🕷 zenspider.com

by ryan davis

Looking for the Ruby Quickref?


Published 2012-05-17 @ 12:00

Tagged productivity, omnifocus

This is part of the Productivity Pr0n series.

Just looking at a list of your projects and their tasks isn’t too useful for day-to-day work. To solve this, omnifocus has a way of saving almost everything about a window’s state (filter, group, sort, what tasks to look at, etc) and calls them “perspectives”. This is a great way to organize modes of work and I use them all the time.

perspectives toolbar


This is where I spend 90% of my time in omnifocus:

omnifocus due

Since I use it so much, I have this set to Cmd-Opt-D for quick access. It shows everything due or past due, but not tasks scheduled in the future.

The secret that prevents this from showing everything and being overwhelming is that any task with a start date in the future is filtered out of the “Available” filter (but not “Remaining”). This makes it so you can simply focus on what you need to work on right now. It isn’t for planning beyond today. It is for executing.

As you can see, I’m behind on a fair amount of tasks… I’m getting over a cold. Sue me. :P

recipe: All active projects, grouped and sorted by due date, showing available tasks that are due or flagged and any duration.


I got this one from Aja, who has a daily “scrum” (ugh) meeting and it makes it trivial for her to talk about what she completed yesterday.

recipe: All projects, grouped and sorted by “completed”, showing completed tasks with any status and any duration.


The context perspective lets me see all tasks that are missing a context so I can quickly go through and assign them. This lets me distinguish things like bugs vs. new features, research, writing, etc. When I create a task manually, I usually make sure to add a context right then, but since I also create tasks automatically from bug trackers, this lets me go in and clean them up easily.

recipe: Active projects grouped and sorted by project, showing remaining tasks with remaining status and any duration. Focus needs to be saved and set to the “No Context” bucket.


This is very similar to Context. It lets me put an estimate on any tasks that don’t already have them (usually synced from bug trackers).

recipe: Active projects, ungrouped, sorted by project, showing remaining tasks with any status and a duration of “unestimated”.

Long Tasks

I generally like to have everything broken down to at most an hour but when I’m in a brainstorm I’m often thinking much more high level than that. Having a view of all my tasks longer than an hour lets me focus on making subtasks until everything is in nice digestible bites.

recipe: Active projects, ungrouped, sorted by “added”, showing remaining tasks with any status and a duration of “> 1hr”.

Quick Tasks

This shows quick tasks if I’m just in the mood to knock something out.

recipe: Active projects, grouped by context, sorted by duration, showing remaining tasks with any status and a duration of “15 min”.

Review (on iPad)

OMG this was totally worth the extra purchase just for ipad:

omnifocus on ipad

Which is more of a statement against the desktop app’s review mode (which is overwhelmingly noisy and confusing), but if I can pay a little money for added productivity now instead of waiting for the desktop app to catch up later, so be it.

Review mode on the ipad is not strictly a perspective, but it may as well be one. It has a beautiful interface for reviewing your projects. I’ll talk more about this in a later post.