Nirvana HQ

Gardener

Registered
I am not sure I would call these limitations. I have never created an action for a project without creating and defining the project first. It seems backwards to me.
While it does seem backward, it's how I usually do it--it's very rare that I create an empty project first, and then give it its first action. More often, the action comes into existence in some inbox or other, and then I figure out what its project should be.

In fact, that's so true that right now I have to some degree abandoned explicit entry of projects, in my newish (two months? three?) let's-see-if-this-works paper system. But that's a fairly extreme step away from GTD. When I was doing it more conventionally, in OmniFocus, I think the actions still usually came first.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
While it does seem backward, it's how I usually do it--it's very rare that I create an empty project first, and then give it its first action. More often, the action comes into existence in some inbox or other, and then I figure out what its project should be.

In fact, that's so true that right now I have to some degree abandoned explicit entry of projects, in my newish (two months? three?) let's-see-if-this-works paper system. But that's a fairly extreme step away from GTD. When I was doing it more conventionally, in OmniFocus, I think the actions still usually came first.
Fair enough. Maybe I do this more than I think! :D
 

Mateusz

Registered
Today I read Nirvana's help articles which are on their web site.
I did this before but it was a few months ago.
I didn't remember that it is possible to exclude words or tags from search results or searching only in a particular list.
This search engine is a real killer!
 

Mateusz

Registered
I would like to share with you something that I have just figured out. Maybe it will be useful for new users.

Nirvana has an Area of Focus feature. The only problem is that you can see either all the Areas or one Area at the same time. There is no way to choose only Areas that belong to your private or professional life. And here is a simple solution.
What I did is I added a prefix to my professional and private areas.

pro: A
pro: B
pro: C
etc...

priv: A
priv: B
priv: C
etc...

and now I can use a search pattern like this:
"in:next -pro:" as a result I get all items which belong to my private areas.

and conversely "in:next -priv:" will bring all items from professional areas.

What is absolutely great I can also use the traditional filter bar inside these lists to filter contexts, contacts, etc.

So simple, so powerful.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
I would like to share with you something that I have just figured out. Maybe it will be useful for new users.

Nirvana has an Area of Focus feature. The only problem is that you can see either all the Areas or one Area at the same time. There is no way to choose only Areas that belong to your private or professional life. And here is a simple solution.
What I did is I added a prefix to my professional and private areas.

pro: A
pro: B
pro: C
etc...

priv: A
priv: B
priv: C
etc...

and now I can use a search pattern like this:
"in:next -pro:" as a result I get all items which belong to my private areas.

and conversely "in:next -priv:" will bring all items from professional areas.

What is absolutely great I can also use the traditional filter bar inside these lists to filter contexts, contacts, etc.

So simple, so powerful.
Very nice! I have done this as well. The searching capability within Nirvana is outstanding!
 

bcmyers2112

Registered
Last tweet from Nirvana
“Hi! The app is in active development, we've already introduced Desktop beta app this summer and a bunch of updates is coming in the future, including highly demanded feature as API, Attachments, Reminders and some app integrations:)

Who can’t wait? :)
I just followed them but can't see that tweet. Can you post a link?
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
Last tweet from Nirvana
“Hi! The app is in active development, we've already introduced Desktop beta app this summer and a bunch of updates is coming in the future, including highly demanded feature as API, Attachments, Reminders and some app integrations:)

Who can’t wait? :)
To say that I am excited about this is an understatement! I DO believe it will happen and NIrvanahq will rock even more! :)
 

Ken Murray

Registered
I'm just learning the system, but I think tools like this are useful once you have had time to master the system, they give you a greater level of detail to break down and manage your workflow. Early on, you are just trying to get the basics down, so I have been ignoring these tags for the time being. As you are working through it you come across commonalities in next action steps where it makes sense to create a separate tag for organization and batch processing.

I have to say, loving Nirvana. It is a perfect bridge into the GTD system. I have spent so many hours implementing my system in Nirvana though that I am worried about placing so much faith in a system with no offline backups. Will have to learn how to back up my data, unless somebody experienced with the software has a suggestion.
 

Ken Murray

Registered
I agree , Nirvana is really a very good app. I had not realised it had come back into life (basically in 2018) so thanks for pointing this out. Anyone bought their set up guide, which I understand is rather conceptual (which is good), than technical? As I am using the system for a while already I am unsure to which extent this is still helpful, but one never knows. I had also read David Allen´s book twice but second time around was kind of tedious (as it is lengthy to start with).

I think we are seeing here that as technology has evolved so much, the initial need and idea for assigning contexts etc has really shifted. For example, a calls , or online context hardly makes sense any more in my view, as we all have our phone with us all the time ,and can make calls and look things up any minute. Unless you need to get in a specific mindset to make calls, and then profit from being in the category, I can therefore not see a need for this any more.

On the other hand I am finding, as is also discussed elsewhere , the sheer quantity of next actions is overwhelming. I have not been working in the early 90s in a professional environment, so cannot really validate my feeling that quantity must have increased. This is my gut feeling however hence I think the system has to be adapted to take account of this as well . Personally putting aside time to get things done is an absolute must for me, and I am tweaking the system to prioritise as well . For example, I am rather including under next what I SHOULD do next than everything I could do next.

Another question here for Nirvana users : how do you use the projects as opposed to lists? I sometimes make a project into a to do list, but am left with the feeling this is not really the idea either. How do you cope with the fact that there is no possibility for subprojects? I am ending up with a very long list of projects. I don´t always like to seperate by area of focus as I want to have an overview of all of them in order to prioritise, for my life as a whole, rather than work vs personal etc . And how do you account for horizon levels, within the system?
We may work in different industries, and I am relatively inexperienced with the system, but regardless I will let you know what I have done. Having a disorganized project list is draining and it takes up too much mental energy to prioritize and sort mentally, and as you have stated there are often many sub projects or connected projects that need to be grouped together. I have found that the best way to keep things together is with the use of tags/areas. I have a separate tag for each client number, and I put the client number at the front of each project associated with that client, and sort my project list alphabetically. I could apply this same kind of logic for projects that aren't client specific, just by tying it to a common general objective/general project. Area's so far I have designated two specific types of workflow which deserve their own area, general workflow, and personal.

