Feature request: Today list

I started playing around with Things 3 and they a feature that really is what I am hoping OmniFocus will allow at some point. Basically they let you start your day but making a “Today” list of things you’d like to get done. These tasks aren’t necessarily due but rather just a today list of tasks.

I start my day by looking through all my action lists in OF. From there, based on my schedule and available time for the day I make a selection of tasks that I want to try and accomplish. Here is where the problem lies. I wish I could have a “Today” type list that didn’t require me to set “fake” due dates or flag actions. I would say 85% of my next actions don’t have a “hard” due date. Things like “Take out trash” every Sunday is actually “due” because if I don’t then I’ll have full trash bins. But things like “practice guitar” aren’t “due” but if I want to see them on my today list I either have to make it due or flag it. The problem with flags is I like to use them as a way to select two or three actions from my “today” list and focus on them for the next 30-60 minutes. If I have 30 tasks I want to get done for any specific day, flagging 2 or 3 is a great way for me to focus. If I try to build my today list with due and flagged task then everything is flagged or has to have a fake due date.

Is this something that anyone else has struggled with?


How about using #today and have a perspective search for that till we get multiple tags and manual sorting in perspectives in the near future?


Yeah I’ve been doing that. Not quite the same but I’m hoping the new features coming in Q4 will address this need.


@Jan_H & @davidc I Agree with both of you.

T3 can teach us OF2 users a few lessons. More flexibility for today may soon become a reality in OF2 now that drag n drop is being tested. Tags/flexible repeats can’t come a moment too soon. OF2 is heading towards an exciting development period soon.

In my OF2 set up, I have a tightly controlled ‘today’ perpective. I use the system setting for due soon to the minimum setting of ‘Today’ so that only things for today can be seen as due until midnight. This, with a carefully organised perspective gives me much tighter control over what makes it in and what doesn’t. Coupled with careful use of defer times I can easily have this perspective entirely relevant at any given time. It’s not perfect, nothing is.

I ‘played’ with T3. It’s nice. Thats it. It’s useless to me. Apart from all the obvious disadvantages, and there are many, T3’s ‘Today’ page annoys me. Every day you must spend time mucking about with a list of tasks deciding where to ‘slide’ them to. With a few tasks this is easy, but with 2 dozen tasks this is a time consuming nightmare!

The only way to create useful perspectives in T3 is with tags. I tried it. Tags are good things to supplement a system but not to be the sole method of organisation! In T3 this all they have! It is time consuming and inefficient. I had to create a list of tags, sub-tags and yet more sub-tags to get my ‘today’ page down to the level of organisation equivalent to OF2’ "today’ perspective.

OF2 is not perfect. I have tried them all, believe me. OF2 is the best available. There is always room for improvement in any system but OF2 is so near to being the pinnacle of task management. I have a complex business life/public life. Public speaking, appointments, church government, dozens of meetings annually, weddings, funerals, baptisms, training, organisations to deal with. I also run a small business and it brings a host of issues for me to deal with as well. I tried my database in T3. I thought my head was going to explode! Useless unless you have a fairly basic life to organise.


I definitely agree, nothing comes close to OF. It’s an amazing piece of software. Hopefully these upcoming changes will continue to push it in this direction.


I haven’t really looked into Things any further since downloading version 3 on release day to play around with it. As I said elsewhere: it doesn’t scale well and as soon as you introduce hierarchy it breaks at the seams.

I think @revstu is right: the way Things handles Today might work if you have a handful of tasks, but it will become very laborious over time if you have many tasks.

Last week I’ve been playing with a few other apps as well, most notably TickTick, but they all seem to start from the Today perspective and I think this is very strange. For me, it’s simple: something that is due today will have a Due Date in OF and be marked as such. That’s it, and the task will move to the top of my list. The rest of my list contains things I’m working on. Some, I might flag and work on today and maybe even tomorrow. Others will be on my radar.

The common denominator in too many apps is the time-centered perspective. Things predefines immutable temporal divisions (Today, Someday, etc.). Tick Tick too: Today, Tomorrow, Next 7 Days, etc. If you’re continuously living on deadlines of Today, Tomorrow, etc. then there’s a problem. I work on what’s important, not urgent. And I tackle the urgent stuff too: it moves to the top automatically.


Let’s say I have 100-200+ next actions in my OmniFocus database. If I want to plan out my day and select let’s say “20” next actions to complete, the only way to ear mark them is to flag them. I like to use a flag as a way of selecting maybe 2-3 tasks out of the 20 action group to work on in the next 30-60 minutes. The flag feels like an all or nothing. Either flag 20 you want to get done that day or just work from a giant 100+ action list.

