Make up todo list for the day

Hi all!

I am wondering how I am supposed to make up a todo list for the day. Once my inbox is empty all tasks and projects are stowed away into their appropriate locations and no longer easily viewable.

In addition, tasks without due date are not so easily viewable, tis making it eben more difficult to integrate them into the day.

Where would I go to see all theses tasks altogether, with and without due date, in order to make up my daily list and in order not to “forget” tasks?

How do you guys deal with this, how do you make up your list for the day?



You can use flags for this. Flag the tasks you want to do today.

I have a perspective which shows me all tasks that are due or flagged as a “today” list.

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Thanks for your reply!
I get your point to use flags for a today list, this comes in handy.

But how would you actually make up your list for the day, under the premise that not every of my tasks in OmniFocus has a due oder deferred date? Quite a number of my tasks are without due or deferred date, and I would lie to chose from a list containing these and the other tasks (those with date) in order to make up a “today” list (containing flagged items, as you suggested…


I generally think of OmniFocus as bucket list of all the things I want to do - projects and tasks. Due tasks or things that I really have to finish by a certain date. Flagged tasks are tasks that have no due date but I would like to get them done today.

You can create a perspective called “Tasks available

Name: Available Tasks
Project Hierarchy: Don’t use project hierarchy
Group actions by: Context
Sort actions by: Due
Filter by status: Any Status
Filter by availability: Available
Filter by duration: Any Duration
Filter contexts: Active

This perspective gives you a list off all available actions (tasks that can were deferred to Today or earlier. This is your bucket list.

I flag a few tasks with the intention of finishing those tasks today. Don’t worry about tomorrow or the next day. Just flag tasks that you want to work on today.

Then you can create a Today perspective for Today. It is the same as the Available Tasks perspective but the Filter by status is changed to Due or flagged

Project Hierarchy: Don’t use project hierarchy
Group actions by: Context
Sort actions by: Due

Filter by status: Due or flagged
Filter by availability: Available
Filter by duration: Any Duration
Filter contexts: Active

The basic premise is that you should set due dates for tasks that have real due dates (Buy anniversary gift for wife before Friday, Pay taxes on April 15th, Buy Christmas presents by December 24th). Then you flag tasks that have no real due date but you want to work on them today.

When you visit the Today perspective, work on anything that is due soon or due today. After you finish the due items (because it is important to finish tasks on time), then you can start work on your flagged tasks.

When you have successfully completed your flagged tasks, go back to the Projects or Contexts perspective and flag another small handful of tasks.

I wouldn’t choose any more than three to five tasks to flag. Life gets crazy and things will pop in to your life and consume your time. Flag three to five tasks and work on those. When you are completed with the current batch of flagged tasks, you can always flag another handful. Leave room in your life for the external things that will pop up in your life.

Another way to do this is to look at the Available tasks perspective. Write down all the due tasks that need to be done on a sheet of paper or an index card. Write the due date next to these due tasks. Then draw a line under the last due task. Next, write down three to five tasks that you want to work on. This index card or sheet of paper is your “Today” list. Work on these until you finish. Then write down another three to five tasks if your day is not yet over and you still have time. Repeat this process the next day with a fresh index card or sheet of paper.


If I understand you correctly, you would like to flag many tasks, and then choose some of them for your Today list. Omnifocus does not currently support tags, but you could write #today (for example) in the name field or notes field of the tasks you choose, and then have a perspective that searches for that text.

Thanks CatOne, wilsonng and Jan_H for your extensive and kind replies! Nevertheless, I still have not found that one, “easy” answer I was searching… Maybe I try to explain better, and I should also add that I am not using the “pro” version:

I have tasks in my agenda (a) with due oder referred dates, and (b) without date. I typically have between one and 4 (dated) tasks per day, plus a couple of undated ones.

In the morning I would like to assemble a todo list for the day. Of course, due (dated) tasks are on that list. But, if I have time, I would also like work on a task due n the future, or some undated ones.

How am I supposed to assemble such a daily todo list? The above (by the three of you) described procedures seem so complicated that it looks as if OmniFocus is complicating my task management rather than gaming t easier or faster. Why flag, if everything is in your todo repository? And for flagging all would I have to go manually though all of my projects, contexts etc.?

Or - am I just approaching this issue plain wrong? It should be possible to use OmniFocus without the pro version - why should they sell a non-pro version if you couldn’t actually work with…?



