School Workflow - Defer vs Due

Hello all!

I’ve been a user of Omnifocus but just used a very basic surface style of the app. Now that I am re-enrolling back in school for a 2nd Master’s degree, I am revisiting how to use Omnifocus with my school studies. I need some help in my setup with tasks, if anyone has suggestions.

Folder - Area of my life (School)
Project - Each individual class that I am enrolled in

  • I thought about making a sub-folder by semester, but wasn’t sure if it was overkill.

Tasks - Trying to input the syllabus with readings, quizzes, etc.
I am not sure if this works or not. But to my understanding “defer dates” are “start dates”.

If I create a new task call it “Discussion Posting” with a defer date of Sept 3 (when the question is posted by the instructor in our class course, and then a due date of Sept 8 (when I need to turn it in by)

  1. Does this setup work that way?
  2. Will I receive notfiications that I can “start” my tasks?

I am trying to think of a proper perspective or way to visualize better. Suggestions?

I think what you’re doing makes sense. I used sub folders for each course and projects for each deliverable. This helps you see what’s happening in each course at a glance.

Deferred tasks will show up in the Forecast View, I think, when they are available. You won’t get notifications, however. Instead, you can set up a notification for the relevant task in the Inspector—as many notifications as you’d like, to make sure you don’t forget anything!

I might suggest this organization:

  • Classes (folder)
    • Class A - F19 (folder)
      • Assignment 1 (project)
      • Assignment 2 (project)
    • Class B - F19 (folder)
  • Thesis (folder)

The advantage is that each assignment is completed on its own right and that perspectives can be used to focus at various levels.

Your approach to defer and due is the same as I use. Defer means, the task cannot be started until that date due to an externally imposed limit. Due means, the task must be completed by that data according to an externally imposted deadline. I fudge this sometimes for convenience.


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For some syllabus items, there may be a prerequisite. For those, it might be better to use a Sequential order instead of Single. If something can be done concurrently, then Parellel (ie reading assignment and paper) would probably be better.

I don’t use dates that much; I am mainly using Sequential order for my tasks because I need to do X before I can start Y.

Depending on what you mean by “externally imposed”, defer dates can also be useful as self-imposed “do” dates. I have used these to give myself permission to, say, not think about a term project until after another assignment is finished. Of course, this is a matter of personal approach.

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