The Forecast View in OmniFocus 2 for OS X

Because you don’t do everything at once

by Colter Reed
2:07 read (647 words)
by Colter Reed
2:07 read (647 words)

OmniFocus has always been great at showing you what you need to do and where you need to do it. You could create a custom perspecitve to see when you needed to do tasks, but it could be a little confusing.

Forecast view first appeared in OmniFocus for iPad, followed by OmniFocus 2 for iPhone. Now OmniFocus 2 for OS X picks up the baton and brings this powerful view to the desktop.

When you first launch OmniFocus 2, there are six perspectives running down the left-hand side of the window: Inbox, Projects, Contexts, Forecast, Flagged, and Review. You can add, remove, and reorder these pinned perspectives under Perspectives > Show Perspectives. (If you want to stay focused on what’s urgent and important, check out the Today perspective.)

In the Forecast view, you will see three things:

  1. Due Tasks. These tasks are becoming urgent. If they’re important, make sure they get done. If they’re not important, let them expire.
  2. Deferred Tasks. OmniFocus 2 renames “start dates” to “deferred dates”. This is a great way to schedule tasks for a certain day without losing track of tasks that are actually due that day. You can turn deferred tasks on or off in the view options. (I strongly recommend showing deferred tasks.)
  3. Your calendar. Your calendar gives you some context for how much time you’ll have to work on tasks. By reminding you of your schedule, you’re less likely to forget you had someplace to be.

The calendar grid shows the next 4–5 weeks (depending on what day of the week it is). The number indicates the number of tasks due that day, so you can see where your busy days will be. Past shows all overdue tasks and Future will show you all tasks with a due date that don’t fall within the next four weeks. In the view options, you can reduce this to just one week (today and the next four days), but I prefer to leave it expanded so I know nothing’s sneaking up on me.

Forecast View Options

If you select a day in the calendar grid on the left (not your Calendar Events on the right), you will see just the tasks and events for that day. If you click in the blank area below the grid, Forecast will show all the days on the right, so you can scoll through the coming days and see what’s ahead.

You can drag a task onto another day in the calendar grid to reschedule it. By default, this will change the due date, but if you hold down the command key, you can change the deferred date. If you would prefer to have a normal drag change the deferred date and command-drag change the due date, set the following default in Terminal:

defaults write com.omnigroup.OmniFocus2 ForecastDragSetsDeferDate -bool YES

Update: Ken Case just pointed out that it’s possible to configure OmniFocus to set the defer date when dragging or set the due date when dragging with just a click. Try it out!

OmniFocus is a powerful tool for managing your tasks on OS X, and Forecast view is a welcome addition. It’s a great way to stay on top of what’s coming so you can plan and adjust your plan accordingly.

Whether you’re just getting started with OmniFocus or a seasoned pro, you may also find these helpful:

Question: How do you use the Forecast view? Share your tips in the comments! Share your thoughts in the comments, on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.