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Managing tasks with extended durations Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I've recently moved to OmniFocus from other tools and it has been very successful but one aspect still puzzles me. Perhaps you can help.

Most of my actions have fairly short durations and I have OF set to show me actions due in the next 24 hours and overdue. Some actions such as buying cards for people's birthdays have much longer durations and I would like to be reminded of these much earlier to allow for posting etc.

I realise I could set the due date earlier or break down the activity into more discrete steps. I would prefer to keep the deadline to reflect the actual date of the event (birthday, anniversary) and creating a series of sequential actions seems excessive to me.

Are there any other options?
Sorry, I have never really used the duration fields much. But i never set my due date by the actual due date. I usually like to set the due date to an earlier time and add a buffer as a safety measure.

For example: I know that I have to submit my 1040 taxes by April 15th. But I usually set the due date on April 1st. This gives me a buffer time as i have learned to never wait until the last minute to get things done.

Before leaving on a trip, I try to get as much done as early as possible. I know that if I leave by next Sunday, I can imagine that there will always be last minute things that will muck up my carefully planned OmniFocus due dates.

The same thing happens with my office work. I try to get a project completed as early as possible because I sometimes have that feeling that the boss (or client or colleague) will throw in a last minute curveball. Finishing by an early due dates give me time to do some last minute fine tuning instead of trying to kill myself burning the midnight oil.

As the old saying goes: "The early bird gets the worm."

As always, there is Parkinson's Law:

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion."

If I create my own personal due date instead of the real due date, I can shrink the time available to complete a project/task. Otherwise, I'll smugly look at the due date and think "I still have time to get this done and I'll wait until the last possible minute when I have a fire lit under my butt to complete it."
You could probably use start dates to manage this. If you set a due date for the date of the actual event, you can also set a start date for when you'd like to start working on it. Under the view options in your forecast, you can ask it to show items that are starting on that day as well as the items that are due. Hope this helps!
That's ideal, thanks.

Is the equivelent for that view in Forecast available in the OS X version? I haven't had a chance to look yet but I will.

Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
That's ideal, thanks.

Is the equivelent for that view in Forecast available in the OS X version? I haven't had a chance to look yet but I will.

There's no Forecast view yet, as you know, but you can make a pair of perspectives that offer you something similar.

For Due today:

In context mode, use Context filter Remaining, Grouping Due, Sorting Due, Availability Remaining, Status Due Soon, Estimated Time Any

Close all of the groups except the one for "Due today"

Save as a perspective, checking the Restore Expansion box, which will restore the state of the groups. You'll still see the closed groups for Due tomorrow, etc. but not their actions, unless you open the group.

Similarly, for Start today:

Context filter Remaining, Grouping Start, Sorting Due, Availability Remaining, Status Any, Estimated Time Any

You may wish to tweak these views slightly. If you want a view that looks further into the distance for the Due perspective, change Status Due Soon to Status Any, or you'll only see actions due within your "Due Soon" value. Sorting of either of these perspectives is also a matter of personal preference; I like Due but Project, Context, and Flagged all have their uses. You may want to add the Project and Context columns to the view.

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