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New to Omnifocus, some questions Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hi all!

I just got Omnifocus. Was using Things before, but they are to slow in develpment and I'm a bit pissed off..

Omnifocus is looking good so far and I think it is not so difficult to get into it, but there are some open questions for me:

Start and due date. That is fine for me, but I donīt see a big difference if I set the visibility to "next action" or "available"

Next thing is the reminder function. It makes no sense for me: reminding me on due dates (via calendar) is to late. It would be better to get a reminder on the start date or do I get something wrong? For an example: I need to do some documentation and I know, it will take arround 2 days (it is part of a project). So I set the start date to Monday next week and the due date to Wednesday afternoon, because the documents have to be finished by Wednesday afternoon, to send them out for a review. Getting a reminder on due date, it is way to late to do anything then.. Getting a reminder when I should start would be better, because maybe I'm focussed on something else and forgot it..

I saw I can set a reminder for due dates, mine is set to 3 days so if I have to do a task in between the 3 days, lets say in 2 days and save it, I will not get a reminder, right?

Next is the location based reminder. Not tested yet, but what do get reminded then? Tasks/Actions have to be done, because they starting/started today or again only the ones with a due date in the next days?

Many thanks in advance!

brasax
 
Welcome! Browse around and you will find a few postings from folks who have switched.

Quote:
Start and due date. That is fine for me, but I donīt see a big difference if I set the visibility to "next action" or "available"
The difference will show when you are viewing actions in parallel versus those in sequential Groups. The first action in each case is always Available and the Next Action. In sequential groups, all actions AFTER the first are Remaining but are NOT Available and NOT Next (and will therefore disappear in such views). See the three images below.

Quote:
Next thing is the reminder function. ... reminding me on due dates (via calendar) is to late. It would be better to get a reminder on the start date or do I get something wrong?
Perhaps better is NOT to set a start date in the way you are doing. Without a start date, a task is always available, and you can start it whenever you want. It will be highlighted (by a specific color) on the calendar as being due soon according to how many days you set for the "Due Soon" preference. This will be your reminder (alarm) that it is DUE SOON.

--
JJW
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Thanks for the reply, but it still makes no sense to me to set the reminder for a due date instead of at start date..

Second, if the alarm is set to 3 days before due date and I have an action coming in between, no alarm is going off, to remind me to do something in 2 days.

It is still weird for me.. :)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brasax View Post
Thanks for the reply, but it still makes no sense to me to set the reminder for a due date instead of at start date..
Start date is when you can start working on something, not when you must. Many people use either the Forecast view (iPad and iPhone versions, coming to Mac someday) or a 'tickler' perspective (context mode, grouped by start date) to see which actions are newly available. For any appreciable volume of tasks, getting an alert for each one would be rather impractical, I think, aand tend to duet the effectiveness of such a reminder. Getting a notification of a yet-incomplete impending due item is going to be a less frequent occasion, and you do get some control over the advance warning period, though not on an action-by-action basis.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brasax View Post
Thanks for the reply, but it still makes no sense to me to set the reminder for a due date instead of at start date..

Second, if the alarm is set to 3 days before due date and I have an action coming in between, no alarm is going off, to remind me to do something in 2 days.

It is still weird for me.. :)
It seems tom me that you are actually using your start date as a DUE DATE, even though you may think otherwise. Your start date is the date when you are DUE to START the task. Basically, you are really wanting to set up your Project like this ...

My Project (SEQUENTIAL OR PARALLEL)
-- start my project (DUE ON DESIRED START DAY with alarm)
-- do an intermediate task (DUE ON DESIRED NEXT DATE with alarm)
-- finish my project (DUE ON PROJECT DUE DATE with alarm)

Think about the fundamental difference between setting up this way and setting up using start dates ...

My Project (SEQUENTIAL) (DUE ON PROJECT DUE DATE with alarm)
-- start my project (no start or due date)
-- do an intermediate task (no start or due date)
-- finish my project (no start date, optional due date)

The above allows you to start the project whenever you want, whereas your wish is to start and be done starting on the date given. When you can grasp the fundamental difference in how this makes you approach a project, perhaps you will see why a START date has no alarm.

