OmniFocus On-The-Go

OmniFocus On-The-Go

(Wilson Ng) #1

On The Go with OmniFocus

Photo courtesy of

One of my most used daily list is my On-The-Go custom perspective in OmniFocus. I am always forgetting something right before I leave the house or the office. By the time I start driving my car out, I have to turn back and kick myself because I forgot to do that one simple thing my wife asked me to do before leaving or bring some presentation materials to a client meeting. I try to leave a group of items by the door but it sometimes becomes invisible as I walk right past it in my mad rush out the door. Nowadays, I make it a habit to always check my On-The-Go perspective before leaving my house or office.

Purpose of this perspective

Whenever I leave to go somewhere, I like to see if there is something I needed to bring or if there are some errands that are near my route. I can kill two birds with one stone. I always hated that idea that I could have completed an errand (returns books to the library) but I just forgot to bring the needed items.

Creating The On-The-Go Contexts

I combined my errands Errands together with leaving perspectives.

I have an Errands context with sub-contexts for my most frequently visited locations. The main Errands context is my catch-all container for any errands or shopping items that are not found in my sub-contexts.

In my daily work weekday life, I am either at the Office or at the House. I created a sub-context for these location contexts called leaving.


The leaving contexts are containers for any tasks that I want to complete before leaving a location. I might need to bring my gym bag (I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to return back to the house for this) or bring something to my wife when I meet her outside. Some shutdown ritual tasks are also placed here. Water the office plants and shutting off the lawn water hose before leaving are common examples of tasks I sometimes forget to do before leaving.

Creating the perspective

The On-The-Go perspective is a context-based perspective centered around locations and errands. The sidebar selection includes Errands and any leaving contexts I created.

Using the perspective

I make it a habit to check the On-The-Go perspective before I leave the house or office. I can see a list of tasks that need to be done right before leaving. I also see a list of possible errands to complete on my way to another location.


The trick to using the On-The-Go perspective is to make it a habit to visit this list before I leave. In the morning, I check the list to see if there are things I need to bring for my kids. In my screenshot, I see that I needed to bring an egg carton for one kid’s science class. I also see that I need to bring my other kid’s Jujitsui gear for her after-school workout. The list goes on and on. If I don’t refer to this list in the morning, I sometimes forget to bring something because I might be in a hurry to drive the kids to school or I’m just an airhead in the morning (before the morning coffee :coffee:️ kicks in).


It’s always handy to have a list that I can refer to when I’m leaving. It took a couple of months to get into the routine habit of checking On-The-Go before leaving. When I’m in a rush, I don’t have to scramble around in my head trying to remember if I needed to bring something or complete an errand on my route. The On-The-Go perspective allows me to offload these tasks to OmniFocus. It has saved my bacon more than once and I don’t have an angry wife or kid who rolls their eyes about the forgetful dad.

The last thing I want to see… an angry wife…
Photo courtesy of

Coming back to OmniFocus
(Wilson Ng) #2

Now that I am reflecting on this, I am thinking about putting my shutdown rituals in my office (leaving) context. Make sure the cash registers have been balanced, double check the emails and voice mails to flag for the next day, secure all the sensitive areas in the office, etc.

Next up is to create another context called Office (entering) for startup ritual tasks.

I’m looking for things to remind myself to do when I enter or leave the office. :thinking: There’s always something I keep forgetting to do.

Or maybe I’ll just have a stand-alone repeating single action list in OmniFocus that contains my startup rituals and shutdown rituals and just run through those every time I start the morning and right before I leave. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

That would allow me to keep the leaving perspectives for those one-off tasks and have the single action lists for the rituals.

(Joe Buhlig) #3

What about a simple checklist in a prominent space in your office? Maybe this is the analog side of me coming out but it seems a lot easier to just make a list for those times as opposed to creating the project/context/perspective setup in OmniFocus for it. :man_shrugging:

(Wilson Ng) #4

I don’t have a “desk” where I can park my notebook or set an iPad workstation. I’m usually wandering around the sales floor. When the workplace is quiet, I retrieve my MacBook Pro or iPad from a drawer and retreat to a corner on the sales floor to start working on digital work if I don’t have physical work to engage in. Because of this, I won’t have a prominent place. I think I might just put a checklist on my clipboard behind the invoices and worksheets. Thanks for returning me back to analog even if for a little while.

(Wilson Ng) #5

After experimenting for the past few weeks, I will be keeping routine shutdown rituals in a separate checklist away from OmniFocus.

I think I’ll be using the On-The-Go perspective for those one-off tasks that I encounter on a daily basis. This hopefully makes it easier for me to remember those last minute honey do items that my wife gives me at the last minute:

Honey, don’t forget to bring home the bacon!

Buy bouquet of flowers to make up to one angry wife before arriving home!


Thanks! I did copy that method since I read it from you in a previous post months ago and as of today I can certify it works fine for me.

I don’t use it for routines, only for info or things I must carry to enable progress on any project or SAL due today. I do not have routines entering home or work, so I only use it for leaving these premises and commuting among them.

Great idea !