Are you struggling with OmniFocus?

Thanks ill check em out as OF3 OSX hasn’t even been begun yet apparently 🙄

end date for repeating task

UPDATE: After two years of using Things, I’ve come back to OmniFocus 3. I did this because my workload increased dramatically, and it was just too much to manage using Things.

I looked at OF3, and found that it was no longer as rigid as it was years ago. I also decided in order to manage the overwhelming number of obligations I now have, to change my own approach to thinking about my productivity.

The first big change was to give up aspirational planning in the tracking system. OF3 is for managing things that I’m doing right now, not for someday/maybe. I keep track of aspirational ideas in an outline called Dynalist, which I heartily recommend. I don’t put anything into OF unless I’ve committed to act on it in the immediate short term.

The next big change was to give up lists for productivity. I loved Things for being able to make a daily itinerary that I could follow step by step each day. There are too many things that change too fast for me to continue that model. Instead of trying to get OF3 to make lists like Things, I just embraced the idea that OF is a database. I’m not looking for a list, I’m looking to filter the database to find the things that I should be doing in the moment.

The third big change was to adopt strict rules for managing the data: No false due dates, sparing use of flags, and tags which allow me to bring up the things that are most urgent or important.

One last crucial difference: I’m avoiding the productivity guru-sphere. I don’t have the luxury of going down the rabbit hole anymore. I have way too many things to do. I did take MacSparky’s Field Guide course just to learn how OF3 works and to pick up some best practices. Aside from that, I’m just trying to find my own workflow and then execute it every day.

OF3 is a lot of work, but it’s really helping my handle this immense workload. I’m still finding my way through my workflow, but it feels more in control.

If my workload were substantially less, I might have stayed with Things. In these new challenging circumstances, OF3 is the right tool for me.


I share your productivity pain. I love T3 but it lacks all the useful features OF3 has. My dream is OF4 when it is eventually is made, has all the speed and agility of T3 whilst keeping all it’s fantastic superpowers!
I can’t see T3 getting anywhere near equivalent to OF3 in the near future due to their maker’s ethos and development cycle.

Aha, how interesting. Your three changes are the exact same things I needed to do to fall in love with OF. It’s much more comfortable now.

I find the app a sort-of strategic dashboard—like you said, a database, not an itinerary or a checklist. It helps me to save and review info that helps you gain and conserve momentum on the work that really matters.

The trouble with data and dashboards is that it’s all too easy to add well-intentioned noise—and we decide to add noise before the app can help us decide not to. Software is limited in its power to help us think better. But it’s amazing how fluid the tool can be when I’m thinking clearly about how to use it.

Some useful tactics I got from MacSparky’s OF3 Field Guide:

  • Make a repeating reminder to check your Flagged Perspective and unflag anything you’re not committed to doing today.
  • Do the same with a Due Perspective and clear all the fake due dates
  • Separate your life into a few big categories (Work, Home, Family, Side Hustle, etc) and make a flagged Perspective isolating each area.
  • Make a LOST perspective to pick up lost projects – showing active projects with a future defer date, or on-hold projects – projects that won’t show up right now.
1 Like

In my experience, you may not need all of those special perspectives if you being consistent with weekly reviews. To me this is one of the most important things to do with any task system. Periodic reviews for pruning, adding new tasks, and overall organization changes. Also great to see what you have in your database that isn’t in your face at the moment but should have some of your attention.

I definitely agree with separating your life into a few big categories. These are my top level of folders.

I have been experimenting with a combination of a Today tag and using the flag since they are both easy to add to a task by swiping on iOS. I use Today for tasks that I want to do Today and they show up in Forecast, and flag is what I am trying to accomplish in the near future.

Just sharing some thoughts.


Good thoughts.

Another best practice I took up from MacSparky was daily reviews. I spread the interval out enough so I only have 6-8 projects per day to review. I’m into week three of OF3, and my review is empty by 10am every day. Feels great, and I have a better handle on what’s going on in my world.


