Task Managers … again

I used OF, 2Do, Things, tried Todoist and it’s driving me crazy. I switched to Things because 2Do isn’t developed very frequently and I wanted to make use if Widgets etc. But what Things doesn’t offer and what I really like about 2Do is the possibility to set durations. I want a due date to be the date where something is actually due, but I want the task to appear some time before that. With 2Do you can set it up so that, say, two weeks before a task is due it will appear in your Today view. So you have time left to work on it but see the actual deadline (which right now in Things I put somewhere in the notes).

So I want a task manager that does this but also offers iPhone Widgets as I really learned to appreciate how the Things widget shows me current tasks on the homescreen without opening the app.

OmniFocus doesn’t offer widgets. 2Do neither. Todoist doesn’t offer separate start and due dates. Things neither.

Are there other big names that I could check out which might fit my needs? (There are myriads of task managers in the app store, but I don’t know which of those are actually developed and useful.)

But what Things doesn’t offer and what I really like about 2Do is the possibility to set durations. I want a due date to be the date where something is actually due, but I want the task to appear some time before that.

You can set the task as a project with one date, and a sub task with an earlier date. This might help
CleanShot 2022-05-17 at 15.34.32


That would be a workaround, but it could be better than nothing.

I guess in Todoist I could set a date and a separate reminder and thus remind myself to „activate“ a task, e.g. by moving it to a different list.

How do others manage their tasks that are due some time in the future but must be started some time ahead of the due date? I wonder why this situation isn’t adressed in more apps.

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Omnifocus has Widgets (I use them every day) I’m unsure why you think it doesn’t

and allows you to set a Defer Date (the date on which a project or task becomes available) and a Due date.

Perspectives allow you to further filter your tasks and show them in a Widget.


That’s strange! I looked for widgets, even rebooted my phone, didn’t find any, googled and found posts by people complaining there still weren’t any (but those were maybe older posts). I downloaded V3 and am in the free trial, so all functionality should be there …

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Funny, I looked again, it still wasn’t there, played around in the app, looked for hidden settings or something, didn’t find any, but: Going to the widget settings a fourth time, now they suddenly showed up!
So maybe OF is the task manager for me (even though it keeps confusing me, but maybe I‘ll wrap my head around it this time.)

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You can do this with Things.

  • Set the deadline (flag icon) to the due date
  • Set the “When?” (Calendar icon) to when you want to be reminded of this


@macsparky has a good OmniFocus Field Guide. It helped me to get good at OmniFocus.


For doing this sort of scheduling of my time (which I hardly do any more), in Things I would make a Project, and have a dated task (with deadline if really important) to start, state other key activities in the project, etc.

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Wow, thanks, I never realized that flag was for due dates! Now I have more options than I thought!

I even got that. Might rewatch it. I think the app just has a mindset that doesn’t fit my brain. I always feel like it’s hiding tasks from me instead of showing them. But maybe I just need another try. Because I see how powerful it is and I would like to use it.

If you have the FieldGuide already, maybe it is a valuable approach to going thru the FG as if you never take a look onto the app before.
Just “empty your brain” (difficult I know) and learn from the FG, how it could be used, without any expectations and previous experiences.
This helped me often to get a new access to (mostly) Apps (and other Things) I used before, stopped using it because of something going wrong, or disturbed me, and now trying to take an other approach to it.


Going to second @lsieverts on this one. I started using OmniFocus in 2012, thought I knew it backwards and forwards, but, on, a [reimbursable] whim, got MacSparky’s field guide in 2020 just to see if I wasn’t maximizing the way I used OmniFocus. Turns out I wasn’t—by a long shot—so reconsidering the way I used a really familiar app turned out be to really useful. (I hadn’t really embraced defer dates—now I swear by them.) But juggling multiple task managers sounds stressful and I suspect the good reputations of Things and Todoist, in addition to OmniFocus, exist for a reason, so maybe just stick with one for a period of time and see if it sticks?


Here is a link to an old post about a filter set up for my Dashboard in Todoist that allows tasks to show up a number of days before their due date. Works well for me.

Hope this helps.

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Thanks! (This post must be at least 20 characters)

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As @oldblueday says, this is absolutely a feature of Things, and one of my favorite things about the app.

I try other task managers every once in a while—I’m currently using GoodTask. When I’m using a task manager (like Apple Reminders) that only gives me one date, I just use that as the start date and, if there is a due date, I just write that in the text of the task.

I find I use start date extensively, but rarely use due dates. So I really only need one date per task, although two are nice. (And the Amazing Marvin actually offers THREE possibilities: start/defer, due, and something called the “do” date.)


Was going to comment just this!

A while back I posted a few lines on how Things handles dates and scheduling in general. It may help you in figuring out the paradigms of their flow.


Based on this thread alone, I purchased the Field Guide for OmniFocus. I’ve had OF since 2009 and never really come to terms with its power and benefits.

Hopefully, a thing of the past!


This is great, thank you