OmniFocus- Do Due Defer. I want a Do/Action Date

One feature I really miss from my previous task management system is the ability to define a date and time that I’m going to actually work on the project.

On Sunday I would drag and drop the tasks onto a calendar and set the time that I was going to work on the task for some of the important task.

That way I knew that my work was scheduled and that I had allocated avspecific block of time to work on that task. Sometimes I would use time blocking and assign three tasks with the same time of eight to noon for example. But important point was that I didn’t have to maintain it in my mind and knew that it would come up when I plan to take action on it.

I find that Scheduling Tasks really makes you think realistically about what you’re going to be able to get done.

Having a “Do or Action” date also allows you to assign it to multiple days when the project will not be able to be completed in one sitting

I have bought the software, bought the Macsparky course, signed up for a year of learning OmniFocus and watched the YouTube videos but I am still only getting minimal value out of OmniFocus.

I am committed to giving OmniFocus my best effort and try and get it to work for me. The one thing I would really like to figure out how to create a prioritize daily to do list. Too often when I sit down at OmniFocus what to do next is not readily available.

Right now I have what David Allen would describe as a mountain of undoability

Almost all experts recommend against using the due date as the date that you will work on it and while some recommend scheduling your tasks with defer dates, unfortunately if you don’t stay on top of deferred tasks you can have them fall off the grid, as there’s no perspective to see overdue defer dates, as there is for overdue due days

I have thought of creating a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday… Tags to be used to spread my work out over the week and I’m currently in the process of testing that.

The other thought I had was creating Monday, Tuesday… Projects and then copying the link to those tasks into that day I want to work on them, so that the actual task stays in the folder and project where it belongs. I worry that it might be cumbersome to first have to create the url links.

The advantage to having them as projects as I can manually sort the tasks into the order in which I would like to perform them and then just move down the list.

The other workaround is to assign a priority tag and use that as a poor man’s solution to creating a prioritized daily to do list

Can anyone suggest a workaround to the lack of a Do/Action date.

The simpler way to go around this is to use a forecast tag: tasks that have that tag remain in the forecast view as long as they’re available. Then, defer to you heart’s content and live in the forecast view where you will always have those tasks under your nose.

Personally, I do time-blocking in Fantastical, and use a different perspective than the forecast view (which I find too cluttered) with a “Today” tag where there are “macro” tasks, launching me into projects and perspectives. This workflow is extensively described in @Kourosh’s excellent Creating Flow with OmniFocus.

I also use a calendar to block time. When I plan my week on Sunday, I drag the OF tasks directly in Calendar, and then adjust the required time for each (the duration defaults to 1 hour). The task name will become the event name, with a clickable link back to the OF task in the notes which is handy to get back to it quickly. You can also select and drag multiple tasks in one block, but then there is a link only for the first task…

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Confirming @KillerWhale’s advice, although I don’t mind the Forecast perspective, I have a custom perspective that fits my needs fine.

The trick is not to give dates (defer or due) to tasks until you really intend to get them scheduled and accomplished. There’s a temptation to pile on lots of deferred tasks into OmniFocus and then have a morass of confusing dates to sort out. Regular reviews of projects is a great idea, IMO. At review time (daily for me for my key projects) then I set or adjust defer / due dates / times.

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I use a mix of defer dates / flags and manage them during a daily review at the start of the day. I adapted the workflow from this idea Justin dRose explained in this Learn Omnifocus interview:

I set defer dates on tasks and flag the most important tasks for the day, each day at my daily review / work day startup routine.
If a task that was deferred to this day is either not ready, or I don’t think I can / need to do it, then I either remove the date, or defer it out further into the future.

I have a NOW! perspective that shows me only the tasks with a defer date of Today, and I use that perspective as my daily task list.
That works for me :slight_smile:

I don’t mind the current system of due and defer dates, but I really wish there were more options for filtering based on these dates. I can set a custom perspective to show task with or without one of these, but I want to set a perspective that has due dates in next week or tasks excluding ones deferred to next month. The current filters just don’t do it for me, so I end up with a bunch of future tasks in my perspectives that I don’t need to see at that moment.

If you use i*OS you can do this using Shortcuts. I know it’s not quite the same as having a perspective available inside OmniFocus and it will not be available on a Mac, but this approach does allow filtering.

Also, the Remaining can be set to Available, or First Available.


Could you take a screen shot of your Now Perspective and Post.

Please and Thank You


You could try having tags, for example day of the week, and morning, afternoon and evening which you could combine?

I don’t work like this but if you plan only a few days out then this might work nicely?

Personally I due date everything, other than things I want to speak to someone about, which will be a tag with their name (the only use I have for tags).

here’s the overall view

with these settings:

I flag items in the Now! perspective manually when I start my day in the daily review.
I clean up any debris from the day before, maybe even deferring them to today, or removing the defer date altogether. They will then go back to one of my “areas of life” perspectives that I review during my daily review.

A due date for me is “sacred”, it HAS to be done on that day, it is a hard-landscape item, like my agenda appointments.

After watching Justin DiRose’s interview I completely overhauled my previous system. I wanted to be more actively and more regularly involved with my actions, so started planning every day during the daily reviews, and using defer dates as planning guides.


Where was his interview?

From a bit higher up in this thread:

I use a mix of defer dates / flags and manage them during a daily review at the start of the day. I adapted the workflow from this idea Justin dRose explained in this Learn Omnifocus interview: