Deferring single instance of a repeating task

With one of the areas of improvement for the upcoming OmniFocus 3 being repeating tasks, I was curious if there are plans to allow for the deferring of single instances of repeating tasks without impacting the original repeat schedule?

For example, I have a few yearly reminders for picking up birthday gifts. They’re deferred to 3 weeks before the respective birthday so I have some leeway, and flagged so they show up in my primary working perspective.

Depending on what’s going on when these tasks show up, I may or may not be able to act on them right away. In some cases, I want to defer that task a few days or a week, but I don’t want the original repeating task and it’s 3-week lead time impacted.

Right now, my choices are to leave the task as-is knowing I won’t do anything with it for a bit, or create a new task that is separate from the repeat, and complete the repeating task. Neither is ideal - the former is a distraction cluttering up the list of tasks I need to focus on now, and the latter is somewhat of a nuisance, especially on an iPhone.

It would be great if I could just defer the task I’m looking at given the circumstances of the moment, knowing the original schedule would stay intact and the next repeat would show up 3 weeks ahead of the birthday the next year.

Thanks,
Ed

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Such functionality hasn’t been announced, so you should probably email in a feature request for it.

For now, though, you would hopefully catch such a discrepancy in a review, maybe adding a note to remind yourself.

Whilst it’s not immediately helpful, in OmniFocus 3, you might also consider something like a ‘requires editing’ tag if you change the defer date. Or you could leave the date and use a ‘not yet’ tag that you could use to exclude it from view.

+1
This is my most desired feature that hasn’t been announced. Would really love to be able to mass defer my work related tasks at the end of the day/week without screwing up repeating tasks for their next go-round. Like a calendar app asking whether to modify one instance of an event or all future instances.

4 Likes

We know OF 3 will introduce more sophisticated repeat options, such as “due every second Tuesday of the month.”
I wonder if this would allow for the functionality we are hoping? I would expect not. But, what would happen if I defer until tomorrow a task set with repeat options “defer to every Monday” and “due every Friday.” Would it maintain these even if I push it forward a day without changing the repeat options?
I guess it would depend on whether one could add BOTH those repeat options or just one. Lol, never mind, none of this makes any sense because of course you can’t have two simultaneous repeat options.

1 Like

Of course, everyone has their pet issue, but this seems like a really big hole to me too. The power of using flags for charting your day and defer date changes for pushing things until tomorrow or next week, is awesome. Having to consider the impact of this on repeating items, totally breaks it for me.

I believe some people use scripts to generate the repeating project or task, but I don’t want to get into that, as I know I would lose trust in the system (did I run the script etc etc?). Does anyone know of any other reliable workarounds at the moment?

I’ve emailed support to OF as well. Fingers crossed we’ll get it soon.

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I also would like this feature, but I use this workaround in its absence:

  1. Make a new non-repeating sub-task of the existing repeating task
  2. Defer/set due date/flag of the new sub-task to when you want
  3. Name the task “delete this task” (you can optionally add the original task description, but I rarely do anymore.

When it pops up, DON’T mark it done, just DELETE IT.

The original task is now available (and likely WAY overdue…)

My most common use is “take out the trash” which is normally Sunday night, but if monday is a holiday, my town shifts the trash day schedule out by a day. So, I create a “delete this” task deferred to tuesday 6pm and due at 10pm as a subtask of the recurring Sunday “take out the trash” deferred to 6pm, due by 8pm.

To add to the fun, we only have every-other-week recycling and brush pickyup, except during the fall, where brush pickup is weekly, or the period from 2 weeks after Christmas to April, when there is no brush pickup. All in OF so I don’t have to remember that monstrosity. ;-)

I’m checking Things out now, and the way Things handled that was by creating a “task template”. Whatever you do to the current task doesn’t affect the task template.

1 Like

Thanks for writing up your workaround @lainsw! In the end I’ve decided to give Things 3 a serious go. I’ve migrated everything across, using their script and will see how I get on. Sad after 5 years with OF and having just paid for OF 3! However, as @bananas1 says below, they have templates for repeating tasks/projects and it works how I want it to. I find that workarounds that rely on me, tend to end up in me feeling a certain amount of “distrust” of my OF system. I’ll probably be back in a few months though! 😉

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