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I modded Curt Clifton's Where to Focus widget so that it grabs the start date of actions and displays it using his widget interface.

I've been trying out a workflow of clearing out my contexts list so I only see actions that are starting today. At the end of the day, for actions that aren't completed, I move the start date into the future until I don't have any actions in contexts visible.

In using start dates for actions, I needed something that gave me an indication of days which didn't have actions starting on them so I could better balance setting start dates for actions.

This widget looks 30 days in advance and shows you the number of actions starting on each day. Actions that don't have a start date are counted as an action with a start date previous to today. Actions that have a start date greater than 30 days out, it groups together.

The only actions I've found that this widget doesn't collect correctly are: those in a sequential project, where there is a start date on any of the actions other than the first one. If a start date of an action is in the past; it will group it in the actions starting earlier than today.

You can run this widget in Dashcode developer mode and have it sitting on the desktop. This allows you to see it while changing dates in OmniFocus. To refresh: click on any of the rows in the widget and it will reload.

To enable Dashcode developer mode:

Other things that could be done with this type of view are:
Use estimated time instead of start date. For estimated times that don't have info entered, a default estimated time could be used.
Include calendar appointments to use with estimated time.
Have a button that assigns tasks with no start date / previous start date into the future to fill up the days. Would need something like a 'work day' time field so the program knows when a day is filled. Would also need to work with calendars.

My goal was to get this working with the least amount of time spent on it. I imagine the Omni Group has something like this on their radar for future development. Until that happens, this widget may help.

Thanks to Curt for developing the Where to Focus widget!

Start Dates Widget
Bug Fix:
'---' was showing up for the current date if there are no start dates in the past. It now disappears if there are no start dates earlier than today. New version is at the same link in the first post.

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