Task Managers … again

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

That is an outstanding post. I just used it as an example in a workflow for reading articles.

Very helpful, thanks!

Maybe I’ll stick with Things, now that I found out about their due dates and start dates.

But right now I’m playing around with OF.
I tried to create a custom perspective that gives me the following: Tasks that have a due date AND that are available plus tasks that are flagged. I tried setting it up like this.

My app is in German, but this is what it means: “Any of the following”, then “status: soon due” and “status: flagged”, then “all of the following”, then (indented) “available” AND "has a due date. So I intended to have the last variable depending on another by saying “all of the following”.
But the resulting list now gives me all tasks with due dates, even the ones that are not available. What am I doing wrong?

On the topic of Things workflow, you may find the Fu Master Productivity Checklist to be a useful resource, I believe it really captures the workflow intended to be used with Things.


It’s kind of like we dive in to using a piece of software, develop a habit of how we use it, and then that’s that. But reflecting on, reviewing, and revisiting that piece of software we may take for granted to develop updated or more useful habits can be really useful.


Perhaps you are getting “tasks with due dates, even the ones that are not available” because those tasks are flagged? I tried to create a perspective with the way you stated your original condition. Perhaps try this? (Surely there is more than one way to filter the tasks you are looking for, however.)

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Thanks, you‘re right! Those were old, flagged items! They didn’t show up in the „Flagged“ view, so I didn’t think of them as flagged, but that’s because the flagged view filters out unavailable tasks. I simply added another „available“ filter to the flagged part an now it works!

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You can do this in Things, set a Deadline for when it is due and then a start date a few days before when you want to start working on it.

For durations, I use tags. I have nested tags for 5 minutes, 15, 30, 60 and 2 hours. This way I can filter by let’s say 30 minutes and it will show me all 30, 15 and 5 minute tasks.