When to create a project?

Hi, I’ve been using OmniFocus for years but I can’t get it to stick. There are a couple of areas where I struggle.

Do people follow GTD closely and create a project if there is more than action? I regularly receive emails where I forward it to a member of my team immediately, asking for further information, which creates a ‘waiting’ action. When I receive the information I respond to the email. Sometimes, there can be more actions as a result of the information coming back. Should I create a project for these emails?

Another issue is that I can plan a few sequential actions in a project but they rarely play out as planned, a parallel project helps but then how do I deal with actions that are not available yet? I know I can create sequential and parallel groups but I feel like I’m constantly messing about in projects. Can anyone suggest a solution?

Any help would be appreciated.

I create Projects that have more than one action. I also create @Admin Projects that are “single-action” lists. Some of these only have one task.

What you have works. Don’t muck with it. Unless you have some other problem with this workflow that OF would help you solve, why create more mess? Are you routinely loosing track of those emails? Do those regular emails kick off a bigger cascade that should be tracked officially rather than handled “on the fly”?

This seems like TWO issues not one. First, plan something. When it changes, change your layout in OF. Now, your second issue is how to switch a sequential list to parallel when something in it should still be sequential. I suggest, when your plans change as you say, this is the point to go “messing about” to create a parallel action group followed by the task(s) that depend on them.

Hope this gives some starting points.



Thanks, I appreciate the reply.

Am I right to assume that you start off with a sequential project then add a parallel group if needed? Is your default behaviour ‘sequential’?

My default is sequential. I add parallel groups when the group actions can all be done together but must all be completed before the next step. By example, to write a report …

My Report (sequential project)

  • Collect Information (parallel group)
    – get inputs from team
    – find previous report
    – get deadline from boss
  • Draft Report (sequential group)
    – write first draft
    – polish first draft
    – send to team for comments
  • Revisions (parallel group)
    – get team’s feedback
    – collect updates from boss
  • Final Report (sequential group)
    – incorporate feedback and updates
    – review report for completeness
    – authorize report with signature
    – send report


1 Like