As you are not using the Pro version, I may not be able to help much, though my workflow is very similar to yours… The only way I think it may fit is using the Context perspective as your list of next actions to pick from. Then you may flag everything you need or want to do today in the Context perspective (including those that due soon or are overdue), and get a list in the Flagged perspective. Optionally, you may declutter it by deferring things you do not want to attempt at the moment.

My way to do this is constructing an “Act” perspective, i.e. today’s to-do, that has tasks flagged or due soon, and two “Plan” perspectives that have unflagged tasks from different areas of responsibility (via Focus). With these, I can flag stuff that I want to attempt today from a list of next actions, while the to-do list still has things that gonna due or are overdue.

@Jelden If not using Pro, I would still use the Flagged approach, but look at tasks via the Contexts perspective. Think of which contexts you will actually be in, and flag the tasks you most want to do.

As well, look at tasks via the Projects perspective for things you might want to focus on and flag those.

I have found that defer dates are very powerful for making sure that tasks don’t show up as potential options for me if I can’t (or have predetermined that I don’t want to) work on them yet. In that way, any task available in Contexts or Projects becomes something that I could flag, bringing it to my attention for today.



You certainly don’t need the pro version to use Omnifocus. And it doesn’t have to be complicated to use the program. I have a suggestion, but I suspect that there is something more you would like to achieve, otherwise you probably would have tried it already. Simply flag those undated tasks you would like to have in your todo list. Then start with working on your due tasks from the Forecast view - your due list. When they are finished, switch to the Flagged view and work with the rest of the tasks for the day - your todo list.

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Thanks for all your replies, I find them very useful!

I believe it is generally not a good idea to create tasks without Context, due date and Project - it seems that you probably will never see it again.

I certainly disagree here. Putting due dates on tasks that are not specifically DUE at a specific time can lead to scheduling madness. If you have contexts and projects on tasks, regular review of projects, as well as carefully constructed perspectives, should be all you need.

If there is a negative consequence of not doing a specific task by a specific time, by all means put a due date on it. But don’t just slap due dates on everything just so you don’t forget about them. That’s a very non-GTD approach.


So what you are saying is that you either put a due or deferred date on a task in order to get reminded of it, or you put the task into a project or assign a context to it…? But then, in the morning, do you really go through all of your projects and all of your tasks in order to assemble a todo list for your day? You could have many projects, and even more contexts, I imagine this being a lengthy and not very efficient procedure?
Sorry for inviting here, I am convinced that what you do IS indeed efficient - I just didn’t get it yet…

Jelden does not have the pro version, so he has to live without the carefully constructed perspectives, but I still think you have an important point, Catone - I’ve had that scheduling madness and found it a relief to walk the GTD road instead.

For me, after years using omnifocus, what’s working best is macsparky’s clear method. Have a clear persperctive, every morning select everything available there and defer to today, defer whan I’m not doing today and get to work. This thing:

It should probably be implemented as the default method for working in omnifocus, would make things easier for newbies.

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@jelden IMHO, if you don’t want to see a particular task as an option for something to do, it should be either deferred or deleted. In my setup, all available tasks are options for things I could do today, but only tasks that, if not complete by a certain time, will punish me somehow have due dates (renew car insurance, buy wife’s birthday present, meet boss’s immovable deadline).

Assigning due dates where they aren’t really necessary dilutes the meaning of “due”, which can have detrimental psychological impact on the value of the system and how trusted it is.

I have projects organized in folders to show their relative importance to my week:

  • Hotlist
  • Backburner
  • Areas of Focus
  • Someday/Maybe

As part of my weekly review, I move projects between folders depending on where my focus needs to be most. In this way, first looking at tasks relating to Hotlist projects makes the most sense and helps direct my activity.



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Thanks for your answers all! This is helping a lot.

If I get you right there are some rules to apply to efficiently use OmniFocus:

  1. Tasks should have either a context or be in a project, or both
  2. Use defer dates as often as possible
  3. Use due dates only when necessary
  4. To make up your daily todo list, look for due tasks and starting (formerly deferred) tasks from forecast, and for the contexts you will be during the day.
  5. In addition to the tasks showing up for the day, flag the tasks (as a kind of “today” mark) for the day and do them

What do you think?

Just, an “library” view (as shown in this video from would really be handy…