OmniFocus Tip #1: Clutter free with the “In-N-Out” Perspective


An OmniFocus Series by

This post is my first in a — probably very long — series of OmniFocus tips. Hit that Follow -button and get first in line to explore the things I’m about to reveal.

Is it just me, or is the list of all those small and quick tasks just like garbage cluttering the streets?

Just as I want a clean desk when I sit down to work in the morning, I want a clean OmniFocus space filled with relevant tasks that I can jump right on.

Those small tasks should be completed. They will contribute to a better environment, and stop annoying you.

What is a “small and quick task” — by my definition?

Tasks taking less than 15 minutes and that I can complete wherever I am.

“Run to the store and buy some milk” does not apply since it requires engagement — even though it would probably take less than fifteen minutes.

How to deal with small and quick tasks in OmniFocus?

The “In-N-Out” Perspective

Perspectives comes with the Pro version of OmniFocus. If you don’t have Pro and you want to follow along in this series, I strongly recommend you to upgrade now.

The idea here — as you probably already understand — is to collect all the simple(low effort) task in the In-N-Out Perspective.

But how do we do that without using a specific context, specific project or any specific tokens within the title? Well, the idea is simple. We use the not so often used Estimated Time -setting!

When you’re doing your review, and you run in to tasks that are falling under the small and quick task -category, simply set the Estimated Time. If you follow the setup below — every task that can be done under 15 minutes will show under the In-N-Out Perspective.

To add a new Perspective to OmniFocus, follow these steps:

OmniFocus Pro — Mac

  1. Add a new Perspective by selecting Add Perspective from the Perspectives menu, alternatively press ⌃⌘P and add a new Perspective by pressing the + in the bottom left corner.
  2. Type “In-N-Out” and press enter.
  3. Check the ⭐️ to add it to the Perspectives sidebar.
  4. Optional: If you like to have little prettier icons than the ones shipped with OmniFocus? See Bonus Tip.
  5. Optional: Add a keyboard shortcut(like ⌘4) for easy access.
  6. Set it to Don’t use project hierarchy, 
    Group actions by:
    Sort actions by: Flagged, 
    Filter by status: Any Status, 
    Filter by availability: Available, 
    Filter by duration: 15 min, 
    Filter by contexts: All Contexts.

OmniFocus — iOS

If you add the Perspective in OmniFocus on your Mac, it will be synced automatically to your iOS device. If you still need some guidance, see OmniFocus 2 for iOS User Manual — Working with Perspectives.

Using the “In-N-Out” Perspective — My Example

In my weekly review — or when I add tasks from the inbox — I add an approximation in the Estimated Time field. That’s all! Now all small tasks will show up in my “In-N-Out” Perspective.

Bonus Tip

If you are like me and want to pay attention to details, not only for a better look and feel, but also to make it easier for your brain to organize. Josh Hughes has created a free set of icons for OmniFocus 2. Isn’t that great!?

Download it here

About the author

Johan Abelson

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