I have a task called “vacuum the house” that was deferred until Sunday (today) at 9am, with a repeat of +1 week from completion. My reasoning for using a deferred date is that it isn’t due on that date/time and I could do it the next day or in the evening and so on.
This task showed up in my Forecast for today, but when 9am came the task disappeared from my Forecast. It’s still in my Chores single action list, but it’s no longer in my Forecast view.
Maybe I am not understanding the concept of a deferred date and the Forecast view. In my mind, if I deferred my vacuuming task to 9am today, then this means I intend to do it at 9am or anytime after, be it today or tomorrow. I also understood that the Forecast view is a planning aid, ie “here are all the things you have to do today and also the ones you have said you wanted to do/start today.”
My problem is that if I look at my Forecast at this moment in time then I would not see the vacuum task. So I would sit here and plan out the rest of my day and forget that I wanted to vacuum. What am I fundamentally misunderstanding?
One workaround I found was to use a “Next” tag to explicitly mark tasks you want to show up in the Forecast for today. This works but it feels wrong to me that I am marking “vacuum” as something I want to do “next” when I already informed the system that I deferred it to today at 9am.
Deferred tasks don’t stay in the forecast view, unfortunately. The way around that, is to use your special tag( as you already mentioned). Many have requested this feature. I’d suggest you do the same. It’s one reason why I don’t often use the forecast view.
Defer Dates in OF control when a task becomes ‘Available’; they can be used when you cannot or do not want to do an action before a certain date. They are not a ‘start date’ as in ‘I must start doing this task at this date’. For this you should mark the task in some way in your personal system by flagging it, assigning a due date, applying your Forecast Tag, or applying some other tag that you use to determine your high-priority items. You can of course do this in advance, so that when the defer date arrives, the action pops up in your Forecast or high-priority perspective.
The philosophy of the Forecast view, as I see it, is to show you everything that you have explicitly put onto your schedule for today and the coming days. This includes scheduled items in your calendar, OF actions with due dates, and OF actions you have added your Forecast Tag to (‘Today’ or ‘Next’ for example). This way you can see all your upcoming hard deadlines.
The option in the Forecast view to ‘Show deferred items’ is somewhat in contradiction to this. I interpret it as telling me ‘here are the actions that are becoming available today, for your consideration’. I don’t enable this option — if the rest of my system is working, tasks will either have appropriate due dates, find their way into my priority shortlists, or simply stay available until I pick it. I have a ‘Deferred’ perspective which shows me all remaining actions that have a Defer Date (grouped and sorted by Defer Date), but I rarely use it (usually as part of my weekly review to check what I’ll be able to do in the future).
I just don’t see a difference between a “this becomes available on Friday” and a “I am deferring this task until Friday because I don’t want to do it until Friday at the earliest.” To me they are both the exact same meaning. If I say I will defer it until Friday I am explicitly saying I will take action on it on Friday.
I think in the Omnifocus context you’re saying “I might take action on this from Friday onwards” when you defer a task. I think the defer option is more to do with tasks showing up only after a certain date than any intention to definitely act on them, because that is for the due date, not the defer date.
So from an OF perspective it works as it should, but I can understand the different way of thinking.
I use defer dates only when there is nothing I can do about an action until a certain date/time, and due dates only for items I absolutely HAVE to get done at a certain date/time.
All other views on my tasks go through tags and perspectives. I’ve learned to ignore the Today view, as it does not help at all in my workflow. In fact I don’t even show it in my OF interface.
That’s very surprising. My guess is that rebuilding the database* could fix this. With deferred actions enabled in Forecast view, items deferred to today will be gray before their defer time, become black after their defer time on the same day, and then disappear from Forecast view the next day.
I use Forecast and deferred items exactly the way you propose. I like it because I can defer tasks to specific times through the day to create a linear outline of my work for the day.
* I am not an OmniGroup Support Human. You may consider running it by them first. Personally, on the rare occasion that my OF data seems to be acting weird, I run that command and it clears it up.