Marking tasks that i would like to get done this week?

Hello all:
thought id try here for some ideas with an issue I’m trying to remedy. every week i do my weekly review with all omnifocus projects. my current set up is i have a today perspective set up to show me all tasks that are flagged, and these items are the ones i would like to accomplish for the day. However when doing my weekly review i would like to be able to pick out all the tasks that i would like to accomplish for the week and have them sort automatically into a perspective. From the week perspective i would then like to be able to just flag items inside this perspective and have them end up in my today perspective. I cannot for the life of me figure out a way to do this since i already using flags for today perspective. Hope this makes sense.

Thanks in advance!

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If I might be so bold, what you want to do seems either a bit ambitious or rather silly. OmniFocus only has one flag, and it can only be in a state of on or off. There is a reason in the (strict) GTD world for this approach. One does not really get to pick tasks in advance based on what one wants to do, especially not based on multiple and different (arbitrary) time scales (today, this week, tomorrow, next year …). One picks tasks to do based on what one needs to do. Put another way, the GTD world that OmniFocus uses does not really recognize time durations (today, this week, …) in the way that you do in considering your planning. Because of this, you won’t really find a clean way to designate tasks based on the upcoming time duration that you want to do them.

I would also have to ask, can you really function so well that you know today what you really want to do tomorrow, let alone for an entire week? Are you really making it easier for yourself when you end up today having to unflag or unmark the 20 or so tasks that you so diligently marked last week because you desperately wanted to do them over the last week but did not find time to do because your boss/spouse/dog/friend/colleague … immediately then dumped an entire week’s worth of required work on you for the week (the long sentence here is a purposeful up to show the level of anxiety that I would feel when faced with exactly this situation using your proposed approach)?

Be all this above as it may, when you really may want to try to mark tasks in the way you want within the realm of OmniFocus, off the top of my head I might suggest these two options.

  • You could create a special context (e.g. @This Week) that you use to designate tasks that you want to do this week. Then, you would flag the ones in this context that you want to do today.

  • You could put a special duration (e.g. one hour) on tasks that you want to do this week. Then, you would order your task list by duration and search for the special duration time as your marker.

These are hacks and come with their own set of troubles.


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Hi Jack,

unlike @DrJJWMac, I see nothing wrong with having one plan for the day and one for the week. This is one of the adjustments I have made for myself in Omnifocus. Of course things can change, but to me it works good to have this as a starting point. If I don’t manage to finish all tasks during the week, I simply continue to work next week on those tasks that have no due date.

As @DrJJWMac suggests, you could have a special context ”This week” and show tasks with that context in a perspective. I also have tasks with the context ”Today” shown in the same perspective, as I prefer to reserve flags for especially urgent tasks that I like to achieve first of all.

If you use contexts for other purposes, you could instead make your own tagging system, for example by putting ”#thisweek” in the name field or note field of the tasks you choose, and then create a perspective that searches for that tag.

If you need/must to do particular tasks in the week perhaps setting the due date to the following Friday, set “Due Soon” to say three days so you get an early warning but most of all put them in your calendar so you know you have the time reserved and scheduled to do them in the week.

Just a thought.

As a point of clarification …

I do plan and review at weekly and daily overviews. For the week, I plan and review at the project level (using tools outside of OF). For the day, I plan and review at the task level. Also, I rarely if ever mark (flag) tasks based on what I want to do; I mark them based on having a priority of being urgent and important for that day (based loosely on the 7 Habits matrix).

Also, perhaps it is me but, as I have learned the hard way from long experience, I become entirely overwhelmed to the point of immobilization when I am confronted by a flagged list of tasks that I have previously decided I wanted to do in moments such as when someone suddenly dumps a set of high priority responsibilities on my desk or when my mood changes to frustration or when a task that I wanted to do proves impossible to move forward effectively. The approach being proposed by the OP is ultimately just too inflexible for my needs (let alone that it is not supported in OF anyway).



I am another person who would like to be able to make a list/tag all actions to make a weekly plan.

Weekly planning is encouraged in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits method. Weekly horizons are also a staple of MYN/1MTD (Manage Your Now, 1 Minute To Do).

DrJJWMac mentioned being overwhelmed with a list of flagged tasks he needs to do for the week. I am the opposite: unless I break down everything in OF and only focus on a smaller subset, I get overwhelmed and lost. Of course I still keep other perspectives so I can work on other, non-weekly tasks, as my context or mood changes. And that’s the reason why a solution for me isn’t to send everything I’m NOT working on this week into Someday/Maybe.


  • #ThisWeek hash tag - It’s cumbersome and error-prone to edit on mobile devices. It clutters up the display.
  • Using estimated time - It’s not visible when viewing the list of tasks. It’s impossible to tell, at a glance, which tasks are assigned to a weekly timeframe, without using a custom perspective.
  • Using the flag - You can’t use the flag for daily tasks.
  • Using a context - You can no longer use contexts

Aside from hacks, creating a weekly subset of tasks isn’t supported in OF.

