Streamlining tedium of undone recurring tasks

I have a series of routines that I try to do daily.

For tasks that aren’t critical to do, I just use defer dates. For tasks I absolutely want to do every day, I use a defer date to hide it until it’s actionable and then a due date.

Despite my intent, sometimes I don’t get those deferred / due items done. When that happens, I have tedious chore work to do the next day:

  • I can’t mark them as done, because OmniFocus then resets them to the following day
  • I can’t just hit +1 on the due date, because now the defer date will be out of sync, and the task will be constantly visible
  • So I have to increment both the defer date and the due date individually, and I can’t do that as a group, because the times on some of them are different, and incrementing by one day using the +1 day button when group selected sets them all to the same defer time and due time
  • On mobile, this is extra tedious since I have to reveal hidden details about the task to get to the defer field

For example, I check my front yard to make sure the kids haven’t left anything out in the drive way in the evenings. I defer this to 8 pm, since before their bedtime there isn’t really a point, and I set it to due by 10 pm, to make sure I actually get it done.

I’m starting to feel that I’m doing something suboptimal / wrong here, because surely this isn’t an edge case, but it is a lot of work.

Any advice?

Thanks!

Ben

Have you tried using the Repeat from this item’s option? If you set it to Assigned date, the new task will be created relative to the defer and due dates, not when you completed it. I think this will solve your problem. See the repetition section at https://support.omnigroup.com/documentation/omnifocus/ios/3.8.1/en/the-inspector/#project-and-action-attributes for more details.

You might consider putting all the tasks in a task group. I.e. make a daily routine task and put the individual actions as sub tasks. Put the repetition on the task group and set the Mark complete property to with last action. If you complete all the sub tasks, the task group will be automatically marked complete and then recreate itself for the next day. If you don’t do all the tasks, simply mark group complete (just one click) and it will mark all the children complete. To add a new action to your routine, simply add it to the group and the repetition is taken care of automatically by the parent group.

If you find it distasteful to mark tasks complete when you didn’t actually do them (I’m okay with it myself), you can mark them as dropped (https://support.omnigroup.com/documentation/omnifocus/ios/3.8.1/en/built-in-perspectives/#item-status).

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This won’t. The OP is saying that if he forgets to check off the item on a Monday, but then checks it on the Tuesday, rather than setting a new item for the Tuesday, it sets the new item for Wednesday.

For the record, I use the Due App for this sort of task, then it reminds me until I complete the action. If I don’t check something until the next morning it still creates a new action for today.

@Geoffairey,

I forgot to do my chore yesterday:

I check it off today and it moves the due date to today:

To achieve this, I configure the repetition like this:

I have said it before on another recent thread but try changing the tasks wording to “consider doing x”

This allows you to check off non crucial tasks as done without any overhead as you have actually considered doing it, but decided for whatever reason not to.

The only caveat is use it sparingly as it can become too easy not to do anything and you do actually need to consider the task.

This was another excellent tip from @Kourosh’s book Creating Flow with OF which changed my relationship with OF.

I agree with @Cleobis ’s suggestion. If you use the ‘Assigned Dates’ option, you are sure to get an instance of the task created for every day. You choose whether to mark each one ‘Completed’ or ‘Dropped’ (on iOS, the command to drop the single instance of a repeating task is displayed as ’Skip’).

On iOS, you have an additional option. In the context menu of an action, you have ‘Reschedule to Today’ and ‘Reschedule to Tomorrow’. These commands will change the dates of the action (instead of creating a new instance), respecting the specific times of the defer/due dates. So if it’s 23:30 and you haven’t checked the driveway, use ‘Reschedule to Tomorrow’. If you are tidying up your actions the next day, use ‘Reschedule to Today’.

Hey all! Thank you for the replies.

I used to use the “Assigned Dates” setting for the “Repeat From This Item’s:” setting, but I found I was frustrated because, for example, when going on a trip or hitting a busy spot of my life, I would get a 3-4 day backlog, and have a ~dozen tasks to tediously click through until I caught up.

Small complaints in a world with big problems, but since OF is the 747 of todo systems, I often feel like surely there’s a way to optimize this.

It looks like there simply isn’t, but the options I’m left with don’t seem all that bad:

  • For non-vital daily tasks, I can just use defer dates, and they’ll be available as they should be if they haven’t been done, even if I’m running behind

  • For vital daily tasks, I can use due dates and the “Completion" setting. If I fall behind, they’ll show past due, which can be annoying in certain situations, but seems the best trade-off. I don’t need to go through tedium to catch up.

Best…

Ben