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How to deal with a project / action that is due at some point in the future

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  • #16
    Originally posted by macgrl View Post
    So it is okay to have project in omnifocus set to start in many months time / next year?

    If i have a reminder for something coming up that is not paper / physical such as "on October 15th I need to think about booking a table for my birthday" is that okay to go into a calendar called tickler / an electronic tickler file on the date i want reminding?

    - this calendar would be separate from my "actual" calendar - or should it be a project in omnifocus with a start date of 10/15? (what if it is just one action and not a project that could be done at anytime after the 15th but before the 23rd such as one call to one restaurant?)


    Using your sheep as the example (great example btw) could you put a reminder that it is coming up in your tickler file or is it that you prefer to have a project set to start at that date instead.

    Do future start date projects and actions appear in omnifocus (maybe in a different font / faded) or are they hidden only to appear on starting? ...

    Also does that mean that you would have omnifocus full of future projects / single next action going many months an years in advance?
    Yes I have things that start up way in the future all the time. I also have a bunch of repeating projects that kick off at some time in the future. Projects like Clean Red Barn Chicken areas, Vaccinate Lambs, Sheep Federal Inspection, Shearing, Taxes and more are all projects that repeat every year and that are set to start at some specific time in the future.

    You can put it in a calendar but that is exactly the sort of thing I create a placeholder Omnifocus project for. In fact I actually have one where the project is Birthday Party for R and the action is decide when we will get together for R's Birthday celebration and the time is set to start Oct 1 because R's B-Day is in October. Now I call it a project because I'll likely have to decide what we are doing, am I cooking a special meal, are we going out for dinner, do we want to invite the neighbors etc so I made it a project and when it activates on Monday I'll talk with my hubby and we'll call R and decide what to do.

    I don't really have an electronic tickler other than Omnifocus. If it's a single action I just set it up in either my errands list or my misc. single action list in OF with a start date. I use multiple calendars in Apple's iCal system but that is to separate types of work, computer, vs farm vs desk vs in town. My calendar is also my diary of what I worked on as I fill it out at the end of every day with what we actually did.

    I nearly always prefer projects to tickler items because I pay attention to projects but ticklers can get forgotten. My OF single action lists are like projects with a multitude of unrelated single items so I deal with them as projects.

    When in Projects Section up in the upper left you can select the project filter. If you select Pending you will see all those projects that have start dates in the future. I have several perspectives that I use to filter projects easily. One is all projects, one is on hold projects, one is pending projects and one is active projects.

    I have my weekly review set so that when I get to reviewing I do each class of projects separately. When in review mode in OF I use the project filter to first look at all stalled projects. Those are ones that have no next action defined. Often those are projects that i completed or that need some more planning. Then I set the filter as above to be pending projects so I get a sense of what's coming up soon. Then I'll look at on-hold followed by active projects. Occasionally I mix up the order as I find doing them in a different order often refreshes the weekly review and helps me see things I might otherwise miss.

    Currently in my system I have the following numbers of the different types of projects:
    PROJECTS: 903
    Active projects: 211
    Current projects: 140
    Pending projects: 71
    On-hold projects: 559
    Completed projects: 108
    Dropped projects: 25
    So I have 71 separate projects with future start dates.

    Hope that helps.

    Comment


    • #17
      I have entries in my tickle file to renew passports and health cards. The entries occur for the time when I want to start working on renewing them ... several months before they expire, perhaps a few years from now. I figure it's best not to wait until the last possible date is imminent. The GTD question is not "when do I need to get this done by?" but "what can I do to move this forward now?"

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      • #18
        Curious...

        Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
        Currently in my system I have the following numbers of the different types of projects:
        PROJECTS: 903
        Active projects: 211
        Current projects: 140
        Pending projects: 71
        On-hold projects: 559
        Completed projects: 108
        Dropped projects: 25
        So I have 71 separate projects with future start dates.

        Hope that helps.
        I just have a couple of clarifying questions...
        1. What's the difference between "active" and "current"?
        2. Why do you keep a list of dropped projects? If it's because you might want to pick them up again, why not put them in "On-hold projects"? Unless it's just purely for archival purposes...

        Thanks!

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        • #19
          Originally posted by CJSullivan View Post
          I just have a couple of clarifying questions...
          1. What's the difference between "active" and "current"?
          2. Why do you keep a list of dropped projects? If it's because you might want to pick them up again, why not put them in "On-hold projects"? Unless it's just purely for archival purposes...

          Thanks!
          Current projects are ones that I can actually do something on. Active includes the pending ones that are waiting for some day or time to arrive. They are active in that I am expecting to work on them when it's time but I can't actually do anything on them now so they are not current.

