to manage the family database (context: consider)

All @Admin projects appear under an Admin perspective and are set to be reviewed every week.



Gonna try this one out myself. Very smart.