Idea for modifying one instance of a repeating task in OF3

I’m not sure whether this idea would be possible to realize right now, but I bet it will once OF3 debuts their new automation system. (All I know how to do is use iOS’s Workflow app, and even then not to its full potential.)

What I would love to be able to do is to modify just one instance of a repeating task, similar to a calendar program allowing one to modify one event but not future instances of that event. (I.e., change Tuesday’s meeting from 9 to 10 but leave all future Tuesday’s meetings alone. In OF, I could shift one week’s task reminding me to perform my weekly review from Friday to Saturday without causing it to ALWAYS be on Saturday unless I change it back myself.)

What would have to happen, it seems to me, is this. These actions would be applied to the repeating task in question:

  • Copy the task to clipboard
  • Complete the task, thus generating the next instance
  • Paste the original task
  • Modify pasted task to NOT repeat (and perhaps append the Note field or add a tag or something to explain that it was processed in this way)
  • Then, make whatever changes you want to it

I don’t think it can be done on iOS using Workflow because when I share a task via the share sheet, it does not contain information about the project from which it was shared (unless I am mistaken, which would be great). At best, all I could do is generate a fresh version of the task without a repeat scheduled, dumped into the Inbox. I’d have to manually assign it to its rightful project and manually check off the original task. Not enough of it can be automated using this method to be worth it over just doing all this manually.

Any of you maverick computer geniuses have any ideas? I am certain this could be done on the Mac, but my understanding is that any Applescripting is futile at this point with OF3’s new automation system on its way. Plus, I would find this immensely more useful on iOS, which OF3 will support automation for.

Rather than copying, you could export via taskpaper.

Well, it turns out that when OmniFocus shares a task using the share sheet on iOS, it shares more than just the TaskPaper information. This includes a unique URL which allows me to mine the project name from it.

Using this, I put together a workflow which creates a duplicate of the repeating task (with the ‘repeat’ settings removed) and places it in the same project as the original task. It then prompts you to check off the original task before leaving you in the project in OF so you can do whatever you want to do to the new task.

Try it out:

There is a little problem I can’t get around: If you do this with a task with a context/tag containing commas, it will reckon these as dividers between multiple tags and create unwanted new tags.

This is a feature I like about Things 3: at the moment of recurrence it creates a child copy of the task that you can then modify however you like without affecting the original repeating task.

Eg “Send meeting notes” modified only this time to be “send meeting notes and whiteboard photo”


It’s been about 7 years since I last played around with Things, I didn’t know it had this capability.

The Hit List does a similar thing. It’s very handy.

Yes, this also has been a pleasant surprise for me! A sane, elegant solution!

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Just like due dates on projects, lack of “schedule” dates, this is another huge issue. The funny thing here is that I was so blind to this problem, that I didn’t realize how much time was wasting and how much I was constraining my workflow to fit OF quirks, and not the other way around, until I started playing with Things.

How does a ‘schedule date’ work in Things compared to a ‘defer date’ in OF?
Genuinely interested.

In things you can pick the dates you intend to do something. Due dates in Things are special dates called “deadlines”. If you pick something for today in things, it stays in today until you decide to remove it from there, either for planning to do it another day, choosing not to schedule a date (“anytime”), or putting in someday.

In OF defer is ephemeral: it just gets something out of your face. After defers passes, the task becomes what would be a “anytime” of Things.

Thanks. For my workflow it’d be like having tasks automatically flagged as they become available.
Or, for most I expect, like having them receive the Forecast tag automatically as they become available.