Deferred/Repeating tasks

This topic is a discussion of a potentially useful feature suggested by @ruudhein

Details in the discussion.

As for deferred (repeating) tasks…

A Due date should only be used for items that really have a deadline.

A Defer or Star By date is for items where you say “I probably should get the Easter stuff out the week before Easter and not during Christmas”

Deferred focussed/starred tasks make it easy to have your own virtual secratary putting things in front of you at the right time.

Now when it comes to repeating, the difference between a repeating due task and a deferred one is that due is always due. Example: rent payment. Defer Again (or Start Again) has more to do with frequency. Example: watering the plants. If I want to water my plants every 4 days and I check off the task today, I want it to reappear in 4 days or on the 4th day.

In a task view like Focus the visible difference between the 2 is:

  • repeating due will create multiple tasks for each time the task is due
  • repeating deferred/start by creates one tasks which is removed once it has been completed and will reappear after the set delay

I have so many things on auto pilot this way in OmniFocus, it’s not a feature I would want to miss

I think I’m beginning to understand the usefulness of something like this.
Here’s how I see it, correct me if I’m wrong.

Some tasks only make sense to repeat after a certain time interval, but it doesn’t matter on which specific days, day of week, etc. they occur. Things like watering plants are a great example.

How about this:
We introduce a new type of scheduling. Instead of setting specific days/days of week, the user only specifies

  • start date
  • frequency in days
  • due or not (probably)

Then the system will only create a new copy of the repeating task with such type after the previous one was completed or removed. So they will not be duplicated.

I know this new type of scheduling would certainly be a good fit for many of my own repeating tasks.

What do you think @ruudhein ?

Sounds good.

Key for me is that until the task comes up, it’s not active; out of sight.


  • task: water plants
  • start date: today
  • repeat every: 4 days
  • star the item

→ This task should show up in Focus. Once I complete it, the new starred/focused item is 4 days away and should not appear in Focus

Yes, this is what I have in mind. It’s for the most part how the existing repeating tasks work, except they are created+starred at specific days regardless of whether the previous one has been completed or not.

I’m already excited :slight_smile: