Setting up a custom 'Today' perspective?

Hey there! I’m relatively new to Omnifocus, having just switched over from Todoist.

The most important part of my workflow is a ‘today’ perspective, where I can view any tasks that I have due today, or have deferred until today. Ideally I would just open Omnifocus and see everything on my plate for today.
I haven’t been able to set up a perspective where I can see both the due and deferred tasks for my day, along with anything I have flagged that need attention.

Maybe I am looking at this all wrong, but my current set up for my ‘Today’ Perspective is:

I just need to be able to see everything I have going on, from due tasks to deferred tasks to flagged tasks, and I don’t know how to set that up…

Any help would be much appreciated!!

Welcome to Omnifocus. I think you will like it, even if I don’t believe that you can set up a Today perspective exactly the way you are looking fo. In your example, you have filtered by status Due or Flagged, and will as a consequence not see the deferred tasks. My suggestion is that you accept due tasks as especially important - tasks you have to do today - and start by viewing these in the built-in Forecast perspective. Then you can have your own Today perspective for the rest of your today tasks, including deferred ones - tasks you may start working on today.

In your Today perspective supplementing the Forecast view you may group actions by flagged and sort actions by defer date. You may actually show deferred items in the Forecast view, but it is a risky solution, as they only (at least in Omnifocus 2.0.4 that I use) will be shown there the day they are deferred to and then disappear from the view.

If you really want to keep all your today tasks in the same perspective, you may flag all tasks that you defer. If you group actions by defer date, you will have the deferred tasks separated from other flagged tasks. But I think this is a clumsy solution, as you have to remember to flag every task you defer.


Thank you so much! I’ll definitely try this out. This software has a steep learning curve, but I’m enjoying the process.
Thanks for taking the time to reply, I’ve been fiddling around with the whole setup and I think this might work well for me.

I, too, wanted something similar to what you’re looking for. Whilst it’s not possible with a perspective, it is possible to achieve through the notification centre widget. I turned off my custom perspective and set it to show overdue, due today, due soon, deferred until today and flagged. I then use this as my daily working view (this is especially convenient since I use my iPad and iPhone more often than my Mac).

As @Jan_H mentioned, the Forecast perspective doesn’t show ‘deferred in the past’ items (this is still the case in the current versions [2.5 Mac, 2.14 iOS]), so you need to stay on top of them. But I also keep a ‘Deferred’ perspective so I can either catch things that I may have missed, having been deferred in the past, or to see what’s coming up. This is how it’s configured:

Your Today perspective is exactly how I set it up after a lot of experimentation and reading the forums and numerous blogs. I’ve decided that the Defer option is not as useful because once you miss it it falls out of view. I use Flags for tasks I want to keep in view and do sooner rather than later, and Due for tasks that I want to do on a certain date even if these are not hard dates. I haven’t found any utility to Defer tasks (or Contexts for that matter).

Thank you so much! A ‘defer’ perspective is definitely a good idea! I’ll set one up too :)

Here’s how I handle this in my workflow, in my morning review, where I decide what gets priority for the day. (Before looking at tasks, though, I review my calendar, because my choices depend on how much free time I have, and how many action items my appointments are meetings are likely to generate.)

  1. Begin with the Forecast perspective. Anything that is overdue, or due today, I plan to do today, delegate, or renegotiate the due date. Ditto for tasks that are due soon, except that if I don’t delegate or renegotiate them, I might defer them until tomorrow. Note that “renegotiate the due date” might result in a new due date of “never,” i.e. dropping the task, if it’s not important enough to do before it’s due. I use only hard due dates, with very rare exceptions.

  2. Change to my “Tickler” perspective, which basically shows tasks grouped by start (defer) date. I consider it the electronic equivalent of a paper tickler file, which is why it has that name. Anything that is important and should be prioritized gets a flag. If I know I’m not going to be able to work on it until a specific future date, I update the start date.

  3. Look at flagged items. I use flags to indicate importance, in the sense that I want to put more energy into them than others. If something is no longer that important, I unflag it.

I then actually start doing things. This review helps me handle what’s urgent first, and then switch to important but non-urgent things. During the review, I will often do the GTD practice of doing any task that will take fewer than 2 minutes, but that depends on what else is on my plate.

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Could you go into more detail about what this “Tickler” perspective is? I read the book Getting Things Done, and I know the tickler is supposed to remind you of things. But how would the defer date be relevant to this? I have even set up a paper system of 42 folders in the past, but I don’t need that now because everything is digital.

How is the tickler file different than the Forecast?

Or anyone else please?

To be honest, I no longer remember how the Forecast worked in OmniFocus 2, which is the version that I was using when I wrote the post (OF 3 was released in 2018). Now that the Forecast perspective can show deferred items as well as due items, I don’t use my Tickler perspective very often, though it’s still useful for looking ONLY at deferred items as part of a major monthly review - effectively, glancing over the next year’s deferred items to see if there’s anything that should be moved closer or, conversely, put into the someday-maybe list.

In my workflow, I use defer dates for two things: (1) Projects or tasks I can’t work on now, because I don’t have something I need, but I know approximately when I’ll have what I need (example: my 2020 income tax project is deferred until Jan. 15, 2021, when documents will start arriving). (2) Projects or tasks whose due date is far enough ahead that it makes no sense for them to be available now (example: organize a holiday gift for my office staff—I could start now but there’s no need for me to do it until late November/early December).

In both cases, the defer date is the date when I want to be reminded that I should be thinking about this project and start thinking about it. Having it pop up in the Forecast is a way to prime my brain.

I also use review dates for a similar but distinct purpose. Take my tax example: I have a defer date of Jan. 15, 2021, but a next review date of March 15, 2021, because that’s the date I want it to pop up in my weekly review, as a more insistent reminder.

Sorry if that’s a bit verbose and stream of consciousness! I don’t have time to edit.

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