I have an OF2 trial that expires this week and I will not be purchasing.

I have found that most of my work tends to belong to a big project that I need to focus on. When I finish one project, I can go back to OmniFocus and set another On Hold project back to Active status and make that the new Big Rock project.

All of the productivity systems are great ways of planning a work week. But ultimately we have to find what works for us. We look at what Covey, MYN, or 1MTD does and we adapt it to fit our own work style. You can follow the workflows to the letter. Later, you can slowly adapt it to your needs.

I schedule my next week by choosing 3 Big Rock projects.

On Friday (the end of the week), I review my current 3 Big Rock projects. If I haven’t finished the 3 Big Rocks this week, I’ll keep it for another week. If another On Hold project needs to come to the front line, I’ll put one of my 3 Big Rock projects on hold and substitute the new one in its place.

I typically tend to have set blocks of “me” time where I purposely block out time for my Big Rocks. I like to leave these time blocks blank or open-eneded.

When I find some unexpected “me” time or when my Big Rocks time block comes up, I’ll check the Big Rocks folder and decide which of the Big Rocks I will focus on. I use my intuition to feel which Big Rocks gets priority. Sometimes I might feel like Project #1. Other times, I’ll work on Project #2. Or I feel that Project #3 has been neglected and I’ll work on that instead.

In OmniFocus terminology, I can do one of two things to do the Big Rocks workflow:

Method 1 - Use a Big Rocks folder

I create a folder called Big Rocks. Then I drag a project to that folder.

I can go to the projects perspective and look at which Big Rock folder to see which Big Rock project I want to work on during my “me time.” All of my Someday/Maybe projects are set to “On Hold” status so that the tasks don’t appear in any perspectives that show “available” actions. When I drag an On Hold project to the Big Rocks folder, I’ll change the status to “Active.” When I move it out of the Big Rocks folder, I remind myself to switch the status back to “On Hold” if there are any remaining actions left in the project.

I set up a project perspective that shows all remaining items and set the focus to the “Big Rocks” folder.

Perspective: Big Rocks

Use project Hierarchy
Sort projects by: Due
Filter by status: Any status
Filter by availability: Remaining
Filter by duration: Any duration
Fler projects: Remaining
Focus: Big Rocks folder

Or I can just visit the Projects perspective and drill down to the Big Rocks folder.

This is my weekly focus - The 3 Big Rocks.

You can vary up the number of projects. Typically, I might have three Big Rocks from work, one Big Rock for the house, and another Big Rock for the family. That’s a total of five Big Rocks. But they are from different folders or Areas of Responsibility.

We can have hundreds of projects in OmniFocus. But realistically, we need to put laser focus on a small handful of projects. We have a finite capacity and limited time to complete projects. It would be better to have finish three projects a week instead of having ten projects that are in various stages of completion. Putting the weekly focus into Big Rocks will give you that focus to make progress. Knock one project off your list and go on to the next project.

You can also have a single actions list residing in the Big Rocks folder called “This Week’s tasks”. Then you can put all of those miscellaneous tasks that you really want to work on next week into this Single Actions List.


@wilsongg What you describe is very close to my system, and I agree with nearly everything you say.

However, since Omnifocus lacks tags, you always have to sacrifice something to be able to get that “big rocks/most important task/weekly list” view. In method one you sacrifice the use of folders, so you no longer use folders to group by area.

It’s a frustrating limitation that feels like I’m using software from 20 years ago and need to hack my workflow because of system resource limitations. Every todo list app I’ve seen lately lets you organize by projects, areas, flag/star tasks, AND filter by tags. You don’t need such hacks that restrict you from using other features (eg. estimate, flags, folders). The only thing OmniFocus has that keeps me coming back and trying it again is very good next action support, but every time I try it I realize the lack of an additional dimension for organizing is crippling to me.

The lack of tags shouldn’t stop anybody. Everything is a “hack” whether tags are built-in or not.

The perspectives can search for text with a hashtag. You can enter something like #Big Rock and that will take care of the tags request. If you wish, TextExpander can auto-expand to create consistent tags. But as always, the less tags used, the simpler, the better.

If you want, you can put a hashtag in the title or in the notes section of a task.

If we look at software, we will all find a way around anything. Call it a hack or not, as long as the job gets done.

Using the Big Rocks folder is a different way for me to get around tags. Personally, I’ve found tags to be so-so… It’s not the ultimate solution to solving life’s problems. Tags can just complicate things needlessly if not used sparingly.

@wilsonng I agree that tags can complicate things needlessly, just like too many contexts. In Things I only use about 4-6 tags.

Using hash tags in titles works, but it is clumsy. In other programs I could select 5 tasks, right click, and assign a tag in 1 second. In OF2 I need to write AppleScript. That’s what I mean by a hack.

