How to stop tasks being assigned to Miscellaneous project?

With the change from context to tags, I found I no longer needed projects like"Repeating", which really isn’t a project, and I have have a lot of tasks without a project. This is good, and I only have project for things that are really projects.

On iOS I create tasks with tags and no project and everything works fine. I clean up items that just have a tag so all my tasks without a project don’t stay in my inbox. This was all working well.

I recently upgraded to OmniFocus 3 for Mac, I spend most of my time in OmniFocus for iOS, and once I upgraded and started using it all of my tasks that didn’t have a project got assigned to the Miscellaneous project. Argh. Miscellaneous in not a project. I removed the Miscellaneous project from all of the tasks, but OmniFocus for Mac keeps adding the Miscellaneous project back when I open OmniFocus. It seems like there should not be a Miscellaneous project since that really makes no sense, and instead have a view or perspective to view all tasks without a project.

How can I have OmniFocus for Mac leave my tasks that don’t have a project assigned as they are without a project and not assign them to the Miscellaneous project?

Update: With OmniFocus iOS, if I clean up a task that just has a tag it moves it from the inbox and leaves it with no project. With OmniFocus macOS it adds the task to the Miscellaneous project. This seems like a bug in OmniFocus macOS


What is the reason why I get a project called Miscellaneous, although I don’t want to have it! I loaded the latest beta and it’s still there.

Wow, I didn’t even know this happened. I tried setting OF to clean up with only a tag and cleaned up an item without a project. The first thing it did was dump it in my first project which happens to be a single action list. Then I put that list On Hold and tried it again, and got the Miscellaneous project this time. I think clearly the design is to encapsulate actions in projects and single action lists… I’m not going to defend or criticize this as I’d like to know OmniGroup’s reasons. I am pretty comfortable with it though as it would feel weird to have actions floating in no man’s land.

If OmniGroup won’t go your way, the two main options would be to just have a top level single action list that will take the cleaned up items. Or you could work mainly from the Inbox and use the preference setting to “Show Inbox” in the projects perspective. Set it to clean up items with just a project and it will keep items there unless you explicitly want them moved to a project.

I am so thankful I found this post. I too wanted to stop using projects for some of my tasks, opting to just use tags. This seems to work fine on my iPhone…but as soon as I use my Mac Omnifocus was automatically putting all of my tasks that I had just created with a tag into a random single action project I had called [WORK]. I would go into that project and remove all the tasks from it…but a few seconds later OmniFocus would just throw them right back in. I was highly frustrated.

Now I realize at some point in the past I may have renamed the ‘Miscellaneous’ project to ‘[WORK]’ and it seems that OmniFocus wants to force tasks to show up in the projects view. My recommendation to OmniFocus would be to create a section at the top of the ‘Projects’ view that is similar to the ‘Untagged’ section in the ‘Tags’ view…something like ‘No Project Assigned’. This would be a lot more intuitive instead of users guessing why OmniFocus is unexplainably moving their tasks into a seemingly random folder.

I found a workaround by going to Preferences > Organization.

Set “Clean up inbox which have:” to a project. This avoids any task being assigned to Miscellaneous project but unfortunately remains in the Inbox.

1 Like

Would it solve your problem for you work to rename your “[Work]” project to “No Project Assigned”?

I’m grateful for this topic for my own reasons: I have the vice of switching every few months between Things and Omnifocus. I’ve been using OmniFocus since August, and am feeling the itch to switch again. Rather than go through this time-wasting exercise once more, I asked myself what it is about Things that seems appealing.

I decided one big part of Things’ appeal is its simplicity. I don’t think in terms of projects for 90%+ of the work I need to perform. I just write down one thing: “Pay bills.” “Research article about open source.” etc. If there are steps to these goals, I often keep those steps in another document – for example, a list of people to interview for the open source article, each particular person and interview being a step or multiple steps to getting the work done.

Things makes it easy for me to put those 90+% of my tasks into a single list. OmniFocus isn’t designed like that, but it can be made to work that way easily enough by simply changing a setting to clean up items in the inbox if they have either a Project or a Context. Default behavior, as others here have noted, is to move tasks with a context but no project into a project called Miscellaneous. But now I learn that apparently I can rename MIscellaneous however I like. I can rename it “Anytime,” like with Things, or I can rename it to something else if I like that name better.

Next step: Figure out if I can do Perspectives that show just the Project rather than tasks within that project.

I know this post is quite old.

Yes Omnifocus not having the option for areas natively is something I missed from Things.

I created a Folder called “Personal” and then a project called “Personal” as a place to put all of there tasks that I don’t want sitting around in the inbox. (I personally use tags heavily so this works for me and mitigates the need for tons of projects). Then any actual projects I deem as personal go into that folder as well.

I created a Folder called “Work” and I repeat the same setup.

I use the same setting above “Clean up all items from inbox that have a project” to avoid that miscellaneous project setting.

I also found some other awesome settings for Omnifocus that can help us mirror certain features in Things 3.