This is the first post in a series of posts about OmniFocus. I hope you enjoy these articles.
Life has been nothing but a series of dumpster fires that comes in waves. Sometimes I succeed in putting out. Other times it gets away from me and burns until I finally have it under control. I’ve seen my life fall into four major circles that are in a constant between each other:
I’ll take a quick tour through the four circles that have my attention:
Life - All the distractions and inputs come at me in waves from this crazy little thing called Life. My spouse might need me to get some groceries on my way home. A leak sprung up in the kitchen faucet and I need to pick up some new hardware to fix it. My kids need me to buy a birthday present for a party this weekend. The boss or a client plops a big project folder on to my desk and I have to shove my carefully planned day down the toilet when I have to turn my full attention to the newest dumpster fire. This is an area that I don’t really have control over. Life generates projects and one-off tasks that fill up my queue easily.
Admin - I have a lot of boring tasks that I try to ignore but I can’t. The dirty dishes piling up in the
sink. The pile of dirty laundry gathering up in my laundry baskets. The mold and grime that accumulates in the bathroom. The refrigerator needs to be replenished with new groceries on a weekly basis. The weekly/monthly status reports for my work projects. I can ignore these administrative (or repeating) tasks but there are people in my life who hold me accountable for these various maintenance tasks and projects. It keeps piling up until I roll up my sleeves until I start tackling these small rocks one by one.
Big Rocks - These are my pet projects. They are not administrative in nature. These are a group of tasks that will accomplish a goal to improve my life in one way or another. Maybe it’s a workflow documentation project that will systematize a series of repeatable actions so that I can get consistent results every time I need it. Or it might be building a brand new guest room so I can have a place for my guests whenever they visit my family. I am always looking forward to working on my Big Rocks.
Someday/Maybe - These are all of the pet projects that I am not working on in the next 7 days. Most of the new projects that gets introduced me by “Life” will end up in Someday/Maybe. Very few new projects start as an active project unless it is a goal that needs to be accomplished immediately.
Ignore at your peril.
I needed a way to make sure my dumpster fire doesn’t turn into a FUBAR situation. I’ve been guilty of ignoring one circle and concentrating on other circles many times. I might get so caught up in a pet project in the Big Rock circle that I will basically ignore all of my admin tasks. My maintenance tasks in the Admin circle will start piling up like dirty laundry in the corner and dirty dishes in the sink. I will have days where Life just gets in the way of things and I can’t make any progress with my Big Rock projects or my admin tasks. Oftentimes, I need to put a currently active Big Rock project back into Someday/Maybe so that I can turn my attention back to my admin tasks or Life in general. Or I have a Someday/Maybe project that really needs a kickstart so I can get going on something that has been stewing for a long time. It’s time to manage my dumpster fire!
I’ll be posting more about managing the different circles of my life and providing links here.
Part 3. A different variation of my dashboard or Today perspective (coming soon)
Part 4. Performing a routine review of my projects. - My morning review routine that keeps me informed of my various projects and contexts.
Pitch in and post your task management app workflow. It’s always cool to see systems from you guys and gals. Then we can all learn from each other. One OmniFocus workflow is available in the Pro section of the Guild as @joebuhlig shows you his workflow here