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Daily reminders vs. a cluttered forecast Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I have quite a few daily actions, like "rotate the backup tapes" and "give the kids their vitamins". Although those are almost all routine "habit" items, I still need to make sure they get done daily and so use those actions like a checklist to make sure I've gotten everything done.

Same goes for weekly actions; I want a reminder to clean the gutters. Even if that usually means that sometime Saturday afternoon I'll check it off my list because I already did it that morning, unprompted, I still need to make sure it gets done.

This is having three bad side effects, though:
  1. My forecast view is cluttered with daily routine stuff that obscures my less-routine actions.
  2. I've spent so much time in the forecast that I've gotten in the habit of "living" there instead of switching among contexts throughout the day.
  3. My iPhone slows with a few hundred checked-off actions before I archive them each month.

I don't want come to depend on OmniFocus for every little thing ("eat lunch", "brush teeth", etc.). But for me, not having these other daily things written down somewhere is very non-GTD because I spend too much time wondering if I've done everything I'm supposed to do.

What's a good way to deal with this? If need be, I'd move this daily clutter into a separate, dedicated app. I tried "The Habit Factor" to these ends but it has its own issues: if you delete a "goal", you can't ever re-add one with the same name; it doesn't support multitasking.
Some thoughts:

It sounds like you have a Mac+OmniFocus in addition to the iPhone, right?

One approach would be to simply delete these routine "habit" tasks after completion. Make a perspective on the Mac that shows your completed tasks grouped by completion date, and every few days, just delete the "habit" tasks that you've completed. I assume you don't really need a permanent record of those actions. This will help keep the iPhone from slowing down, but doesn't address the cluttered forecast view.

Another tack is to combine those tasks into a daily routine checklist which you could keep in OmniFocus or some other application. OmniOutliner on the Mac works pretty well for this, if you can do all of your routine stuff near your Mac. Then you just have a single action which reminds you to run the daily routine checklist. If you get it all done, you mark it as complete, and tomorrow you'll use a fresh copy of the checklist. If for some reason you can't do it all in one block, add the ones you didn't accomplish to OmniFocus as non-repeating actions to remind you to finish them later. If you don't need to literally check them off as you run your checklist, you could keep the checklist in the notes of the OmniFocus action that reminds you to do your daily routine. By combining them in this fashion, you cut the clutter in your forecast view, but you lose the ability to have separate reminders for each item.
That's correct: I'm using the Mac and iPhone versions together. Thanks for the ideas - those seem like they could really work. In the mean time, I'm also experimenting with moving those actions to the "Way of Life" iPhone app. I love OF (and have talked quite a few friends into buying it) but it not be the most appropriate system for me for this particular workflow.
Another thought about addressing the clutter in Forecast view: as you're looking at the routine stuff in the Forecast view, you don't have to worry about whether or not it is truly available (assuming it is all stuff you could do any time during the day). You could put your daily routine stuff in with start times near the end of the day so that it always shows up after the real work, but still be able to see it if you want it by scrolling down.
I'm in the same boat, with a bunch of little things I don't want to forget each day. I've always felt a little pathetic needing to put them on a daily to-do list, but there it is. :)

I have a project called 'Trivial repeat tasks' with all of these items in it, all repeating daily (taking meds, doing the dishwasher, filling the dog's water dish in the morning, etc.) But I definitely don't want to archive them so I also have a weekly repeating item that reminds me to delete them, and a 'Trivial to delete' perspective (all Completed items from that project) that makes it dead simple.

Some days it's a small triumph to complete one substantial thing with all the trivial stuff I have to do. :(
I like that idea! I've always kept the routine stuff in relevant projects or single action lists for organizational simplicity, but your approach would be very convenient for the housekeeping end of things. Another advantage: if you want to see your tasks without the clutter of the routine items, just put the routine tasks project on hold (don't forget to make it active when you're done!) and they are completely hidden.
Hi there

I'm also A passenger in this boat. The solution I came to was similar to whpalmer4's second option. On my iPhone I use and app called Due called for all the repetitive task I have, I then have a task in OF to remind me to check The "Due" app along with my weekly review.