I guess I just wish there was a way to focus on a handful of tasks for the day instead of having to continually dig through 100+ next actions every time to make a meaningful decision as to what to work on.

Due dates in OmniFocus for me are really for stuff that is actually due like bills etc…

Does this make sense?


Let’s say I have 100-200+ next actions in my OmniFocus database.

If that’s really the case, then there’s something fundamentally wrong with your setup. There is no way any sane system can have 200+ actions that you either can or must work on that are directly available at this moment.

I guess I just wish there was a way to focus on a handful of tasks for the day instead of having to continually dig through 100+ next actions every time to make a meaningful decision as to what to work on.

Deciding priorities is hard and I would agree it’s one of the areas where OmniFocus could use improvement.

But if you’ve set up your system correctly, projects and actions with higher priorities will automatically be at the top. Say you have a “Health” list, for example, that is at the top of your folder structure. And maybe you have a “Series to watch” list way lower. Actions from the former list will be higher on your next actions list automatically.

For me, it takes away a lot of cognitive overload. Because, what’s at the top is invariably more important than the stuff that’s lower on the list.

Due dates in OmniFocus for me are really for stuff that is actually due like bills etc…

I fully agree and in fact I posted the same thing just earlier today.


Priorities can switch on a dime. Setting up a folder structure hierarchy based on priorities doesn’t work because it can’t adapt when you priority for the day is “Health” but your kid gets the flu or you get in a fender bender. That is where the “Things 3 Today list” excels. You can reorder your today list within 30-60 seconds. Setting up priorities in a folder structure hierarchy is idealistic and life can get real pretty quick. David Allen has said people can easily have over 100+ next actions with all of their commitments. Everyones next action lists differ in size based on their commitments and lifestyle. It’s not volume that is the issue but rather the ability to curate that volume for the day.


Same here. I understand what you mean entirely. This has been my motivation every time I have switched to Things.

Please do email Omni with the feature request.

I currently used flagged tasks and standard contexts (Home, Conputer, Errand, Office, etc). I order them by my natural progression through the day. Office -> Errand -> Home -> Computer, and it gives my mind enough structure not to get overwhelmed. It still isn’t close to the sense of calm I get dragging and dropping around Things’ Today list.

I appreciate the suggestion, but I tried this on mobile a few times over the years and I always quit before the day ends. It’s so clunky it’s not even worth it for me.

That is exactly where I’m at. To curate a list at the start of the day but to be able to change it at a moments notice by reordering it or removing items. I just emailed @kcase about this yesterday. He’s good at listening to his customers and I’m hoping he can shed some light on this issue. He has told me that manual ordering is coming but he has also mentioned something in the past of a type of perspective that might function as an iTunes sort of playlist where you could drop tasks in an out of. I"m not sure if they are still going ahead with this concept of not but I sure hope so.

I remember that, too! That would be a beautiful implementation. At least as it exists in my mind without any conflicting requirements. :)

Guys, I can add tasks to OF2 ‘on the hop’ and do so frequently. I can be driving to work and see an advert I want to remember and I easily dictate the task along with the time I want to be reminded as easily as just speaking.
With such simple and efficient implementation I can add tasks with zero fuss and remember there is no sin in using the Inbox for efficiency.

As I said OF2 is testing drag n drop. This app is going places where no other apps dare to tread. If the same gimmicky features T3 has are implemented into OF2 then T3 is dead in the water!

Don’t get me wrong about T3. It has it’s place. But it has so many shortfalls that I couldn’t switch to it permanently. I’d be at a meeting and not have the files to hand. I’d be at a concert and not have the tickets to hand. I’d pass the DIY Store and not be reminded (geofencing) automatically to get paint. I’d go mad without these features.

If you use the OF2 system setting to ‘Today’ and carefully construct a ‘Today’ perspective with flagging and simple use of defer dates-then you’re made!

If you also use review (missing from T3) then you’re brain is more ‘in tune’ with your database every day.

1 Like

Sorry no.

I get how to create a timed reminder via Siri to OmniFocus but that has no relevance in this discussion. Using the inbox is not the problem. Working from the inbox defeats the purpose of a carefully, thoughtfully curated today list as it’s full of undecided commitments or captured “stuff”.

