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What's the best replacement for calendar syncing? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Perfect sense, that's how I feel too. When trying to organise various commitments at work, at home, as a parent, as a carer, it's helpful to see everything in context. I see that some other apps are already doing this, unfortunately they are not as good as OF, but the sync to iCloud reminders works well.
Having looked over a couple of similar posts I feel that the general problem is the unprecise definition of events vs. timed tasks... there is a grey area that currently is living in this space between calendar and OF: an action belonging to a project in OF which is precisely scheduled in time an length.

Clearly, one would want to see such a task not only in context with other tasks but in context with other events, forming the need of a calendar integration. To me, the integration of Calendar events in the Forecast view is flawed for limiting the calendar events to the bottom area when they are truly integrated with the OF tasks.

The interim solution is subscribing to the published task calendar, a thing really working nicely for me as some sort of transition to sth else- what I am still dreaming of (and I am not alone) is a calendar displaying all my tasks and events at once in one timely arranged calendar perspective showing me tasks and events in an equal fashion SPLIT BY DIFFERENT COLORS FOR CERTAIN AREAS. If Omni is finding a way to display the events in the forecast window maybe in two coumns side by side (daily events vs daily scheduled actions this would be fine, even better would be a one-column integrated perspective of actions and events- because generally you're spending time on both, so why look at them separately?
Our office needs iCal-Omni synch mostly to simplify future scheduling. Maybe our "projects" get completed in a 2-week period, but we run an appraisal business & frequently need to look ahead a month or more to schedule inspections - if previously scheduled inspections (or other appt) do not show on iCal, it is all too easy for us to double-book or over-fill a specific period of time. I have read through this thread & don't see any real solutions being offered. We are new at OmniFocus and love it so far, but not being able to add action items to iCal more than 2 wks out is going to be a problem. Thanks for any suggestions on simple work-arounds until OF provides an integrated solution.
Now that Apple is opening the Reminders API, could the Omni team please look again at linking Omni tasks to these in some way. It seems that many people like myself find it very useful to see tasks and appointments in the same frame, and if necessary share or show these to colleagues.
Here's an app from the Mac App store that offers an interesting twist:


SmartDay is different from all other calendars because it is a truly integrated organizer – it uses our SmartTime™ logic to schedule tasks for you directly into the free time in your day.

This is for folks who like to "plan" their days and stagger their tasks throughout the week.

At the moment, I just look at my calendar and look at my appointments that I have to keep. Then when I don't have an appointment, I look at my "Today" perspective in OmniFocus (basically a context perspective with Due soon & Flagged actions).

I generally don't like to "schedule" a task because there might be times when I'm too brain dead and I'll just move that task to another time and work on something else based on my energy levels, context, or time duration.

But for those who want to schedule tasks, this might offer a different solution.

Hopefully OmniFocus can start breaking away from the outliner mode only view (as it exists now) and start offering other types of views such as the forecast view and something like SmartDay.

I saw Daylite 3.x's interface and they were stuck in that typical outline view. It made it look and feel look a database. The new Daylite 4's user interface starts to break away from that modal feel. Unfortunately, it's still bug-ridden and not really ready for prime-time use.
The reason I like to see my tasks and schedule at the same time, is so that I know when to say No. I tend to itemise my projects in advance if I know what the basic structure of tasks will be. So, I may know that something will require 7 hours work. If I have 2 such projects in a week with a heavy appointment schedule then that will be enough. I would have to refuse any further work until the following week. I can do this at the moment by looking in Omni and iCal, but it's a pain in the ****, and there's always the chance that something will get missed.
I never say yes the first time. I just tell them "I can't discuss it right now without checking my schedule. No, no, I insist. I have to check my schedule. I will get back to you later on today."

That usually keeps them at bay. If they insist, I don't take the file or paper that they try to give to me. I need to know more about what project/task they are attempting to delegate to me. The simple act of me receiving the paper may indicate to them that I accepted the paper.

I've had the hit and run tactic before where they would try to drop it off and immediately run away like it's a game of hot potato. I'll quickly look over it and determine whether I can really do this or if it is something that can be easily done by someone else. Later I'll meet the person and give it back to them saying "sorry but my workload is already full. you'll have to delegate this to someone else or do it yourself."

I've heard the "Boss has asked me to give it to you" trick as well. I always check and follow up to make sure that it actually came from the boss. I don't stand for people just shoveling it to me when all they're thinking about it cocktail hour after work.

The hardest part about this was in the beginning and learning to finally say no. The thing you need to know is to default the answer to no. Delay the decision to accept until after you've seen your calendar and OmniFocus.

This has trained my colleagues to never give me something unless they are armed with enough ammo to shovel it to me. If it is a task that I know someone else can do, I usually hand it back to the original person and tell them to do it themselves or find one of the office interns to help you. I know I can accept assignments if I am the only one in the office who can do the job.

