How are you using OmniFocus 3 Tags?

Hi there! I recently got invited to the Omnifocus 3 Mac Beta, which is fantastic. I’m loving the beta and it has been very stable for me.

My question for everyone: now that you can put multiple tags or “contexts” on a task, how are you using your tags?

For me I’m thinking about 3 “levels” of tags, and I bet each task would have 1 or two tags at most.

  • Type of Task (Email, Phone Call, Programming, Writing, Etc.)
  • Energy Level of Task (Full Focus, Medium Focus, Quick Focus)
  • “Operational” Tags (Waiting For, Someday / Maybe, Requires Decision, etc.)

I’m curious what other people are thinking about doing.


I use location based tags a lot - both manual (things that can only be done at home for example) and geofenced (things to remember as I arrive home - charge my power brick if I have used it during the day). I also use names of important people - if you are talking to someone on the phone for example, you can quickly look up if there was anything else you need to mention to them.

As with everything, it really is what suits your system!


Because my job requires a lot of follow-up with specific colleagues, I’ll be tagging their names for quick reference when I’m meeting with them.

I used to have dozens of ‘projects’ that weren’t really projects at all - for example a committee I may be on or a professional body I do work for, or any other area of work or home life. They could never be ‘completed’ and often they had no actions. So I am now trying two single action lists (Work and Home), with tags for what was previosly regarded as a ‘project’ in the single context days of OF1 and 2.

So far so good, but I am only a day or two into my OF3 beta invite :slight_smile:

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I basically do what you done but slightly differently. I also have a three tag system.

The first tag is person ( Wife, Boss, child, ect.)
The second tag is priority ( minimum, low, medium, high, critical)
The third is action ( conversation, waiting, programming, etc).

I then have a collection of custom perspectives to look at the data in different ways.

Projects fit into my system by providing structure and buckets for things to sit in, e.g I have a project called shipping where all the packages I am expecting live as tasks.

The reason I prefer priority over energy level is that I feel like it gives a structure to what tasks I should be doing next. I suppose I could use flags for this.


Take a look at this long thread from the OF forums:

I’m not yet on the beta and getting more and more annoyed by only having tags on iOS – the more I use them, the more I realise how much OF has needed them.


This is why I’m staying away from OF3 on iOS until the Mac version comes out. :wink:


It’s September, so any day now…


Visit @timstringer’s Learn OmniFocus site and review the Tags for OmniFocus 3 page for an ever-growing list of tags that you can use.



My favourite tags group tasks by time:

  • today,
  • this week, and
  • this weekend.

During my end of day and end of week review, I move stuff in and out, or roll-over as required.

I then use perspectives to create Today, This Week, and This Weekend views.

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That’s an interesting idea. Do you also use defer dates or do these tags eliminate the need for them? My only concern with doing something like this is that I will forget or run out of time to manually roll things over.

Hi Mousersmb2

Unless there is reason for a date, I do not use defer dates.

The today, this week, this weekend, tags don’t require any special effort.

today, this week, and this weekend, are a time reference relative to the user/reader, not to a specific date. Remember all those discussions about the meaning of this weekend versus next weekend? My tags refer to the day, week, and weekend I am currently in.

If I complete the task, it disappears from the perspective. If I don’t complete the task, it remains tagged for that perspective, and when future me is looking at the tasks for that day, week, or weekend, the open tasks will be there.

The only way to pull the tasks out of the perspective is to: complete them, or remove the tag, which will release it from the perspective and return it to the backlog.


I also use names as tags (organized in a folder named Agendas). This is a sweet way of getting everything done concerning a specific person.

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I’m not a tagger by nature, so I’m not even sure I will use tags at all.

I can’t really think of an instance where I needed a tag with a single exception. I have a single action list Errands and I have 2 locations as contexts. 1 is the 2 closest towns, sort of the run to town places less than 10 miles away and one is 2 towns that are a 1.5 hour drive to get there. The far away towns are where we do major shopping once a month. While it’s pretty clear that I can only get a lot of things at the further away city (which requires a whole day as we’ve got 3+ hours of drive time to get to and from) while there I can also do most of the errands from the local towns. My only use case is to flag the local town errands I can also do in the city with both places and vice versa. (Our bank is local and only has a branch in the 2 local towns, for example) That way I could see errands that can be done in either place easily. Right now I just check the local town context on the drive to the city (I am a passenger in the car, don’t do this and drive) and change the context to the city and back again if we don’t get the action done while there. Since we have time constraints of doing chores if we have a lot of things to do we may blow off the less critical ones if more important ones take more time than expected. It’s not that much time to do the context switching and works well. Tags might improve that but I’m not sure yet.

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Not before Xcode is officially released, which will be after Sep 12. Then OmniGroup will need to submit to App Store, so another week for verification. I would say more of late Sep.

Here is the deal, use tags the way that makes you use Prespective in optimal way. The main reason for tagging actions is to group them (i.e. under Prespective). So, start by building your Prespectives that match your life focus areas. For me; that’s Home, Office, Family, Development,…etc.
Then start to build tags that can be matched to those perspectives. Each Prespective can include more than one tag.

I would say, this will be a good starting point for you.

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Wish I could like this post twice. For years I sought the perfect way to organize tasks. Now I just try to organize the app.

Who knew I would be resurrecting a thread that is 6 years old.

I came here looking for ways people use OF tags that have been really valuable to them. I’ve never stuck with any tags but I am considering having a tag that is simply called ‘unmotivated.’ There are times where I lack motivation but I know if I knocked off anything on my task list, that would be a plus. I know some people may call this ‘low energy.’ I don’t feel I need other energy tags. I just want a quick way to find something I know I could knock off my list and maybe that will jumpstart me.

But I’m interested in other tags that people find helpful.

My two most-used tags are:

  • Today (the tasks I must work on today)
  • Waiting (tasks that are on hold because I’m waiting for someone else to get back to me)

But I also have a Quick tag for short tasks that I can knock out like you said. If you combine it with other tags, such as context tags like @office, @home, @computer, etc. (could just as easily be called Office, Home, Computer), you can make custom perspectives that you can add to your sidebar like Home Quick and Office Quick.

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I have a @just do/@requires time and thought tag pair. Combined with flags, defer dates and project/folder perspectives, I’m usually doing the right things.

(The typical ‘requires time and thought’ task is shorter than the ‘just do’ task because I’m good about the two minute GTD rule, but I need some quiet.)

@phone, @errands, and @personal mac are also invaluable, but I assume you have such things already.