My most longed for feature: open/closed times on tags (formerly contexts)

Years ago, before Omnifocus was a wonderful product called Life Balance. There were many wonderful things they brought to life in that product such as effort and duration sliders. The sliders worked to keep things fuzzy vs putting in something like the hard estimated duration of OmniFocus. Still, those were minor compared to the one killer feature. Contexts that had open and close times. For each context, you could set if it was open or closed. That meant that any time you looked at available across contexts, you were only shown things which could be done in the moment. Sure you COULD make a phone call at 3am, but would your girl/boyfriend really thank you for doing so?

I am hoping as automation comes I can replicate this feature to some extent using LCP and scripting to set the state of contexts. I’ve thought about doing it off the Mac, but I’m not in front of it enough to make it useful.

Just curious if anyone else see’s the potential benefit of having open/close times to contexts or if it’s just me.


Yes that would be cool and Omnifocus has so much potential, but let’s just get OSX version out the damn door this month to start shall we? ;)

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Yes, I’d like a slider but I think there are other features I want more in OF3.1+.

I usually don’t go as fine grained with my durations. I use 5, 15, 30, and 60 as my increments. Sometimes a 2 minute task can take 5 minutes. So I just round up. If I know a task takes longer than one hour, I’ll break up the task into smaller pomodoros. A 90 minutes task will have a 60 minute task (part 1) and a 30 minute task (part 2). Or I might have two 4t minute tasks.

While the sliders were a nice feature, the one I was really thinking was the killer feature was open/close times. Though I did like the sliders for making it feel more … organic.

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Total newbie here to OF2 and perhaps I’m not quite understanding this feature request, but it sounds to me like you’re asking for something that allows you to fit in tasks in given time slots. Sort of like Ted Talk that allow you a choice to listen to talks based on how much time you have.

Now, if that’s the case, what I’d want is something that analyzes my tasks and “suggests” to me tasks that I can do to 'fill in gaps of time". Similar to one that suggest you do a task based on context, like your location. This may or may not go here in this post, but it seems to me that that’s inline with what you’re suggesting.

No. I would like build a perspective of what I can do right now out of available tasks. This would hide available tasks in perspective that are closed. Like a store or phone call at 3am.

Easiest way to handle this would be to assign various Time of Day tags. e.g. Morning, Afternoon, Eventing, etc to tasks and then either look at the tags or if you want to get nerdy, set up perspectives for each time slice if you want to be more exacting.

I’ve needed this, because I work with teams in multiple time zones and need to be able to work with them in their preferred activity windows as well as wanting to make sure I know whats available for when I can do errands, make business calls, social calls, etc.

A more advanced version of this would be to use the same tags, and then have an AppleScript to automatically make those tags Active or On Hold based on the time of day. You could trigger such a check and action periodically using something like Keyboard Maestro or Automator. I tried this out and managed to make it work. The key requirement is that it needs a Mac always on to trigger the workflow (assuming you’re regularly updating the active/on hold status of the tag throughout the day). I’ve done this with an always-on Mac Mini that has OmniFocus and the supporting apps running.

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Interesting idea. I like it and will have to play with it. I especially like using the Mac to put things on hold and back off.