Hi there! Sorry if this has been asked before. I tried searching, but nothing quite fit the bill.
I’d like to set up a custom perspective that shows me all tasks due today (or past due), along with everything flagged, along with everything that has a deferred date of today (or earlier). Is this possible? Thanks very much!
Why, you ask? Here’s how I use OmniFocus:
I’m pretty conservative with due dates, and only apply them to tasks which truly require them. I use defer dates on tasks that I need to put on my radar (and leave them off tasks that can sit around for a while longer – or at least until the next review). I use flags to mark tasks that don’t have a due-date, but are still of a higher priority than the others (sort of like saying, “it would be great to get this done today, but no one is going to die if I don’t.”). I’d like to see all of these tasks grouped together since they make up the pool of options for the day. Hopefully that made sense. I know there’s other ways to do this, but they all require additional steps. I’d like to be able to turn on the app, click the perspective, and go. I know I can mark those lingering tasks as being “on hold” so they don’t show up in certain perspectives, but I don’t really consider them on hold… I know…I know… it’s all semantics.
I have a “today” perspective that can also be called “Today’s Focus” with the following settings:
Then I create another perspective called “Today’s Options” with the following settings:
First, visit the Forecast perspective to see if there are any deferred actions that you should flag. Use the flag as you described in your first post (not due but still higher priority and I want to work on it today). Ideally, you should click “View” icon (the eye icon) and make sure “Show deferred items” is checked on. You’ll be able to see any items that are deferred on a calendar date in addition to due tasks.
The “Today’s Options” perspective shows a list of all available actions for you to choose from. This is a “planning” perspective. Don’t work from this list. Flag a handful of actions to work on today.
Now, you can switch to “Today’s Focus” and it will show all of your due/overdue/flagged tasks to work. This is a “doing” perspective. Work on all of the tasks listed in “Today’s Focus” perspective.
When you have finished as much as possible in “Today’s Focus”, switch back to “Today’s Options” and flag a few more tasks. These newly flagged tasks will appear in “Today’s Focus” and you can go back there. Rinse and repeat.
Almost same as here, main difference being my “Planning” perspective (equivalent to @wilsonng 's “Today’s Options”) has sort set to “Flagged”, so all selected tasks jump to the top of the list, making it easy to identify them faster.
It looks like you’re all working in similar ways – two perspectives (one for overview and planning, and the other for doing.) I like this approach a lot, and have set up a couple perspectives based on your suggestions. I had something similar prior to posting, but I was going about it the wrong way. This was very helpful! Thanks very much, guys!
+1 @ediventurin , sorting by flagged was my original plan. But I put more emphasis on due items (especially overdue). I like to start working on overdue or due items first before I work on my flagged items I figured due stuff was more important. Flagged stuff are things I want to focus on after I do my chores.
Bumping topic almost 2 years old because it is still valid…
I also want this behavior. It is the the behavior that Things’s “Today” view uses. It’s a dual purpose view because it shows you all flagged tasks, plus any starting or due soon tasks. You can then dismiss those tasks or keep them in your today view if you wish. If you don’t view it for a few days, the overdue and “deferred until 3 days ago” tasks are still visible.
My favorite reason for having this perspective is that I know if I look here NOTHING will get by me. Even if I was lazy and didn’t check the perspective for 3 days. I don’t have to check a perspective for deferred tasks, a forecast perspective for upcoming and due tasks, and then a flagged perspective for flagged tasks. For the way I work, it’s simple.
The closest thing I’ve seen in OF is the iOS Today Widget’s options. You can set it to display: Deferred until today, due today, due soon, flagged. Unfortunately there are no perspective options to replicate this view. And there are no options to display deferred dates that are in the past.
I also use a perspective for planning and another for doing. To me, this is more about a single perspective for reviewing due and deferred tasks to give peace of mind.
From what I’ve seen, some folks like to use defer as a way to “remind” them about a project. This becomes an endless cycle of deferring a project when it should just be called a Somday/Maybe project and set to on hold.
Personally, if I am not going to work on a project in the next 2 weeks, I’d just set the status to “on hold” and then look at the projects when it shows up in the review cycle.
I think the issue is the friction caused by having to defer and flag if I want something to show up when it’s doable and when I’ve committed to doing it. My week is regular; I’m a teacher. I have extra prep time on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I defer bigger actions to those days when I’m planning my week.
