Originally Posted by Brian
One thing that might make OmniFocus make a bit more sense with respect to repeating actions:
Select View -> Columns -> Start Date (and/or Due Date)
that'll add the respective columns to the content outline. Now when you complete an action, you'll see the next one appear, but at least the dates will be different.
We were worried about folks finding the app too visually confusing when they first started it up. I think we may have overcompensated for that, though, and are hiding some things that would actually be useful.
I had a lengthy exchange with one of the support ninjas recently about this and I’m glad Matt picked up on it. The handling of repeating actions is truly one of the oddest things about OF’s interface, IMO, and seems to be the product of a straight conflict between concept and the real world.
The problem can be seen most clearly by comparing the way these actions are managed in Context and Planning modes. If you have a list of several actions which repeat every day, for example, and check these off in Context mode they do exactly what you would expect: they disappear from the Due Today list and magically open up in the Due Tomorrow list. But in Project mode, if you sort by Remaining, they simply reappear further down the Today list, even though they are for Tomorrow! This is incredibly confusing and looks just crazy. It is really no answer to suggest, as Brian does here and as the ninja did to me, that if you have the date column open you can see that while the task appears in Today’s list it is really for Tomorrow. This is hardly a solution to visual confusion, and Brian’s use of “at least” here seems to indicate that he’s aware of the incongruity. Nor is sorting only by Available or Next Action the answer, as you may need to see what is Remaining.
The explanation I was given - and this is what I mean by concept getting in the way of visual reality - is that OF sorts by projects, and not tasks, and looks for the earliest date and uses that value. I never really understood this, but what it seems to mean is that for OF the task exists in the here and now even if it’s actually due in the future, so is included in Today’s list but with Tomorrow’s date. Given the way all this works in Planning View (which, incidentally, was once called Projects view, to mention another of Matt’s points) the possibility of flipping into a Tomorrow list, as in Context mode, is apparently not feasible.
There are doubtless good conceptual reasons behind this, even if they are hard for a non-tech user to grasp, but the bottom line is that you get Tomorrow’s tasks appearing as for Today, which is very weird indeed. I was told that while such results “look strange” they are “actually correct”. Which is not much comfort when you’re trying to get your stuff in order but are faced with something which flies so bafflingly in the face of just that.