How to create a Covey urgency/importance matrix perspective?

I still use a hard copy of the Covey urgency/importance matrix alongside Omnifocus. Here’s what I’m referring to: Importance/Urgency Matrix I’ve also created the four quadrants of that matrix in my OF’s Contexts.

Is there a way to create a perspective that could display the four quadrants of that matrix in my OF’s Contexts in a matrix-like perspective?

Would appreciate any ideas / suggestions… Thanks!

I cannot see how to obtain a matrix view in OF. The best I might suggest is an AppleScript to collect the tasks, spit them out to a CSV, and import that to a spreadsheet.

FWIW, I could never grok the Covey matrix (e.g. urgent is a time factor that is better handled by due dates). I prefer a matrix of Penalty and Reward. Penalty is something I will not tolerate. Reward is something tangible in return to others or me.

Penalty (Yes) + Reward (Others) = Required
Penalty (No) + Reward (Others) = Duty
Penalty (Yes) + Reward (Me) = Need
Penalty (No) + Reward (Me) = Desire

Otherwise, I handle priorities with tags and the Status Shelf in Curio. My tag set in OF is for other purposes. Once multiple tags are in place, I can see including priorities also in OF.



A fudge is to simply put a relatively unique code in the Notes field & create a perspective that searches for each one:


I don’t have a code for NI-NU, I usually just delete it!

One common approach uses a combination of due dates and flags to indicate the four quadrants.

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This is how I do it. It may not be what you want but it works for me. It absolutely depends on regular (frequent) Review. There’s no automation, except the effects of Defer and Due dates and any repetitions. And there isn’t a single Perspective that shows all 4 groups organised together.

Anything Urgent is Flagged. Anything Important is one of a defined set of projects (in other words, if it’s in one of those projects, it’s Important, by definition; they’re grouped in a Folder called “Important”. Anything not flagged, or not in this projects is neither urgent nor important.

I have perspectives set up that allow me to see the 4 groups - they’re imperfect, but they’re good enough.

  • A Flagged perspective shows me anything Urgent (Status is Flagged). Its organised by Folder, so I can see which Urgent tasks are Important and which aren’t. This gives me Urgent/Important and Urgent/Unimportant.
  • An Important perspective has Focus set to my Important folder, but no status flag
    That takes care of Urgent, Important and Urgent/Important

Anything else, I pick up in Review

As part of my review, I:

  • Set/reset flags for Urgent (learning on the way that some things I thought were urgent weren’t really).

  • Review the Important projects to see whether they still are

  • Review all the non-urgent/unimportant stuff to see whether it’s become either urgent or important

  • I use Defer dates for non-urgent stuff whichI know might/will become urgent later. Example: I do a quarterly VAT (tax) return (such fun, you wouldn’t believe) which has a fixed deadline. There’s a project set up with all the necessary actions (check receipts, calculate allowance etc) with a Due date of the deadline and a Defer dat 10 days in advance. The project is in the Important group, but it’s not urgent until the Defer date arrives). On that date, I flag it, and there it is in my Urgent/Important perspective

Hope that all makes sense

OmniPeople - jprint’s post hints at a really great idea: a graphical Urgency/Importance view quadrant showing the tasks for a project or other subset. Dragging a task from one quadrant to another would automatically change the U/I value in the database.

Set up a perspective showing available tasks.

Group by flagged, sort by due.

Due dates communicate urgency, flags communicate importance.

Thank you all for your tremendous assistance. I greatly appreciate it… In short, I think " dharmanaut " has the best recommendation – that OmniFocus should include “a graphical Urgency/Importance view quadrant showing the tasks for a project or other subset.”

As dharmanaut puts it…

Yes! That would be ideal, and most welcome… Thanks for considering this recommendation. And thank you again for all of your help!