Setting up my custom "Today" Perspective - Similar to Things 3

So I’m trying to set up a custom “Today” view that functions similar to the way Things 3’s “Today” view functions. In Things, the Today view shows everything you have labeled that can start “Today” (or whatever day you tell it to start), and the tasks will show up there and never leave that area until they are completed (or dates changed). The “When” dates, as they call them, are more akin to OF’s “defer” (they have a deadlines feature that is used fairly sparingly, as it should be–due dates should only be used for things with an actual, hard due date).

The problem that I’m having is that I can’t figure out how to show the items that I have deferred to today, along with Due and Flagged items. I can get the tasks with hard due dates to show up just fine (same goes for flagged), but I’d also like to show the deferred items that just popped up that I can also take care of. I don’t want them to have to be flagged in order for me to take care of them–I use flags sparingly and don’t want to start throwing them on everything that is deferred (which will probably be a majority of my tasks).

Is that possible in a custom perspective? I feel like it should be, but I just haven’t cracked it.

Here’s the way I have it set up now:

Any help would be really appreciated. Thanks!

Thanks for the reply. That’s kind of unfortunate. I just tried the widget suggestion, however it doesn’t seem to show items that have deferred in the past (defaults to “Deferred to Today” and doesn’t show if, for example, it was deferred until yesterday). I guess I’ll just submit a feature request and hope for the best.

There have been a lot of discussions on this in the past, and OF’s defer date just doesn’t, and isn’t meant to, mean the same thing as a scheduled date. All the defer date means is that a task not shown as available before that date. Once the defer date is reached, the task is available, and it’s fundamentally no different from another available task that was never deferred in the first place (other than for repeating tasks, when the defer date can be used to calculate the next defer date). The forecast view, as a concession, does allow you to show tasks that are deferred to that day, but it won’t accumulate any that have a deferred date in the past.

Some people like the Things way of handling scheduled dates, some people like the OF way. Personally, when I tried Things a while ago, I found the Today view would quickly fill up with junk that I’d have to endlessly defer to a different day again, or be faced with a huge list that I would resist dealing with. When I spent a few days with little or no discretionary time, I’d resist opening Things because I knew I’d find that huge today list that I’d have to spend time dealing with before I could get to a point where I could actually see what was a realistic plan for today. So I definitely prefer the OF way, wouldn’t want to change it, and think it makes more sense, but everybody has their own preferences, of course.

You can replicate the behavior in OF, if you’re willing to put some work into it. You can set up a “Scheduled” context (or, if you prefer, you can duplicate your entire set of contexts under a separate “Scheduled” tree) and make sure you put the scheduled or deferred tasks in those contexts, and that you don’t put unscheduled tasks in them. Then you can create a perspective that will show only the tasks in those contexts, and voila, anything that has a defer date in the future won’t show up at all, and anything that has a defer date in the past will. Your non-scheduled tasks won’t be visible ever, because you put them in other contexts. I do something similar for various types of “routine” tasks such as paying bills, where it is useful to be able to see the ones that are available and probably should be done soon, but which haven’t been completed yet.


The Today view is one of the only aspects of that app that I like in Things (and a lot of it’s interactions/animations are just superb, but obviously just icing), and it’d be nice to be able to replicate it in OF. OF has too many aspects of it that I like to give it up (reviews, automation, attachments, etc.) and I really don’t expect to see these functionalities come to Things anytime soon. So I’m using OF and want to make due with what I got.

Thanks for the suggestions! And yeah, I have been struggling in the past trying to conform my way of thinking to the way OF wants me to think, but it doesn’t stick so well. As an opposite anecdote, I actually really enjoyed the Today view and thought it gave me a better overview on the tasks that were available to complete. It just fits in better with the way my brain works, I guess.

I think that your Scheduled suggestion could fit nicely for my needs, and will (hopefully) work better once multiple contexts are implemented/allowed (coming this year I think?). Appreciate the insight.

I like the way Things 3 shows my tasks and tried to emulate it in Omnifocus. It works for me by simply establishing a “Today” context. Very simple :-)

I have a today view that works that way…you try filtering your contexts by Remaining? That’s how mine is set up

Could you show me the settings for your context? I have had chats with OmniFocus support people that have said that this is not possible in the current version of OF.

Could you post a screenshot of your settings for your context? The things that is the problem is that if there is no due date or flag on the task, the deferred items that are in the past do not show up in the “Today” view. That’s the missing piece. Filtering by “Remaining” doesn’t make them show up.

For example. Create a test task set to be deferred 3 days ago (nothing else), like so:

Now try to create a context using the filters available that only shows tasks that have been deferred to today or prior to today, and also include anything that is due soon/flagged. It’s just not possible. You could make a very general context that includes this test task, but it would also include things that are not deferred. This isn’t what I want. What I want is a context that shows me everything that is available, not nothing that doesn’t have a defer/due date assigned.

As someone mentioned before, there are ways around it with multiple contexts, using AppleScripts with flagged tasks, etc., but really all I want is the Today view from Things to be possible in OmniFocus.

Here’s my settings for my Today perspective. I’ll double check and see if there is a setting from my Mac that we can’t set on iOS (that’s where I initially made the custom perspective)

I think I got my original Today perspective from MacSparky and one of his videos.

ok, double checked my mac set up…here’s a screenshot from there.

If you see my Test task is selected and has a defer date of yesterday (today is the 24th)…i just notice too that you are filtering by Due or Flagged…I’m filtering by Available…my test task disappeared when I matched what you have set up, unless I flagged my test task.

So right now, in your Today view, I’m pretty sure you will ONLY see due or flagged tasks. If that’s what you want then everything in your today view has to meet one of those two criteria…no matter the deferral date. If you just want a Things Today view, I think you can just switch that filter to Filter by Status: Any Status

Hope that helps

Your setup will also include items that have no due/defer date at all. This would not work for what I want. Anything with absolutely no dates assigned should be ignored. The “Filter by status” filter is to blame here–there should be an option to filter by anything with a due date, defer date (today/in the past), and any flagged item. Can’t do that the way it is now.

Could you link to which specific vid where he discusses this? I’d like to see if I’m just missing something that is obvious.

My two cents: I use Flags as “Today”. If I want something to show up on my today view (flagged view) next friday then I will set a defer date to next friday and flag it. Next friday it shows up in my flagged view. I do this in conjunction with Forecast. I have that set to show deferred dates as well. I take a look at it in the morning and flagged things I will work on today and renegotiate things I won’t.

Agreed. I actually use that as a quick notification to assign a defer date as all my tasks have some sort of defer date…even if it’s 6 months in the future.

I tried to find the video, I think it’s in his Omnifocus iBook. But I’m pretty sure he assigns a defer date to everything like I do.

That’s a workaround I guess, although kind-of cumbersome. Flagged items have a more important connotation in my mind, but I can see how that would work. Thanks for your suggestion.

Ah okay, that makes sense. Some tasks I create and don’t really know when would be a good time to begin them, and let my review cycles force me to keep up with them that way they don’t get forgotten. Just the way my head works I guess.

I’ll take a look at MacSparky’s resources though, I’ve been looking at his OF guides waiting for the right time to buy, and now that I’m getting back into OF I think this would be a good time to reshape my workflows. Thanks!

In this thread we concocted a script to flag all deferred tasks, which would make them visible in the Today perspective when that date arrives. Should work for what you have in mind:

Most of the time I’m using OF on iOS, so not entirely sure if this would work for me unfortunately. Hoping for a homegrown update to address this, for now I’ll just be manually flagging them. Thanks for the reference though!