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Problems w/Repeating Tasks Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I'm confused about how repeating tasks are supposed to work vs what I am seeing. The manual and even the threads here are not very helpful with the difference between setting repeating at the project level vs at the task. Here is the example I have that is causing me problems.

I have a task Trim Horse Feet
There are two actions under that task, Call the farrier and make appointment (context phone), and actually trim the feet (context outside with help). It's set as a sequential project because I can't do the trimming until I've called and made the appointment. I have the project set to repeat 8 weeks after completion. I have a due date for the first instance of today and the start date was 2 weeks ago. When I made the phone call I marked that task done. That was maybe a week ago or so. I also then marked the trimming done today. I expected that I would get a new set of tasks 8 weeks from now but instead in the context view the actions are showing up in red as if they are overdue but with dates 8 weeks in the future. I would expect them to not even be available until the 2 weeks before due based on start and due dates I set originally.

I have tried to both set the start and due dates on each action and only on the project but I can't seem to get it to work as expected.

I have ended up with duplicate actions, dates all over the place and had to delete everything and start over but it's still not working right.

Is there any documentation that give more details about the interaction between start and due dates and repeating times that will explain this behavior and how can I get it to work properly?
 
Here is another example that is working oddly.

I have a project that is sequential and has 5 tasks. I had a start date on the project of March 1 of this year and a due date on the project of June 30. It is set to repeat every year from completion date.

I just completed the first task of the project today, and what happened is that the completion spawned a new one in a year. This is correct as far as I am concerned except that it's purple as the next task and the second task in the project is not available and never shows up in my context list unless I do a show all not just a show available. The only one shown in the available or next actions views is the one that I completed but that now has a due date of a year from now.

I was expecting the second task in the project to some up as my next action and I can't make it work that way. What am I doing wrong.
 
On your first issue, it seems like you set the due date on both the task and the task group. If you set a due date on a task group that is sooner than any of its contained tasks, the application concludes that all of those tasks actually have to complete by that sooner date. I would take the due date off of the task group and see if that helps.

On the second issue, this is a circumstance where you want to set the group type to sequential and give the tasks start dates so that when you mark the first one complete, the new repeated task will be unavailable for a period of time and the next task after it will become the next action.

Give those a try.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oogiem View Post
I have a task Trim Horse Feet
There are two actions under that task, Call the farrier and make appointment (context phone), and actually trim the feet (context outside with help). It's set as a sequential project because I can't do the trimming until I've called and made the appointment. I have the project set to repeat 8 weeks after completion. I have a due date for the first instance of today and the start date was 2 weeks ago. When I made the phone call I marked that task done. That was maybe a week ago or so. I also then marked the trimming done today. I expected that I would get a new set of tasks 8 weeks from now but instead in the context view the actions are showing up in red as if they are overdue but with dates 8 weeks in the future. I would expect them to not even be available until the 2 weeks before due based on start and due dates I set originally.
It sounds as if you have set both the project and the tasks to be repeating, or you've changed something in mid-flight. If you have built a repeating project (which is what I would do in this scenario), you won't get the next set of actions until you mark off the current project as complete. That you have the new actions yet haven't marked the current project as completed (or didn't mention it, if you did) suggests that the actions are also set to repeat.

There is a setting in the inspector (and Data preferences pane) that controls whether or not OmniFocus treats a project or action group as complete and marks it as such automatically when the last action is checked. This is a handy feature if you've planned out all the steps before checking off the last one, and a potentially dangerous one if it gets set on a project or action group that hasn't had all the steps entered. In this case, you've got a repeating project that is routine, so ticking that box for the project to auto-complete will save you some trouble. If each visit by the farrier results in you having to take an unpredictable set of actions, you might not want to auto-complete.

If you build the project as I suggest, it should look like this:





Note that I stuck in an additional action to remind me to set the start date on the farrier's visit, once I know what it is!

After I've ticked off the 3 actions in my project, the data will look like this:



Quote:
I have tried to both set the start and due dates on each action and only on the project but I can't seem to get it to work as expected.
Generally, you want to either have the project repeat, or have the actions repeat. I typically do the repeating action route in a single action list that aggregates the related tasks but they don't necessarily have any sequential dependancies. For instance, I have a single action list for day-to-day pet care activities, with tasks like checking the cats' food supply (repeats daily at 7AM), feeding the fish (repeats every 12 hours), cleaning the litter boxes (repeats every 2 days), trimming nails (every 10 days), refilling the hummingbird feeder, etc. This could also be done with a parallel project, but I prefer to think of projects as things with a desired outcome. Repeating actions are added "in place" as you noticed, and so to avoid blocking other actions lower down in the project, it cannot be a sequential project (or carefully put start dates on the actions so the repeat doesn't block the next action in sequence, as Lucas suggests).
Quote:
Is there any documentation that give more details about the interaction between start and due dates and repeating times that will explain this behavior and how can I get it to work properly?
When the thing that has the repeat setting on it is completed, OF will make the next instance. The start dates and due dates will be either be the start and due dates of the previous instance + the repeat interval, in the case of repeat based on assigned date, or the start date and due dates will be the current date + the repeat interval (and the due date will be the same period after the start date as it was in the previous instance).

Sometimes it is valuable to be able to see the train of events stretching into the future beyond the next one. I will occasionally not have OmniFocus do the repeating bit for me, but instead just create a bunch of the events myself, with start dates set accordingly so that I don't see more than one at a time in the Available views. If you need something that happens on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, or some other unusual repeat schedule that OmniFocus doesn't currently handle, that's a way you can do it. Another is to have a repeating project where the last action is a reminder to immediately fix the start date of the next instance.
 
Thanks WHPalmer4 your explanation made a lot more sense. I did have both the project and the actions set to repeat. Once I set the project to repeat and deleted the repeats off the actions it's working for my first case. I am still working to get my second example to behave as I wish but it's a lot closer.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oogiem View Post
Thanks WHPalmer4 your explanation made a lot more sense. I did have both the project and the actions set to repeat. Once I set the project to repeat and deleted the repeats off the actions it's working for my first case. I am still working to get my second example to behave as I wish but it's a lot closer.
The second one ought to be straightforward. Set the project to repeat, not the actions. Or, if for some reason you don't want the project to repeat, you could make an action group inside the project that contains the 5 actions and set it to repeat. Either approach will shield you from the problem of checking off the first action in a sequential group and having the newly created repeat block further progress due to its position.
 
 


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