Drag n drop that is coming in iOS 11 is completely different than manual ordering. Drag from one app to another or drag a task inside a parent to create a child is different than having a “Today” list than can be reordered at a moments notice. Just because the feature set in Things 3 doesn’t fit the way you work by no means makes them “gimmicky”. They won an Apple design award for a reason. Being able to focus on a short currated “reorderable” list for the day is an extremely powerful feature that allows the user to focus on what he/she deems important for any particular day.

If we want to talk about gimmicky lets talk about geofencing. I’ve been using Omnifocus since day one and have never found it useful. You can’t even mark the reminder as completed from the notification on iOS or Watch so who cares. Not to mention getting more than one reminder for that location at one time doesn’t tell you what the next action actually is. What’s useful about a notification that tells you that you have multiple incomplete commitments for that location but doesn’t show you what they are. If you tap on the notification if takes you to the home screen. That’s gimmicky.

I have a “Today” perspective in OmniFocus. I’ve had one for about 4 years. You can’t drop stuff in or out. It only works with due dates or flags. I don’t like to use flags that way. I also don’t like marking everything due as it defeats the purpose.

I use the review feature every week. Still doesn’t address this issue and doesn’t have relevance to this discussion.

I’m not new to OmniFocus or do I have problems with understanding how the app works. I have over 25 pepsectives. Like I’ve said I have been using it for a very long time. There is a hole, a need that is missing for some users.

Just because I’m requesting a feature from another app doesn’t mean I don’t like OmniFocus. OmniFocus is one of the best (if not the best) tool on the market. It doesn’t mean that they can’t steal features from other apps. Apple does this all the time. It wouldn’t hurt for the OF team to download a copy of Things and kick the tires a bit. Like I said, they won a design award for a reason.


@davidc I wouldn’t care for an app based on the premise that it is so pretty and beautiful Apple granted it a ‘design award’. I care for an app if it does what it says on the tin. It’s all very well being the latest shiny prettified database but the substance is what matters; for beauty is only skin deep. I always treat Apple design awards with a great deal of ‘pinch of salt’ scepticism. There are some pretty apps out there but some I have tried are poor in actual everyday use.

I do admire the limited feature set of T3. But I’d go mad using it as it fails nearly every standard in task management.

Beauty is subjective. I personally don’t care for great big amounts of ‘white space’. T3 has a lot of blinding white space. I complained to Omnigroup when they introduced this in OF2 and they responded with an option to reduce this, thankfully.

The font size in T3 is tiny, and useless to me without the ability to adjust. OF2 took that into consideration, and I have a decent font size.

I do believe you when you say you use OF2 for years but that is no guarantee your set up is efficient. I experience no problems with geofencing and it has saved my bacon a number of times. In any particular place I can have a checklist of nearby tasks and check them off as appropriate. That is a basic minimum for me in an app and Omnigroup better not remove the function…ever!

I did address the ‘Today’ screen issue. No need to re-tread that particular issue now.

Drag n Drop is at the moment restricted to inputting and outputting tasks from and to apps, but manual re-ordering is by no means out of the question. Omnigroup are very smart operators.
What I would say to you is this; if you can manage with an app like T3 then do so. If like me it would make your life management difficult or completely inefficient, then stick with the best.

ps: there are at least 3 or more better apps than T3 on the go. Not as ‘pretty’ so to speak, but certainly more useful. I have tried these as well. OF2 still tops the lot.

1 Like

All you seem to want to do is tear down Things 3 in defense of OF when this whole post was about adding a feature to an already great piece of software that is OmniFocus. In everyone of your replies you find something to tear down about Things when I’m simply saying they have a great feature (or multiple) that I’d like to see Omni consider.

Like really? “as it fails nearly every standard in task management.” Not only is that completely false, it’s the most dramatic statement I’ve ever heard.


Every task manager has its strengths and weaknesses and it all depends on what you need in the end. There’s no need to disparage any app because it doesn’t fit your way of working.

Me, I can’t see myself working with Things. But I imagine a lot of people get by wonderfully with it. That’s great! Different strokes for different folks.

Back to the topic at hand: the Today list. I think a lot of issues could be solved by having an option to manually reorder tasks on a list in OF. It’s actually counter-intuitive NOT to have this and most other apps have this function.

Omni probably has very good reasons why it’s not there and I think it might be more difficult to implement than we suppose it is. But I believe it might make a real difference for some people.


I couldn’t have said it better. I completely agree. I think @kcase mentioned it was down to the file structure which they changed last year and I believe it’s that change that is now allowing them to address some long standing requests from users. Everything from multiple contexts to manual ordering.


Are these changes confirmed by the Omnigroup people?