Chipping away at long term projects

I have a number of long-term projects that I chip away at over time. I am “done” for the day if I have nibbled away for a while at the next task in each of these projects. I’d like these long-term projects to show up as due at the end of day, but if I don’t manage to work on one today, I really just want OF to nag me with an alert, and reschedule it for tomorrow (or the next scheduled recurrence; this could be weekly, certain days only, etc.).

Is there an OF option to cause a recurring task to auto-complete when it becomes overdue, thereby causing it to be rescheduled? Could this be done with an applescript?

but then it’s not really complete if it auto-completes…

I like to use OmniFocus as a master task list but then use my calendar to schedule a time block to work on that big long-term project. I might schedule a time block on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Most often, I’ll put it as the first thing to work on today or at least the first thing in the first available time block available.

Scheduling an appointment with myself to work on a long term project has been the game changer for me. I think of the time block as time reserved for my long term projects. Treat it like a doctor’s appointment. Respect it. Otherwise, that time block will be neglected because of the day’s emergencies.

I usually plan one month at a time. I put a milestone or target of what I want to get done by the end of each week as a measuring stick. When my scheduled time block starts, I work towards that target milestone (the results I want by the end of each week).

If I wanted nagging, I would use Due. But I’ve found time blocking to be better for me. Use OmniFocus to keep your lists of actions. When you are working on your time block, just check each task as completed when I knock down each task. Sometimes I’ll get ahead of myself and complete more than I needed for the week. When I go to my weekly review, I recalibrate and change next week’s target.


That could mostly be done with AppleScript, the nagging alert would be a little wonky. I use something like this to track chained events/habits, I use AS to increment a counter in the task name for every day I complete it (or reset it to zero if I miss too many days).

Include a tag in the task name, some character you won’t use in normal usage, then write a script to act on all overdue tasks that contain the tag. You could set it up as a launchd to run automatically at a specific time or you could set it up to trigger it manually (in the morning to get a list of what you forgot to do yesterday). Doing it automatically might end up burying the nagging notification, in triggering it manually you could set up a dialog box to list the applicable tasks.

I have just discovered you can create a tag that appears in the forecast view. This doesn’t quite do what you ask. But, it might be a different way of handling what you want.
I use ‘next’, and have actions from all my projects that I want to do next if I have time.

Thanks for the ideas. I’ve decided to try one of those habit-tracking app for daily nagging. Several of these, including the one I’m trying out (Habitify) have Watch complications showing how many daily tasks are left to do; that’s probably enough of a nag for my purposes. If not, there’s also a reminder service that will notify me with alerts.

I’ll go back to using OF as a way to see what’s next on each project. (But I still think that it would be handier to use OF for daily nagging as well.)

Have you looked at “Meta Tasks” I have a task (flagged repeating weekdays) to check the specific design project I want to work on. None of the project tasks themselves have a defer or due date, so do not clog up the days list. I simply see the “meta task” go to the project decide to work on it or not then check it off.

I also use this system to plan my flow of perspectives ie, “Check communications perspective” or “Clear Office tasks”

I took this system from “Creating Flow with Omnifocus” @Kourosh Dini’s excellent book on mastering not only OF but yourself as well. Can not recommend it highly enough if your sinking in a sea of tasks.


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