Clear priorities straightened out my OmniFocus

12. september, 2012 — 4 Comments

I used to do a lot of research on getting things done and what kind of To Do list program I needed to become a success and have a mind like water and total control. It didn't work.

I used TheHitList, OmniFocus, Things, Taskpaper, everything.

I read countless blogs on productivity, Books on getting OmniFocus flowing, and tweaked my system endlessly.

And then something happened...

A clear and determined focus

What made my To Do list set up work wasn't fiddling with the system, it was gaining clarity and focus about my priorities.

This spring my company was struggling. We were behind budget and something had to be done. The leadership team of the company united behind a single goal. We came to share a clear understanding of what constituted success. And from that day everyone in the team of leaders had a clear vision for what we needed to do.

This change has meant a lot for me personally in my work. Getting close to failure showed me how much I wanted to succeed. And this has been the end of a lot of wasted project time. Every time I consider a new project I think: ”Will this help my company get stronger?”

A narrow focus equals simpler system

This has created a remarkable change in my To Do list program. What used to be difficult is now easy.

It's because I say no to a lot more projects. If they don't help me achieve success with my business I really cant be bothered. This might be interesting? I think not!

This doesn't mean I'm not looking into new stuff. If something has potential I dive in. It's just that I do it on purpose and with commitment and I see things through to the end.

So now my OmniFocus setup is a lot simpler. Gone are all the recurring to do’s and clever ploys for managing everything. It's just a list of the projects that I want to achieve.

Using OmniFocus perspectives ad hoc

This has also made it a lot simpler to use omniFocus. Instead of using the power of the program to make things infinitely complicated, I use the power program to make things infinitely simple.

Instead of thinking all day about what are the main perspectives that I need in my life, I just make the perspectives that I need at the moment and use those.

So I don't worry about making a general perspective that I would want to come back to everyday, I just say to myself: ”What are the projects that I need to focus on?” And then I make an ad hoc specific perspective and save it as my ”focus perpective,” bound to alt-ctrl-3, and then I start working.

I ruthlessly delete things that I don’t want to do, I don’t keep all the stuff that I don’t know the meaning of. If something is old and probably will not get done I just delete it.

I find that this has made a big difference. OmniFocus is no longer an overwhelming place of chaos, it has become an effective tool in my daily work.

Jens Poder

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4 responses to Clear priorities straightened out my OmniFocus

  1. Great suggestions on working with Omnifocus. Learn what works for you and keep it simple and focus on the doing. Your deleting process sounds very similar to what I wrote here about too. Once I became acustomed to not being afraid to delete a task or project I was able to really be honest and stay focus on what I wanted and needed to accomplish. Cheers Michael.

  2. It's a necessity for me to get rid of stuff. I tend to use distraction-free apps like Byword if I need to get work done.

    Omnifocus is everything but distraction-free. The focus function helps. But individual lists of more than 10 items tends to make my brain crawl with ants.

    It's deleting or retyping stuff into apps like taskpaper :)

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