Seeking Advice: Visualizing Estimated Time Duration in Omnifocus 4

Hey Omnifocus enthusiasts!

I’m new to Omnifocus but I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and one thing that I’ve been pondering is how to effectively visualize the “estimated time duration” values for tasks and projects. I find that having a visual representation of the time estimates could greatly enhance my planning and scheduling process. Currently when i look at a list of Task, for example in the forcast view, i can’t visualy differenciate if I expected them to take one hour or twenty. Beeing able to visualize how much i put on my plate would realy help me to not feel overwhelmed and also be and feel productive.

Does anyone have any tips, tricks, addons or different ways they handle this issue? Whether it’s a custom perspective, script, or a different kind of planing / looking at tasks, I’m open to exploring different options.

I understand that Omnifocus primarily focuses on task management, but I believe visualizing time estimates could help me allocate my time more efficiently and make better-informed decisions about my workload.

Looking forward to hearing about your experiences and solutions! Thanks in advance for any insights you can share.

Happy organizing! 🚀

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Great observation, @balu. I don’t use the estimated time duration field too often, but do find value in it sometimes. Two ways I’ve tried to “visualize” it are:

  1. to keep the Inspector sidebar open, and have the field towards the top of the sidebar, and
  2. to also include the estimated time (manually) in the name of the task: example - “Walk the dog (30 min)”

Hope that helps!

On my iPad or my Mac, I have OF4 on one side and Fantastical in Day view or Week view. I can drag and drop a task from OF4 to a time slot in Fantastical.

Fantastical will recognize the estimated duration from OF4 and adjust the new event’s duration to match.

Apple Calendar will ignore the estimated duration field.

If a task does not have an estimated duration, it will use the default event length in Fantastical or Apple Calendar.

My own time is erratic so I usually only have 1 main task in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. This gives me flexibility when clients do a walk in visit without an appointment.

thanks for hinting to try different apps,
i tried apple calendar and it didn’t work - so i thought dragging to Calendar for timeblocks is not functional.
Now i’ve tried busyCal which also adds blocks of the right time amount - so its kind of a working workaround.
(Also i’d still love to have it in omni focus)

Yeah I’d love to see it in OF4 as well. I see the Noteplan app does it inside the app itself.

If you’re in month view, you’ll only be able to create an all day event. You have to be in day view or multi week view. Then you can drag and drop into a time slot.

I did it in the day view, but apple calendar always creates an entry of one hour no matter the estimated time of the task

Could you tell what’s the solution used by Noteplan app ?

Every once in awhile I’ll kick the tires on other apps and see if I can figure out a way to do the same thing in OF4.

I had an email from them about time locking

I’ve seen various YouTube videos about time blocking here

In my personal use case, I use defer dates to tell me when a task is available for me to work on. I have a due date that tells me “crap, I’m a dead man. I gotta do this now!”

I’d love to have an OmniFocus “do” date/time that tells me I have scheduled this task for a specific time block and it’ll show in my daily or weekly view.

That’s where I use fantastical for this part.

I’m ok with using a secondary app because it’s a specialized app for other parts of my workflow. It’ll take a lot of engineering work to hard code a full calendar app into OmniFocus. And it might not have the full feature set that a proper calendar app can offer.


I appreciate your insight, thank you.

I’ll look into the videos you shared. I didn’t know about that Noteplan feature.