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How to use "Due" efficiently, not as a reminder? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hey guys and gals!

Ok, so here is the problem:
Due date... Example.
I have a project, "Prepare the list," to do. I have to hand it to Bob on Monday at 9:00AM. It is Thursday. I'm creating a project, then tasks, some phone calls, some emails, have to drive somewhere, need to sort files, etc. The last task is "Give the list to Bob," which is the last unaccomplished task.
It is Monday, 8:30AM, I already started doing something new. Suddenly on my iPhone there is a reminder, about the list for Bob. It is 9:00AM, like the DUE DATE. But Bob told me, "You're late 3 minutes. You're fired!"

So now I'm fired ;-) Begging and complaining about OF didn't help. Bob uses OF too.

OK, So how do you deal with that. I have no idea? Would you set a due date as a reminder at 8:55AM? But Due date it is not reminder.
How/what reminders do you use? iCal works, but only for meetings etc. Not like you have 50 tasks to write in iCal. Too time consuming.

I cannot think all the time that I have something in my Forecast and look on iPhone every 5 minutes.

What solution would you recommend? Any ideas?

Thanks a lot!

Brain



Added:
Also, I need something, because throughout the day I use mostly Forecast to control my next available tasks. Fist I do everything which has specific due date. Some of the tasks can be done only on the date when they occur. Not assigning due date, will not show the task in the Forecast.

Last edited by BrainInside; 2012-10-22 at 07:01 PM..
 
Estimate when you'll need to start in order to meet your deadline, add a fudge factor, and enter the result in the Start Date field?
 
@eurobubba - Thanks for your reply. However, it wouldn't work in my situation and in my system.

I use the "start date" when I want a specific task to occur on a specific day. I use mostly the perspective where I see only available tasks.
Also, some tasks you won't be doing at a specific time on that date. You just know you have to do it on some point during this specific day.

Start date in OF for me is, "take this task out of my head and show me it when I can do something about that." Means - perfect solution for the GTD method follower.

Due date means for me, "you have to do it before that date. I will remind you if you won't finish this task on time, that it's overdue."

What I am looking for and asking, is you guys to write your approach for the problem which I wrote in the first post, or how possibly you could see the solution.

Thanks a lot!
 
I think it's a fool's game to try to set your due dates to anything but when they are due. If you set it early because you know you also have something else due that day, then you have to adjust it again when someone tosses something else on your plate (and for completeness, if someone removes something from your plate, but that seems to be mostly a theoretical possibility!) Having said that, I do like to set my default due time for new tasks to be somewhat before the end of the day, just so there's some breathing room in case the person I need to talk with likes to leave early, etc.

The piece that is conspicuous by its absence in this discussion is the review. OmniFocus has a wonderful review tool for helping you methodically monitor the individual progress of all of your projects, and it is how I deal with the problem you mention. As I look over my projects while doing the reviews, I make note of which tasks need to move forward in the next few days, and if they do not have a start date or due date to cause them to appear in the Forecast view, I flag them. My workflow is basically to bring up the Forecast view and complete everything I can that is due today (or overdue), then work tasks from the flagged list and the starting today list. For tasks that I've assigned start dates to because I want to do them on that day, I'll bump the start date to the following day if I haven't completed it by the end of the day so that it continues to appear on the Forecast view.

To deal with the specific example you gave, I would put a start date on the "Give the list to Bob" task for the earliest time I could expect to do it on Monday, and I'd probably flag it as well. If there was some chance I would see Bob before Monday, I might not put the start date on until such time as that possibility had passed, just so that if I ran into Bob, I could pull up my Agenda:Bob context and see the action there ready to go, instead of having it hidden by a future start date. If it takes any appreciable time to give the report to Bob, I'll put an appointment in my calendar for perhaps 8:30-9:00 AM to give Bob the report so I've got the time blocked out to deliver it.

OmniFocus does an excellent job of remembering what you told it about your obligations, but the scheduling of the work to meet them is up to you. IMO, the review is the key to making sure the right things are getting your attention so that you can successfully meet those obligations. There's quite a bit of material on the forums about various review approaches.
 
One wrinkle in using the Due Date "properly" is that, if you want a task to show up in the Forecast view on your iPhone. You can't rely on the Start Date, because it will only display on that specific date; if you didn't finish the task on its start date, it will disappear from the Forecast view.
 
whpalmer4 and Arthaey - thanks for your comprehensive responses.

@whpalmer4
I agree with you it is a fool's game and about the reviews.

