I’m still new to OF3, and I have only one custom perspective (for items missing a due date). I’m interested to learn what other perspectives people have set up and how they use them. Any suggestions?
Here’s a directory of custom perspectives that I added to my Learn OmniFocus site earlier this year:
There are currently ten listed, and I’m planning to add more soon. I’m also planning to include both Mac and iOS screenshots.
I hope you find this helpful!
These are good, but I find them a little confusing without more of an explanation. Maybe it’s just because I’m not that familiar with perspectives. I’ll try some out and learn along the way. Thanks.
Thanks for your feedback. Is there anything in particular that you find confusing?
This page does assume some knowledge of custom perspectives and OmniFocus in general. I may include a short tutorial video at the top of the page to introduce the concept of custom perspectives.
It was confusing to set up some of the filter rules, but once I figured out how to set up nested “All of the following” and “None of the following” settings, then it became clearer.
The other part that I found missing was an explanation of the use of the “[” character. I’m assuming I missed something that was probably explained elsewhere. I’m also assuming that this was a custom addition for a specific reason, such as creating custom perspectives.
This particular page, although very helpful, is probably best viewed as part of a series of pages read in a specific order. I did not have the time to go back through the other pages to read or examine any missed content, so that is likely my fault. Otherwise, the page was very helpful.
The best thing to do is to experiment. Try out one or two perspectives at a time. Playing with too many perspectives at one time can get overwhelming.
Find the perspectives that “attract” you. Which of these perspectives makes you want to visit them? There were many perspectives that I created and thought they were great ideas but I never got around to visiting them. These were candidates for deletion from my life for the moment. I might have a chance to revisit these perspectives at a later date.
Like my tags and projects, I’m curating my perspectives on a monthly basis. Outdated perspectives get deleted. I do document them by taking screenshots of the new settings if I ever want to recreate them. But recreating them hasn’t really happened. if I haven’t visited a perspective in a month, it’s a candidate for deletion.
I’ve found a core set of perspectives that I’m always visiting on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
In the section for Projects - Active, Tim explained why he used “[”
This perspective assumes the names of single action lists include a “[” character. For example, if you wanted a list of one-off actions related to friends and family, you could add them to a single action list called “[Friends & Family]”. By excluding any “projects” that contain a “[” character, only projects that represent defined outcomes (e.g. “Submit Final Exam”) are included in the list.
If you don’t like the look of the brackets, and you are an insane emoji person like me, it also works to use an emoji to screen out single action lists from your perspective. I’ve been using ✅ to preface my misc to-do lists. If you enter ✅ as a matching search term to create an exclusion you can filter out the single action lists from your perspective.
I use two main custom perspectives. One is for planning and shows available items grouped by tag, and I flag items I want to do today. The other shows due and flagged and works as a to-do list for the day.
A couple months ago I went through the perspectives Tim linked to, as it’s a good list. But I agree with Wilsonng that you don’t want too many perspectives unless you are actually making use of them. Over-systemizing OmniFocus can sap your time from actually getting to work.
The two in that list I did incorporate are Waiting and and the Projects - What’s Next, which serves as a good look at the projects I have on my plate and how to get to work on them. Although as noted in my other comment I tweaked it to use an emoji to exclude single action lists.
Thanks for your feedback, @Alligator.
A while back I adopted the convention of putting the names of single action “projects” in square brackets. These aren’t what David Allen calls projects as they don’t have a defined objective and can be empty without being considered stalled. Instead, they provide a way of grouping related one-off actions.
So, you might have a single action “project” such as “[Family & Friends]” as a destination for one-off actions related to your family and friends (e.g. Phone Mom to see how she’s doing). The brackets make this list visually distinct from parallel/sequential projects that have a defined outcome.
There are also a couple of added benefits.
This naming convention makes it possible to distinguish between parallel/sequential projects and single action “projects” when creating custom perspectives. In other words, it makes it possible to create a perspective that shows outcomes that you’re currently working towards that excludes lists with one-off actions.
Additionally if you sort a folder containing a mixture of different project types, the single action “projects” will be grouped together alphabetically and appear above parallel/sequential projects such as “Plan Trip to Barcelona”.
This is a great explantation, thanks! I’ll experiment a little and see what works best for my process.
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