Due dates or not?

Are due dates considered bad practice?

My workflow now is that every morning I try to pick a few items that I would like to do that day. I mark those as having a due date of today. So the Forecast becomes a work list for today.

Is there a better way? Or an alternative way?


May I make a suggestion… others more knowledgeable will jump in and better it, I’m sure.

I used to work this way (admittedly in other software); I used to give everything a Due date.

But I found myself spending most of my time in the program deferring the dates - because I just never got to them!

OF has taught me to concentrate instead on breaking tasks down into subtasks much more likely to be achieved.

I do set Defer To dates; they’re presented on their days. If I don’t get to them ‘today’, I make every effort to do so ‘tomorrow’.

I also rely on judicious use of Perspectives that provide windows onto what is Due (vital that it’s completed) on a given date, and what id best targeted for starting that date.

I look forward to reading the experts here, too :-)

Too much use of due dates can lead to anxiety. And false due dates can be like “crying wolf.” Many folks suggest using them for items which are actually DUE, not items which are DO ;-)

I tend to not use them as you are. I would instead use flagged items for things I cherry picked that I would “like” to do today, but there’s no real penalty for not doing them. I then use the flagged perspective to see them. I have also defined a perspective which is “due in the next day or flagged” to get a good idea of all the things that should be on the radar.

Best practice with due dates is to use them when there are consequences for missing the due date. Like missing a deadline, a delivery date or an opportunity while at a certain event, location or with a person.

If there’s no consequnce to missing the date, then it should be a defer date.

As CatOne suggested, instead of marking your choices with a due date, mark them with a flag. I would also suggest if you’re going to bump something to a later deferr date, you should also de-flag it. Otherwise, you will accumulate an overwhelming number of flagged items you have deferred to later.

I wrote an article on this subject: Best Practice: Use Due Dates Sparingly

I hope this helps.

Tim Stringer
Founder, Learn OmniFocus

1 Like