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Implementing GTD with Omnifocus in a real estate law/title & escrow business

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  • Implementing GTD with Omnifocus in a real estate law/title & escrow business

    I own and operate a real estate law practice which consists mostly of conducting residential and commercial property transaction with and without lenders. I'm not sure the best way to implement GTD - should each file be its own project? I may have 100 files open at once, which would make my Projects a little overwhelming. Or would a better approach be to have "Closings" as a project with the tasks grouped according to file?

    Any advice is much appreciated, especially if you are implementing GTD in a law practice or title & escrow company. Thoughts?

  • #2
    can't help directly, but...

    Even though I am not in the same field or using the same software, I can address your question more generally.

    Based on your situation, I would suggest having a long Projects list. I'll explain my thinking.

    Remember that the function of the Projects list is to present a "dashboard" summary of every outcome you are at all committed to creating. In a sense, it is a list of "changes-in-my-world-from-the-present-reality-to-the-future-I-want". If that list does not present all of the changes you are presently working at creating, then the Projects List will not deserve your full trust and reliance. In other words, you could look at the list and not be reminded about a particular client or transaction or situation that needs resolved.

    You could tailor the Projects list, however, to your particular needs. For example, if you have several concurrent projects that are "parked" for a while, but still ongoing, those could have a designated section of your Projects list. This is parallel to the divisions the Next Actions list (into Contexts) when it gets so long that reviewing it could blow a fuse.

    I would specifically recommend against using some larger area as your Project, for example "Chase Bank transactions resolved". If you see that on your Projects list, you would then be forced to pull out your Project support material or Project Plan in order to know what areas actually need your attention. In this way, the Projects List loses its function.

    Some people use a Mind Map or Project Plan, which must be consulted with each decision. I put all Projects and Subprojects on my Projects list. Some clients have ten Subprojects listed, others have one.

    In my life and work, I may add a dozen or more Projects to my list per day. That could seem cumbersome, but I feel comfortable knowing 100% that it is ALL out of my head. Everything I'm trying to accomplish is there... everything from "Finish load of laundry" to "Increase output to $5M this quarter."

    Hope this helps.
    JohnV474

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    • #3
      Anything that takes more than one action is a project so Yes - have a project for every file, even if the count is 100 or more. In Omnifocus, you can group similar projects into folders which may help. Also, you can add deadlines for some actions (a closing, for example). Also, you can view Next Actions by project and also by Context, which is helpful.

      rdgeorge

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      • #4
        [QUOTE=RELawyer;79479]...should each file be its own project? I may have 100 files open at once, which would make my Projects a little overwhelming. Or would a better approach be to have "Closings" as a project with the tasks grouped according to file?
        /QUOTE]

        I'm in a completely different business - university professor - but I'd say each file is a project. Each file might have a different next action, i.e. waiting for, call, on hold, etc. You want to be able to see the actions when you have time to take them, and also scan all the projects and see which ones are stuck.

        If it helps you can also divide the projects list, residential, commercial, with lenders, etc. So that the list of 100 is subdivided and not overwhelming.
        Last edited by dschaffner; 05-29-2010, 09:18 AM. Reason: Typo

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rdgeorge View Post
          Anything that takes more than one action is a project so Yes - have a project for every file, even if the count is 100 or more. In Omnifocus, you can group similar projects into folders which may help. Also, you can add deadlines for some actions (a closing, for example). Also, you can view Next Actions by project and also by Context, which is helpful.

          rdgeorge
          Thank you - the folders is the key. Otherwise, I was having a hard time imagining how I could filter out those files when I needed to see all the other balls in the air.

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          • #6
            Treat it as an Area of Focus

            II have debated this issue for years. I am a solo with a general practice thats leans heavy
            on litigation.
            Here is how I handle it. I have a list that I treat as an Area of Focus Called "Master Case List"
            This list has every active file/client in my office listed, and grouped by type of Case ie

            John smith AA(Auto Accident) SOL Next action
            Joe Blow AA
            Tom smith Deed
            sally misth PI/SF(Personal Injury Slip Fall)
            etc

            Each of this cases have numerous projects on my projects list that are tracted in Outlook via the task bar

            The "Master Case List" is area of focus but it is reviewed at every weekly review

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            • #7
              Yea...

              John Smith and Tom Smith.

              Everything happens to the smiths , doesn't it?

              senuke x | p90x
              Last edited by TyroneCarol; 04-05-2011, 01:12 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by rdgeorge View Post
                Anything that takes more than one action is a project so Yes - have a project for every file, even if the count is 100 or more. In Omnifocus, you can group similar projects into folders which may help. Also, you can add deadlines for some actions (a closing, for example). Also, you can view Next Actions by project and also by Context, which is helpful.

                rdgeorge
                I agree with this logic. This is the approach that I would take, personally. By having all projects in a folder, this kind of serves as a list that you can look through at any time, and give attention to the specific projects as needed. I like to use a separate file for each project, since each is its own task and requires individual attention. Anyone know anything about Data Numen? What can you tell me about them?
                Last edited by Luvworts; 06-08-2011, 06:17 PM.

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