Deferred Date + Repeat + Action Group

I am currently testing several options with the above parameters. The purpose of the Project is to test the Skipping feature in OmniFocus for Mac.

The Project is set to repeat daily upon completion (Complete with last action)

The Project consists of a group (“testing group”) with 2 actions.

  • testing SKIP (Defer is ahead)
  • testing SKIP (Defer is past)

The first action was created on Monday 19 July 2021 before 10:00 to repeat daily on Completion;
Defer Until was set to “Deferred with Container” (i.e. inherited from the Group);
The Defer time 10:00 was ahead of the time of creation of the action

The second action was also created on Monday 19 July 2021 before 10:00 to repeat every 2nd day on Completion;
Defer Until was set to 02:45 (not inherited from the Group);
The Defer time 02:45 was set in the past, i.e. before the time of creation of the action

The Action Group “testing group” was not set to repeat and was set to “Complete with last action”; the Group inherited the Defer Until time from the Project

I option-clicked both Actions to test the behaviour (i.e. I skipped the 2 actions that were deferred to today 19 July 2021).

The results were as follows:

  • both actions deferred for today were dropped
  • 2 new actions were created with new Defer Until dates (one action for tomorrow Tuesday 20 July 2021, one action for Wednesday 21 July 2021)

The Defer Until times both actionswere automatically set during the skipping process to 02:45 and this new time puzzles me

(Incidentally 02:45 is the default time for defer dates in OF Preferences).

I expected the 1st action “testing SKIP (Defer is ahead)” to have the same Defer Until time 10:00 as set at its creation.

I think OF set the Defer Until time to the app preference 02:45 because the Action Group was not set to repeat (as mentioned above).

Is my thinking correct?

Hi @BernardRemacle and welcome to the forum.

Repeating actions always work with explicit dates (not inherited from the parent action). Obviously a new instance has to be given the right explicit date, but also the repetition function only takes into account the explicit date of the action being completed or dropped (ie. skipped). If the action being repeated has no explicit date, OmniFocus uses today’s date with the default hour specified in Preferences (in your case 2:45). That’s why your new instance is ‘Day +1 at 2:45’.

The solution is to set the right defer date and time explicitly on your repeating action, so that the whole subsequent sequence of actions uses the same time.

Note that you can make an action group repeat. In that case the repetition of the group itself is still based on an explicit date, but if the actions it contains just inherit their dates that will continue to be the case in the new instance. (This structure isn’t possible in your example because one action has a 1-day repetition and the other 2 days.)

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Thank you so much @MultiDim for the explanation.

It is clear and concise, better than my rambling post!

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You’re welcome @BernardRemacle.

On the subject of repeating action groups, there is a useful behaviour which isn’t described in the documentation. If the actions inside the action group have explicit dates, those will also be incremented by the repeat interval of the action group. So for example you can have a weekly or monthly process, and the actions which are part of it automatically have the same relative dates when the process repeats.

Thank you again @MultiDim.
What you wrote in your very last post could become useful for some of my workflows. I appreciate the elucidation.

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