I have one main goal this week. It’s simple to write down, much harder to accomplish. I need to organize all my tasks up through the first week of August.
My schedule has me gone from the office a week here and a week there throughout the summer. At times, I will be in for just a couple days before heading back out. That’s where the problem arises. I need to know exactly what needs to be done for weeks at a time so I can accomplish them within those short windows of time.
I am passionate, if one can actually be passionate about software, about OmniFocus by the OmniGroup. I’ve tested and used many different task management programs over the years and OmniFocus is the powerhouse that can actually manage the numerous projects that I always have on my plate. Yet, for the first time the software is failing me. Either through my own ignorance of how to use it or the sheer fact that what I want it to do it just can’t do.
My problem lies with my use of repeating events. I use a lot of repeating events. I should emphasize that again. I use tons of repeating events. Whether it be for bills or tiny little tasks that I do for the church, it’s nice to be reminded what I need to be doing weekly, monthly, quarterly, and sometimes even yearly. Here’s where things get troublesome. Future repeating events aren’t created by the program until I actually complete the current iteration of the task.
Let’s say I have OmniFocus set up for a phone bill that is due the first of every month. One week before that due date, I have the task appear in my list letting me know that it needs paid. Awesome. I love that. Once I check that task off, a new task is automatically created for the next month.
There’s the problem. In planning out this crazy summer of mine, I need to see future repeated events before I check off the current version of the event and thus create the future event. Currently I cannot figure out an easy way to accomplish this without looking at each individual task’s due date and calculating it myself. Then possibly plotting it out on a calendar so I can visually see when each task must be accomplished within those short windows where I will be in the office.
What would be amazing with OmniFocus would be the power to go into a “planning” mode where the program would lay out all those tasks for you to see, but technically not add them yet. Perhaps a feature that would even allow me to move a repeating task in the future to a different day, make the task active, but somehow not disrupt the normal repeating action of that event. In my mind, I want to to create a exception for a repeating event. Yes, that phone bill is due every month by the first. Next month though, I know I will be out of the office over that date and unable to pay that bill. Therefore, I want to change its due date just for next month. After that I still want future phone bills to be due on the first.
In addition, a full calendar view where tasks would be shown spanning their start and stop dates. This is where I know I’m crossing over into bigger project planning software like OmniGroup’s own OmniPlan, but I’ve looked at that and it’s way more power than I need. I want just a little more power, but not too much.
I need some simplified complexity.