Dashboarding – how well are you doing?

Creating value for an organization and in my private life is my core business. Therefore, I have designed my “way of working” according to my value creation principles and build a trusted and enabling system to support my work. But one thing was still missing…

Are my goals still valid? Do I have the Outcome in line with my Goals? How many tasks are available? Am I on top of my commitments? Did I delegate enough to my team? Is my system still trusted etc.? All relevant questions. To get the answers, I have to open every app. My task lists (in OmniFocus), my notes (in Drafts 5), my commitments (in my Fantastical calendar), and my documents in the reference folder (In DevonThink) are in a “black box.”But now, no longer anymore…

Last year Apple introduced iOS 14 and iPadOs 14 widgets. You can enjoy customizing the look of your iPhone and or iPad. I like that this has let users feel a closer connection to their technology.

At the first release of the widgets’ concept, I wondered what I could do with this functionality. Is it too nerdy for me? At the same time, I embraced the concept of contextual computing, which made it possible to navigate my devices directly to the point where I want to do something without opening apps and any distraction within these apps. See my blog post here.

I have embraced the concept, and I am now using a couple of widgets. I am a huge fan of Scotty Jackson’s work, and I have altered some of his builds to my needs. So if I want to know how I am doing, I look on the Home Screen of my iPhone or iPad and see how it looks below.:

The iPhone

On the top with “+,” I can enter a journal entry or tasks directly. Write a note in Drafts, refresh “Get to it” or refresh the Rings.

I use the Rings to identify progress on “due tasks,” progress on “Waiting for and due” and how I am doing with keeping the system “trusted.” Get to It, contains my today’s next actions list (due, flagged, and available tasks).

When I swipe to the left, my second dashboard appears. I see how many tasks I have in the Inbox with Count and function. How many tasks for today, how many communication tasks still are pending, and how many notes in my Drafts Inbox to process. On the second row, I can open my calendar directly, enter a task or journal entry, open OmniFocus, or refresh Show up or refresh this widget.

Show up shows all pending calendar commitments for today. And below, you will find a widget stack where you can scroll graphs on how much processed this week, how I spend my time on tasks and meetings, how much time I have, to do the tasks which are planned for today, division of priorities, due vs. open, delegation ratio.

On the iPad, I use a similar concept, shown below:

iPad – dashboard

How it shows – stacked widgets

The available Shortcuts

I have 15 Shortcuts that are building up the widgets on the dashboards. Please find below the overview and links to the Shortcut for downloading. These Shortcuts are based on how I have set up my OmniFocus, which you can read here. If you want to reuse the Shortcuts, you need to adjust to your setup. So, I give you the links to the Shortcuts for inspiration only.

01. Day widgets

OmniDay quantity shows today’s tasks and can be downloaded here.

OmniDay time shows the same, but now in duration minutes, it can be downloaded here.

OmniDay NA shows the next actions per Total, First available, Available, and projects where no NA’s are identified (project are stalled). The Shortcut can be downloaded here.

Charty Omni Rings shows the tasks “due before tomorrow” as total and how much you have completed today so far. Same for “waiting for and due.” Trusted is about how many actions I have completed of the total tasks at hand for checking that the system remains trusted. See the blog post about the concept of a trusted enabling system. The Shortcut can be downloaded here.

02. Week widgets

Omniweek Qty gives me an overview of the tasks (purple) and meetings (red) I have completed. The star is today and then goes back six days. The Shortcut can be downloaded here.

OmniWeek Time does the same but now not reporting in quantity but in time (duration time of meeting and tasks in minutes). Here to download.

03. Dashboard widgets

Dashboard. I have a different dashboard setup on iPhone vs. iPad. So I am running a device depending on Shortcut first and then runs either the iPad or iPhone version. It shows (left to right) on row 1. number of Inbox items, Today’s next actions, Waiting for and due, number of notes in Drafts Inbox. 

  1. The second row, opening Calendar, Inbox, Today next actions, my Journal and refreshing this Dashboard.
  • Dashboard device dependence here
  • Dashboard iPhone here
  • Dashboard iPad here

The header widget is the widget on top of the iPhone. You can easily add a task, write a note in Draft 5, refresh this dashboard, and refresh Omni Rings. You can download the Shortcut here.

The get to it widget shows my “Today next action” list. You can download the Shortcut here.

04. Status widgets

Delegation ratio indicates how much of my total task on hand I have delegated to my team. It shows how I am leading. The Shortcut can be downloaded here.

Due vs. Open indicates how many “burning” actions I have, compared with total tasks. The Shortcut can be downloaded here.

Tag division helps me assess, using the Eisenhower matrix, how the divisions are between f.e. “1. important and urgent”. If everything is Important and Urgent, I have to recalibrate my thinking (and doing). (OmniFocus setup – Tags). You can download the Shortcut here.

Before starting every day in the Reveille process, I determine if I have scheduled my tasks for today in a manner that fits in my available time. It shows the total amount of working minutes for this day and how much I will spend in meetings. So you can determine how much time is available. I summarize the duration time of tasks for today to see how much time is remaining in the day for “other stuff.” In this example, nothing and need to extend my day or take actions from my today’s next action list. The Shortcut can be downloaded here

How to achieve that information is actual?

All content in the widgets is being created by running a Shortcut. In the Shortcuts app, you can schedule specific Shortcuts in the Automation section of the Shortcut app.

Apple has added the option to run a Shortcut silently, which allows you to run automation even if the device is locked. “Ask Before Running should be switched on.”

To update all my widgets, I have created one Shortcut called Update widget routine. This routine is running all the 15 shortcuts at 00:00 and every two hours next. Please note that Automation scheduling is (for me) not synchronizing between iPhone and iPad, so you have to set this up twice. On the iPhone, I start at 01:00 and every two hours next. You can download the Shortcut here.