          I clear out my dropped projects by archiving them once a quarter. These are projects that either have been combined with something else (I frequently create several versions of what turns out to be the same project, esp. for on-hold ones and I periodically go through and clean them out by combining and restating the project to be more clear.) or they are projects I decided that I will never do or that have been delegated. Examples in my dropped projects right now are:

          Make floor mop covers - Dropped because I succumbed to buying a swiffer instead
          Send wool to Yolo for true worsted spinning - Dropped because I do not have a need for worsted yarn now
          Create TDRC Water Resource Plan - Dropped because someone else took over that project
          Attend October Medieval Festival in Delta - Dropped because the festival was cancelled
          Take puffballs to Ryan - Dropped because they were too old when I harvested them so not edible and there aren't any more

          So the projects that are dropped were not completed and are not on hold because I don't plan to do them at all.

          Comment


          • #20
            Delayed email

            Just another suggestion in order to make sure you do not miss a date - delayed email.

            I process a lot of email every day - it is a part of my work. So, I am very confident that I will check email every day. I send myself reminders via email for tasks that start in the future. I think, Outlook has "send on a certain date" feature in an email.

            If you check email frequently, send a note to your future self with a reminder to do whatever or check your dormant project. I do still review those in my weekly review, but it takes almost no time. I know that when time comes, I will get a knock on my door.

            Lyena

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            • #21
              Got it! (And I'm a Swiffer user myself - doesn't do as good a job as a mop, but I find that I have less resistance to mopping, so I mop more frequently!)

              Comment


              • #22
                Thank you all very much for your replies....it really is so helpful and helps me iron out any little issues from the start so that I can get into good habits!

                As I have always used a calendar to remind me that I need to start things (a separate one to my "hard calendar) it is going to take a bit of getting used to and learning to trust omnifocus. But i will get there

                How would I deal with a reminder about something that someone has to do / a waiting for that I know won't happen for many months eg. a house letting agent will email me in december about putting a house back on the market. She won't email until december and so I don't need to worry about whether she has or not until then.

                Previously I would have put a note in my tickler calendar for Dec 1st to say "put letting agent to email me on @waiting for list"

                What do I do now? It's not a project reminder more a reminder for an action...that is putting it onto the @waiting for list?

                oogiem you must really trust omnifocus...that is something I need to learn...can I ask what you do about backing up / what if you computor goes down?

                Also if you travel (I do a bit) do you have a device you take with you (i have an ipad and more often than not travel with my MBA)......one thing I liked about putting things into a calendar / electronic tickler is that I could access it anywhere via mobileme now icloud.
                Last edited by macgrl; 09-30-2012, 02:07 AM.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by macgrl View Post
                  How would I deal with a reminder about something that someone has to do / a waiting for that I know won't happen for many months eg. a house letting agent will email me in december about putting a house back on the market. She won't email until december and so I don't need to worry about whether she has or not until then.

                  Previously I would have put a note in my tickler calendar for Dec 1st to say "put letting agent to email me on @waiting for list"
                  ...
                  Also if you travel (I do a bit) do you have a device you take with you (i have an ipad and more often than not travel with my MBA)......one thing I liked about putting things into a calendar / electronic tickler is that I could access it anywhere via mobileme now icloud.
                  I would have it as a waiting for with a start date of Dec. 1st. That date tells me when to start expecting something. I might also set a due date of Dec. 31st, if I know I want to act no later than then. But from now until December, it's out of my head.

                  Omnifocus has a very robust system for syncing. If you don't have OF on your iPad or iPhone, I strongly recommend it. This is also a hedge against problems with any one device, such as loss, breakage or file corruption. You should also be using Time Machine. Not only is it easy, but it makes moving to a new machine trivial. I do not keep the backup hard disk continuously connected, but make Time Machine backups once a week and off-site backups quarterly. All my working files are in the cloud anyway, and are on both home and work machines.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by macgrl View Post
                    oogiem you must really trust omnifocus...that is something I need to learn...can I ask what you do about backing up / what if you computor goes down?

                    Also if you travel (I do a bit) do you have a device you take with you (i have an ipad and more often than not travel with my MBA)......one thing I liked about putting things into a calendar / electronic tickler is that I could access it anywhere via mobileme now icloud.
                    I run hourly backups via Time Machine to our in house server. It's a 4 terabyte RAID system that is very fault tolerant on a UPS and in a separate area protected from fire and other dangers. I also do monthly rotating backups to separate external hard drives that live in media rated fire proof safes in 2 separate buildings. I also run periodic CD or DVD backups of critical files. I synch 3 devices to my Omnifocus system, main desktop mac, iPhone and iPad.

                    I do not trust anything in the cloud and do not depend on nor put any of my personal data in the cloud at all. I totally control all servers that contain my data.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                      All my working files are in the cloud anyway, and are on both home and work machines.
                      Oogie's comments reminded me that I should have said that all my working files are in the cloud, with the exception of financial and personal data.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                        I run hourly backups via Time Machine to our in house server. It's a 4 terabyte RAID system...
                        Oogie. Once again, I'm blown away. You are so impressive.

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                        • #27
                          set them far enough in advance

                          Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                          I use start dates in Omnifocus for those types of things and I set them far enough in advance to get at least one weekly review in before they are due so I can catch up if I missed the actual start event. In Omnifocus those are pending projects and I have about a hundred of them in my system as of today.
                          YES, I set them far enough in advance too. It's a good reminder!

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