Using OmniFocus Perspectives

I’ve written and talked a lot about my favorite task management application, OmniFocus, over the years. One of the most frequently asked questions I receive are concerning my perspective settings. In addition to Omni’s built-in perspectives, I’ve rolled a few of my own.


Here is the perspective set up.

This is the perspective I use in the mornings to work through the day. It lists all projects with tasks available. One of the criteria for a task to be available is that it have an available start date. If you have an item marked not to begin until the next day (or next month), it won’t show up in this view. Using the tab key, I can fly through my task list in the morning. If there is a task showing up that I don’t intend to do today, I move the start date forward. You can push it two days by typing “2d” or move it to one week from monday at 2:00 p.m. by typing “1w mon 2pm” or August 7 by typing “8/7.” I get through my entire task list every morning in about 20 minutes. The trick is to be realistic about what you can get done in the day.

Since none of the OmniFocus built-in icons really fit, I extracted the icon file from iCal and imported it in the OmniFocus Perspective icon menu. Here it is.


Here is the perspective set up.

Despite my best intentions, some days things go a bit sideways and my morning task sort goes largely ignored. At the end of those days, I open the Clear perspective that just gives me a list of all of the available tasks without any sort. The advantage of this perspective is the ability to easily select and process multiple items using the OmniFocus Inspector.

Maybe I’ll move a bunch of items to tomorrow. Maybe I’ll send items to next week. If the day was really bad, I may send them all out two days and head to the beach. The point is, when I’m done, my day is clear.

Focussed Perspectives

Even though the word “Focus” is in the name, a lot of people don’t realize you can tell OmniFocus to limit your view to items in a given folder, project, or context. If you have a folder with all your work projects in it, Focus on that folder while at work. You can custom save that view as a perspective so tomorrow you can get there faster.

Finding Your Custom Perspectives

Once you have your custom perspectives you can access them in the Perspectives menu item, assign them keyboard shortcuts in the perspective window, or open the toolbar editor and copy the perspectives into your toolbar.

So there you have it. OmniFocus Perspective bliss. Share your favorites in the comments.