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Setting up calendar alerts in OmniFocus for iPhone [Retired: use local notifications] Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
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Originally Posted by Sturm View Post
Okay, I'm feeling rather frustrated right now, so I apologize right off the bat if this post seems a bit angry. I just missed my first appointment because OmniFocus did not remind me of it.
OmniFocus is not an appointment manager. If you try to use it that way, you will be unhappy. If you are unhappy, and within 30 days of purchase, contact Omni for a full refund.
I am a new OmniFocus for iPhone and iPad user. I do not have it for my desktop PC, since I am running Windows. (Thanks, by the way, for not taking advantage of millions of potential users by not having a Windows version.)
Have you also been writing to Android-only app vendors to complain about their not providing their products for your iPhone and iPad? :-)
After having read Getting Things Done twice
Good, do you still have your copy? You might reread the section about day-specific information and calendars. I don't have my copy handy, so I can't provide an exact page number for you, sorry. But here's the skinny: if something needs to be done at a certain time (an appointment), it goes on the calendar. If it needs to be done by a certain time, it goes in your GTD system.
I moved my existing system from "2Do" to OmniFocus. Granted, there were only a handful of items in there, as I have yet to dive headfirst into GTD, but a couple of simple reminders would be good enough to test out the software, right?
That might be sufficient if testing a reminder program. Again, that's not what you bought. See below for some reasons why your test might fail.
Apparently, I must be stupid because I cannot figure out how to get the app to actually remind me of appointments that I've entered into its system. I tell it I have a consultation appointment starting at 3:00pm today and it is due at 3:00pm today (I still don't understand why there's both a "Start" and a "Due" date/time. Aren't they the same thing?) and it does absolutely nothing to remind me of the appointment ahead of time, even though I told it 30 minutes in the settings of the app.
No, a start date and a due date are most definitely not the same thing. Start date reflects the earliest date/time at which you wish to be shown this task when viewing available tasks. Due date is the date/time by which it must be completed. If I need to write a report for my client who wants to see it at our meeting on Friday at 3pm, the report has a due date of Friday at 3pm. However, the start date (if it has one at all, they are not required) would clearly have to be before the report needs to be provided to the client! You might use a start date to hide a repeating task until a reasonable amount of time had passed after the previous copy had been completed. For example, a repeating task to remind you to get your hair cut might repeat every month, but there's no point in showing you the reminder for the next hair cut immediately after you've gotten it cut. Similarly, if you can't write that report for the client until Wednesday at the earliest, when you are supposed to get some data, there is no reason to clutter up the views of tasks you can work on today.
Searching online to find out how to get OmniFocus to actually remind me of my appointments came up with almost nothing; only this thread seems to be somewhat relevant, but then it says "Retired: Use Local Notifications". What the frell is that supposed to mean? What the frell are "Local Notifications"? Nothing I can find in OmniFocus. And if they are something separate from OmniFocus, such as iOS 5's "Reminders" app, then why the frell did I spend $70 on these apps if they aren't going to remind me of my appointments!?
You turn on notifications in the OmniFocus settings page. On the iPad, there's an area labeled Notifications Sounds and Alerts which you tap to access the Notifications settings. Turn Due Reminders Show Alerts on, and the Play Sound option, if you want it to make some noise. You'll also want to check the Notifications settings in the iOS Settings app and make sure it is turned on there (both the Notification Center and the OmniFocus entry in the list). The iPhone is configured similarly, but I don't have one handy to call out any differences.

At one point, the news of a new notification could take some time to percolate through the machinery, depending on your settings and activity, which meant setting a notification for something less than a half hour before it was to take place was a bit dicey. When I tried it just now, I was able to get a notification even for an event I had adjusted just a few seconds prior, but I would still be cautious about relying on instant propagation. In real life usage, most people don't put due dates on tasks only a few minutes in the future.

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