I just came across a post from Ken that reaffirmed they will be working to address this problem

Our thinking has evolved on this over the years, and we do plan to add support for creating arbitrary lists of tasks which cut across projects and contexts.

And it sounds like it will happen in v2. That’s the most hopeful thing I’ve heard in the years and years these threads have been going on. : )

set up the Applescript once and then you won’t have to do it ever again. Set a shortcut key and it becomes as smooth as silk.

One other way to use perspectives to make a weekly list without using folders or hashtags is to pick the projects directly in the perspective dialog.

The problem with using #hash_tags is that you can’t filter for missing strings (exclude containing “#”). You also can’t filter based on more than one condition. I for example clasify all my projects #A, #B, #C, #D as per Urgency/Importance. Once a time I need to go through the full list of projects to identify those, that I forgot to tag … very annoying as you can imagine

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That isn’t going to work well with single action lists. You’re going to need to move your actions between lists. Even after that, you always have to be updating your perspectives.

Two steps:

(1) Select a unique character to become your “weekly flag.” I suggest ∑ (option-w) because it’s easy to remember as “w for weekly,” but any unique character that will not be used for other purposes will do. When you pick out a task for the weekly view, add ∑ to its title.

(2) Set up a weekly perspective any way you like, then activate it, put your special flag character (∑) into the search bar, then click on the view Eye, and click “Save.” The search for ∑ will now be saved as part of the Perspective. (Yeah, it does that. Cool, right?) From now on, you just flag the weeklies with ∑, and then click on your weekly perspective to see the whole list.

Good luck, hope it helps.

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As appealing as rigid constraints are, if you actually delve into David Allen’s GTD material, that’s not the way it works. He has some great seminars about implementing GTD.

One of David’s favorite sayings is “flexibility trumps perfection.” This applies to GTD systems like OmniFocus as well.

The most helpful distinction I got from a David Allen seminar was his explanation that contexts are just lists that will be useful for you. He said to pretend that your trusted system was your secretary. He asks, “what lists of reminders would you ask your secretary to make for you? When would you ask your secretary to remind you?” He gave the example that he has a context/list for “things to pack,” and “Books to read during flights.” He also has context/lists for “after I get on the plane” and “when I’m too tired to work.”

Often, when giving an overview speech about GTD, David Allen says that once you learn the basic principles of GTD, you can create your own system any way you want.

All of this is to say that IMHO, GTD is all about being effective and being flexible. We should be scolding less around here, and encouraging creative solutions that help folks get more out of life by using OmniFocus.


I can agree fully that contexts should be what you want them to be. Over about five years or so, I have gone through at least four iterations of my context sets. At least twice I threw out an entire set after only a few months and started again from scratch.

Which could also be taken to say that, when you prepare a (long) list of tasks that you want to do for the coming week, be prepared (flexible) that you might have to change it on the fly perhaps multiple times because life happens that way (and otherwise you will not be effective).

Framed in this light, I suspect then that my problem is that I am too stubborn to appreciate the sense behind the original poster’s intent. In my previous approach, when I would be confronted with a (long) ToDo list for the week, I would be prone to charge forward with it, potentially ignoring the life-changing events around me at the given moment.

The biggest lesson for me from GTD and 7 Habits was one to break this bad habit. I was schooled to do things in the more immediate moments of realistically foreseeable time and respond pro-actively to what comes to me in those moments. I learned that dreamily longing after the full completion of a long list of “this coming week’s desires” meant almost nothing in comparison simply to completing the few next actions that were sitting in front of me right now. Said in a different way, I learned that making lists of “want to do” tasks that span a week is truly a rigid approach to GTD, not a flexible one. I learned to stop making itemized lists of tasks that I wanted to do within time frames that stretched unreasonably beyond the here and now. Instead, I make lists of tasks that have to be done to complete projects, then I find my priorities for right now, and then I do those tasks.

In any case, maybe it is the 7 Habits that takes out the time duration, not GTD. If so, my apologies.

I would return to the observation that OF is not realistically designed to “create your own (GTD) system any way you want”. OF follows a rather clear track in the GTD mantra. To appreciate this, one only needs to see the “hacks” proposed here in solution to the original poster’s request, the “hacks” proposed to use multiple contexts on tasks, the “hacks” proposed to include large reference documents with tasks, … and so forth.

So, I return to my reply that you quoted and put it back in its context.


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I think you misunderstood my statement. “Creating your own GTD system any way you want” as suggested by David Allen includes the subset “Use OmniFocus in unintended ways in order to manage your GTD the way you want.”

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Accepted then. I wish some of those “unintended ways” would not have to involve the use of hacks.


That will probably not be needed in the future, as explained by Ken Case in the post quoted below. The quoted words were originally written before the release of Omnifocus 2 for Mac, but confirmed in April this year to still be a future goal for the Omni Group. I just wish that the future regarding this feature would be less far away…

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