OmniFocus 3 How do you deal w too many tasks

Might be easier to read from the bottom up.

Even with most recent OmniFocus iPad release it’s still often feels like it may be a IBM mainframe app where you’re having to do a bunch of data entry versus manipulate tasks the way they were meant to on the iPad

I wanted to expand all the projects and folders in the left column while seeing either my Inbox or another folder in the center column so that I could just quickly drag and drop into the correct project.

I was also hoping for the ability to bring up a full calendar so that you could drag and drop the tasks to a date or they could either be deferred or due. In my previous task management app I love spreading my tasks for the week out to specific days.

Too many tasks


Thanks for the tip. Helpful but still quite cumbersome.

David Allen talks about “mind like water”, he stresses getting everything out of your head, but it seems like once you do it only creates more stress because it is hard to see the trees for the forest.

I have ADD and when I walk around the house or sit at my desk and see a task that needs to be done it’s like a popcorn pop in my head but if I know that it’s in they trusted system I can relax knowing that it’s at least documented and that I will see it in my next review. It allows me to relax and focus.

MacSparky said he keeps getting this issue of too many tasks to manage raised almost weekly, what we need is a white paper that talks about three possible ways to solve this problem. What do the engineers have to say?

I was thinking of creating a Tag called “Someday Maybe” and then having those tasks be set not to be displayed in my working perspectives. Or use the A,B,C,D Priority system to mark some tasks D for not urgent, not important.

I must admit I’m experiencing a little analysis paralysis and that I’m afraid of going through 4000 tasks and attempting to process them one way only to find out that I should’ve done it differently. I need to just experiment w a couple of projects.

Do you have any consultants other that Tim Springer that you would recommend.

Getting this under control would really improve my life.

Steve Urich

On Aug 2, 2018, at 11:19 AM, OmniFocus Support wrote:

Hi Steve,

Kaia isn’t available right now, so I hope you don’t mind my stepping in here.

This might be an option you already know about, but looking back on your original question I did also want to mention one quick thing that seems like it might be helpful.

When working with drag & drop in OmniFocus, you can “pick up” the item you want to move, and as long as you don’t life your finger, you can continue to navigate elsewhere in the app, then finally drop it into its destination project.

In the screenshot you attached here, that could mean that you might lift up an item from your “Inbox to Process” project with one finger, then tap with a second finger to navigate through your folders until the ultimate destination is visible in the Sidebar, then complete the drop into the desired project.

That could be a bit cumbersome, but depending on the way your database is structured, that still might be a bit easier than changing their assignment in the Inspector field. I see that Kaia did already add your message to the file we have open about maintaining what’s visible in the app’s center pane while navigating the sidebar, which sounds like you were originally looking for here, and I’ll make sure comments get added to the file about making a longer range calendar view of dates available in Forecast as well.

In a case like this, I personally would not suggest going the route of trying to eliminate the use of projects altogether. I can understand the motivation behind that, but when folks have mentioned trying this in the past, things tended to get out of control pretty quickly. Projects are one of OmniFocus’ biggest organizational tools, and cutting that out entirely seems like it might put you right back in the place where you’re overwhelmed by the contents of your Inbox.

If you’re finding it difficult to process these items into projects that are nested in folders in the iOS app, then I wonder if this might be something a bit more easily accomplished on in the Mac app. The Mac app’s sidebar does show the fully nested version of your database hierarchy, so for processing your Inbox into projects at least, that seems like it might make this a bit easier. For now OmniFocus 2 for Mac is still only capable of seeing a single context assigned to an item and not multiple tags, but support for tags is coming in OmniFocus 3 for Mac, which is planned for release sometime in September.

Regardless of the tools or workflows available, I think the sheer number of items that you’re attempting to process is probably going to be the biggest obstacle, and I’m not sure we really have a good solution for something like that. There are a number of services and consultants out there who specialize in providing suggestions for taking on a situation like this, so perhaps that might be something worth investigating as well.

If you have any questions or further suggestions, just let me know.


Shane V.
Support Human
The Omni Group

On Wed Aug 01 10:20:19 2018, Steve wrote:
So the only way to file tasks is by opening each one up individually
and entering in the project?

Not to be too derogatory because I do think it’s a wonderful
application and very powerful but I must admit there are times where
feels like an IBM mainframe App and I have become a data entry person
vs manipulating information in new ways made possible by the iPad.

Where I want to drag and drop a task to is not available. For example,
it would be great if there was a proper calendar showing the months
that you could scroll through so that you can drag and drop tasks
there to defer it or to make it due. It would be great if you could
see all the projects you had while still maintaining an individual
prospective and then be able to drag and drop whatever you want to.

Or am I just missing something?

As a workaround would it be possible to totally do away with folders
and projects and instead use tags and perspectives to then be able to
drag and drop where I want the task to show up?

Warm Regards,

Steve Urich

Plz do not reply all unless you are sure others would welcome being
part of a discussion thread. I welcome your comments directly.

On Aug 1, 2018, at 08:23, OmniFocus Support

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the follow-up. The Inbox in the iOS version of OmniFocus 3
includes options in the View Options menu to filter by Available,
Remaining, and All. Sorting for the Inbox isn’t available but I’ve
added your +1 to our feature request for that as well. For more on
what options are available for Inbox view management, see:

Thanks, Steve!

Support Human
The Omni Group

On Tue Jul 31 18:26:31 2018, Steve wrote:
How do you quickly sort Inbox Items, I have 800 Tasks.

So much for a Brain Dump.

Warm Regards,

Steve Urich

Plz do not reply all unless you are sure others would welcome being
part of a discussion thread. I welcome your comments directly.

On Jul 31, 2018, at 14:33, OmniFocus Support wrote:

Hi Steve,

Thanks for reaching out!

It sounds like the behavior that you’re looking for would be an
option to be able to tap on one of the folders shown in the left-
sidebar and display the lists of projects within those, to drag and
drop and item from the outline. Is that correct? If so, I’m afraid
that’s not possible currently but we have an open feature request
that in our internal development database. I’ve added your +1 to
to let the team know you’d like to have that capability and I’ve
included your email and screenshot with it. We’ll keep this open
consideration as we think about future design changes for the app!
that doesn’t quite line up to what you’d like to be able to do,
please feel free to let me know and I’ll dig into that further or
make sure that our product team is aware of what your needs are
that going forward so we can look into it as a possible design
in the future.

Thanks again, Steve. Please feel free to let me know if I can help
with any additional questions, comments, or concerns.

Support Human
The Omni Group

On Mon Jul 30 21:38:51 2018, Steve wrote:
Is there any way to expand the left column so that I can drag the
tasks into projects.

HI! Just as an FYI I’ve edited your post to remove your phone number and email address, etc. (just in case, this forum is open to the public!), and to format each mail as a quote to make it easier to read :slight_smile:


One suggestion for dragging and dropping into a calendar is having your calendar and OmniFocus in two windows (split screen won’t work) and you can drag and drop tasks.

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Deleted a question I found the answer to.