When to work on what project --> Lost for years

Hi there,
Been trying to use OF for years now and everytime I feel I have it under control it escapes me. One is that you have to be very disciplined and repeat your methodology daily or it will never work. (Working on this all days)

The other, and this is where I am asking you guys (and girls) for help: I don’t have a crazy list of projects, but I seem to not be able to go through the projects when I have “work time”. In detail: I plan 2 hours in my agenda to be productive and I am still looking through OF to see what I can tick off.
This is highly ineffective and distracts me because I see all the other things (I should have done already.)

My question:
How can I create a link between what to do (2 hours of productivity) and choose between what my OF has stored: Read, research, call clients, etc. I know this sounds ridiculously simple but I can’t grasp my head around it.

Kindest regards,

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You need to track what is most important to you. What is most urgent, what has the worst consequences if it is not done on time. If you tag for this, OF can filter your data and show you what you should be doing.


I have a flow of perspectives, which I work through, quick tasks, those routine small things I need to clear, then communications, calls, emails etc then on to client support tasks which pretty much uses the morning. Then on to the 3 projects I have decided to work on that day. I may not get to the third but I will give it a good try.

I then run through afternoon calls and emails, go through a “wind down” checklist which sets me up for the next day, tomorrow’s big 3, errands etc.

I would love to take credit for this system, like you I was struggling jumping from one task, project to another, I read Kourosh Dini’s book “Creating Flow with OF” and for me it really “clicked”. I have praised this book before, but it really did work.

  1. Ignore that – it’s a distraction.
  2. Work out where you are trying to get to, and
  3. move towards that place.

Hi TheOldDesigner,

Thank you, I bought his book and listened to it, but will read it again and have my OF open when reading it next.
It’s so easy to get distracted when I have to leave the OF environment, which is what you always have to do with the tasks, and get back. The good news is; I don’t feel “DONE” anymore when all my tasks are in the system (and the actual work still has to be done!)
Thank you and I will have a gander at Kourosh Dini’s book again.

I think of OmniFocus as a restaurant buffet table. There are so many items to chose from but I can’t possibly eat all of it. I grab a plate and pick what I can fit on my plate. I don’t overload the plate or grab 2 plates. I just carry what I want on 1 plate. I no longer look at the buffet table. I keep my focus on what’s on my plate. If I finish my plate and I’m still hungry, I’ll go back for second helpings.

At the end of the day, I look at OmniFocus (or whatever task manager) and I choose either a small handful of tasks or one Big Rock project to focus on tomorrow. I write it down in my BuJo or print out the project’s remaining tasks. I set an appointment in tomorrow’s schedule to get these specific items done. When tomorrow comes, I already have my action plan. I have my chosen tasks and/or Big Rock to focus on. I never look at my task manager. I keep OmniFocus hidden but will capture via Quick Entry screen or on my iPhone/iPad.

I don’t choose more than 3 tasks or 1 Big Rock project per day. I already have enough on my plate with daily life interruptions such as walk-in customers or phone/email requests. Life always adds enough to fill out the day. But I chose to respect my scheduled appointment to work on my chosen tasks or Big Rock.

At the end of the month, I do choose 1-3 Big Rocks that I want to focus on completing or making significant progress on. I’ll pick one Big Rock every Friday for next week’s commitment.

I never work from OmniFocus. It’ll stay hidden until I am ready to perform an end-of-the-day review to plan tomorrows tasks and/or Big Rock. In the same vein, I put away the restaurant menu when I finished ordering. I don’t leave it open because I’m tempted to change my order or I might order more than I can realistically eat.

Use a BuJo or a notepad to write down your tasks and/or Big Rock to focus on. Use OmniFocus when you’re doing a daily/weekly review or curating your projects. Never work from your task manager.


Start outside Omnifocus with your high level goals. What are you trying to achieve.

Then decide what the next project is that that will help you achieve one of those goals.

Work on that Project.

I tend to make a decision on what to do the following day, at the end of the day. This incentivises me to choose quickly so I don’t have to work too much longer.


I like that, Wilson. Very neat!

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This is an interesting point of view. I will try it in near future.
Now I have exactly the opposite way of working. And it works for me a years.
In my work I use calendar terms from others a lot. I must often react to many terms from other people. When I must organize many meetings and tasks… and often I must change them. For me is important to track events how they change.
So I begin a day from Forecast. Every morning I must look to estimated time box of all tasks and then I use script for suming them up. If they have too long sum of duration for that day, (I mean future amount of time in that day), I must deffer some of them. Then I try to accomplish all of them. It s not important from which project it is. Some project dont need be done in 1 day… but its important to move them as much as possible a little. If I dont do it, they stagnate.
I must highlight, that in my job I must work on more project in a time, and all must go on.
During a day I switch from Forecast to Project view very often, and reorganize them how I need…honestly after a years of using, I use it as a second brain, - for tracking progess (I use a “date and time” shortcut very often with a little refferal notes about what I made, who called, who I wait and so on), for a kind of mind mapping, organizing and a simple project managing too… all in real time, how it goes on…And I think this is the power of OF… you can organize a huge amount of tasks (do them, or change them how they need). And nothing goes lost.
The measure of succes is all day amount of done tasks (that I see every evening), and moving projects…
(I have thousand and thousand tasks done in my OF archive)
Other imprtant is I must react to many distraction all day, and process a lot of new tasks in a day.
So… I work almost from OF all day…with little cooperation of calendar and files in finder, those are refferal material (with great linking function to them in task and notes in tasks).
I only describe my view…(my job is police investigator)
It depends always on style of work, everyone is doing another job…and OF can adapt to every kind of job.


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