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Blog // Thoughts
January 16, 2009

This Week, OmniFocus and GTD

This week really marks the start of the year for me. I’ve gone through every project, every commitment, every piece of paper and every task I have on my horizons (while managing a good amount of practice time). I’m emotionally shattered, but feeling good about the next few weeks. One thing I’ve been doing is […]

This week really marks the start of the year for me. I’ve gone through every project, every commitment, every piece of paper and every task I have on my horizons (while managing a good amount of practice time). I’m emotionally shattered, but feeling good about the next few weeks.

One thing I’ve been doing is using OmniFocus as my single collection point. No other lists on notepads, memo-books or applications. I’m clipping from the web and email, taking notes from other sources and putting it all in there. It’s gruelling to start with, but like all good organisational tools the more you work it, the more it creates it’s own momentum.

This week I also managed to finish reading Dave Allen’s new book, Making it Work. This is a follow up to Getting Things Done and covers *all* the same ground. Like most people, I’ve only really done a partial implementation of GTD and this new book made me realise where I needed to be more rigourous and also answered a lot of the theoretical questions I had about the method.

In particular it’s helped me better understand what Allen calls the horizons of focus. In particular the difference between goals and projects. To put is simply, a project is a goal you can complete within a year and which merits weekly review. A goal is less tangible than that – something you can still define in terms of a sense of completion, but realistically made up of sub-projects (in the same way that projects are made of separate actions. To explain: from where I am, writing a book is not a project, it’s a goal, since I couldn’t realistically write a book within 2009. But, writing a proposal, or a first chapter, or an outline would be a project.

The way I’ve implemented this in Omnifocus, is to use Folders as Goals, with projects and actions inside them. This means that when I look at my folder list it should actually map my real world commitments. If I discipline myself to keep the number of projects in each folder balanced, I’m hoping it will help me avoid overcommitting in discrete areas of life – or force me to rethink the map of my commitments.

Of course, the proof of any organisation system is in the doing. My entire mindset this year is focussed on doing and on output. As I’ve hinted at before I’ve striving to lower my standards, be less critical and just put more out there – more music, more words, more photos, more everything.

Responses
Troy Malone 11 years ago

Great write-up. I need to get the new book and check it out. I like the differentiation between Goals and Projects…

Thanks!

@troymalone

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