Today List and Task Entry Friction

Do you keep a running list of tasks for “today” in omnifocus?

That’s how I prefer to work. There’s stuff that is in my database already that I need to do, but every day comes with its own set of tasks that need to be dealt with. Some people keep it in other apps or a notebook, but that’s not how I work best.

The problem I have is one of friction. Adding anything into OF feels like filling out a form at the DMV. Add the task, then the project, then the tag, then mark as flagged. Even with the keyboard shortcuts on MacOS it feels there’s a lot of touching and scrolling and clicking. Same thing with clearing a lot of tasks in the inbox, but that’s a post for another time.

Has anyone figured out a way to make this sort of thing easier without external automation?

Closest I’ve found is to make the Miscellaneous project into a Today project that is flagged so anything new that goes in there winds up on the today list with less entry bureaucracy. But it’s not perfect and carries with it some new issues.

@redsleaves I prefer to add tasks via direct Siri dictation. I’d say about 90% of my tasks are added using this method. Obviously, sometimes it isn’t possible to do this depending on where, and when you are needing to add tasks, but it is for me at least, as near frictionless as I can imagine.


I should probably start doing that more.

I agree with you that adding tasks manually can be a pain. I never really appreciated dictation for a while, as it was a bit hit and miss. Recent improvements in this technology have made the difference. I have a mixed Glaswegian/Ayrshire accent and it gets my words almost perfect time after time.
Obviously in company of friends or other audio sources it is better to manually add your tasks.

Can you add a task to the “Today” tag through Siri dictation? I also keep a notebook in my backpocket all the time and when OF is to slow I use that for some time and then when I can I update OF.

My core single action lists all have flag/tags set on the project itself. Just by adding direct to the list the task inherits those properties - that saves some time.


Daym psidnell, I know I´m a productivity Ninja but you´re on another level 🥋

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Through Drafts, you can the your tasks one by one into a document and then run an action to create the tasks in OF.

With the use of the Taskpaper Format, you could also assign tags and projects before importing it into OF.

I use the script provided by @rosemaryjayne to import Taskpaper into OF.

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Psidness, are you able to capture to a specific list in OF through the apple watch ? (If you have an apple watch) I can´t seem to get that to work.

I’m using a setup similar to the one used by @joebuhlig on this learn omnifocus episode (see my response to the question in the thread):

Since listening to the episode I’ve totally switched my workflow. (thanks Joe!)

I use defer dates to have tasks pop up in a “now” perspective, and other tasks with no date in tag related perspectives, to do when I feel like them, or if I have time.
Tasks with explicit due dates I put on my calendar with a link to the OF task, just to make them visible in the Today screen on iOS devices. (my main platform)

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Oy. I need to check that out.

Psidness, are you able to capture to a specific list in OF through the apple watch ? (If you have an apple watch) I can´t seem to get that to work.

I do have a watch - I use Apple Reminders to capture to a list called “OmniFocus”, and OmniFocus can be configured to import that into the inbox. I think it’s possible to use Siri to send tasks directly to a specific list, but last time I looked the syntax seemed awkwark. I’d rather just capture on the watch and process later (I tend to only use siri on the watch when I’m waiting in traffic!)

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I sent the omnigroup mail and they said it was not possible to capture to a specific list from the watch.

Kind of newbie here. Could you please elaborate on this - I tried but it works in one scenario but not another:

I added a commonly-used tag to a Project. When I then selected that Project (from the Projects tab), then hit the + button, my new task did correctly inherit this tag - very nice!!

However, I usually tend to add tasks via the Inbox, not via the Projects tab. When I selected the same project for a task created in Inbox, it did NOT inherit the Project’s default tag.

Am I missing something? Thank you!

If you have a task in the inbox and move it to a project then it will be given any tags assigned to the project when it moves. The only exception I’m aware of is if you’ve assigned a tag to the task already, in which case it’s just moved to the project and it’s tags are unchanged.

Interesting. So dragging from the Inbox to the Project automatically adds the Project tag(s), but selecting the same project from the drop-down list in the Inbox does nothing to the tag. I’ll try to get used to dragging! Thanks for the explanation.

I wasn’t making a distinction between dragging/choosing (although iOS/Web are the versions I use most) just saying the the task will only get the projects tag if it doesn’t already have a tag when it’s put in the project. I don’t think it matters how the project is assigned to the task.

adding task manually is very hard so finding better way who put task auto

They both have the same behaviour.

Thanks, you are right! The tag doesn’t show up immediately but I see it now, after the task is no longer in the Inbox. Thank you for this tip!