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"Do Date" and deferral Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Apologies if this has been talked about at length (every time I peruse the forum, I haven't seen discussion of it - so I am taking a risk and putting the idea forward).

I love OmniFocus. There are a few enhancements that would make it even better - and the one I would most like to see is an added field that would serve as "Do Date" (as distinguished from "Due Date").

When planning my work and thinking about particular Action items and when they should happen - I would like to designate the date I plan to do that work (this helps me make sure I 'schedule' myself to be in certain Contexts at appropriate times). This is different than indicating a "Start" date, because the action item is already "Available" and it certainly isn't the date the item is "Due" (and I _really_ don't want to put phony deadlines on my Task List - that just creates doubts about which are real and which can be delayed).

I have been using Flags to indicate action items that I will work on today (sort of a Hot List), but it isn't really the complete solution.

What would be nicer is a way to specify on what date an item will become Flagged (it is something to "Do" on that day) with a provision for deferring that item until a later date (I'm traveling unexpectedly, can't possibly Do this until I get back - defer for __ days, etc.).

The Perspective that shows all of today's "Do" items should include anything that was a "Do" item prior to today and is still incomplete.

This new field would be a natural fit with iCal if, when syncing with iCal, it were to populate the Due Date for iCal tasks. The reason this would work so well is that iCal uses "Due" date to determine on what date a task will appear on the calendar. For anything that you would like to accomplish before "the last minute", that really shouldn't be the date it is due but some time earlier (and I don't like guessing whether a date I entered in a "Due" field is a real or fake deadline).

So, while iCal has a field named "Due Date", it really serves as "Do Date". Making the change to OmniFocus that I am suggesting would make it possible to sync with iCal, then print your Day or Week plan from iCal and see your appointments and action items on a nice clean print-out (but still clearly distinguishing hard landscape (appointments) from action items).

Thanks for reading this,
Bruce
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JorBru View Post
When planning my work and thinking about particular Action items and when they should happen - I would like to designate the date I plan to do that work (this helps me make sure I 'schedule' myself to be in certain Contexts at appropriate times). This is different than indicating a "Start" date, because the action item is already "Available" and it certainly isn't the date the item is "Due" (and I _really_ don't want to put phony deadlines on my Task List - that just creates doubts about which are real and which can be delayed).

I have been using Flags to indicate action items that I will work on today (sort of a Hot List), but it isn't really the complete solution.
Do you schedule time to work on particular contexts in iCal? I don't think it's a good idea to schedule it too far out, since it may change. But setting aside time in your calendar to work in particular contexts can help reassure you that you're going to keep moving forward on your work.
 
I only enter appointments in iCal that are real - hard landscape sorts of things, which to me means meetings with others. Occasionally I will schedule a context - but as you say, that doesn't work well too far into the future.

I have the feeling (could be wrong, but it's a feeling) that many OmniFocus users and/or the developers are thinking in terms of having a system that they can turn to when they are in a particular context and the system will suggest work that can be done. That's great, as far as it goes. I need to be a little more pro-active in deciding when a particular context is necessary (by virtue of a particular task being important at that time).

Currently, I have no use for iCal Tasks (because OmniFocus is a more complete solution, and iCal Tasks appear on their Due date). I would love to be able to plan my week - including when tasks will appear in iCal (as Tasks - I wouldn't want them to appear as Appointments), then print the day's appointments and tasks for walking around and getting things done. As much as I like OmniFocus (both on Mac and iPhone), nothing can yet compare with the immediacy of a pre-printed paper list. iCal could print a pretty good day at glance to stuff in the outside pocket of my briefcase (and not worry about, unlike an iphone) if it could only access the right subset of OmniFocus tasks (and have things roll-forward, unlike a total paper solution - so items that are not complete will appear on tomorrow's printout, unless i defer them).
 
Aside from the iCal stuff, which I don't use (I haven't really investigated integration yet) I totally agree with what you're saying -- I also struggle with the whole way due dates are set up. I currently have three sections at the beginning of the projects sidebar that just list the projects I have to remember to work on daily (for indefinite periods of time -- like exercise, etc) and then upcoming projects with a due date that I have to remember is coming up) These lists just state the project and when it's due and if I want to know more details about the project, I have to go into a separate category. A lot of this would be taken care of by the system you suggest.

OmniFocus is already so good at coming to you where you are, and helping you manage your tasks in the way you naturally think, that it would be great if this issue were addressed as well.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JorBru View Post
I have the feeling (could be wrong, but it's a feeling) that many OmniFocus users and/or the developers are thinking in terms of having a system that they can turn to when they are in a particular context and the system will suggest work that can be done.
Well, yes, that's one of the basic notions of David Allen's Getting Things Done system, and OmniFocus is certainly intended to be easy to use for GTD.

It seems to me that what you want to do could probably be done with Brian's Applescript for taking an action and adding it to iCal as an event (not a task). Make a new calendar in iCal for your lists, and as you plot out your week, send tasks over to iCal to populate the list.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ReeEs View Post
I also struggle with the whole way due dates are set up. I currently have three sections at the beginning of the projects sidebar that just list the projects I have to remember to work on daily (for indefinite periods of time -- like exercise, etc) and then upcoming projects with a due date that I have to remember is coming up) These lists just state the project and when it's due and if I want to know more details about the project, I have to go into a separate category. A lot of this would be taken care of by the system you suggest.
There's no reason why you need to do the remembering to work on those daily tasks, as OmniFocus can do that job for you. Make a single action list that has all of those tasks, setting repeat intervals as appropriate for each task, call it Daily Routine or whatever strikes your fancy. If you like using due dates, set a due date for each action; I prefer to use start dates in conjunction with a perspective that will show newly available actions (context mode, group by start, available actions, close the groups for other than start today and save as a perspective).
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
Well, yes, that's one of the basic notions of David Allen's Getting Things Done system, and OmniFocus is certainly intended to be easy to use for GTD.

It seems to me that what you want to do could probably be done with Brian's Applescript for taking an action and adding it to iCal as an event (not a task). Make a new calendar in iCal for your lists, and as you plot out your week, send tasks over to iCal to populate the list.
I agree that being able to find appropriate next Actions according to the current Context is an important part of GTD, and nicely performed with OmniFocus. I'm simply suggesting that there is another, equally important goal for the system (in my view, at any rate) of making decisions about when certain Contexts should happen.

Where I need help is in planning (in my case this is, essentially, a weekly proposition) when the work will get done.

It would be great if I could 'lay out' my week's work (with some sort of calendar in front of me) to plan the workload (can't do more than 24 hours of work in one day, usually), AND with an eye toward Contexts (need to be in New York for these 3 action items (from different projects), and one won't be available until Thursday - so should plan to be in New York on Thursday or Friday).

I'll take a look at the Applescript you mentioned (Thank You for the suggestion), but I suspect it will work better as a "presentation of what I decided" than a "planning tool" - if you see what I mean. I would like to see a tool that helps me make the decisions of when to do what - and would prefer the result to be a "Daily Planner" page for each day of the week where Tasks are segregated from Appointments. In iCal this is done by showing Appointments on the left half of the page (with a time scale) and Tasks are shown on the right half of the page (with no time scale) - so the calendar is kept "pure" (something that appeals to some compulsions in me).
 
 


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