Say no. They'll get over it.

Another strategy I use is to present my boss with the folders holding the projects or cases I'm working on. I tell him "this is my workload for the week. If you ask me to take on the new Johnson case, I'm gonna have to delay work on one of these previous cases. Which one of these cases do you want to delegate to someone else so that I can work on the new Johnson case or to delay until I finish?00"

At first, it was intimidating asking the boss this question. But over time, he realized that I was already and started to eventually hand out cases more readily to the others in my office. If you keep silent, your boss thinks you're capable of taking on more.

I remember the time when I was a young child and my mother would keep trying to shovel more food into my mouth even after I told them I was full. Eventually she learned that kids would have their own eating schedule and will eat when they are hungry. Then I became a teenager and ate way too much.

In iCal, I usually just put one big appointment block with the project name on it to indicate I'm working on it. I'll sum up the estimated time for all the tasks required to finish the project and block out an appointment just for that one project.

I know it's not the same as looking at tasks but I tend to simplify things. The Johnson case will have many sub-tasks and I usually don't like to see subtasks in the calendar. I just prefer to put the project name in the appointment block that I have in iCal. Cleaner and easier to read that way.

I look first at the calendar to look at all the appointments I need to keep. Then I look at OmniFocus to look at my "Today" perspective which includes my Due soon & Flagged. I work on those tasks first. Then I look at the next action perspective only when I feel I have finished as many of my Today perspective items as I can.

The next action perspective is used when I do have a free block of time and want to knock off some of the smaller projects or tasks.
Originally Posted by wilsonng View Post
I never say yes the first time. I just tell them "I can't discuss it right now without checking my schedule. No, no, I insist. I have to check my schedule. I will get back to you later on today."

Say no. They'll get over it.
The point Marisa is making here is: Omnifocus should not add to friction but remove it. Your mileage (as well as your customer service) might vary, wilsonng, but that wasn't the point- I totally agree that it is cumbersome (to say the least) to check OF and then check a calendar, this is not in the least a "productive" way to deal with the problem.

The decision of Omni NOT to integrate a full calendar has certain reasons- but luckily there are some workarounds intended to make OF flexible enough to serve those of us that love to have it all in one place:

- for this to work You'd need to sync OF with a webdav or omnisync- at least that's what worked for me flawlessly

- in settings/ sync /advanced or /omnisync you can now choose to "publish due reminders as a calendar" - at the position of Your calendar now resides a .ics file which You can subscribe to in iCal

This way everything that has a due setting automatically is also displayed in the calendar! The only downside currently is that the estimated time is not reflected in the length of the event published in iCal- with that in mind you're good to go!

Hope that helps,

cheers, mat
yes I agree Matt. I hope that OmniFocus 2 will add the much needed forecast view and maybe a monthly calendar view to get a longer view (more than 1 week).

But sometimes we need an array of tools to get the job done.

My utopian world would be to have OmniFocus include a contact manager included. This would give me the ability to look at a contact in an Address Book user interface and see all the tasks assigned to that person. I can also connect to notes, conversations, and history.

Then I can look at the calendar view and get a closer look at my own workload for the day or week.

I thought Daylite 4 would offer that. But it's still buggy. SOHO Organizer has been an absolute dog in terms of performance and stability.

OmniFocus for the iPad kind of helps with its forecast view

Maybe BusyCal might be an option? You can see set BusyCal to view tasks directly on a calendar instead of on a list placed on the right.

I can go to month view and see that there are 3 tasks on Monday, none on Tuesday, and four on Wednesday. This might be able to help you see where your workload is.

I used to use BusyCal to schedule my tasks around. But now I've kept tasks out of BusyCal and back into OmniFocus. BusyCal doesn't have the concept of projects so it makes things a little harder.

But you might be able to tweak BusyCal and OmniFocus to work together. I haven't really tried. But BusyCal is available as a demo to try out.

I don't really like to schedule tasks - mostly block out a time that I deemed as closed because I intend to sit down and work on my tasks. My colleagues know that I've blocked off my Monday and Wednesday afternoons for my project work and not bother me with "emergencies."
Thanks for the ideas guys, I have got round this for the moment by creating artificial calendars in ical 'on my mac' and then syncing omnifocus tasks to these.

This gives back the syncing to calendars we used to have. But this doesn't get reflected online, and my workplace is all pc based. At the moment I am bringing in my mac, but this isn't a permanent answer. I end up doing most of my work on my own machine as it's so much better and more efficient, but this isn't going down terribly well with some people as you can imagine.

Oh well, I understand that with Apple opening the Reminders API a lot of developers are looking at some kind of integration, so maybe this will happen.

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