Almost one month ago I decided that my daily work schedule should be better organized. I came to this decision because the things to do were increasing and I cannot get-things-done without a precise order. So, I downloaded one of the most famous software to get-things-done (GTD): Omnifocus.
In almost one month (I’m just a beginner), Omnifocus completely changed the way I work and study. And yes, in a better way. Let me summarize in a few steps what I’ve done:
- First step, define a Perspective for each need. I created a Perspective named as the company I’ve been working for in my thesis, and two others: “University” and “Home”. I also created Perspectives named “Due Soon” and “WIP”. The Work in Progress Perspective is very useful: basically I flag an action when it assumes the creation of a document (in the near future). So, in the WIP, I’m able to track every task in which I need to produce a physical output soon.
- Second step, create various projects and contexts to organize each actions. You need to focus for a while and think about what you have to do. Each single step. According to the GTD method, each single action should lead to a tangible progress in the project. So, I focused and defined many little steps I needed to do in order to accomplish the projects. Also I classified the contexts based upon the “hardness of the work”: Fresh, Hard, Epic. This step has been a radical change in the way I organize my days. Previously I’ve never thought about the things I’ve to be done (and in which order), I simply acted without any logical priority. The GTD method is much more efficient. And don’t forget: “If an action could be done in 2 minutes, do it now”.
- Third step, force yourself to use “due dates”. I know it’s hard sometimes, but it’s the only way to follow an effective and productive work schedule. Force yourself to work even if the dead line is far away (months, weeks). Think about what you’ve to do and schedule: organize the work matching the available days. Even if the dead line seems so far, you’d better work in advance until late evening (or during the weekends), instead of regret the long breaks you had when you’re already late and the dead line is near. To do this, I use “due dates” to force myself to work even if I’m apparently in advance.
- Fourth step, scheduling in advance is cool, but take your breaks. Don’t forget to live your life. I don’t want to isolate myself and work every day, so I try to take a break when possibile.
I’ve been following these steps this month (it’s obvious but not so easy to implement) and I’m more than happy. I’ve noticed that the results I accomplish are better, and even if the tasks are increasing in number and getting more brain-intensive, I can always find a way to organize and get things done. Moreover, Omnifocus syncs all your actions and projects with a private server of Omnigroup, then you don’t have to worry about data loss.
One final observation: I bough the Pro version of Omnifocus, the only that worth your money. The basic version of Omnifocus is quite ridiculous in my (personal) opinion. Maybe they should consider to redefine the pricing and have only one version: the Pro. If you want to give it a try, there’s a demo version. And no, Omnifocus is not made for the grocery list.