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Repeatable tasks with future start dates create duplicates Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
GTD systems always requires refinement to keep goals and contexts relevant. My GDI workflow is in constant flux of tweaking. Mainly due to the idiosyncrasies in productivity tools and numerous devices. Omnifocus is at the center today; after exploring many productivity applications before.

I have several repeatable tasks in Omnifocus. The tasks are simple, yet often skipped depending on my workload. So I set these tasks repeatable; bi-weekly or every week day. These tasks are the review and organization objectives for my GTD workflow. They could also be busy work while waiting on the phone. Examples may include cleaning secondary email boxes; review in OmniFocus; or update my apps.

The challenge is checking them off after having a back log of these tasks. Omnifocus continue displaying these tasks well in the future. So one begins checking off these tasks and thinks: "whoa, I am really behind on these tasks." Then a quick glance to the inspector and the start date is a month later.

I quickly unchecked these tasks to today. Now, I have multiple duplicates in my projects. So the repeatable task is listing 50 times. How do you clean these duplicates without deleting the future tasks? I am not sure if it relates to my perspective view. Omnifocus is showing the Inbox perspective.

This thorough cleaning out and review kills my GTD system. I need insight on dealing with repeatable tasks and their idiosyncrasies. Again, I know how to set repeatable tasks and their purpose. But other GTD systems do not display future task until the relevant date. Why is Omnifocus giving me future tasks when the start date is next month or six months from now?
 
Your question appears to have two separate issues; the maintenance of excess repeating tasks, and managing how data in OmniFocus is viewed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neville310 View Post
The challenge is checking them off after having a back log of these tasks. Omnifocus continue displaying these tasks well in the future. So one begins checking off these tasks and thinks: "whoa, I am really behind on these tasks." Then a quick glance to the inspector and the start date is a month later.

I quickly unchecked these tasks to today. Now, I have multiple duplicates in my projects. So the repeatable task is listing 50 times. How do you clean these duplicates without deleting the future tasks? I am not sure if it relates to my perspective view. Omnifocus is showing the Inbox perspective.
I presume your repeating settings are, for example, repeat daily. You did the tasks but it was not checked off in OmniFocus and a back log occurred. Once you check off a repeating tasks a new identical task is created within the parameters you have set. So, for a task that is to repeat every day, the next task it will generate is for the following day from the date of the task which was checked. Interesting to note, that if you check a repeating task from last week, it does not create a task for tomorrow. The task created is for one week ago minus a day. From reading your post this seems like what has happened to your data.

You have two general options here after determining the one you want to continue to use and deleting all the remaining future repeating tasks; make a point to do a short daily review in order to check off all of these small tasks and prevent a back log, or modify the repeating task so it repeats a specific period after completed. The modification of the task would allow a task to repeat a day after complete to be created to complete again tomorrow. If you do not mark the task tomorrow, once you do mark it complete it will add a new task for the next day. OmniFocus will recreate the future tasks for a repeating task according to its parameter, even if you delete the 50 which were already created. You do need to keep one so you can mark it complete and trigger the creation of a new task.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neville310 View Post
This thorough cleaning out and review kills my GTD system. I need insight on dealing with repeatable tasks and their idiosyncrasies. Again, I know how to set repeatable tasks and their purpose. But other GTD systems do not display future task until the relevant date. Why is Omnifocus giving me future tasks when the start date is next month or six months from now?
This sounds like you are looking at a complete list of all tasks and not just the ones which are available now. If you check you view setting you possibly can adjust them to show only available tasks and this should remove task with a future start date.
 
The key issue in my scenario is stop repeatable tasks after a duplicate exist.

The repeatable task should also refer to the date; and stop creating tasks for future dates with duplicates. I see why it may be good to continue generating future tasks; say if you complete the task early. But the logic could test for duplicates like; Has this repeatable task already been generated? Yes, then avoid creating another task in the future.

Other applications deals with repeatable tasks as an alarm and don't generate a new task each time.

Please give me insight on dealing with this repeatable task scenario. For example, a task like "check your email." This task is very simple for example only. Say you don't get to check your email everyday, because you are on vacation. So you may have 14 days of this task, which is fine. Since you have a backlog, then you may focus on your inbox for 15 minutes at a time; 14 times over the course of several days. Hence, the repeatable task allows you to play catch up while attending to your other tasks.

Should I set the task on repeatable on the start date or completed date?
 
It seems I am misunderstanding your question. I thought I answered what you asked in your original post. Do you not want to clean out duplicate items, or figure out why future items are visible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neville310 View Post
The key issue in my scenario is stop repeatable tasks after a duplicate exist.
So, now having your key issue stated. This functionality is not possible in OmniFocus. There is no mechanism I know of in OmniFocus to do any such thing. The repeating task parameters are pretty straight forward and as you say you know how to set these up. I will take you at your word.

I know your example is just an example, but we forget that in these examples many approaches can be deemed acceptable and unacceptable. Here are two ways of how I would approach your email backlog example. Your mileage may vary.

1) I would have foreseen a two week vacation I had planned for and scheduled. In this planning I would proactively address any email needing a response, setup an out of office notification illustrating what to do to have items handled during my absence, and prepared time to address such issues as catching up on email as a separate temporary side project throughout my first week back. Even scheduled specific time allotments for this as it pertains to the performance of my job. Finally, I adjust my repeating daily "check email" task to begin again after I return from vacation.

2) As this scenario is an example. Let's suppose I was not aware of a sudden event which resulted in my unexpected time away from my email. Nothing was planned and I have a backlog to deal with.

I would then address this issue.
  • Move any back log email (things in my inbox prior to today) to a temporary folder in my Mail application.
  • I quickly scan, not read or open, all the backlog email to see if any "emergency" or "vital" emails are present; if so, handle them first.
  • Adjust my daily repeating "check email" task's date for today.
  • Setup a side project to address this email back log in a tight frequency and an overall due date for the project to be competed within a week.
  • Upon addressing all of the back log email - instead of marking the task complete, delete it and mark the project complete.

Essentially, the email backlog scenario is not your routine "check email" repeating task. It is a separate mini project which holds a different timeframe, objective, and result from your standard daily email task. This scenario is something you either plan for or are reacting to and is a deviation from your routine which needs to be addressed in a manner separate from said routine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neville310 View Post
Should I set the task on repeatable on the start date or completed date?
I do not have enough information to begin to answer this question. Especially since I missed the mark on your key issue from your original posting.
 
Are you using "start again after..." or "repeat every...". Sounds like the later. If you use "start again after...X" then when you check that one off a few days late the next one is starting "after...X" from when you check it off.
 
 


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