My first step is to prioritize projects. My priority matrix is akin to the urgent and important matrix from the 7 Habits. I use Demand (someone/something requires me to do the project), Duty (I have obligated myself to do the project), Need (my goals will be advanced by the project), Desire (I want to do the project), and Dream (I hope to do the project). So, by example, regardless of the tasks on my plate, those in a project that is Demanded of me always have higher “priority” than those in one that I Need to do. I track this outside of OF (in Curio).
Second, I prioritize tasks in projects using contexts for problem-solving. Without going in to too much detail (search the forums for the post with the phrase “what do you have in your context list”), I order my contexts from “top to bottom” as close, deliver, tidy up, do, propose, research, brainstorm, and consider. So, by example, my perspective views show all tasks that are to be closed above those that are for brainstorming.
Third, I flag stuff because I intend to work on it in the immediate time period (generally that day). I unflag it if it is not done that day. I make these decisions each day or each time the flagged set of tasks is “empty”. I flag something based on where the project stands in priority or alternatively where I see that an immediate, short-term effort might advance a project even when it is at a lower priority. IOW, I flag to respect the priority of a project and to clean my plate of projects.
My workflow to do stuff is 1) do what is due first, then 2) do what has been flagged next, paying attention to the top to bottom order of the contexts.
As I read the bullet item list in you starting post, I might suggest a few insights in return
- Stop flagging willy-nilly based on a general filter (this is “important”). Flag selectively what you want on your plate for the immediate time period.
- In your “flag is important” world, you accumulate flags that never get done. Once you apply the above rule instead, you can unflag something rather than deferring it.
- As @wilsonng notes, avoid using due dates as fake ways to prioritize.
- Avoid moving projects around in folders in OF (as a way to prioritize them). Put them in one place. The time you spend to find them from moving them only causes extra anxiety.
- Use something outside of OF to prioritize your big picture.
Finally, based on your most recent post, I have the feeling that you will still fail in your mission to improve your workflow. You still have some conflicting or confusing ideas in your head …
[quote=“jonolo6, post:8, topic:27854”]
Even if I had only two tasks in OF and nothing else I’d still like to define what order I want to do them.[/quote]
You want to spend “on the spot” time to prioritize two tasks based on when you want to do them??? This is utter nonsense. Wanting to do something is a subjective decision. When you have reached a point where you face two tasks that have otherwise equal priority in your big-picture goals and equal priority in your task-level context flow, flip a coin and move on!!!
You want to make “on the spot” decisions about the importance of a task based on a need to keep it floating around??? Again, this is utter nonsense. Wanting to keep tasks floating around fulfills a subjective desire to “be in control all of the time”. Let go of this need, fix your front-end prioritizing tools, and then get busy at the end doing rather than re-micro-managing.