Do you create a short 3-5 item list of things for today?

So here’s a first world problem question… even though my OF would be up-to-date, I still like creating a top 3 or top 5 list of things to do today, or focus on. Do you use OF for this, or some other app? I was thinking that some really ‘in your face’ simple app would be great for this. I currently use OneNote for this list, but I’d like to have something simpler. Something that could be on top of screen with a shortcut or swipe.

Neither. I don’t make lists like that. I’ve found that it never helps but often makes for a more frustrating and less productive day. I’m much better when I just move to appropriate contexts during the day and do my actions in OF in the context.

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Strange as it seems, I do this and write by hand on my iPad (Good Notes) - My planner template has my calendar and my top 3 tasks.
I have found that the act of being systematic and intencional, allows for the tasks to stick to my head and I can stick to my plan.

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I have a tag called “Bullet” where I can tag a particular task as one of the 3-5 items for the day.

I use a perspective called “Bullet” that shows available tasks that are due today and/or tagged as “Bullet”.

I still have secondary perspectives for Work and Personal that show all available tasks that are flagged. I use those to choose my bullet items for the day.

Hope that makes sense.

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I use a tag called ‘Today’ for making up a short term list of items that I want to concentrate on.


I use the Forecast Tag for just that (which can be added with a swipe) to have my top few things show up alongside due actions in the Forecast Today perspective.



I flag the items that I want to focus on today.

What I’d really like to do is to write a script that copies flagged items to the Reminders app (and clear previous items from Reminders) – and then I’d only have the handful of items in there. Or maybe I just need to be more intentional about keeping the Flag perspective open. But if I move it to Reminders, then I can adjust the order, too.

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Why Reminders app and not OF for that though?

What do you mean?
I flagged the items in OmniFocus.

I hand write onto a note card the 3-5 things that have to get done.
I recommend a note card riser like on Levenger that you can get to put them in front of you.
Very satisfying to crush em out.

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I had the cherry wood version of just that! My index card system was always one of my favourites (including the lovely Circa pages for holding/arranging cards, and the cards them selves lined for vertical orientation)!

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending), most of my work comes to me digitally, and so transferring actions from digital to analog and back proved increasingly cumbersome.

Thanks for the reminder of how well this can work!


For me/my experience, I just accepting that in order to be effective you need to pay the analogue to digital pain/tax…or use an iPad Pro with SideCar or AirPlay to sling things back and forth, which has its own pain.

#hi5 #respect

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I think the point of the question was, “why move them to Reminders instead of just using OF”… like creating a custom perspective using flagged items and perhaps a tag of some sort to filter your view to just what you need. Just do it all in OF instead of using another tool.

What Reminders offers me is that I can change the order around of the items.

I think that’s supposed to be coming to OF shortly… possibly already there, but I haven’t figured out how to make it work yet and seems to be limited in where/how it can be done. So I get your reasoning… but if you only have 3-5 things on that list, is it really that important what order they are in?

One simple workaround, albeit not awesome, is to add a time due in the order you want to see them in. Meaning, the one I want first might be 3pm, the second 4pm, and third 5pm and so on. But as long as they are chronologically ordered, even by a minute, it would work. I just hate using due dates unless they are an absolute necessity to get done that day.

I use the Forecast tag (in my case named Current) for items I want to see on my radar for the week. They are important items and I want them front and centre in my face. I flag anything I want to do today. I also timeblock chunks of time in my calendar by what/when I’m going to do something by either dragging the actual task/project or in most cases the tag link from OF to my calendar (Fantastical). Omnifocus tells me what I need to do, calendar tells me when I need to do it.

I have a “Today” perspective which shows me due and flagged plus those tagged “Next”. I use Meta Tasks a lot (usually raged with “Next”, these nudge me in “Today” to work on a particular project or perspective such as “Check communications perspective” or “Continue working on XYZ Dev project”

These repeat as needed, and my “Today” perspective remains clean.

I have started experimenting with removing tags for the a lot of tasks, unless I need tags to surface an item such as placing it in the communications perspective or the Agendas. I have also started using a Morning and Afternoon perspective (both focussing on specific work/client folders) the morning one tends to be admin tasks the afternoon the Meta task to work on dev projects as I find the afternoon better for concentration stuff. I have three tags here, morning afternoon, anytime. This saves a lot of friction with largely irrelevant tags and surfaces tasks exactly when I need or want to do them.

Personal and Home tasks are in their own folder or project based perspectives again largely untagged and with a repeating meta task in “Today” to check them which repeats every 12 hours 7am-7pm

So far this seems to work pretty well and I am not missing things that need to be done

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I’m an odd bird. The only time I really want to spend time in OmniFocus is when I’m in planning mode which includes inbox processing, planning tomorrow’s list of 3-5 items, reviewing projects, and curating my projects/tasks. The more time I spend in any task manager, the less time I am working on my tasks. I have. OmniFocus set to hide itself when it is no longer the frontmost app.

What I like to do is go to a custom perspective showing all of my available actions. Then I command-click on 3-5 tasks that I want to work on to select them. I hit Command-C to copy the tasks and then I’ll open Apple Notes and hit Command-V to paste.

Apple Notes will also sync over to my iPhone. That makes it easy to switch between my iPhone and Mac.

I get a list of my tasks with links. I can click on a link to return back to OmniFocus to mark it as complete.

If I keep OmniFocus visible on my Mac, I’m more prone to get distracted and start looking at other more interesting tasks to work on. If I select the 3-5 tasks and copy them to TextEdit, I’m not distracted. I will start peeking, poking, and prodding at OmniFocus instead of working on the selected tasks. Even when I have a “Today” perspective or have a Forecast tag assigned, keeping OmniFocus visible is just too tempting. All I have is Apple Notes in front of me.

The less I see OmniFocus during “action” mode, the better off I am. I’ll want to see OmniFocus only when I’m in “planning” mode.l

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I transfer my “today” list to paper each morning.

And then the day invariably goes “pear shaped” relative to it. :-)

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