HACK / MAKE

My “Stream of Tasks” OmniFocus Perspective

OmniFocus Perspectives can help float relevant tasks out of a deep and complex pool of things you need to do. Unfortunately, Perspectives can also be deep and complex. There is one main perspective I use for tracking ongoing personal tasks. It’s basically a rolling timeline of tasks based on their start date that keeps me on pace with what I should be doing and what I’m behind on. Most of these tasks are routine and repeating, things like reviewing bank statements, swapping out contact lenses, writing rent and utilities checks, and doing laundry. It’s stuff that doesn’t have to be done on the day it starts but stays in view until it is marked as done or deleted. This perspective also lets me forward-date something and be confident that I won’t miss it when it starts up. As long as the task has a context that is a child of my main @Personal context (which is my default selected context) then it will show up in my stream of tasks.

A trusted system is one that holds you accountable to the things you promise yourself you’ll do. I have a “Write something” task that starts again every day. When I notice that it’s still in my stream but from a few days ago I know I need to just sit down and write—the perspective doesn’t let me forget. When there’s a task that’s sitting in a project that keeps getting marked as reviewed but never marked as complete, sometimes it just needs to be “kicked down the field” as David Sparks likes to call it. That’s where you forward date something to take it off your mind for now but don’t just outright delete it. When it starts again, the task will be in my stream—the perspective helps me remember.

This perspective is core to my trusted system as it keeps me accountable by showing me what (and how far) I’m behind on tasks, shows me tasks when they start so I can start-date things and know that they won’t get overlooked, and most importantly, it does both of those things in a simple and seamless way.

Here’s the ““Functional Component”” so you can set up this task stream. It’s is a context-based perspective that restores expansion and selection. The context sidebar filters active tasks, it groups actions by start, and sorts them by project. If you’ve got the setting right, here’s what the Perspectives panel will look like. By the way, those pretty icons are by Icons and Coffee and you can buy them here.

Perspectives are about simplifying and supporting your system and an ongoing stream of time relevant actions helps keep me on top of the things I need to get done.

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