Incorporating infant tasks into existing workflow, or overhaul everything?

Please understand that I think better out loud or via writing, so even just posting this is helpful to get me to think about it. I spell out a few ideas for solution, but what would YOU do in this situation?

I’ve used OmniFocus for over a decade, to great utility and help to my mental flow. I use it for all its worth, save for a few V3 features that would break ease of transition between OF3 on iOS and OF2 on Mac, because my Mac can’t upgrade OS for other mission critical reasons right now.
I started out using OF primarily for college work, loving the concept of due dates combined with start dates and customized views. I now use OF for my ‘knowledge worker’ type job and find it uniquely helpful, as I’ve written about elsewhere.

I’ve also had a growing family. We adopted an infant early last year, which OF was helpful in managing, and will be having a biological child very soon. Needless to say, our home is going to be a madhouse pretty soon. I’d like to post a bit about my OF setup and see if anyone has any good ideas about incorporating more of my daily tasks in order to be more helpfully comprehensive but while avoiding overwhelm within OF.

My project heirarchy is about what you’d expect: a few top-level ‘Area of Responsibiliy’ folders, each containing a ‘Misc’ SAL and any number of projects. I try to keep work and personal stuff separate. I also have what I call ‘Background chores,’ which are specific chores that never truly NEED to be done, but which I can draw from for the day by flagging. Things like vacuuming, cleaning the toilet, doing the dishes; things I don’t want gumming up my next actions list,
but are still helpful to have available in OF. All of these tasks repeat, so I can check them off and count on them to respawn, typically the next day.

My tags stick fairly close to the GTD methodology. I have a group of tags nested under a symbol (@) to represent what I consider Contexts. These include Phone, Home, Errands, Mom’s House, Office, Work Phone, EHR, etc. Almost every task will have one of these assigned. (Some of these I consider ‘Work Contexts.’)
Below these I have a few tags that I consider Tags, prefaced with another symbol (#) to denote this. These tags include names of people, a ‘Waiting On’ tag, and a ‘Hidden’ tag. (The ‘Hidden’ tag is applied when I want to intentionally exclude a task or project from my normal custom perspectives, and usually means I set up a specific custom perspective just for it. My grocery list is treated this way. Please note that flagging any task will cause it to appear in my normal perspectives regardless of the presence of the ‘Hidden’ tag. That is how I select ‘background chores,’ too, which have this tag applied and do not show up in my main perspectives by default.)

My custom perspectives are where I live and operate from. The main ones are:

Today - Anything available that is due soon or flagged. ‘Hidden’ tasks are excluded unless they are flagged.

Personal next actions - Anything available with either a non-work-related Context, and/or falls within a non-work-related project folder. ‘Hidden’ tasks are excluded unless they are flagged.

Work next actions - Anything available with either a work-related Context, and/or falls within a work-related project folder. ‘Hidden’ tasks are excluded unless they are flagged.

Background Chores - Anything available within the ‘background chores’ project folder. Tasks from within this perspective can be flagged in order to appear in the above perspectives, but are otherwise relegated to here. This gives me a pretty good list of the sort of chores I could potentially be doing, which is good for a quick daily review.

What I find is that I’ve got a lot of stuff to worry about in a given day related to the baby, and that’s going to be compounded with the new one. I’d like to include every thing that I do need to track in a day, in the name of having a trusted, exhaustive system my mind can count on. All this stuff would clutter my Today view if all flagged all the time, and aren’t exactly background chores exactly. I could create a new category similar to background chores called ‘Baby Stuff,’ perhaps.

What would you suggest? I am open, and enjoy finding the best way to do something. I hope to provide a thorough checklist I can reliable use on braindead days but which won’t overcrowd my other perspectives. Here is a sample list of things I track in a day with just the one baby, which are not in my OF database as of yet. Parenthetical items are not a given for each individual day. (I also haven’t brainstormed tasks related to the new baby yet.)

Peewee’s acid reflux medicine
(Peewee’s breathing treatment)
Peewee’s ear drops
Feed Peewee
Give Peewee a snack later on

Throughout the day:
(Give Peewee a bath)
(Cook food, pack baby meals)
Change diapers
Feed Peewee
(Do Laundry)
(Do Dishes)

Dress Peewee for bed
Peewee’s acid reflux medicine
(Peewee’s breathing treatment)
Peewee’s ear drops
Feed Peewee

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I think you are probably being too hard on yourself. Having all that experience (similar to mine) should mean you have refined your use of OF. There are always areas of improvement to be made in OF, but not a complete reworking which I think would be unnecessary and time consuming.
Every so often I take stock (using pen & paper) and prune my project and tags (formerly contexts) and I am always surprised at the number of things no longer relevant to me.
This method, combined with a healthy review habit (which OF helpfully provides) keeps my OF data in tip-top condition.


Pen and paper is a great idea. I have a small whiteboard I use which feels great to erase when the purge is done.


For what it’s worth, I personally keep track of all time-critical tasks—like giving your child their medicine—using Due instead of OmniFocus because I can count on it to keep nagging me until they are done. (Of course, I will probably revisit this workflow once OmniFocus supports repeating reminders.)

I don’t track tasks like “do laundry” and “do dishes” in OmniFocus because I look at the laundry hamper and kitchen sink often enough that I have never forgotten to take care of them. Likewise, I operate on autopilot for most of my morning and evening routines, but if I ever find myself forgetting something I usually add it as an item in the default Reminders app because I don’t want my phone to keep nagging me until it is done, but I do want it to show up on my Lock screen so I will notice it before e.g. going to bed for the night.

In summary: I currently use Due for time-critical tasks, Reminders for tasks that I want to see on my Lock screen without opening OmniFocus, and OmniFocus for everything else.

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I appreciate that system and tried it for a while. Due is an excellent app. However, having two systems operating simultaneously led to difficulties for me and with the improved notifications in OF, I have left Due to concentrate all tasks entirely into OF. I am looking forward to improved ‘nagging’ notifications when they come.

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