Chances are, you don't work alone. Sometimes, you're waiting for someone else to do something before you can proceed with your project.
Or perhaps you're waiting for a certain event to happen.
We'll introduce a special tag to keep track of who or what you're waiting for. And we'll set this tag up so that it hides tasks that you can't act on because you're waiting.
Here's a reminder of how to set up the "Waiting for" tag. Set the status to "On Hold":
And in the view options, choose to show the remaining tasks:
Lesson transcript: [00:00:00] Let's talk more about tags, what they are and why they're helpful to you. Now, in the section on planning your days and your weeks, we created a tag called the "next" tag. And the next tag helped us to identify what we'd like to work on next. But we can use tags in some other ways to sort through our tasks, define tasks that have things in common with each other and just generally have different ways of looking at all the things that we might still want to do.
[00:00:29] So in this lesson, I'm going to talk about a tag called the "waiting for" tag. It's one of the tags that I use the most and I think you will find it very helpful as well. The waiting for tag is a tag that you use when you're waiting for something to happen. For example, when you're waiting for someone to get back to you on something. So before we actually create this tag, let's go back to a project that we've created before. Let's say I want to apply for a promotion at work. There's some steps to this. For example, let's say I want to schedule a meeting with Bob because I need some information from Bob on what requirements I might need to meet to get a promotion. So I'm gonna schedule a meeting with Bob. And after I do that, I'll be waiting to actually meet with Bob because I want to ask him about these things. Face to face. Then Bob will tell me some things and I'll fill in an application form. Maybe a step in between here will actually be: download the application form. And fill in the application form. And then after I fill it in, I'll drop the application form off with Susan.
[00:01:42] So this is a sequential project because these steps have to happen in a certain order. Now, where does the waiting for tag come in? I mean, you might see that I titled one of these tags as waiting to meet with Bob. So after I schedule a meeting with Bob, I'll go ahead and check off this task, hit command K to clean up my OmniFocus and not—no longer show the completed task. Now I'm waiting to meet with Bob. This is not really something I can do. I cannot complete this task right now because maybe my meeting is scheduled for two days from now or something like that. Right. But I do want to keep track of the fact that I am waiting for Bob, and I certainly don't want the next tasks in the project to become available. Now because this is a sequential project, the next tasks are not available anyway. But this task of waiting to meet with Bob does show up as available. And I don't want that.
[00:02:30] So we're gonna create a tag that helps us deal with this situation and also with some similar situations that I'll talk about in a minute. I'm gonna go over here to my tags perspective and I've already got a waiting for tag set up, but it's really easy. So I'll show you how to set it up as well. All you do is you click the plus sign here, create a new tag, then call it waiting for. After you do that, hop over to the right, over here, to the inspector. And rather than setting the task status to active, set it to on hold. For example, look, if I switch the next tag. There we go. I'll see that the status says active. So now I'm gonna go back to the waiting for tag. I've set it to on hold. What this does is it any task that I tag as waiting for—the task actually gets put on hold. And because it's on hold, it blocks some other tasks. And we get the why that's useful in a minute. Okay.
[00:03:23] The other thing you need to do is go into the view options up here and say in tags show remaining (includes block, deferred, and on hold items). This is helpful for you to be able to see which tags—or which tasks have the waiting for tag. If I go ahead here and I click available. There won't be any items to see here because the waiting for tag sets a task to be on hold. And if we show available tasks as items not blocked, deferred or on hold, so the on hold tasks are not going to show here. So if I choose remaining it includes on hold items.
[00:04:05] So what's going to happen? I'm going to be waiting on a lot of different people for a lot of different things. And I'm going to record that in OmniFocus by setting the waiting for tag and then I can go ahead to my tags perspective right here, click waiting for and I can see exactly what I'm waiting for. Whether that's people or events to happen or anything like that, that's blocking me from making progress. And it's really nice because if you feel like you have some time left, you want to make progress on some projects. But for some reason, you can't—go pop over to the waiting for—or to the tags perspective. Click on waiting for and you can see exactly who you're waiting for or what you're waiting for. And perhaps you can then send some e-mail reminders or chat reminders of whatever. Remind people that you're still waiting for them and you'd like them to do something. And if they can please do that for you so you can make progress. So that's really the purpose of the waiting for tag.
[00:04:51] Let's pop back over to this project of applying for a promotion and just show how to apply the waiting for tag. It's easy. The way you apply any tag, click right here and type—waiting for, hit return and now this task has the waiting for tag applied. As you'll see, it's now greyed out because this task is not sort of available for us to do. So all that happens is after you meet with Bob, you just check it off and you know, it's gone. And the next task becomes available. So this is just the way to visually remind yourself that you cannot actually do something right now until this particular event happens. Like I said, because this is a sequential project, even if I didn't have the waiting for tag, these tasks over here would still be blocked. But let me show you why it's still very helpful to have the waiting for tag. Put your—put the task that it is applied to on hold. So let's say we do all these things. Right. We've dropped the application form off with Susan. Now we're waiting to hear back from Susan. So. Well, actually, let's do it like this. If I don't have this right, I completed my task. There are no remaining items. This project still exists, right? I could mark this project as complete or I could have checked the box complete with last action and then this project would go away.
[00:06:14] I mean, it's true. I have applied for a promotion, but I haven't heard back from Susan, so I don't know whether I'm going to get the promotion. And also, what if Susan says, I don't know, Peter, I need some extra information from you. Then I'm gonna go ahead and have to create a new project called Apply for Promotion and add tasks to that to give her the additional information that she needs. And I don't want to do that. So what can you do instead? After you've completed all of those tasks, you just add a task, say—saying waiting to hear back from Susan and you'll make it a waiting for task. Now, what happens is this project doesn't have any actionable items. So this project will not appear in other places in your OmniFocus. As you know—OmniFocus [is] essentially reminding you like, hey, there are no tasks left. Would you like to complete this? There is a task left. It's just on hold because it's waiting for. So it's a way for you to keep track of the fact that even though there's nothing you can do right now to complete your project of applying for a promotion, there is, you know, something that you're waiting for. There is something going on and this project is not complete. If he did not have this waiting for tag, of course, this would be an available task, which it isn't. Right. You're waiting for someone. And if you did not have this task at all, this project itself would show as something that you can complete, which you cannot currently do.
[00:07:33] So this is one of the uses of the waiting for tag—it's just to show you what you're still waiting for. And like I said, you can go back into the tags perspective and click the waiting for tag and see all of the things and all of the events, the people that you're currently waiting on.
[00:07:47] So the waiting for perspective—or the waiting for tag is really useful. And I suggest that you apply it liberally. So whenever you're waiting for someone to do something and you think it's gonna take more than a couple minutes or something like that, go ahead and create a task and put the waiting for tag on that task just to help you keep track of things, because that's one of the things we want to do, right? Keep track of all the things that you need to do. So that was the waiting for tag. Next up, the someday, maybe tag.
How to Set Up and Use OmniFocus 3 to Get Stuff Done