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I have just started reusing Omnifocus and wondered if someone could tell me if this is possible.

I'm not interested in time estimates of short tasks, but it would be useful to give estimates for longer tasks, say more than half a day, and then give the month you hope to start/complete the task.

Then to get a view by Month that would show and calculate total major commitments for that month, or even just show the tasks and let you add up the hours yourself.

It would then be relatively easy if someone asks you do activity x that needs 5 days work and is required by 1st of December, to flick through this view and see how many days work you are already committed to in each month between now and 1st of December.

I used to do something similar on paper many years ago, and found it an effective approach to avoid promising work that I was in fact far too busy to realistically get done in time for a deadline.

An answer may well come to me as I explore Omnifocus, but I would still be grateful if someone could shortcut me to a solution, or tell me it can't be done.

Many thanks,

Graham
 
OmniFocus is more of a task management/GTD application than it is a wider-scale planning application.

I think OmniPlan may be a better fit for what you're looking to do.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatOne View Post
OmniFocus is more of a task management/GTD application than it is a wider-scale planning application.

I think OmniPlan may be a better fit for what you're looking to do.
Thanks, but omniplanner looks like a project management tool, I'm just looking for simple way of filtering future tasks to give me rough idea of how busy I am likely to be in any particular month.

I have actually tried project management software in the past for this, as I was already using it for managing projects, but it isn't actually much use. It is far too complicated and time consuming for personl task management.

Graham
 
The forecast view (which is currently iOS only) is the closest you'd have to this. But, really, throwing arbitrary dates on things to gauge how "busy" a particular month will be, months out, is not a strength of OmniFocus. Frankly, it's better for a calendar than for a task manager.
 
It's pretty easy to use OmniPlan to do this, though it certainly isn't the cheapest tool one could imagine for the job. If you wanted to devote roughly half your time to big tasks, you would set up an empty project plan, create a single resource (you), set the project hours to be the normal amount of time you work, and your individual resource hours to be the amount of time you want to devote to big tasks. This can vary on a day-by-day basis with no trouble.

Then, when you get big tasks on your plate, you just add a row with the task name, the number of hours of effort you expect it to take you, and if necessary, any start/finish constraints or dependencies. Level the plan, bring up the utilization view, and you can see at a glance where you have available time in your upcoming schedule. You can easily see what you would have to defer or cancel to make something fit in a given time frame.

My little example here shows me working only in the afternoons, except for the week of Sept. 5 where I work full-time, and taking the 15th and 16th off. Gray areas are non-working hours. The red blobs indicate overcommitment, so I would have to split the "proposed lengthy task" or shuffle some of the others around.

Gantt chart:


Utilization diagram:
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatOne View Post
The forecast view (which is currently iOS only) is the closest you'd have to this. But, really, throwing arbitrary dates on things to gauge how "busy" a particular month will be, months out, is not a strength of OmniFocus. Frankly, it's better for a calendar than for a task manager.
OK, thanks again, I was hoping for a simple view (perspective) that filtered any tasks with duration over 4 hours, with start dates within a specific month, but I guess this cannot be done.

Thanks for saving me the time trying.

Graham
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
It's pretty easy to use OmniPlan to do
Thanks for this, but as I said, I am familiar with Project Planing software, and it's really an overkill for what I am looking for. I am getting the feeling that a perspective filtered on month and task duration cannot be done.

So at least it has saved me time trying to work out how to do it.

Graham
 
RobTrew's Where in OF can do such a search, but the result will just be a set of projects containing those actions, with the matching actions selected. That probably won't be very convenient for assessing the schedule, because there will potentially be a lot of other stuff in the view. You also have to

Such a search query might look like this:

tasks where ((completed is false)) and (estimated minutes > <num>) and ((start date ≥ <dte1>) and (start date ≤ <dte2>))

and the script a) allows you to keep a library of such queries and b) prompts you for those placeholders (num, dte1, dte2).
 
Hmm, more work for a less accurate result, sounds great! :-)
 
Well, I can almost do it with a persective.

In the due date or start date, when setting up a task I can simply write in November or October or whatever to dump a task into future month. I also put the number of days estimated in the time estimate column

As I don't use the estimated time for anything else , I can filter the perspective view using the more than 1 hour option. This restricts the view to these major tasks.

And then sort by start date with no grouping.

Although not ideal, this pulls all the major tasks for any month together and I can scan down the Estimated time to add up the nuber of days work allocated for any particular month.

I would have liked it to be have been grouped with a label by month and to have had Omnifocus add up the time allocation per month for me, but as it is, it would seem to work well enough.

I can now look at this perspective, get an idea of major tasks within a month and easily move a task to different month if I realise a month is overloaded, or avoid adding any more work for that month.

So although not ideal, I am fairly pleased with this.

Thanks for everyones help.

Graham
 
 


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