Migrating from Things - questions

Morning all -

I took the plunge and invested a considerable sum in the OmniFocus suite, iOS and OSX. For most of my academic career Things has been a sufficient GTD solution. It was simple, intuitive and I learned the routines pretty quick. But over the last year my responsibilities have grown A LOT and I needed more complexity and nuance in my GTD system. Most importantly, I needed sub-tasks, in a way that Things Projects/Area categories would not provide.

So far the move has been rewarding, but there’s one large gap I’m having trouble getting over.

In Things I’d have repeating tasks for things I do every day, usually in the morning. For example

  • Check banjo forums
  • Do Duolingo exercises
  • Practice banjo for 20 minutes
  • Weigh self

These would appear up front every morning when I launched Things. It would put them in the “Today” section in a bright yellow box, which would then allow me to either start those activities today, or defer them.

I’m doing something similar in Omnifocus. I’ve created a single action list with all of those actions, set to repeat every 1 day. However, when I complete the task each day, it immediately spawns the next day’s task, and sets it a due date for 24 hours from the completion of today’s version. So, if I practiced my banjo today, and checked the box at 12:03pm, it immediately spawns a new action to practice my banjo, now in yellow, and due tomorrow at 12:03pm.

What confuses me here is the due date. To me, a due date suggests such-and-such activity must be completed by that due date. But these are activities I just need to do the day of, anytime during that day. I sort of perform them when I get a chance, and they are lower priorities than my professional obligations and tasks.

Is there a better flow or set up I can be using here to make these tasks a little more intuitively “Daily” to-dos, or am I just going to have to get used to it?


Yes. Exactly. In one sense, the due date can be considered as the date by when the action must be completed to avoid penalties that will be applied afterward. That is not however how everyone uses the due date.

You have a good start with a single-action project list. The tasks are all independent of any one project and can be done independently of each other. You can attack the “due date” problem you are having in a few different ways. Foremost among them is to avoid the use of due dates anywhere in the rest of the setup. Here is my recommendation …

Set the daily repeat on the project, not on the individual tasks. This works when you know that you will complete everything in the project list. Once completed, the entire project "rolls over" to the next day.

So, for your first time to prepare for tomorrow

  • create a new single-action list
  • set no due date anywhere in the list or on the project
  • defer the entire project until tomorrow 1am (so the entire list stays hidden until the morning)
  • set the project to repeat daily

To have the tasks appear “up front” so that you don’t forget them, you can either flag them or you can create a custom perspective that shows just this project (e.g. Daily Routines).

I happen to have a set up similar to the above as a reminder for a Weekly Review. The entire project Weekly Review repeats weekly with no due dates throughout. I have certain parts of the sequence flagged so they appear immediately. Everything to be done is visible in a custom perspective called Weekly Review.

Hope this helps to point you in a better direction.