Flags vs Forecast Tag & “Today” View

I’ve been struggling with how to use Flags vs a Forecast Tag. In OF2, I would use flags to indicate tasks that I wanted to do today & had a custom perspective to show me all Due & Flagged tasks.

With OF3 you can use the Forecast Tag to pull items into the Forecast perspective.

I haven’t been able to settle on a workflow since the introduction of the forecast tag in OF3. How are you all using flags & forecast tags? What does your daily dashboard look like?

I am new to OmniFocus and thought I was going to love forecast view but I really did not abandoned ship on it. It lacked control for me. I have created a custom perspective called focus that pulls in all flagged items and all “Due Soon” items (I set due soon to due within 24 hours). For me personally I have one folder that it also integrates into that view for my high priority client work.

In addition to that I create a different perspective for each day of the week with various areas of focus (gtd wording, aka folders) and also these same flagged and due soon items.

I have found this workflow is perfect. I start my day in my focus perspective and once through that move to my particular day.

Lots of ways to do this or a similar workflow. I’ve been using OmniFocus since v2 and come from a Getting Things Done background.

For me, the Forecast perspective is for tasks that I want to do today. Some tasks have a date and a time. Those appear in Forecast automatically. Then I have tasks that I want to do today but don’t have a particular time. For those, I use a “Today” tag (probably the same as your “forecast” tag).

And then there are my tasks without a due date. For those I use flags and the Flagged perspective. These are the tasks I plan to do this week. Theoretically. Hopefully. I have some flagged tasks that won’t fit into the coming week (the filter is Available). For them, I leave the flag and defer them to a future week. My Flagged perspective needs to be curated. Every week during my GTD weekly review, I review the tasks in this perspective. I make sure to change the filter to Remaining so I can see all flagged tasks regardless of deferred date. At the end of that review, I p[rune my Flagged list to a manageable week of work. Theoretically. Hopefully. If I stay motivated all the way to the end of the week.

And, of course, I have lots of tasks without either a due date or a flag. A thorough weekly review is needed to stay on top of this, to keep my trusted system trusted. If I’m going to leave tasks undone for now, it will be a conscious decision for each.


OmniFocus 4 gives you the option to show (available) Flagged Tasks in Forecast view in the same way as you can show your chosen Forecast Tag. This is what I have been waiting for.

I use the Forecast view to get a sense of what is urgent, in the sense of literally due soon (i.e., it has a due date in the next week) or figuratively, i.e., things I think I should get done soon to ease my mental load (tasks with my “soon” tag that appear in Forecast). I also use it as a tickler; I have it set to show deferred items that have become available.

I use flags for important items: those projects or tasks that I want to prioritize over a 1-3 month period (or longer, in the case of tasks such as finishing a book MS). These aren’t necessarily urgent, but they will become so if I don’t give them attention ahead of time.

If you think about the Eisenhower matrix, the Forecast perspective is for urgent items (left column in the matrix), while flags are for important items (top row in the matrix). Of course the matrix is a simplifying heuristic, and the quote often attributed to Eisenhower to the effect that the important things are never urgent, and vice-versa, is wrong. But I find it a very useful tool as long as I remember its limitations.

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I’ve been using a tag system published by Colter Reed for a long time with multiple perspectives created “Today”, “Calendar” … I don’t need tags like “Phone”, “Desks”, … .
Check out the concept

I’m very happy with it and only use the forecast view to check if the few tasks that I give a due date to appear during the week.

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