"On hold" items showing up in Forecast [Workaround available]

I noticed that this has been added with the latest build with the following explanation:

Due items will now show up in Forecast for projects that are on hold. (Just because they’re on hold now doesn’t mean they’ll still be on hold by the time they’re due. And if they are, you probably want to know about it!)

When I clicked the Forecast view, a lot of old items that I set to “on hold” appeared on the list to my horror.

To me, “on hold” means “on hold”, and “forecast” doesn’t mean “review”.

When I look at Forecast, I expect to see the list of due and upcoming items that are awaiting my attention. Sharp and clear. I don’t expect to be reminded of unrelated old projects that I obviously put on hold in order to avoid having to edit or deal with them, as long as I don’t decide to do otherwise. I see no reason to turn Forecast into another kind of Review.

I shouldn’t need to change the dates for each item in a project when putting it on hold, in order to keep my Forecast view sane. The time to edit anything in an on hold project is after I decide to make it active.

If the due dates in an on hold project mattered, it wouldn’t be put “on hold” anyway.


I found this too, and it really messes with how I have everything setup mostly with recurring tasks that are on hold. The others I was just going to pull due dates off, but I don’t want to have to re-enter the recurring due dates every time I hold and unhold a project that may have weekly repeating tasks with specific due dates.

Concur as well. This functionality defeats the purpose of putting a project on hold.

I think this update has worked well for me.

If you have a project that is on hold and has a due date showing up in the forecast, that might indicate that some revision is needed to your projects. Your next actions as entered into OmniFocus might not be syncing with reality.

Why put a due date on a project that is on hold if the due date means nothing? If you see a project that is on hold and the due date is showing in forecast, that is the red flag that tells me something is wrong with this project. It’s time to look at this project and see what the new reality is like. Oftentimes, I will create a project with carefully planned next actions. But as time goes on, certain events occur (co-worker getting sick for an extended period, a hard drive crash sets back the project as we try to recover data from a backup, etc.) and it can affect the whole project. Then you know that you’ll need to update the project as soon as possible to reflect new changes.

I think putting “on hold” items in forecast is a lifesaver…


You are right about this, for some occasions. However, Forecast is not where it should appear. Also, that due date may be needed for future reference.

The due date is already there. It is not set after putting the project on hold. The projects are put on hold, after they already had their due dates set.

I see that, as in your example, sometimes, putting a project on hold, is another way of putting it on the side while working on it, while reorganising it, like a pit stop. That is not the only way of using “on hold”, and I don’t think it is the standard way either. I also think, a project shouldn’t be needed to be put on hold if it is still relevant, and only needs some refinement. However, if it works for you, it’s fine.

I realise that your example is a different kind of “on hold”, but it is not how I use “on hold”. The kind of “on hold” I use, is about instantly freezing something for until it becomes a relevant project again, if it ever does. Until then, spending time on it, changing dates on it, etc. is a waste of time. Maybe it will be on hold forever, maybe it will need to be activated next month. Existing due dates may or may not be needed, but even if they are not needed, I shouldn’t need to do anything other than simply putting the whole thing on hold, in order to set it aside and get on with my life.

When I look at Forecast, I do that for a simple reason; to see the Forecast. Not to be reminded about the fact that the due dates of a cancelled old project happen to coincide the week I’m in. If I have some projects that I put on hold indefinitely, I shouldn’t be forced to spend time on those in order to use the Forecast view efficiently.


If I put a project " on hold " it’s on the shelf , I remove all the due dates because they won’t apply . If I use on hold to delay a project that’s still going to be due . I definitely want to see due dates . Forecast is where I’d like to see those . Very happy with the update .


It’s good to see this update worked for some, but my need to have an option to exclude on hold items from Forecast is an important one for those who use “on hold” to simply freeze things, and not want to waste time on them, or like to keep the existing dates for future reference.

It doesn’t have to be one way or the other. There can be an option. If there’s not going to be one, I would hope and expect it to be the standard way, otherwise we’re going to need a real forecast view added, and the forecast will be mostly useless to us until this is implemented.


Does it help to set the project to dropped?

Dropping a project would put the project completely out of sight, whereas an on hold project can easily be seen, its components can easily be moved around, it can easily be activated when needed.

The problem is, Forecast acts like Review now, which contradicts its purpose, or at least, it contradicts its function to me.


The reason you would still have dates for example would be a repeating task. I have a list of lets say 6 weekly tasks all with specific day of the week repeats for a committee I am on that have hard deadlines. We decided to delay the committee for a couple months, so I set it to on hold. I don’t want to see those repeats until it starts again, when I take it off hold, but it’s a pain to have to setup and undo the due dates and repeats every time.

And isn’t on-hold item checkups exactly what review is for?


There are some strong workflow arguments on both sides of this, which is a pretty good sign that this should be configurable to match your own workflow. We’re past UI freeze so it’s too late to add a new setting to the UI, so for now the way to do this is by opening these URLs. The first turns off On Hold projects in Forecast, the second turns them on, and the third returns to whatever our default behavior is:


For v3.11+ (Mac and iOS), the URLs have changed slightly:


(After changing this setting, you’ll need to quit and restart the app for it to properly affect all the views.)

