Priority is an Adjective, not a Noun

What are you going to do first?

You have important things to do, right?

We’re all working on important things—so many important things that we need tools, lists, and apps (oh, my!) to keep track of them for us. We revere and reward those who are so busy that they have staff who keep track of their important things for them.

I first heard Merlin Mann speak at an OmniFocus meetup in San Francisco. He was explaining the app’s lack of a Priority field by saying it wasn’t necessary. “If it were really a priority, you’d have already done it.”

I get what he’s saying, but he’s conflating two separate ideas.

Photo courtesy of © iStockPhoto/Krockodilius

The fountain of content must spring up in the mind, and he who hath so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts and multiply the grief he proposes to remove.

—Samuel Johnson, English Writer, 1709–84

The Forecast View in OmniFocus 2 for OS X

Because you don’t do everything at once

OmniFocus has always been great at showing you what you need to do and where you need to do it. You could create a custom perspecitve to see when you needed to do tasks, but it could be a little confusing.

Forecast view first appeared in OmniFocus for iPad, followed by OmniFocus 2 for iPhone. Now OmniFocus 2 for OS X picks up the baton and brings this powerful view to the desktop.

Four Keys to Balancing Work with Life’s Other Roles

The secret is more connections, not compartmentalization.

My first job out of college, work-life balance meant limiting work to its allotted forty hours each week. We took turns being on-call, and if you got paged at 2:00 am because the server crashed, you knew you’d be taking an equal amount of time off the next day because the company wouldn’t pay for overtime. This kept work in its little pigeon-hole.

The problem with that view is that it places work at odds with life. It makes your role as an Employee compete against every other role you have—Parent, Spouse, Amateur Racer, Follower of Christ, Library Volunteer, even just plain having fun. No wonder we drudge into the office, counting the hours until 5:00, and we can’t wait until Friday!

That isn’t work-life balance. That’s work-life détente.

Photo courtesy of © iStockPhoto/marekuliasz

Three Steps to Increase Your Influence and Worry Less

Focus on what you can control. Let the rest go.

About ten years ago, I had a twenty-hour layover in Denver. Conditions there were fine, but a late-April snowstorm was keeping all flights out of Rock Springs. At about 10:30pm, the pilot decided to go for it and time our arrival to coincide with a window in the storm. As it turned out, we missed the window, the blizzard had intensified and we had to return to Denver.

As you can imagine, there was a lot of turbulence on the flight, and many seasoned passengers were gripping their armrests with white knuckles. Their response was understandable: the plane could have crashed and we all would have died.

I was as relaxed as anyone and enjoying the ride. I chose to have a different perspective, and it’s a perspective that can save you a lot of stress, frustration, and even fear.

Photo courtesy of @ iStockPhoto / Kvini