Currently I have hundreds of tags, and for projects I assign a
Client number tag
Type of workflow
Project category (type of project, example: follow up, consultation, prior year, current year, etc.)

and then for next actions I just slap on an action specific tag so they can be organized for batch processing, or processing in a specific time/place where it makes sense.

for area's of focus, it's good to assign an area to everything as it just gives you the ability to filter out external "noise" when you are trying to focus on a specific kind of activity. Or if you have job specific responsibilities that should be tracked separately, it makes sense to give it it's own area. In the "collection" and "clarification" process, you view the system without these filters anyway, as well as during weekly (or daily) reviews. But if you are at home or in an environment where you can't do any work, it makes sense to view only the tasks that are relevant to your environment. If you can't do anything about your work tasks then no need to view them at that time, unless you are planning for the next day, otherwise you are putting them on your mind unnecessarily and making your personal tasks feel like a more unorganized mess, because they are cluttered in amongst everything. If you are at work and working on a specific type of task, then it makes sense to view only the aspects relating to that task, rather than sifting through hundreds of unrelated tasks. Filters are optional, but they give added functionality for sorting and work focus.

I hope that is helpful. It's difficult to explain what I mean by "types of workflow" because that is going to be different for every industry. But for myself, the main responsibilities of my job are to make sure clients personal tax is done on time, make sure corporate tax is done on time, and provide general customer service and follow up through out the year. So currently I have an area for personal tax workflow, corporate tax workflow, general workflow, and personal. I'm sure that will change and evolve over time with more experience with the system. But in the short time I've been using the system I already feel like a different person. from feeling overwhelmed to almost feeling in complete control. This system is a powerful skillset and it's clear a lot of people could really benefit from it. There should be a college course on GTD.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
We may work in different industries, and I am relatively inexperienced with the system, but regardless I will let you know what I have done. Having a disorganized project list is draining and it takes up too much mental energy to prioritize and sort mentally, and as you have stated there are often many sub projects or connected projects that need to be grouped together. I have found that the best way to keep things together is with the use of tags/areas. I have a separate tag for each client number, and I put the client number at the front of each project associated with that client, and sort my project list alphabetically. I could apply this same kind of logic for projects that aren't client specific, just by tying it to a common general objective/general project. Area's so far I have designated two specific types of workflow which deserve their own area, general workflow, and personal.

Currently I have hundreds of tags, and for projects I assign a
Client number tag
Type of workflow
Project category (type of project, example: follow up, consultation, prior year, current year, etc.)

and then for next actions I just slap on an action specific tag so they can be organized for batch processing, or processing in a specific time/place where it makes sense.

for area's of focus, it's good to assign an area to everything as it just gives you the ability to filter out external "noise" when you are trying to focus on a specific kind of activity. Or if you have job specific responsibilities that should be tracked separately, it makes sense to give it it's own area. In the "collection" and "clarification" process, you view the system without these filters anyway, as well as during weekly (or daily) reviews. But if you are at home or in an environment where you can't do any work, it makes sense to view only the tasks that are relevant to your environment. If you can't do anything about your work tasks then no need to view them at that time, unless you are planning for the next day, otherwise you are putting them on your mind unnecessarily and making your personal tasks feel like a more unorganized mess, because they are cluttered in amongst everything. If you are at work and working on a specific type of task, then it makes sense to view only the aspects relating to that task, rather than sifting through hundreds of unrelated tasks. Filters are optional, but they give added functionality for sorting and work focus.

I hope that is helpful. It's difficult to explain what I mean by "types of workflow" because that is going to be different for every industry. But for myself, the main responsibilities of my job are to make sure clients personal tax is done on time, make sure corporate tax is done on time, and provide general customer service and follow up through out the year. So currently I have an area for personal tax workflow, corporate tax workflow, general workflow, and personal. I'm sure that will change and evolve over time with more experience with the system. But in the short time I've been using the system I already feel like a different person. from feeling overwhelmed to almost feeling in complete control. This system is a powerful skillset and it's clear a lot of people could really benefit from it. There should be a college course on GTD.
I teach aspects of productivity (GTD is part of that, of course) to Postdocs and Junior Faculty on my campus and across the country. I was on a webinar presented to an international audience that was very well-received. It is all about focus....and time allocation....and not using your head as an office....
 

Mateusz

Registered
I'm just learning the system, but I think tools like this are useful once you have had time to master the system, they give you a greater level of detail to break down and manage your workflow. Early on, you are just trying to get the basics down, so I have been ignoring these tags for the time being. As you are working through it you come across commonalities in next action steps where it makes sense to create a separate tag for organization and batch processing.

I have to say, loving Nirvana. It is a perfect bridge into the GTD system. I have spent so many hours implementing my system in Nirvana though that I am worried about placing so much faith in a system with no offline backups. Will have to learn how to back up my data, unless somebody experienced with the software has a suggestion.
Nirvana has export all data feature.
It’s in profile page
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Probably awesome. But isn't it ridiculous that Apple makes buggier and buggier software each day and we "love it" for a new system-wide color scheme? :mad: @Oogiem @Longstreet @mcogilvie
The mindless adulation of every little new feature does get tiresome after a while. But Apple’s support is good, and they are also decent on privacy. My seven-year-old Macbook Air runs Catalina just fine too.
 
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