Maintaining (Omni)Focus

After using OmniFocus for several years I have finally settled on a workflow that I’m comfortable with.

It is largely influenced by this article from Learn OmniFocus which emphasizes the following:

“Use due dates to honour your commitments. Just make sure that you’re only using due dates for things that are due.”

From the release of OmniFocus 2 I started using the “Forecast” perspective to “queue up” what I needed to work on for a given day. If I wanted or needed to complete a task for a given day, I’d assign it a respective due date and it shows up in the forecast view for that day. The thing that I didn’t like about this is sometimes the tasks I was viewing there were not due. If they didn’t get done—they just get moved to the next day. This didn’t feel like I was using due dates correctly and honoring the commitments I made to myself. Not to mention that all the due dates were not created equally. For instance: “complete final checklist before tomorrows release” that is on a given day is not equal to “respond to Tommy’s casual email about what he’s been up to.” One is due today, and the other would just be nice to get done.

I have now settled on a workflow suggested like this from Learn OmniFocus:

“If, however, there’s no commitment around having something complete by a specific date, leave the due date blank. If a particular task is important and is something you’d like to get done today, flag the task to make it stand out from your other available tasks. If it’s something that you’d like to get to on Friday, flag it and then defer it to Friday. Once Friday comes along it will become available and the flag will remind you that it’s especially important.”

So I have now moved to leveraging OmniFocus’ “Flagged” perspective as it queue of “what I need to do today.” If I want to work on something next week, or tomorrow, or even this afternoon. Then I flag it and set the appropriate defer time. The task shows up in the flagged perspective after the defer time.