Maybe one real example from today. If you guys give me a tip how you would deal with that. Let's consider it is Wednesday for the points below.

a) I borrowed a DVD movie from my friend Alfredo few days ago. Alfredo has to ship it back on Friday. We agreed I will watch the movie on Wednesday and give it back on Thursday around 8PM after my classes.
(The movie is crucial for me to watch for our project (not a school project).

b) In my Single-Action List called "Urgent," I created an action "Movie for Alfredo" and two sub-actions: 1st "Write an email to Alfredo about the movie" [Context -> Mac: Email], 2nd "Give back the movie to Alfredo" [Driving: Errands]
(btw. I have context driving, with few sub-contexts, because when I will be driving, I just pull out the context Driving and I see if I have to buy something in Home Depot, HEB, etc.)

c) 1st action has the START date TODAY 12:00AM (my default), and DUE TODAY 5:00PM.
I know I will have some time during the day, also I know I will have time between 4:00PM-6.00PM when possibly I could make it.
I will be driving from campus to campus today and when I am at school, I cannot predict anything, so I just want to have it in my Forecast. Writing the email will take me 10-15 minutes.

d) 2nd action has START date THURSDAY 7:00PM, DUE THURSDAY 8:00PM.
Because it has DUE I will see it in Forecast. Because it has START I will see it as in a grey color in Forecast, but not in my the most use perspective on Mac.

QUESTIONS: This task qualifies for me to schedule it in iCal. But sometimes, very similar tasks (similar in the processing) do not qualify.
-How would you deal with a reminder(s) during the day for the 2nd action? Would you use them?
-How would you "fill the fields" in OmniFocus to synchronize 2nd task automatically with iCal?
(I have never used sync option with iCal and have problem to set it up).
Also, I would have hard time to choose the context for the 2nd action, because it requires me to Driving [context Driving : Errands] but I don't want to sync all this context. I have also context People : Meeting, however I don't want to place the 2nd action in that context.

I feel like reminder option will be really useful option, possibly in OF2.


Thanks.

Last edited by BrainInside; 2012-10-24 at 05:30 AM..
 
I would use a separate reminder program. I work items in my OF lists with the assumption that I have some discretionary time. In other words, I have some control over when I will work on my actions and, more importantly, when I will deal with items with a specific due time.

But for items that are, one, very quick and easy to complete and, two, are high stakes, I will use a reminder app (I use Due for iOS.) Your example falls into this category. The item can still sit in OF. And you can work it any time you like, but with a reminder, you know that at 8:45 you will be reminded.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthaey View Post
One wrinkle in using the Due Date "properly" is that, if you want a task to show up in the Forecast view on your iPhone. You can't rely on the Start Date, because it will only display on that specific date; if you didn't finish the task on its start date, it will disappear from the Forecast view.
For incomplete tasks for which I'm relying on the start date to make it appear, I bump the start date ahead to tomorrow when I knock off work for the day. I also use a "tickler" perspective which shows actions grouped by start date, so it is easy to spot those which started recently. On the Mac I use a pair of windows along the right side of the screen, one showing actions grouped by due date, with all groups except due today and due tomorrow collapsed, and the other showing actions grouped by start date, similarly configured. This acts as my Forecast view on the Mac, and is somewhat more convenient as far as actions with start dates go. I can use the start date perspective to find such actions on the iPad or iPhone as needed, as well.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
For incomplete tasks for which I'm relying on the start date to make it appear, I bump the start date ahead to tomorrow when I knock off work for the day. I also use a "tickler" perspective which shows actions grouped by start date, so it is easy to spot those which started recently. On the Mac I use a pair of windows along the right side of the screen, one showing actions grouped by due date, with all groups except due today and due tomorrow collapsed, and the other showing actions grouped by start date, similarly configured. This acts as my Forecast view on the Mac, and is somewhat more convenient as far as actions with start dates go. I can use the start date perspective to find such actions on the iPad or iPhone as needed, as well.

Very interesting concept. Are you able to make a screen shoot, even with "blurred" actions, just to give me an idea? I cannot really imagine how you split the screen? Are these 2 separate windows?

2nd question - How are you able to group your tasks by DUE and by START? I can do it only manually on my Mac. Print screen would be a blessing too in this case.

Thanks a lot!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainInside View Post
QUESTIONS: This task qualifies for me to schedule it in iCal. But sometimes, very similar tasks (similar in the processing) do not qualify.
You need to be somewhere at a specific time. That sounds like an appointment to me. For reminder purposes, I would put an appointment event in my calendar app with a suitable notification. I would still get an alert from OmniFocus thanks to its Due Reminders in iCal feature, but I wouldn't be relying on it. I might put a task in OmniFocus to remind me to put the video in the backpack/car/rickshaw so I actually could give it to Alfredo when I see him.

I don't use the iCal sync with OmniFocus.
 
 


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