The TEKSide Blog

A New Strategy for the Omnifocus Widget

I have been using Omnifocus 2 on all my devices for sometime now. One of the awesome features that has been added to the new and improved Omnifocus 2 has been the ability to create and edit "Perspectives" on the fly. A Perspective is a customized view of tasks created by choosing among the available task, context, project and folder attributes of your Omnifocus database. This along with a feature that was added as a part of wealthy list of iOS 8 APIs was the ability for applications to have a custom made widget viewable in the "Today" tab of Notification Center. In the first iteration of this widget, it was limited to overdue and upcoming tasks across your vast library of projects. For me, this was unhelpful because I was limited to seeing just a few of those tasks in the widget in no real desirable order and I would have to go into the Omnifocus app to view the rest (typically a dozen or so on any given day). Weeks later and Omnifocus extended that functionality in the "Pro" version of Omnifocus 2 with the ability to have the widget reflect the tasks inside of a custom Perspective.

There are a number of task management apps, concepts and systems available in the App Store but nothing that I have seen that has the power and customization of Omnifocus. I have experimented with others but those experiments have always resulted in disappointment and time wasted as I would have to migrate my project database between these apps with no easy import/export options. But with all the power that is Omnifocus 2, sometimes you just long for the simplicity that other apps offer. This brings me home to the point of my post.

I have so many things I want to keep up with each with their own start date, due date and priority. But there are just a few tasks a day that I have to focus on and complete. So I created a custom perspective strictly for use as a Today widget.

Flags were always a part of Omnifocus that I didn't find much use for. So I was delighted to discover this unique strategy in making good use of them in a way that doesn't confuse but rather compliments my workflow. I have reserved the use of flags for today's tasks of priority. It allows me to make sure that the things I must get done today don't get lost in the the massive amount of stuff I am keeping up with at one time. Omnifocus allows for up to 4 tasks to be displayed in the widget. Any more and you will have to go back into the app to view those additional tasks. So my regimen now is just to simply review my forecasted due and overdue tasks and select up to 4 of the highest priority and flag them. Here is an example of what that Perspective looks like:

Here is what my list looks like when done editing:

I am writing this on a Sunday (off day) so my priority list for the day looks a little underwhelming today but that's how I like my Sunday's. Here is the finish product as it appears in Notification Center:

Now not only do I get to keep using this powerful task management solution as I like to but I can also simply things with my Today view to ensure nothing essential gets missed.

How are you making use of the Omnifocus widget?