--
JJW
 
Start date is when the task becomes available to be worked on, no when it is due to be started working on.

Say you have to give the quarter's report to your boss. She wants it latest on Friday at 1am because that's when she will fly off to the board meeting.

Consequence: you would set the task "report for boss" to be DUE on Friday 1am. It is the latest time it has to be completed.

To compile the report you need input from your coworker. He has all the figures so working on the report makes absolutely no sense whatsoever until he gives you those numbers. He is on vacation until Tuesday, though.

Consequence: you can not start working on your task "report for boss" until you get the figures. It makes no sense that the task is even showing up in your list of tasks because you can not work on it anyways so it would only be in the way. You set your task to START on Tuesday afternoon because you know that by then you will have the numbers.

Start date basically means: here I noted down a task. Let's forget about it until day X. Then show it again so I know I can now work on it.
 
Many thanks for the input!

Got the point with the start date, but I think I should explain how I did it in the past. Also I was not looking every day into Things as long as no notification was popping up..

For example I have 3 Projects with 10 tasks. I was planning my work like, when do I have to start to do something to get my task done by a specific date. For example the report to boss as mentioned before. I can not start before a specific date, as some information is missing. The report has to be finished by Friday 11 am (in two weeks). So I would set up a task with a start date on Tuesday and the due date on Friday 11. That also means, this time is blocked for other tasks. A reminder helps me that I do not forget it.

Second projct, delivery is in 4 weeks (12.12). I have to prepare some meetings, presentations, documentation and so on. Documentation needs a week to prepare and needs to be finished by 12.12. so I need to start to work on it latest one week before. But a reminder 3 days before due is to late.

As I have a third project I'm working on right now needs all my attention, I have no time to work on the second project right now. Also the start date is set to today and due is in two weeks. This blocks then the time for other projects. As I'm focused on this one so I will set the start date of writing the documentation for the second project to 05.12. So I don't see it and to block this week for this..

Reminders would help me not forgetting tasks I have to work on. As I said, with things I got a notification to start some work, so maybe that is the point I'm a bit lost now..

For single actions I would use reminder at iOS5 as I can use Siri to save them quickly..

So, maybe my working and planning is wrong, so I should rethink about it.

Any advice would be very helpful to get some ideas to planning or for omnifocus..

Many thanks!

Brasax
 
What would solve your (and mine and many other's) issues would be more flexible alerts. Like they are in ical (remind me 3 days ahead and then 2 hours before the meeting) or "remind me to prepare report for board meeting every third friday of the month".

Such has not been implemented but many people have requested it to OmniGroup and they are, as far as I am informed, working on more flexible repeat and alert options.

Since OmniGroup uses the amount of requests for a certain feature as one parameter to decide about their working priorities it would be helpful for our common goal if you would send an email to support ( support@omnigroup.com ) and communicate your wishes. They will then add your voice to the requests.

If you have further questions, feel free to ask.
 
If I understand what you are trying to do, perhaps a solution is as follows:

* create a Context called Focused or Blocked or Contiguous or ...
* put all tasks that have to be done in such a manner in this context
* create a Project setup as follows:

My Project (context - Focused, due - due date, sequential)
- start it (context - Focused, due - start date)
- Intermediate Group (parallel or sequential)
-- task A (context - Focused)
-- task B (context - Focused)
- finish it (context - Focused, due - due date)

Now, when you open the Focused context, sorted by Due date, you will see exactly those tasks that you need to do in such a mode.

If you have the Mac version, you can create a custom perspective that would show just this context, sorted by due date, with either Next Action or Available views, and showing only Due. When that perspective is empty, you have no "focused" tasks to do. Otherwise, it populates with what you need, and you can set aside everything else until the work is done.

--
JJW
 
What is an alert/alarm in OF doing for you? If you know a project should start on a certain day then give that whole project a start date and it will be available in your Available actions list. If you must spend 4 hours working on a particular project on a certain day then put it on your calendar as a appointment with yourself; OF can still hold a list of the tasks you need to complete during those 4 hours. One thing people struggle with when they start using OF is how to fit in "hardscape" items and the answer is often to get those things onto your calendar and out of OF.
 
 


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