Life Design - Organize
As I work through the things I need to do, I have so far collected them in one place (my preferred productivity software) and clarified what needs to be done and also how I will go about doing it.
So I now have a list of tasks that have been assigned a type and I understand what I have to do. I now need to organize my tasks in such a way that allows me to see what's next. With Omnifocus as my go to productivity app, I can sort and filter the things to do by project, by type and group similar tasks together. For example, if I have identified that I can do a number of tasks at my local coffeeshop, then I can use Omnifocus to just show me all the tasks I can do over coffee without the distraction of a long list of things.
I can then start applying dates to my tasks, if I so desire, as a further means to order and prioritize my work. The obvious ones will be those tasks that are due by a specific date and I can add those to my tasks using the software. You could add dates to a simple written task list or add the tasks to a diary or planner as an option to using my digital method.
Now what really starts to help, the time when I can really understand my work to do, is when I can identify when I can start the task so that I can make sure that I have enough time before the due date to get it done. GTD and Omnifocus calls this a "defer" date and it is a further way of time stamping individual tasks so that they either have a start date, end date or both.
The principle for doing all of this remains to ensure that when I am ready, I can focus on the next thing to do and stay efficient without distraction or interruption.
Omnifocus has a great deal of depth and complexity to organize the work I have to do and to customize various views to see what’s next and what’s coming up. I use a combination of the Forecast view in the app which tracks my tasks to start or due on that day and those that are coming up in the week ahead.
There is also the functionality to overlay your schedule so that you can see how your tasks are scheduled against the time you have available. I do this from time to time but I have to be careful that I don't spend all of my time organizing my hundreds of tasks and then run out of time to actually action any! You will have to decide if this is too much for your own system but check out my screencast on micro-scheduling to follow as a way to align tasks and your availability.
In addition to reviewing my work by date, Omnifocus provides the ability to filter and prioritize using tags that you would have applied at the capture or clarify stages in the process.
As an example, I will add tags to suit specific regular meetings or individuals that I will touch base with, so that in that moment I can quickly access the relevant items in Omnifocus for that meeting or person.
This simple screencast shows how I organize my work to do in Omnifocus.
I should point out that my approach has developed over many years and I understand how to use Omnifocus to meet my needs. For some my system will be overkill and I will not try to persuade you otherwise. Finding a system that works for you and one that you can be disciplined to use is the most important decision to make.
Please share your thoughts and comments on what works for you on the Life main page.