Recurring Actions - In Area of Focus Folder or Separate Folder

Hi everyone,

I am a long time GTD user and first time to OmniFocus switching from FacileThings.

What does everyone find the best practice is with respect to recurring actions?

Here are the options I can come up with but open to more:

  1. Create separate folder at the parent root for recurring actions and sub folders for Areas of Focus
  2. Place the items directly in the area of focus, I guess I need to create a generic list under each area of focus for that reason
  3. Make a recurring folder under each area of focus and put them there?

What does everyone find is best?

In my case I have some routines such as startup and shutdown… Those are not tied to any area of focus. But I also some recurring actions like personal banking, monthly closing for my business, workout routines for health and productivity, etc.


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I put one-off recurring actions (e.g. water plants) into the single action list corresponding to that area of life/work (e.g. Household). I often group repeating actions into action groups to make these single action lists easier to navigate and to be able to easily distinguish repeating actions from one-off actions.

OmniFocus - Group Regular Chores

If there’s a collection of actions that I do together (e.g. perform morning review), I give them their own project. The project itself (not the individual actions) is set to repeat and is often set to “Complete with last action”.

OmniFocus - Perform Morning Review

I consider system maintenance to be an area of focus. As such, I have a section of my OmniFocus setup dedicated to keeping my overall system humming along nicely.

OmniFocus - System Maintenance

I hope this helps!

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So two awesome things I see in here and would love to do know how to do!

  1. How do you get the icons in the project names? I love that!
  2. How do you group actions? I have not seen that feature unless I am missing it somewhere but that seems like a nice way to organize it
  1. How do you get the icons in the project names? I love that!

These are emojis. On the Mac, you can insert an emoji by pressing ⌃⌘␣ (Control + Command + Spacebar). I use the following convention:

📦 – Single Action List
🧭 – Parallel/Sequential Project
🔁 – Repeating Project

  1. How do you group actions? I have not seen that feature unless I am missing it somewhere but that seems like a nice way to organize it

On the Mac, you can group existing actions by selecting them and choosing Organize > Group. In the Organize menu, you’ll also find options for indenting and outdenting actions, along with their corresponding shortcut keys.

You find more information in the help (Help > OmniFocus Help on a Mac).

Awesome, thank you! learned on that one as I am fairly new to Mac too :).

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You’re very welcome, @ivanjay205. Great to hear this was helpful!

I have a dedicated root folder called routines. In it separate projects for weekly review, plus start up and wind down projects repeating weekdays. I then have a SAL (single action list) containing all other routine tasks.

In that SAL I grouped related tasks (work, home, personal etc) together in action groups as OF does not have headings.

I also keep this root folder near the bottom of the list so that the tasks show at the end of any perspectives sorted by project order which pushes more important, read paying, tasks to the top.

Project numbers and organisation can easily get out of control and this keeps number’s down plus makes locating, updating and reviewing easier

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Interesting… For right now I put the recurring tasks in with my area of focus. This way, for example, if I have a recurring task related to my business finance world they show together. However, I can see why in the review process that is going to get overwhelming as frankly I do not need to review recurring tasks each week.

Maybe I will create a sub folder for routines or single action project for routines and adjust the review process so it does not take over

I’ve found that putting the repeating actions in an action group within the single actions list makes the review much more practical.

In some cases, I have multiple action groups in one single action list. For example, for 📦 Family & Friends:

OmniFocus - Actions Groups in Single Action List

I don’t generally review each of these action groups in detail each week as they don’t change very often. Instead, I focus my attention on the one-off actions that appear below these groups.

I will give this a try for the routines. Thanks!

I have a slightly different twist. I have a folder for Admin Routines. These are all administrative work that is done on a routine basis.

I have the reviews set to weekly. The tasks in these lists rarely change. I don’t do a lot of editing here.

My Admin Actions folder holds all of my one-off tasks. I can be adding or deleting tasks on a constant basis. I’ve had my one-off actions in the Admin Routines lists but I’ve found that I might accidentally delete a repeating task or accidentally mark a repeating task as complete. Keeping the one-off tasks away from the routine tasks protects me from accidentally changing a repeating task.

The folders below my Admin folders are my Areas of Focus/Responsibilities. These contain the Big Rock projects. These are kept out of “admin” work. There is a time to do admin work (stuff that MAINTAINS my quality of life) and there is a time to work on projects that IMPROVES my quality of life.

When I want to focus on admin work, I’ll check the admin folders. When I want to work on the Big Rocks, I check out every other folder.

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