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How do I stop accumulating stuff in OmniFocus that never gets done?

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OmniFocus

Recently one of our OmniFocus Premium Posts customers emailed us with a question:

Hi guys, I bought OF Premium Posts and am loving it. I would like to ask you something. I’m a physician from (redacted for privacy), recently graduated. How do I stop accumulating stuff in OmniFocus that never gets done? Every week I have to read 2 books and do a lot exercises. That’s a lot of things to do. I put them in my OF inbox and transfer them later but I get so busy that I won’t have time to do it. Conclusion: a huge pile of projects and tasks accumulates. Do you have any suggestions on what to do?

-Lorenzo L

This is a fairly common problem. You have a lot of things to do, you put them in your OmniFocus inbox, and before you know it you get so busy that stuff just accumulates in there and never gets done.

While I gave Lorenzo a tailored answer for his situation, I wanted to share the general solution for all OmniFocus users.

The general solution is to perform daily reviews and maintenance.

That way you ensure you stay on top of things – especially when you’re really busy. When you’re not so busy, you can get away with doing a review once a week and maintain your OmniFocus setup that way. But when life gets busier, you really need to shorten the review and maintenance cycle.

This means:

  • you clear your OmniFocus inbox every day (sometimes twice a day)
  • you perform an OmniFocus review every day (we’ll show you exactly how to do that effectively in OmniFocus Premium Posts)
  • you live and die by the 2-minute rule

If you’re unfamiliar with the 2-minute rule – as you go through your OmniFocus setup, anything that takes less than 2 minutes to do should be taken care of right away. Otherwise, things will pile up and you’ll get overwhelmed.

When you look at your lists and there are 25+ items on there but each items takes less than 2 minutes to do, it still feels overwhelming, scary and frightening even though it’s technically not a lot of work. You want to avoid this “list paralysis” by enforcing the 2-minute rule as much as possible and performing your daily reviews.

If you’re in a similar situation as Lorenzo, your daily review and maintenance might take 1–2 hours. That’s because you’ll have to play catch up, process a lot of things and complete a lot of the little things so you make room for the bigger things to come.

After a week or so, your daily review shouldn’t take more than 10–15 minutes or so. You’ll notice that your reviews get shorter and shorter over time, which is then a sign that you’re on top of things and that MAYBE you can get back to doing weekly reviews.

In the meantime, do your daily reviews and perform daily maintenance so you’re on top of things and get things done even though you’re really busy. When you combine that with the AE system we cover in OmniFocus Premium Posts you’ll have no more problems letting stuff pile up.

-Thanh

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