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A very complicated question with hopefully a very elegant answer Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hey, this is a pretty complicated request, and I hope it makes sense, let alone is possible to perform, as I'm half writing this just to clarify my own understanding of the way I need a set of tasks to function.

So basically I will have a set of groups/projects (I haven't decided which fits best yet), which all contain 4 tasks to be completed sequentially, after which they will be repeated again after a certain amount of time. The amount of time they repeat after will depend on the folder/project/group (again, whatever fits best) they are organised in. The will be 4 types of folders/projects/groups, which are basically priority (red/orange/yellow/green). The items in red will 'start after' 1 day, the orange after 3 days, the yellow 9, and the green 27.

Until now it is al pretty simple (to configure I mean. To read it probably doesn't make much sense at all) but my confusion begins to prevail when looking at the perspective of how I want these items to appear in perspectives/flagged etc, basically the 'doing' side of OmniFocus rather than the 'planning' side.

I hope to make it possible so that only the top task of the top group/project of the top (red) folder/project/group is shown when I were to look at it in a certain perspective, or if I was to flag the whole lump of tasks together. When that task has been completed I obviously want it to get hidden and the next show up where it can be seen. The same is needed to happen when that set of 4 tasks is completed, and the next group/project becomes available after the first one has been hidden for 1/3/9/27 days. Again, similarly, if its possible, when a whole colour full of groups/projects is complete, then it shows up the next colour down (e.g. I complete the 4 tasks in all of the group/projects in say 'red' then the reds get hidden and the next available task from the oranges shows. [That is until another group/project is either entered into reds or becomes available again after its 1 day 'start after' repeat time]).

The problem obviously appear when you look at the way many OmniFocus functions work, which is why I said I'm not actually sure if there is a possible way of doing what I intend to do. The only way to set up so that the groups/projects would be all ordered in sequential format would be to make the 4 folders/projects/groups either a project or a group, as you obviously can't organise folders to make everything inside sequential. That is fine but then means that the reds, oranges, yellows will act more like projects/groups than their intended function of a folder, which means that they won't be able to pass on the availability to the next colour down when all tasks inside are complete, as they themselves will have to be completed for that to happen, which then messes up the whole individual repeat thing (when every group/projects repeats after 1/3/9/27 days it creates a new one that is waiting straight away, which means you can never complete the whole project, without the repeat function being on the whole project rather than the individual tasks/groups, which again isn't ideal, but a possibility, until you remember that the whole folders/projects [red,yellow,etc] have to be sequential, therefor there is a constant clash between the repeat function and the sequential function on every level when trying to create a set of tasks of this type).

From writing this I've realised its not only probably impossible to perform but also impossible to read and make sense out of, but I'm going to post it up anyway because I've already written it and I might get hit with a streak of luck. But don't worry if you tried and failed to understand the problem I'm having because I sure don't. Thank you to anyone who managed to make it this far through the post.
I'm not entirely sure I've understood the requirements (what is the application here?!)

Let's say you have three of these "clumps" of tasks at the red level. When you finish the tasks in the first clump, you want it to be rescheduled to start again in 1 day, and clump 2 to begin immediately? Or is there some other timing relationship between clump 1 and clump 2? And clump 3 is shown only when everything in clump 1 and clump 2 has been completed?

At first blush, that sounds like a folder with a parallel project for each priority level with sequential action groups containing the clumps of tasks, with the action groups doing start after repeat policy. Each action group should be set to auto-complete when the last task is done. Projects should be in priority order in the folder (red first, green last).

Your requirement that we not see any sign of the tasks from lower priority levels while there are any tasks from higher priority levels is a problem, unless we bend the rules a bit. My suggestion would be to focus on the containing folder, but switch to context mode, showing only next actions, and grouping by project. You are still going to see the lower priority projects, if they have any actions that have passed their start date, but just close the groups containing them if that bothers you. You always work from the top down in this perspective. I have here a modest example:

Now we do some work:

We do a lot more work, and finish off all of the tasks. The next day, the perspective will look like this:

...and so on. Every day, the red section should show up, and the others will appear and disappear as appropriate. I put due dates on the actions in my example, which wasn't really necessary, but shouldn't matter. Putting "Clump <n>" on the end of the task names was just as an aid to seeing the mechanism (and saving me from having to invent tasks for the example), and you only have to do something like that if your clumps are structured similarly enough that you cannot reliably determine from the task name alone what it is (as was the case in my example).

Last edited by whpalmer4; 2011-04-14 at 08:13 AM..
What a reply! Smashed it basically. I've had a read through and it seems to fit nicely, almost certainly the closest match to what I was looking for that I'm likely to find. I'll run it through OmniFocus now and let you know how I get on when I start using it.

Thanks again
That answer was so awesome. What a great contribution to the forums. Reading the question, I was thinking two applications (Army priorities of work in the ORP or cleaning my house).

Thank you on behalf of all the rest of us who read your response and just got a little bit smarter.

Rick Colosimo

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