Defer single instance of a repeating task


#1

I often defer repeating tasks if I don’t have time or want to work on the item on the day it showed up as available. When I do this, I am breaking the original defer and due date relationship? I would want the original relationship I created to be maintained if possible.


#2

This is what I use.


#3

A shame no native solution exists…


#4

True. Also this is one repeating feature I feel like Things does so much better than OmniFocus. You get a template for the repeat and then a separate item so I can move the separate item wherever without adjusting the template.


#5

If you primarily use iOS for OmniFocus like me, this is my method:


#6

I’m frustrated that there isn’t a native solution.


#7

Easiest method I’ve found, which doesn’t require scripting: duplicate the repeating task. Mark the original as done—it’ll repeat as per its original schedule. Turn off the repeat on the duplicate and alter the defer and due dates as you wish.


#8

I sent a feature request about this to omnifocus@omnigroup.com a few weeks ago. I suggest you do the same – the more, the better.


#9

I agree that OmniFocus doesn’t always handle repeating tasks in the most intuitive way, but I’m not sure I fully understand what you’re trying to accomplish here. Could you give some specific examples? For example, do you have a task that you would like to defer until the 20th of each month and be due on the last day of each month, but you would also like to change the defer date of any given repetition without affecting how future repetitions are deferred? If so, I agree that there may not be a native solution.

If, on the other hand, you just have a task that you want to repeat on (i.e. defer until) the first of every month, you should be able to use these repeat settings:

You can then change the defer date of any given instance of this task without affecting how it repeats in the future. In other words, at the moment I think OmniFocus is flexible enough to decouple a given task’s defer date or its due date from its repeat settings, but not both at the same time…


#10

I think that should be set to Repeat from This Item’s: Assigned Dates, rather than completion, no?


#11

It depends. As long as you complete the task by the end of the month, the behavior should be the same, but if you don’t complete the task by the end of the month, you will skip a repetition by selecting Completion instead of Assigned Dates.

For example, let’s say you have a task that is deferred until June 1st and is configured to repeat on the first of every month from its completion. If you don’t complete the task until July 2nd, the next repetition will be on August 1st.

Now let’s say you have a task that is deferred until June 1st and is configured to repeat on the first of every month from its assigned dates. If you don’t complete the task until July 2nd, the next repetition will be on July 1st, even though that date has already passed.

At least, that’s my understanding of how the system works. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


#12

That’s also my understanding.


#13

I agree also.

Here’s a variation on the above example: I have some routine tasks I try to do weekly at the weekend, but I can postpone or skip if necessary.

  • I set the repeat to 1 week, on a Sunday, from the item’s completion.
  • I also set a defer date which is on a Friday, and a due date which is on a Sunday. ‘Schedule the Next’ is based on the Due Date.

If I have an instance that was due several weeks ago and which I didn’t get to, and mark it as complete only today (June 21st), I get a new instance which is due the next Sunday (June 23rd):


#14

Yes, I have a few tasks like this, too. I think that @adrian_iz’s problem is that you cannot change the defer date of any of those tasks without affecting future repetitions. In your example, if you were to manually defer a single instance of your task from Friday (June 21st) to Saturday (June 22nd), all future occurrences would end up being deferred to Saturday, as well.


#15

Right. In that case the only solution I can see is to make a one-off instance (to defer it) by duplicating the current instance, removing the repeat settings of the copy, and marking the current instance complete.


#16

Comment:

Whenever I embark on a new project I always perform a mock-up run of the settings with particular care for repeats. It’s not that I don’t trust OF but rather because I don’t trust myself! I always feel assured that after a mock-up test my project will behave as I wanted it too. It gives you the chance to ensure other important settings are as one would expect them to be. The organisational strength of Omnifocus is without doubt, but therein lies the conundrum of tailoring the system to perform any given set of needs.
I’ve used all versions of this excellent software for a very long time and still learn something every other week!


#17

I stand corrected. @revstu and @kansaichris, you are both right. I didn’t notice that you had an actual day of the week specified. If the “1” in the month was not highlighted it would automatically go out 30 days from when you completed the task, not to the next repeat date. (When you select from “assigned dates,” OF will repeat the task to the very next due date on the calendar even if you are passed it.)


#18

It really is a shame that that appears to be the only solution…


#19

It’s not a solution but I make good use of the newer notifications abilities of Omnifocus 3. For repeating projects/tasks of any complexity I give myself warning notifications at set intervals in the days/weeks leading up to any given due date.

This ability to customise notifications was one feature I longed for in OF3 and have not been disappointed, since it was implemented. There is talk of ‘nagging notifications’ in the pipeline, another feature long overdue.

Things 3 handles this type of repeat better than OF (as @kennonb pointed out), but that particular strength is also a weakness as it makes the early completion of repeating tasks an absolute nightmare, whereas this is a basic strength of OF3, where early completion is as simple as locating the repeating task and checking it off.

I suppose no system is perfect, each having particular strengths and weaknesses. OF3’s relatively fast development cycle has never failed to surprise me and who knows if this particular issue could be sorted in the future?


#20

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