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I have a list of related tasks, A,B,C,D and I want to have them done at some point in the future, doesn't matter too much when. If I turn them into a project with a due date, then all tasks will have that due date and they'll never get done, because I have enough stuff due each day that I never start on things more than 2 days away.

Setting regular due dates on each task would be a bit of work (A in 3 days, B in 6, C in 9, &c) but the big problem with that is that if my schedule slides by a few days, all tasks will be overdue unless I play catch-up.

So I tried making a repeating task which would become due 3 days after completion, with A,B,C,D as sub tasks. I was hoping that, after completing A, B would pop up as being due 3 days from now.

But no....

Does anyone know a way to have such a list of regularly coming tasks?

Another way out would be if OF had a way of selecting a whole project and saying "move all due dates back by 4 days". I've asked for that feature a long time ago, but so far Santa hasn't implemented it.

Yet another solution (and another feature I asked for) would be to set a project due date, and tell OF "spread out the due dates of the tasks evenly between now and the project due date".

Oh well. One can keep dreaming.

Victor.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VicDiesel View Post
I have a list of related tasks, A,B,C,D and I want to have them done at some point in the future, doesn't matter too much when. If I turn them into a project with a due date, then all tasks will have that due date and they'll never get done, because I have enough stuff due each day that I never start on things more than 2 days away.
I think this is the root of your problem. While OmniFocus is not just a GTD program, it was inspired by an implementation of GTD and still shares many of the GTD assumptions. One of those is that you almost always have more things that ought to be done soon than things you can do; a corollary is that you shouldn't be distracted from what is important by what is merely urgent.

I operationalize this principle in OmniFocus by using due dates only for things that really are due--that is, if I don't do them I either have to give up or renegotiate the deadline with whoever is involved. Otherwise, I count on daily and weekly reviews, and flags that I set during them, to help keep me focused on what I need to do.

The solution to your problem is to start on things more than 2 days away, not to have OmniFocus automatically create artificial due dates for your tasks. And if you really can't do that, talk to your supervisor, or whoever gives you work (which might be yourself, depending on your career) about the fact that you're seriously overloaded by urgent projects and don't have enough time to work on longer-term, important projects. Software can't do that for you. (Not yet, at least.)

Last edited by brianogilvie; 2007-12-20 at 06:56 PM.. Reason: Added the last 2 sentences.
 
Example: I had 15 chapters to review and to ensure I reviewed them at a reasonable interval (i.e. chapter one ever 2 days; chapter 3 every 3 days). It worked perfectly until all the days collided and instead me having one chapter do to review per day I had 6 maybe 7 on a given day. Now I just have projects repeat after I have completed the last chapter.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by charismatic View Post
Example: I had 15 chapters to review and to ensure I reviewed them at a reasonable interval (i.e. chapter one ever 2 days; chapter 3 every 3 days). It worked perfectly until all the days collided and instead me having one chapter do to review per day I had 6 maybe 7 on a given day. Now I just have projects repeat after I have completed the last chapter.
If the 15 chapters must be reviewed by a certain date (perhaps your boss expects a report), then create a project with that due date. Then enter each of the 15 chapters as individual actions, in the right order. Be sure the project is a sequential one.

In context mode, assuming you're ready to do something, the "Read chapter 1" task should appear in the list, assuming you're in an appropriate context. When you are done reading it, mark it as done, and the next task "Read chapter 2" will appear.... etc.

It sounds like you're trying to have OF remind you periodically to read a certain chapter. What you need is to have "Read chapter 1" permanently on you list of things to do until you check it off.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvonk View Post
If the 15 chapters must be reviewed by a certain date (perhaps your boss expects a report), then create a project with that due date. Then enter each of the 15 chapters as individual actions, in the right order.
That is easy to do. But I have lots of projects that don't have a due date, or at least they can slide. For instance, I want to turn the lecture notes of a class I just taught into a book. I can take half a year for that, I can take a whole year. So I want to enter tasks "do section A, do section B" a week apart, but in case something urgent comes up I want to be able to move the whole project back by a week or two.

Quote:
It sounds like you're trying to have OF remind you periodically to read a certain chapter. What you need is to have "Read chapter 1" permanently on you list of things to do until you check it off.
Right. But the task "read chapter 2" should not come up until a few days after chapter 1 is completed.

Victor.
 
Quote:
So I want to enter tasks "do section A, do section B" a week apart, but in case something urgent comes up I want to be able to move the whole project back by a week or two.
I think I would handle this by putting a due date just on the current section, or perhaps the current and the next. Then in a weekly review, I'd update what has a due date. I might put the end date on the whole project, and bump just that forward whenever I had slippage.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VicDiesel View Post
Right. But the task "read chapter 2" should not come up until a few days after chapter 1 is completed.

Victor.
Ah... I seem to recall a discussion along these lines some time ago; folks referred to it as conditional start date, or some such thing. I don't think it really generated a lot of interest, and I'm quite sure it won't be in version 1.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvonk View Post
Ah... I seem to recall a discussion along these lines some time ago; folks referred to it as conditional start date, or some such thing.
Well, it's really the same idea as repeating tasks which come up so many days after completion. For this to work, a repeating task with subtasks should consider its current instance to be completed if a subtask is completed.

Anyway, sprugman's suggestion of scheduling only one subtask and relying on review is not a bad one.

Victor.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VicDiesel View Post

Another way out would be if OF had a way of selecting a whole project and saying "move all due dates back by 4 days". I've asked for that feature a long time ago, but so far Santa hasn't implemented it.

Victor.
I have been wondering about this since, many times I have worked my schedules and later found out that they have decided to move a project one or two weeks later. It would be nice if there was an easy way to do this without having to edit every single action start and due dates.

Is there a way? Should I post this in the Feature request or, is it already there?
 
I would refrain from burdening other tasks in the project with unnecessary start/due dates. Only actual deliverables (or milestones) need due dates in the scenario you mention, Jose. This significantly reduces the effort associated with managing project time line slippage. I even use this approach when using Microsoft Project. Unless there is a reason to suspend work, I never want to impede (or defer) progress just because some deliverable dates have been moved back.

IMO, formal project management is largely outside the scope of personal productivity software like OF. Not that it wouldn't be nifty if you could do as you suggest . . .
 
 


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