Feature request: Tags, tag groups, and google search syntax

This is also being sent to support@ so that they can add it to the list.

Trying to decide if I need the new omnifocus or a different app.

I run a tree farm. I spent yesterday walking around the farm, figureing what I had to do for fall, and I now have 3 projects with 80 groups and 300 actions.

Context and focus help, but something can’t have two contexts.

Some jobs can only be done on weekdays there is no crew.
Some actions, for continuity, I want to asign to a given person.
Some jobs need to be done before snow falls. If they don’t get done, then they wait until spring.

Some after there is snow on the ground.
Some jobs require 3 days without rain preceeding them. (Potting)
Some jobs are best after 3 days of rain (weeding)

5 different actions require digging holes with the auger, but only one of my crew is strong enough to handle the machine, so it has to be done on a day when he’s is here. I want an easy way to find all the actions that requrie augering. Search for ‘hole’ is one way, but search doesn’t seem to implement or

Now I can do most of this in a clunky manner with enough contexts, but I think a better way would be if the concept of context was generalized to tags. Context then becomes one kind of tag. An action can have any reasonable number of tags.

This could also be implemented with google search syntax, but that requires that I embed the the tags in each action, or in the notes.

I’m finding it clunky to assign priorities. Assigning a due date kind of works, but it feels clunky. Flags work for NOW.

So transplanting gets top priority right now, as the sooner it’s done, the more time they have to adjust. But transplanting can only be done in when the soil is dry – 3 days after a hard rain. If I had a priority flag – 1 to 5, say… This can be treated as another tag, but that would allow an item to be tagged priority 1 and priority 5 at the same time.

So: tag groups: A tag group can be set to allow only 1 tag to be assigned at a time to a given action. So priorities have a tag group. Weather conditions have a tag group. The Staff tag group can have multiple tags.

Being a personal productivity manager, I don’t think OmniFocus would be the ideal application to use for managing a business. If I was you, I’d be looking for something more complex that will allow you to align your available resources with tasks and schedule them.

Ideas? Recommendations? Needs to work on Mac and iPhone.

Remember too, that this is a small business. Most of my labour is casual. Lot of high school students. Typically 1-4 emplyoees at any one time.

Sorry, without knowing the specifics of your business or how critical each of the functions you need are, I couldn’t make a suggestion. You probably need to make a shortlist of the features you need and then use Google to search for what’s out there.

Have spent the equivalent of several days doing that over the last year. At present Omni-Focus comes closest.

Needed features that OF has:

  • Mac and iOS versions. I’m not willing to enter huge amounts of data on a phone.
  • Quick add (Inbox) so tht I can make brief note to add to project back at the house.
  • NON CLOUD DEPENDENT. I have very erratic cell reception at the tree farm.

Let’s start with just that list.
So far what I have found are either simple list manglers, or don’t have iOS and OS X versions.

Features I would like to have:

  • Contexts generalized to tags.
  • Full google search syntax.
  • Saved searches.
  • Way to assign priorities.
  • Way to filter a view to show due dates in a given window of time. (What’s due between Christmas and New Year’s)
  • Easy way to deal with slipping schedules: Select a bunch of things, and add 1 month to their due date. (I love deadlines, I especially like the ‘whoosh!’ they make as they go by.)
  • Easy way to add conditional states. E.g. Being able to have a Weather State that could have values of “Rain, Hard Frost, Snow, Spring Thaw” then have actions that are dependent on state: E.g. Prune Apple Trees is tagged with Spring Thaw, so I don’t see it until I change the Weather State to that.
  • A way to track employees too. (Potential add on.) This is more than time keeping. It keeps lists of jobs for each employee, when they were done.

This may be a total distraction, but have you looked at OmniOutliner? You’ll need the filtering that’s in the upcoming version 5 but with the use of columns and filters, you could get an awful lot of what you want. You can create columns for:

  • Tags/Contexts
  • Start dates
  • End dates
  • Conditions required

You DON’T get dependencies, so you can’t make starting Task B dependent on finishing Task A
You have to set it all up yourself - no pre-built structures
But OF was originally built on a version of OO, so it might be possible

A completely different approach would be to look at something like Trello or Asana, which are based on activity boards. Very very different approach and may not work for you, but simple and clear.

Hope this helps

Filtering in Omnioutliner for IOS would be great, but as far as I know there is only hope for that in the Mac version in the near future.

@S.G.Botsford, you could fake priorities using the Duration field and tags using #number or something similar. Neither is perfect, but in combination with custom perspectives in the pro version it might be sufficient for you. And real tags are coming to Omnifocus.

True. There’s also no quick add to OO on any platform.