My first problem to solve when I switched to OmniFocus six short months ago was replicating the functionality of Things’ Today list. In the default state, OmniFocus does not have a way of showing you only things that must be done today. That was how I used Things most of the time, so it was a problem that needed solving.

My solution was to use Due Dates for every “today” task, combined with a custom Due perspective. It worked as intended for the most part. One thing has been grating on me in recent weeks, however – the incessant notifications. For a task to appear in my Due perspective, it must have a due date and time. When that time passes and the task isn’t complete, my iPhone displays an alert letting me know. That’s the idea, of course. But here’s the thing: I don’t always want a notification. Most of the due times are fairly arbitrary if I’m being completely honest with myself. I just want to see the daggone task on my Due screen for today.

Enter Flags

When I sit down on Friday afternoon to do my weekly review, I will address this very issue. Technically, my custom Due perspective is actually a Due/Flagged perspective. It shows tasks that are available and either A: Due today or B: Flagged. The difference is that Flagged tasks don’t yell at me. If I don’t complete a flagged task it just stays put, quietly.

So. Much. Better.

The New Plan

I will still use Start dates for each of my tasks. I don’t want to look at tasks that I simply can’t complete right now. That isn’t useful to me, and it’s one of the great things about OmniFocus. But I will no longer set Due Dates by default. Instead, I’ll only set Due Dates for tasks that I want to be alerted about. All other “Today” type tasks will be Flagged instead.

Having a Today type list is so important to me. Sure, what i really want is to live in the Next Actions list as much as possible. But Today tasks are necessary to plow through. The notifications, however, are less necessary. There’s no downside to switching to Flagged as my default. I will get to recapture just a tiny bit of my sanity. I’ll take it.