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Start Dates in Omnifocus

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  • Start Dates in Omnifocus


    Just wondering how to correctly use the start date feature in Omnifocus. Is it more like this next action 'could' start, or this project is starting on this monday cause its due friday ?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Tado View Post

    Just wondering how to correctly use the start date feature in Omnifocus. Is it more like this next action 'could' start, or this project is starting on this monday cause its due friday ?
    You don't have to use it, and probably shouldn't if you aren't clear in how you are going to use it, but I use start dates as a tickler to begin something in a timely way. For example:

    I have season tickets for the theater with friends and I need to make plans for dinner: send email to find out who is available for dinner, wait for responses, make a reservation. Generally, I know all the dates in September, for shows into May.

    Before meetings: I want to be tickled regarding agenda items. If I am chairing the meeting, I need to call for agenda items and compile them. If I am not chairing the meeting, I may or may not have agenda items.

    I agree to email someone (tickle them) regarding a colloquium or seminar he or she has agreed to give. Right now I am scheduling the fall of next year, so I am working 9 months in advance.

    Decisions I want to put off for a bit: I am arranging my summer conference schedule. Each conference is in a different location, and I probably can't go to all the conferences I've been invited to. I'm often waiting for more information before making decisions and each one has a different deadline for a decision on attending.

    Notice that I could handle all of these by putting them on my calendar or in a dedicated tickler file. However, either would require transfer to my list tool, so start dates allow me to keep a tickler within my list tool itself. There is also the possibility that I would miss the handoff between the tools, but that is minimized with regular weekly reviews. Notice also that I'm not attempting to do any "project planning" or "load balancing" using ticklers, where I try to guess how much time a project will take, or when I'll have "free time" to tackle new projects. The needs of each project and each item determine when I'll see a tickler.


    • #3
      I use them for recurring tasks. My job entails overseeing a lot of details on an ongoing basis. (I manage a veterinary hospital.) I don't want to see the whole list all the time, but neither do I want to forget something, so I have entries such as "Do we need oil?" set to start again 2 weeks after I complete it, and "check the drive space on the radiology server" set for 3 months after and "Review open invoices and meds not picked up" set for a month after completion. None of these are time critical enough to warrant a due date, but there are literally dozens of this type of item and I dont want to have to scroll through them all every day.



      • #4
        I use them for waiting fors... recommended in a previous post I started on waiting fors. Then I created a perspective for WF sorted by start date.


        • #5
          I also use them as a tickler, and for repeating actions. My general rule of thumb is to use it for "I don't want to see this until..." actions. That might be for gardening that I can't start until April, the car insurance which isn't due till October, or the dog's flea treatment 4 weeks after it was last done.


          • #6
            Use them as "will start later"

            Often I use start dates to remove tasks and projects that are not critical at a certain time. If I know that I cannot get to a project this week, I set a start date the following week. This way, the tasks are not cluttering my task list. At the next review, I will see the project and decide, if I can get to it that week.


            • #7
              Don't know how I missed this the first time around. I use a lot of start dates in my Omnifocus system.

              I use them for recurring tasks the "start again x many days/weeks/months after the last time" types of tasks. I have lots of those, from vaccinations for various animals to getting irrigation set up and stopped each spring and fall and all sorts of bookkeeping tasks that need to be done on certain times for taxes. I also use them for things that I want to be sure I get to and review before a certain date. Say for things that I am considering going to like a movies or a party. I set a start date for when I need to reply, or buy the tickets or whatever. I have over 60 pending projects right now in my system but I am working on some as well that will restart once I finish the last task. I'd say I typically have about 100 or so projects in that category.