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Omnifocus Project Organization

Published 2012-05-09 @ 12:00

Tagged productivity, omnifocus

This is part of the Productivity Pr0n series.

As I said in my previous post, I have 3 hierarchies of projects: personal, nerd, and work.

Non-nerd Projects

Personal and work are similar in that they’re just bundles of projects and there is no structure beyond that. In personal I have projects like:

  • condo
  • entertainment
  • vacation
  • kittens
  • cooking

and inside there are any number of tasks in there with no sub-projects.

Work is even less structured with a single project called: Tedium. It’s for the stuff I don’t like to do, but have to and without a reminder I won’t get it done.

Nerd Projects

Nerd projects are different. First, I have a lot of them. Currently there are 44 active nerd projects with 12 others currently put on hold. I’m probably also missing some and should automate some sort of audit against my repos. Second, I take a much more active stance with my nerd projects than I do my personal ones. Personal tasks are much more “dumping ground” than my nerd projects. So, in order to maintain the chaos caused by having so many active projects, more engineering needs to be put into my daily/weekly process.

Each nerd project corresponds to an open source product that I work on whether it is one of my own or a group project I contribute to. Each project has at least 2 repeating tasks to schedule release and task triage (assuming I have release responsibility for that project):

omnifocus hoe project

Every project has a priority level for me. For example, hoe and minitest are much higher priority than something like image_science. I have 5 levels of priority for projects. The triage and release tasks repeat on an N weekly basis where N is a prime number corresponding to it’s priority: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7. This helps spread out the work I have to do. I got this idea from the Cicada Lifecycle (how cool is that?!?) and it has helped balance things out tremendously. If I used the priority for the repeat then every 12 weeks I’d have to release all of 1-4 in the same week and every 60 weeks I’d have to release everything. Using primes ensures that things are evenly spread out as you can see in my review table:

          date\ tot 1w 2w 3w 5w 7w 
2012-05-11 Fri:  27  9  7  3  7  1 
2012-05-18 Fri:  19  0  7  4  7  1 
2012-05-25 Fri:  10  0  0  3  6  1 
2012-06-01 Fri:   7  0  0  0  6  1 
2012-06-08 Fri:   8  0  0  0  7  1 
2012-06-15 Fri:   1  0  0  0  0  1 
2012-06-22 Fri:   1  0  0  0  0  1 
         total:  73  9 14 10 33  7 

I’ll talk more about the repeating tasks and how I work on projects in a later post.