Due allows me to schedule repetitive tasks and I use 9am as a time to remind me of non-time-critical tasks for the day. I find this way I can keep my OF clear of clutter.

For me in terms of GTD I find that there is sometimes an area that sits somewhere between task management and calendaring - it's as if either could fulfill the need, but, for me, a third element to the system really helps. I've found that using this system I can rest assured that these things are out of my mind and in my system.

I have many similar lists of tasks for daily/weekly routines and also for things that are not necessarily periodic such as what to do before leaving on a business or personal trip, bagages, what to prepare for a music rehearsal, etc.

I even include in this groceries for home and for the cottage, mowing the lawns, etc.

I love doing everything in OF and created a folder "checklists" for those. I simply focus and/or put projects on hold/active as needed. I can check/uncheck in batch on the mac version.

If I have to remember absolutely to go to the grocery I might create a task "stop by grocery" flagged or with a due date, or flag the critical item for the list.

I have to say that until now I regularly delete completed tasks (not part of the checklists!) rather than archive. For work for example I keep them around a little bit until I'm paid or reviewed with client. Anything important has some emails, doc, etc.

I keep a recurring reminder tasks for things that are a bit more time sensitive like garbage or paying bills. By setting a start date the color is different so it feels less cluttered, and it helps me schedule things better. Then again, it might be because of my highly "mobile" lifestyle, but I hope it helps.
Why not use another application along with OF? There are lots of simple to do checklist apps that are free. Put your checklists in one of those and include a pointer in OF to that list.
Well, on my Mac, I do use other applications, in particular OmniOutliner. I also use iCal and the ipod calendar for "fixed date" stuff. With that said:

1. For me, a huge benefit of starting to work in a more GTD-like manner is to stop using many different ways to do things and concentrate mostly on one "system/tool". Or rather, to do it for trivial stuff and keep the distinct tools for what I really need more "specialized" tools (for me, computer-related work and music, for which I always carry pen and paper and a bunch of software installed on my laptop, plus other hardware and music instruments).

2. Those lists are not static, they evolve over time and with new experiences, so I like to be able to make them evolve easily with the quick data entry and shortcuts provided by OF. On the ipod touch (which is what I use), data entry is already hard enough compared to on my main computer so I appreciate it even more. I also like in general the look and feel, I would use OmniOutliner for iphone if it existed, so I might be compensating! :)

3. I'm still figuring out how to apply GTD/OF for my personal needs so what I describe here is maybe the 4th or 5th iteration, and it's convenient to have those things all in one system so I can still move things around until they're more static, at which point I might consider a different method. For example right now I'm traveling and I can tell you that the hours in plane or train have never been so productive! I cleaned up many projects and reoarganized the way I group them, part of the result is this "checklist" folder that worked very well for the past weeks.

4. Sometimes I do want to create an "on the fly" perspective for example making a grocery list out of a recipe. Or flag a specific task that usually is not critical but today is (getting the garbage out before a very long trip, while usually skipping a garbage day is not an issue). If I can just flag it instead of copying it or typing it, it's already a "win". If it gets automatically in my perspective for the "once in a while" time I need it, great too. Similarly, if I need to buy a new piece of equipment from a list, I'll simply change the context to the proper "errand" context and it will be there when I need it.

For me it is all very similar to the "grocery list" that has been discussed in some threads I've seen and seem a "valid" use of OmniFocus (I'm still new at all of it and don't want to sound close-minded or anything like that, I'm really curious to know how others are working with it).

I would say, for now, it doesn't feel like OF gets in the way, or at least it is easier and more "comfortable" than anything I've done before, and using too much other programs seem like extra work. "Where did I save this text file?" "What was the name of xxx?" "this is on my laptop back home", etc.

I'm curious, how can I make a link to another app in OF (ipod/iphone)?

Also, I'm curious about any suggestion for "checklists" apps, I had tried many before getting to OmniFocus, but none had seem to do the job.



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