Need help creating a perspective

I’m on OF3 on my Mac. Here’s what I want the perspective to do:

  1. Show tasks with a specific “waiting” tag. Here’s some important points:
    • The tag’s status is On Hold
    • All of my projects which would contain tasks with this tag would be sequential projects
  2. I only want to see the single, next, task with the waiting tag. I don’t want to see tasks deeper down in the project that also have the waiting tag. This is the part I’m struggling with.

Basically I have a 10 step process that I repeat frequently so I’ve created a template project for it, with all the tasks and tags already built out. I duplicate this template project anytime I need to do it, and at any given time I usually have 5 to 10 of them active on different tasks.

Steps 5 and 8 both involve me sending something to someone else for review, which means I’m now waiting on them and those tasks are tagged with my “waiting” tag which has an “On Hold” status. I want my “Waiting” perspective to show these tasks.

Here’s where I’m struggling with the filter rules for this perspective:

  • If I set Availability to “Available”, I don’t see any tasks. Which makes sense. The tag’s status is On Hold so of course those tasks aren’t available.
  • If I set Availability to “Remaining”, I see ALL remaining tasks with the waiting tag, so both steps 5 and 8. If I’m on step 5 I only want to see step 5. I don’t want to see step 8 yet. In fact I might not even be on step 5 yet. I might only be on step 2, yet both steps 5 and 8 would appear in the waiting perspective even though I’m not actually waiting on them yet.

Obviously the challenge here is I’m using the waiting tag on future tasks that I haven’t gotten to yet. I realize there are 2 things I could do to get around this:

  1. I could remove the waiting tag from future tasks that I haven’t gotten to yet
  2. I could set the entire project to On Hold and include that in my filter rules

But I don’t want to do either of these, if possible. I want this to be completely automated so I can simply duplicate my template project and then complete tasks as I go and things automatically fall into the correct perspectives. I don’t want to rely on myself to have to edit tags or status.

Anyone have any thoughts?

This is an interesting case. OmniFocus deals very well with sequential tasks, such as your regular process, but for the correct “next” actions to show up they have to be in the ‘Available’ state.

I suggest creating an additional waiting-type tag that you will use specifically in the template that creates your routine sequential processes. Call it something different, like ‘Under Review’. It will have the ‘Active’ status, so that the actions which have it can become available automatically. You can keep your standard ‘Waiting’ tag, which is On Hold, for use in the non-routine projects (it’s often useful to have awaited tasks on hold). Putting them both in a tag branch can help navigation and filtering in other situations:


Your routine projects from the template will look something like this:

Now you can create your Waiting perspective which will show both:

  • The first available action with the ‘Under Review’ tag (from each of your routine projects).
  • All remaining actions with the ‘Waiting’ tag (from your non-routine projects)

(If your routine projects are flat sequential lists, the ‘Available’ rule will return the same thing as ‘First Available’, but the latter deals with all cases of more complex projects that mix parallel and sequential parts.)

The result of the perspective looks like this — only the first ‘Under Review’ from person X appears:

Now you can complete your routine project steps one by one without changing tags. You will know from habit that:

  • the available actions which have the ‘Under Review’ tag should only be marked complete when the other person has finished reviewing
  • you should never manually apply the ‘Under Review’ tag in your non-routine projects.

You could just make the Waiting tag active. After all, the items in that tag are active in that you are waiting on something at that particular time. I have never really liked setting the Waiting tag to On Hold for the same reason.

This is fantastic, thank you so much for taking the time to write this up!!

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