I don’t want to think about it again, I just want those things there on the day. But to do that, I have to pre-flag them after deferring them. If I could see this ‘OmniPerspective’, with due, deferred and flagged items, it would simplify things a lot.
As an aside, I work 95% on iOS and whilst I love OmniFocus, it’s difficult to deal with on iOS. Therefore any friction caused drives me away from my system. Since going iOS exclusive in April, I’ve ‘fallen off the bandwagon’ twice and just started using a different app.
Yeah, I guess. I just look at tasks as available or not, and when they became available (although I do like the concept of temporal locality and looking at stuff added a long time ago as candidate for deletion or demotion to Soneday/Maybe).
Interesting to see how differently folks use the tool sets and the variations in workflow.
That makes sense. I guess I would treat those things as due, since I know I have to do them on those days. But yeah, I guess an iOS-only workflow might make me think differently about everything. I think I set up my days from my Mac mostly, and then iOS, for me, is almost exclusively for working off my Today and Errand perspectives.
Yes, essentially a reminder. Periodic projects that are due on certain dates but need lead time:
Celebrating a birthday.
Writing a quarterly update.
All such projects require a significant amount of work and are due on certain dates in the future, but you actually have to start thinking about them much earlier than their due date.
In things, all deferred tasks (well, “scheduled”) collect in a certain area. You then choose to either begin the task or defer it again. You are guaranteed to be reminded that your project is starting.
Sure, you could tackle this by creating an event in a separate calendar app or set the due date to the start date, but neither is as simple.
You’re right. It is basically a reminder. Although I disagree it should be called someday/maybe. I also have no endless deferral loop that you speak of.
The project is actually scheduled, because I want it to begin on a day. If it doesn’t I will be unable to finish the project on time. This isn’t the same as “someday/maybe” to me which is an unspecified time that may or may not arrive.
For my routine at work, I’m in complete agreement. For my home routine, I find this doesn’t work for me.
I try my best to review regularly, I’m stretched thin at home and outside of work. Some weeks I just miss review. Some days I don’t check all my perspectives. In the case you’re suggesting I will miss the fact that I should have started deferred project XYZ. In the case of the perspective in the OP, it will be immediately visible.
Yes, I should check OF every day and review every week in a perfect world, but that’s not reality for me.
@flight16: Thanks for the clarification. Yes, I do use deferred for something that is scheduled. But there has been usage of deferred dates as a “tickler” to remind me of something. This is something that can be handled in the review perspective.
I also use the deferred to schedule projects to become available on a certain date.
Curious how you handle this type of task? I’m running in to the same issues others have described: I’m worried (for example) that if I set my “Prepare Taxes” project to Defer to February 15th, and I don’t look at the Forecast perspective until the 16th, I could potentially miss that project for a few days/weeks if for some reason I don’t check my other perspectives. I think another way to look at this is that it should be possible to do everything from one perspective (specifically the Forecast) - if you so desired.
I love the idea of this. I’ve been using OF for years, and I tried implementing this probably a year or two ago, but it has one problem. If the Project or Task repeats, the flagged status remains on it after it is completed. So the next time the task repeats, it is already flagged so it shows up in my “Today” perspective. After a while of this going on the flagged status became useless. This is an instance where in theory I could unflag before completing a task, but this is less than ideal.
Next: this shows me all available actions, grouped by context, excluding contexts like Errands, which require specific locations
Today: this shows me all due, due soon, or flagged available tasks, also grouped by context
Generally, I look at Next, choose what I want to do, then flag it for my Today perspective, then work from there.
I use Forecast to look at days to make sure the number of tasks on a specific day isn’t overwhelming, as well as to watch for due dates, but I wouldn’t say I work from it.
For your example, then, I would defer the taxes project, and its tasks would show up in my Next perspective when they are available. I’d probably also have a due date on it, so maybe it’s deferred until mid-Feb, but it’s due end of Apr.
Generally, I don’t care what date tasks become available; I am more interested in the binary state of available or not on a day to day basis. If I really care about paying attention to something starting on a specific day, I might make a task in this project called “Review project for tax planning”, flag it, and ensure it is deferred to the time the project is deferred to. That tasks then jumps right in to my Today perspective on its defer date.