Why Defer date also moves when Repeating a task? This is not logical


#1

Example:

I send out my invoices first of the month.
So i have a task “Send invoices” scheduled (Due) on the 1st of a month with a repeat on Assigned date.

First of the month comes, i send my invoices, hit "task completed’ and the task’s Due is moved the the 1st of next month. So far so good one would say.

Now one month, lets say the 1st of March, is on a saturday. So i cant send invoices.
I dont want this thing on my list so i Defer it to monday (3rd).

Monday the 3rd arrives, task appears on my list, i send the invoices and hit “task completed”.

i want this Task to appear again on the 1st next month April. The Task is indeed scheduled with a Due April 1st…But it wont show because … the Defer also moved… set to 3rd April!

If the Defer date would have just sticked to “March 3” this would be more logical: the task would appear on April 1st (due date) and if that happened to be also on a saturday i could choose to change the Defer date to April 3 myself.

How to avoid this behavior? And how can a Defer date that goes beyond a Due date after a Repeat be of use anyway…?


#2

When there’s both a defer date and due date and “Assigned Dates” is specified, the new date (the first of the month in your case) will apply to the due date.

The differential between the defer and due will be preserved when you mark an action complete. For example, if the defer date is January 4 and the due date is January 6 and the repeat is set to the first of the month, a new action will be created with a due date of February 1 and a defer date of January 29 (i.e. two days before).

As you discovered, this works in the opposite direction. For example, if the defer date is January 6 and the due date is January 4 there’s a differential of -2 days. The new action will have a defer date of February 3 and a due date of February 1.

It would be good if OmniFocus could alert users to this condition. I can’t think of any conditions where it makes sense to have a defer date that’s after a due date.

One potential solution would be to set this to repeat on the first Monday of the month. This way you wouldn’t need to manually adjust anything (assuming Monday isn’t a holiday).

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Also consider whether this item is truly due (i.e. there’s a consequence to sending it after the due date). An alternative would be to simply have a due date and use a specific tag or flag to give it additional prominence.


#3

Thanks for your response:

It would be good if OmniFocus could alert users to this condition. I can’t think of any conditions where it makes sense to have a defer date that’s after a due date.

Yes! That’s a better summary (and solution) than my train-wreck of a description )

Good idea: setting it to a hard monday. This will resolve some issues (as the invoicing thing).
Hope Omnifocus comes up with a fix so it wont affect our other Deferred repeating Due’s anymore.


#4

You’re very welcome, @acos21. Good to hear this was helpful!

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to email the Omni Group with this request. The easiest way to get in touch with them is by choosing Help > Contact Omni (Mac) or Settings > Contact Omni (iPhone/iPad).


#6

Done. Hope this thread gets some support the upcoming days.


#7

These forums are intended for communication between users of Omni’s app; this isn’t generally where the Omni Group provides support. I recommend reaching out to them directly for support and feature requests.


#8

Yes, i wrote them an email. I meant support from other users to support the relevance of this issue.


#9

Got it. Thanks for the clarification, @acos21.


#10

My approaches for this situation:

  • Move the defer date back so it always becomes available before the weekend (in lieu of a flexible defer date that is X business days before due, which would be awesome for repeating tasks.)
  • Don’t change the repeating task, but add another inbox task due Monday to address the repeating task. That way I get the notification that you’re generating by moving deferred. Having to do this a few times a year isn’t bad.

#11

I’ve also sent in a support request to enable a due/defer “for business days only” option


#12

In the example i made about “Sending invoices”: i still need to create the invoices in our system on the 1st (because of the date). Just have to send them on monday 3 days later to clients.

And there are plenty of other Repeating tasks you want on a set date in the month but need to Defer forward some days (for example when you have wait for input from others) but want to appear on your list again on the exact same date a month/year later.

What if i send a christmas present to my parents every 20th of december? I would like to Defer the task for 5 days just to check if after 5 days the package was delivered before marking it as completed and move it to the next year.
Now i need an additional task “Check delivery” for that because a 5 days Defer of the original task would make the task appear next year on the 25th. And so on. You get the point. Ok, enough silly examples.

The suggestion @timstringer gave that a Defer date after a Repeat can not be beyond the Due date sounds like the most elegant solution.


#13

In the example i made about “Sending invoices”: i still need to create the invoices in our system on the 1st (because of the date). Just have to send them on monday 3 days later to clients.

Consider splitting this into two actions. One to create the invoice and a second to send it. These tasks could exist within a sequential project or action group as there likely isn’t any point in seeing the second action if you haven’t completed the first.

And there are plenty of other Repeating tasks you want on a set date in the month but need to Defer forward some days (for example when you have wait for input from others) but want to appear on your list again on the exact same date a month/year later.

If you have a repeating action that is set to repeat (with a defer date) on the 8th of each month…and you change the defer date to the 15th for this month, it should show up again on the 8th next month as long as you’re using “Assigned Dates”.

For items that repeat every year, there isn’t currently a way to say something like the “first Friday in December” or the “15th of February”. It’s currently only possible to have the new defer/due date based on when the action was completed or based on the currently assigned defer/due date.

What if i send a christmas present to my parents every 20th of december? I would like to Defer the task for 5 days just to check if after 5 days the package was delivered before marking it as completed and move it to the next year. Now i need an additional task “Check delivery” for that because a 5 days Defer of the original task
would make the task appear next year on the 25th. And so on. You get the point. Ok, enough silly examples.

In this case, I think it makes total sense to have two actions. One to actually send the present and another to check to make sure it was delivered. These are distinct actions.


#14

I might be wrong, but your ‘task’ seems to identify as a calendar entry and not an Omnifocus task. Wouldn’t setting this up on a calendar be a simple solution?


#15

Understand your reasoning but…

In my calendar it would be even harder to “defer” the task for a few days.

Second: Omnifocus offers date-based Due’s and Defers. Whenever there is a hard date involved the line between “calendar entry” or “OF Task” is very thin and i shouldnt have to worry about this from a workflow point of view.
i consider a birthday, a trip or a meeting a Calendar event.
Things like “sending invoices” or “followup with Dave” a Task that does not belong in my Cal, even if they have a hard date. If they are not tasks, what are?

As a GTD fanatic i feel a panic attack rearing just typing this… gotta get myself some herb tea… brb!


#16

This is such a dumb policy of theirs.


#17

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to share feedback on how you’d like this to work with the Omni Group using Contact Omni (in the Help menu on the Mac and in Settings on iOS/iPadOS).