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Persisent Projects, or a pre-flight and post-flight checklist Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hi Guys:

Before I used OmniFocus I used to have a personal blog that I would record all of my tasks and thoughts for each day and it worked rather well.

One of my biggest reasons to move to OmniFocus however has been the ability of tasks to persist beyond one day, so I can line up more work than I can do in a day, and just chip away at it.

Seeing as how I have a few different businesses to run, there are a number of things I would like to ensure that I get done each day, and I'm not sure OmniFocus is able to provide what I need.

Basically, I want to setup 2 repeating projects, one that I need to do at the beginning of the day, and one at the end. In these, I'll just make a list of things I want to make sure I check or do every day I'm in the office, but I don't want them to be "overdue" if I'm not here. So ideally, there's only one copy of each project until it's marked completed, and then another one is immediately created (only when the first is finished) and set to start/due on the next workday.

I can deal with having the projects be overdue if I take a day away from the office, but I don't want them piling up. Is there any way to make projects repeat, but only if they've been marked as completed? Or is there another way to give me what I'm looking for?

Thanks!
Nick
 
One way I've dealt with this is to set up a repeating project with start and due dates and times. Set the project to repeat every 1 day from the assigned date. Now, here's the key to avoid "piling up": when you come back to the office after a day away, rather than immediately checking off the actions as you do them, change the start and due dates of the project to the current day first.

Alternatively, you can mark the project complete enough times to get your next repeating instance on the right day, then delete the intervening projects. That might be the easier approach if you're gone for 1 day. The changed-date approach is probably easier if you're gone for a more extended time.

There have been various discussions of more powerful support for repeating actions and projects. Until that's implemented, these approaches seem to be your best bets.

Outside of OmniFocus, another approach that I use for routine things is to make a checklist in OmniOutliner. That's what I do for daily reviews. Chugging through my daily review checklist is just something that I do habitually, so I don't need to keep the steps of the review in OmniFocus.
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
I've got a similar situation where I'm trying to track a "daily routine". I've setup a project full of repeating Actions. Each Action has a Start Date of 12:00AM and a Due Date of 11:59PM. Each Action is marked to repeat on Assigned date. Honestly, I'm not sure how things would behave differently if they repeated on Completion date.

At any rate, the thing I like about this is that my Daily Routine Actions appear as "orange" throughout the day. They don't become "red" badges until the day has expired and I've missed something.

One example for me is "eat 1 piece of fruit". That Action is orange throughout the day. But if I've had a big breakfast and I don't feel like adding a piece of fruit during my day, the Action doesn't get completed and turns into a "red" badge the next day. That way, I get a reminder that I'm behind on my fruit.

With this arrangement, things only pile up when I haven't completed them. When I complete them, they get pushed to the next day.

My Actions in this Project are organized Sequentially so that the Next Action construct actually tells me what my next action should be.
 
Well I just went through my first weekend trying my new daily checklist that I mentioned in the previous post. Because I've assigned everything to repeat off of the Assigned Date, I am getting exactly what I wanted to avoid - which is on Monday, I click off the Saturday activity that I didn't do and OF repeats the Action for Sunday, then I clicked Sunday and OF repeats the Action for Monday etc...

No problem, I'll change my Actions to repeat on Completion... oh wait.. damn... the Repeat on Completion ignores my Start Date Time and Due Date Time and just makes up its own that are not related to the times I set for the Action to be started or due. So, that does not work for me at all.

Example today is the 7th. If I were to complete my Action, for Repeat on Assigned, OF correctly honors my Start Date of 1/8/08 12:00AM and Due Date of 1/8/08 11:59PM. If I complete that next Action tomorrow, I get another generated for 1/9/08 12:00AM Start Date and 1/9/08 Due Date etc...

However, changing the repeat to Repeat on Completion, the Start Date gets automagically set to 1/7/08 12:52AM for Start Date (apparently I've already been working on my _next_ Action for 16 or so hours already) and the Due date is set for 1/8/08 @ 12:00AM. It's almost like I didn't complete my Action because in just a couple of hours, I'm going to get a Red overdue badge.

Sigh. Now onto my 3rd or 4th iteration of trying to make OF work for me on what seems to be a simple task.
 
I don't know that OF is doing anything *wrong* here, just not meeting your expectations. What you're asking for may indeed be a simple task, but if the app isn't designed to do that task, nothing you do in it is going to work.