Ultimately, this probably ought to be a synced setting in Date & Time Preferences (right next to the definition of “Due Soon”), and should affect the notion of Due Soon and Overdue in all views rather than just in Forecast. (The fundamental question is: should On Hold trump Due, or vice versa?)


Due should trump on-hold.

Example: I have to file my taxes at the end of the month. I’m too busy this week so I put that project on hold. There is no way I will want the on-hold status to hide the due tasks from my forecast view!

By the way, the iPhone version and the Mac version behave differently here. They ought to be consistent on matters of principle like this.


On Hold should trump Due.

If you have an item you want to look at next week only, you shouldn’t set it on hold but rather defer it!


@pehein: It depends on how you use due dates. I use them only for hard external deadlines, like filing taxes. You suggest deferring the project in my example instead of putting it on hold. For some cases I would agree but in my example of taxes it does create another issue. There is a certain lead time that is desirable for completing this particular project, which repeats. The project already has a deferred date and a due date. If I defer it now for an extra week, it will also shorten the lead time for subsequent repetitions, which is not what I’d want. I guess I’d have to remember to set the deferred date back a week again after the project is completed and the next repetition is created. That’s not ideal, which is why I thought about it and decided to put the project on hold, which is not ideal either!

Thank you for these links. As a user of previous versions, I was concerned about how I might use “forecast” given the “on-hold/forecast” issue in the OF2-Mac version. I’m sure I speak for many in saying that these links improve usability. Problem solved. Thanks again.

@OmniChris I don’t think that logic makes sense in most cases. If you’re too busy with other things this week, you should just highlight those things you want to work on and “focus” on them, instead of parking the taxes on hold. If you pause a project, then all of its tasks should go inactive.

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@Malaquias, I guess you’re right. I’m used to the feature of Things that allows me to defer (“schedule”) an instance of a repeating project without changing future lead times. I probably just need to get used to using OmniFocus. i suppose I need to view the available task list differently in OmniFocus: when the list gets a bit long I should review it every day, defer tasks that can obviously be deferred and flag my priorities for today. That’s in addition to using the OmniFocus review perspective. Do that seem the best way to work in this situation?

@OmniChris in understand. Maybe Omnifocus should enable the option to defer an instance of a repeating project. In my case, i only flag items that have an output or negative impact that’s tangible. Something that maybe somebody (ie my boss or a peer) is going to ask me for or stuff that has an interface with others. For example a proposal, a report or an approval. Those things i know if someone was measuring my efficiency they would hurt me. The rest of the things i just keep them active (through a start and due date) so i can take from that list once i’m done with flagged items. Flagging all of your items is also a bad practice since it doesnt highligh the critical from the important.

On the other hand, if you put a project on hold, it should disappear from your day to day until you bring it back to life. In that way you keep things more clean and can keep a reasonable focus. Otherwise it gets all messy, daunting and even disappointing.

I have created some custom perspectives like “Focused” and “Active” to see where i should focus my efforts.

Anyways, each person should work with tools that fits his/her specific needs. I just started to try Vitamin-R (Mac) which allows you to set what you’re going to work next and kill everything else (including distractions) so that you focus at a few things with a pre-define timer. So far so good. If you like the idea i can share my impressions.

Good luck.

Do you all know if there any updates to this? I searched the forums and couldn’t find any, though I may have missed it…

For now, I am in the “On Hold trumps Due” camp, though see both use cases. I have a repeating series of tasks with specific due times, but the global repeat of the parent project is irregularly occurring. I’d like to preserve all of the due times and hold the parent project until it needs to be reactivated.

I’m using the links above for Mac, though would love a formal option in settings.

More important than a Mac setting would be the same option on iOS. My forecast in iOS is a mess right now…

As others in this thread have said, it really does come down to your workflow and what “on hold” means.

I know in my case, the issue has never bothered me, because I use due dates for very “hard landscape” things only, and if something is going to go on hold, it will inherently be something that no longer has that hard landscape.

However, I also use “on hold” to mean only those things that are completely on the back burner until I have a chance to think about them again. I also have an on-hold context called “Simmering Pot” that I use for individual tasks that are in this state, so the concept is the same.

If it’s something with a due date that I just don’t want to think about this week, that’s what defer dates are for in my world. IMHO, OmniFocus is one of the few systems that has a strong “defer date” implementation, which is a huge part of the reason I’ve always stuck with it.

Weekly reviews are also a key part of the process for me. Since I’m looking at everything on my list every week anyway, I’m going to pick up those “due” items each week and be able to make a decision as to whether I need to work on them now or later. Since my “working” context only shows flagged items, I use flags extensively as well. Anything I’m going to do this week gets a flag, while anything I’m going to do later gets a defer date and a flag, or simply gets left for the next Monday’s review.

In my system, “on hold” rarely means much to me anyway, to be honest. It keeps things a little less cluttered in my contexts for the occasional daily reviews that I do (which are context-based), but since I usually plan things a week at a time, I’m rarely working outside of my “Hotlist” anyway, beyond the weekly reviews. If something is longer-term, I just set it to a longer review cycle (every 2 weeks, or every 4 weeks), which is often the same as putting it “on hold” for my purposes. The “Simmering Pot” context has a bit more meaning to me, as it’s tied to a perspective that I’ll review to see things that are sort of “stuck” in my existing projects and need some more thought put into them, but again that only applies to individual tasks, and not whole projects.

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