Deferred and Due Dates

Hello, I am new to OF (a past Things3 user and a little dabbling in 2Do). I am a consultant and trying to figure out how to best organize dates for my projects and tasks so that I can review work due in advance of each month to try and evenly disperse the weekly work. What is causing some difficulty is that I always know what months my reports are due, but don’t know the specific day of the month they are due until that month has begun and therefore I am finding the repeating tasks difficult as well.

For example, agency 1 has 6 reports due in November, February, May, and August. I won’t know what day November’s reports will be due until the first week of November. I thought it would be best to set a defer date of 11/1 and a due date of 11/30 and then update the due date when I have the actual one. But when I set these dates up and enter it as a repeating task, the dates are wrong. Are there any work-arounds for this? Thanks in advance!!

Here’s a suggested workaround - set up a repeating schedule for each client with a “placeholder” due date as the 1st of the month (or whatever date in the month you’re likely to know the due dat for the report) - that gives you the reminder that agency A needs a report in November. Make the task name something like “Set delivery date for agency A report”.

Then, when that task falls due, you know the reporting date - at that point you create the one-off task to deliver that month’s report.

Does that make sense? It means that you get reminded that there’s a report that month, and get to schedule the prep of the report to fit the particular constraints of that period.

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That’s a great work around and won’t be difficult to implement! Thanks so much! Now one more question if I may – would you suggest “writing the report” as one-off tasks? I currently have sub-folders created for each agency name under a master “work” folder. That way I can add tasks for each agency under the folder. A few hours ago, I listed each agency as a project name and then each client name as the level beneath that (child?). But then my custom perspectives showed my clients/agencies as tasks even though there were to items to complete for some of them. I also wrestled with the idea of creating a context for each agency name but I decided against that.

Sorry for my brain dump. This is so much more advanced than Things3 (but I am loving it!). I just can’t wait until it’s all set up. I am hoping to finish all the set-up by tomorrow so Monday’s work won’t be distracted. :)

  1. Yes, I’d have “writing the report” as a one-off (not repeating). The repeating placeholder (e.g. “Agency A report due this month”) is your reminder that you need to do it that month. Then “Write November Agency A report” becomes a plannable one-off task.
  2. I would have Agency as a folder (subfolder of Work is OK) and each Client as Project in the relevant Agency folder. Firstly that keeps your task perspectives clean, but also the Agency isn’t really a project; in classic GTD, it’s not a context either, although that doesn’t have to matter. A folder is, I think, the right choice.

Hope that helps

I would use a Project called “@Admin> Work” at the top-level folder. The Project would be a single action list and set to do not complete when tasks are done. Inside, I would create tasks similar to this …

  • set the due date for Agency Bob Smith’s report (repeat every three months, defer until first of month, flagged)
  • set the due date for Agency Mary Jane’s report (repeat every two months, defer until 15th of month, flagged)

Each time a new Agency is added to your workload, add a line in the @Admin> Work Project to account for the new report oversight.

The Template for Projects for each Agency Report would be akin to this …

Agency Bob Smith’s Report (sequential, on-hold)

  • draft report
  • complete report
  • submit report
  • close out report

Each time the flagged task in the @Admin> Work Project shows up, duplicate the associated report template, make it active, and set its due date.


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Thank you, I have gone from agency folders to folders by month and folders by quarter depending on whether the agencies are ones that I have work to complete on a monthly basis, or a quarterly basis. But I have a feeling I may be changing it again. :) Thanks again!

Okay, I see where you are going with this and I like it! When you say, “Each time a new Agency is added to your workload, add a line in the @Admin> Work Project to account for the new report oversight.”, would that be a new project?
@Admin> Work (project level )
Set due date for Agency 1 report for John Doe (single action task level)
Agency Bob Smith’s Report (Is this a sequential project under the @Admin>Work (project level) folder?)

  • draft report
  • complete report
  • submit report
  • close out report

I just set up the folders my monthly work or quarterly work now. I did have a folder for each agency, but then decided to do it this way. I am not sure if I should go back to that way or not. The concern is that some of the agencies require more review and should be “on my radar” more often than others that are minimally needing review (quarterly review is fine for these other ones.)

I have five agencies that will have work to be completed every single month and require weekly review. I have created a “Monthly Tasks” folder with a project named the agency name. These projects will never be complete because there will be work to get done every single month. However this January’s work will be very similar if not exact to the following year’s January and so on for every other month. So I wasn’t sure if it would be better to create a separate project for every single month or to just list all tasks under the monthly.

I also have five agencies who have less frequent tasks and I’ve created a “Quarterly Tasks” folder and then a project name with the agency name for those. I did have four separate folders labeled, “Q1 Tasks”, “Q2 Tasks”, etc. But I thought this might be better.

I think I am spending far too much time trying to get this organized and I have redone it about 5x now (but I enjoying reorganizing it each time!) My concern is that I wanted the Review frequency for some agencies to be more frequent however I don’t want to include work due 12 months from now as part of my weekly review. I am not sure if I can just check it off as reviewed without looking at this, or if it can be or should be eliminated from the process altogether. I have categorized the monthly work for each agency as a project as there is a clear start and end date for the varying tasks due that month, but there are also repeating one off tasks that are due each month. Another qualm with the way I have it set up now is that in the perspective I created to see what is actionable now, it doesn’t include the client’s name as part of the task now available for my sequential template.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions about how to best structure this!

Thanks, and I am including an image of what it looks like now for reference.

No. The @Admin> Work is a single-action list (that does not EVER itself get completed). Just add a new line in this project. I have @Admin> … single action lists in all of my top level Areas of Responsibility. I do this as a catch-all “initiate project XYZ” or “close out project XYZ” or “advance status of project XYZ”. It is my way to prod myself for one-off notices or reminders of bigger events.

Set up something. Let it happen one time through. Then, make changes. Over-thinking the plan at the outset is not going to find the best way in practice.

I like the monthly and quarterly folders.

Otherwise, I suggest that you go with what you have for now. Keep an open mind to see what works and does not work. After a few iterations, frustrations, and successes, come back to determine what might need to be changed.

A few other thoughts …

  • I use reviews to check whether a project needs something removed or added to it. I do not “do” tasks during my review. So, I want to see tasks even a few months out. I am not processing to “do” them, I am however processing to potentially eliminate them (e.g. based on something unanticipated that happened).

  • I have to add descriptive names to projects to keep track of where the tasks fit. For example, rather than Exam 3 I have to say CHE 443 Exam 3. Otherwise, when I view the task “draft exam” and look at the project, I would not know whether it is for MTS 601 or CHE 443. It seems your finding is the same.

  • When a repeating one-off task is not part of a project in itself, put it in its own Single Action list.

Hope this gives a bit more insight. Unfortunately I cannot be more expansive at the moment with deadlines approaching (CHE 443 Exam 3 is tomorrow for example).


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Very helpful, and I hope CHE 443 Exam 3 went well for you! Thanks so much!

Glad it helped. Whether it went well for the students is the bigger question. :-)


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