Cleaning lint trap: do I want "defer another" or "due again"?

I have a project called “Routine” that has a bunch of single-action items in it. I want to make one called “clean the dryer’s lint trap”, but I’m not sure what kind of repeating style I want.

I set the item to be deferred to two months from now and come due three months from now (giving me a month-long window every single time). When I finally get around to doing it, whether it’s in two months or five months, I want the newly-created task to be deferred two months from then and then come due three months from then.

I read the manual in iBooks and thought “this is like watering a cactus — I don’t want to bother doing it again before it has at least two months to accumulate lint”, but on the other hand, cleaning the lint trap is also like cleaning the kitchen. And it also seems to be a lot like going to the dentist, so I’m asking for help.

I set up the first reminder like this:

The “next deferred” date seems utterly wrong here; it’s one month from now. If I change the item from “defer another” to “due again” the “next deferred” date will be None and the “next due” date will be October 5, two months from now.

Focusing on the UI for a bit, OmniFocus can’t really tell me what my next deferred and due dates will be because I haven’t completed this item yet. It could tell me things like “two months after this item is completed, starting at 8 AM” or “three months after this item is completed, at 5 PM”, but I don’t know what to make of the dates it’s giving me here.

Do I want “defer another”'s functionality, “due again”'s, or do I want the behavior of something that hasn’t been implemented yet?

Possibly related: What’s the difference between “defer another” and “due again” for a task with a due date?

In my view, your screenshot shows what I would expect - you added the task on 8/15 and “deferred another” two months for a next “deferred until” date of 10/15. It appears that the date you added the task acts as the “date last completed” for the purpose of the first iteration. If I understand your question, this is what you want.

However, I would not have included a Due date. I use Due dates sparingly, for tasks with actual due date (e.g., a client needs something filed by XX/XX/XX). Your “lint” task is like my “Schedule haircut” task - I want to be reminded when I should start considering a new haircut, but I don’t really want to see the task until then and I don’t really have a date certain by which it must be completed. (By the way, your question prompted me to look again at my haircut task. I had it as a “repeat every” task, but I have not changed it to “defer another” task. Thanks!)

I hope this is responsive to your question. Good luck!

@adiabatic as you can see from my attached file I have the same task (different wording same meaning). I use both a deferred and due date because I normally accomplish this underrated but vital task before it becomes ‘due’. I have a ‘due’ on it because I want to be warned after a certain period has expired, and not miss it. It is also flagged (always) so that my system won’t miss it.

  • Defer date is another of saying “I don’t want to see this task for at least another xxx hours/days/months/years”
  • whereas due is like saying "I must see this task before xxx hours/days/months/years have passed"

I tend to keep defer/due dates fairly close together for personal productivity reasons. I think you have it set up just fine. Because you have your defer and due dates so close the difference between using ‘defer until’ or ‘due again’ is not so significant anyway.

Do you ‘Flag’ items near to when they become available? I leave certain deferred tasks always flagged to save me forgetting to do it. This means they appear in ‘Flagged’ perspective automatically thereby reducing human error.

NB. As you can see my procedure for cleaning the ‘fluff filter’ has just been completed. I have discovered after a few months at this setting 3 months is unnecessary and I may push it up to 4 months after the next time the task comes around.

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If your action has both a defer and due date, either will work, since the defer and due date are essentially a set distance apart. For example let’s set your defer distance from completion be x, the space between them to be y, and due distance from completion to be z. For examples sake: x, y = 1 week and z = 2 weeks.

Option 1: defer the action one week out, and OF will add y to x for a due date of z (2 weeks).

Option 2: due the action 2 weeks out, and OF will defer the action z - y for a defer date of x (1 week).

Basically if both actions are present, I focus on what is more conceptually important. What is truly the limiting factor? For your dryer lint situation, you could theoretically empty it as often as you wanted, but if you go past the due date you could risk serious damage. For this instance I would set the due date, that way should you ever adjust the defer date the due date is unaffected.