There have been multiple sources going around on the internet saying that things get difficult with Things when the number of items/ projects you want to manage becomes large. OmniFocus is a commitment in a way, it has a learning curve but scales when you need it to. I have been using it for over two years now and I have not found it wanting in anything, save for that it could do with a visual spruce-up and push and sync could work better (not needing the app to be open for sync).

I struggled with OmniFocus initially when I gave into its design wherein it asks me due dates to remind me… now I use genuine due dates and custom notifications for reminders. I am not a hardcore follower of GTD or OmniFocus either, but I enjoy using the app and use it to essentially manage two things:

  1. Tasks I want to do today or in future, in any form - single or grouped
  2. Reminder for tasks recurring or otherwise as and when they need to happen, that cannot go on a calendar (reminder to cancel a membership, get this done, get that done, renew this, etc.

I use OmniOutliner to manage lists that have no due dates (among other things). I could make a document about books to read and add books to it. From this list, I might pick one or a few and bring them in OmniFocus to remind me of what I intend to read in spare time or as priority. Advantage of OmniOutliner is that I can add notes about the books right there, and it serves as a one-stop for that particular perspective (books, in this example).

1 Like

Interesting summary, I’d add:

  • Deciding which of the (possibly thousands) of tasks in OmniFocus I’m going to do today, or schedule for the future.

This is one area where I keep looking for new strategies, and I’m not sure if new features would be of any use - but perhaps that’s just a lack of imagination on my part.

Currently I try and keep things at bay with:

  1. Weekly Review: Identify which projects/tasks can’t be done in the near term and defer them or put them on hold to reduce the volume of available tasks.
  2. Morning Review: Identify which of the available tasks are going to be done today and tag/flag.
  3. Modal perspectives like “Before Work”, “Day Off”, “Evening”, “Downtime”, “Out” that present only tasks from a subset of relevant tags.
1 Like

This is precisely the reason I left Things3 (a fantastic app in it’s own right) and began my dive into OF3. Lots to learn, but I already feel that contextual shift in HOW I manage my workflow is leading to less stress…if not better productivity

1 Like

I am continually experimenting and refining strategies for this. I’m currently testing this approach:

I flag things that I intend to do right away, either today or later this week dpeending on the chaos of the day.
I look at a flagged perspective, and tag the ones that I’m committed to do today
Those tasks show up in a perspective just for that tag.

You could do it the other way around, tagging for today’s candidates and flagging for the selects. I do flagging for candidates because it’s easier to do in Quick Entry on the iPhone.

I’ve used OmniOutliner for years, but for managing these kinds of aspirational and non-urgent things, I’ve converted to Dynalist. I don’t love working in the cloud, but the navigation is amazingly slick. I’ve begged Omni to clone Dynalist’s navigation set, but they have other things in mind.

Dynalist has a fast dynamic search filter so you can hide everything except the entries that contain your word. It also does automatic search filtering on tags, so if you work on an item tagged “put in OmniFocus” you can click the tag and it immediately shows you every other item with the same tag. As you maneuver around your outline, it shows a clickable breadcrumb path so you always know where you are, and you can navigate up the path with a single click. The focus in/focus out controls are also more intuitive and quicker than OO.

I’ve noticed that when you sort actions by “Due & Flagged” you get them in this order

  1. Due and Flagged items ordered by due
  2. Flagged items without a due
  3. Due items ordered by due date
  4. Items neither Flagged or Due

Consequently I now used the flag to indicate which items I’m doing next because flagging makes them float to the top.

At the moment, my today perspective shows me:

  • Available items tagged with my Today flag
  • Available items that are Due Soon
  • Available items that are flagged
  • Ungrouped and sorted by Due & Flagged
1 Like

Thank you for this update. I am in the trial version of OF, have concerns similar to those in the first post, and came across this. Very helpful thread, from beginning to end.