It would be like asking for TexEdit to be a better word processor. Sure, it has many word processor-like features, and you can use it as such, but eventually you have to either use it for what it is, or use something else.

In OF, actions repeat from the Assigned date or the Completed date. If you have an action "Eat an apple", set to repeat daily, and the first one is set for Jan 1, 10am:

* if you use "from Completed date", your next one will be one day from when you complete it. If you complete it on Jan 1, the next one is Jan 2. If you don't complete the Jan 2 until Jan 4, the next one is Jan 5. You'll only ever have one "eat an apple" action at a time.

* if you use "from Assigned date", your next one will be Jan 2, 10am, and the next one Jan 3, 10am. If you don't complete the Jan 3 until Jan 6, the next one shows up immediately as due on Jan 4; you complete that, another shows up for Jan 5, etc., until you're caught up.

What is it you'd like to see happen?
 
The way you have described the repetition is what I expect. What I don't expect is that Repeat from Assigned Date seems to pay attention to the Start Time and Due Time I've assigned. Repeat from Completion Date seems to make up its own Start Times and Due Times.

I don't get expected results with respect to Times. I do get expected results with respect to Dates. In fact, when set to repeat on Completion, the Start Date (for my particular Actions) actually moves into the _past_ from the moment I complete the Action. That does not make sense to me. How could I have started something before I completed it?

If Repeat on Completion just used my Start and Due Times, everything would be operating as I expect. Instead, Repeat on Completion has a Start and Due Time of its own that I can't seem to figure out how to adjust.
 
I think there's a misunderstanding of the interface; it probably needs to be cleared up by OF.

"Repeat from Assigned/Completed Date" actually means "... Date and Time".

And the "Start date" isn't "when you started something", it's "when does [did] it become to start".

I have a test project, "Eat an apple daily", with an action "eat an apple!", set to start at Jan 8 2008, 9am, and repeat every 1 minutes from completion.

The action doesn't show up as doable until 9am. OK.

When it shows up, and I check it off at 9:02 a new action is created, starting and due time of 9:03. The 9:03 one is completed on time, and a new is shows for 9:04.

If I miss the 9:04 and complete it at 9:05, I get a start and due of 9:06.

There may be bugs in here somewhere, but this is what's happening for me. Is what I'm seeing what you expect?
 
I tried you example and got some interesting results.

When I only have a Start Date & Time assigned 1/8/08 9:00AM. I get exactly what you said in your post. When set to Repeat from Assigned, the next Action would get set to Start on 1/8/08 9:01AM. When Assigned from Completion, the next Start Time would be 1/8/08 7:35PM (it's 7:34PM now for me). Okay, all good.

Now, let's set a Due Date and Time. Things get more interesting...
Let's set the Due Date and Time for 1/8/08 11:59PM (eat it _today_ right?).
Now the next Start Date/Time is 1/8/08 9:01AM and Due Date/Time is 1/9/08 12:00AM. Interesting - notice OF used the actual amount of time between the Start Date/Time and the Due Date/Time into the next assignments.

This is really weird, if I Assign from Completion, the next Start Date/Time is 1/8/08 4:40AM (what?) and the next Due Date/Time is 1/8/08 7:39PM (current time is 7:38PM). I'm clearly not telling the tool what I think I'm telling it.

Good Lord have I dug myself into a hole trying to get an Orange badge during the day and a Red badge tomorrow if the item isn't completed. (laughs!). I think my best bet is to not enter a time, then I get my default of 12:00AM and, for these Actions, Repeat from Assigned and Repeat from Completion are pretty much the same.

Pretty weird that the repetition uses the absolute time between Start Date and Due Date to make the next assignment times. I didn't expect that.

To continue your earlier analogy... I don't think I could ever get this confused using Text Edit - it's only when I got to Word that I start F**cking things up! ;-)

Thanks for the company while I figure out how to use this tool in public!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by blewis View Post
Good Lord have I dug myself into a hole trying to get an Orange badge during the day and a Red badge tomorrow if the item isn't completed. (laughs!). I think my best bet is to not enter a time, then I get my default of 12:00AM and, for these Actions, Repeat from Assigned and Repeat from Completion are pretty much the same.
I do this by using 3 pm as the due time and setting the "Mark actions due soon" preference item to 24 hours. I generally don't assign start dates and use the "Completion date" for the "Repeat from" setting in the inspector.
 
 


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