I recently received a question from a reader about using tags in work that spans different media:

“How would you tag a task that is creative in nature, but might involve bouncing around between different tools as the urge strikes during development? For example, developing a lecture for class, I’ll start working in Mindnode, then I might feel jammed up and move to a notebook or notecards, then maybe back to Mindnode or OmniOutliner, then maybe a whiteboard. I’ve toyed with “Desk” or “Work” or “Development” but I’m not sure I’ve found the most helpful way to do it…


“…I think the issue with a broader context is having something that is bigger and different in nature from the other tasks that might be in that broader context. ‘Develop lesson plan for week 2’ is much different than filling out a form. Maybe @DeepWork would do what it needs to, but it still feels like too much of a grab bag, or too ambiguous, like an energy level context.



– Kevin”

The issue may be less about tags than about creating an overall structure to approach the work. A solution I would use relies on the Navigation structure described in Creating Flow with OmniFocus 3. (The specific sections are listed at the end of this post.) In brief, I would likely:

  • Create a task like “Continue developing class lecture”
  • Assign the task to my Engaged project, and add broad tags like @Office and @Current. @Current would bring the task to my daily view, while @Office would filter it for the office.
  • Set the task to repeat daily so I can continue its work regularly.
  • Link the task to the OmniFocus project “Develop Class lecture”.
  • Have several tasks within the Develop Class lecture project, each representing the different work I would be doing across various media. Each task could then have its own relevant tag(s).

Alternatively, I may tie the different materials together in the Workspaces app. Workspaces can open several files with a single launch. Here is an actual example using my “Study Spanish” project:

By selecting “Start” or launching from a URL (see below), all of these components could be launched simultaneously.  Or I could open select ones but have them all gathered here for reference.

I would copy a link to this workspace and launch it from the Engaged task:

OmniFocus would still act as the centerpiece. One of the URLs of the Workspace app would link to the OmniFocus project:

In this way, when I launch the Workspaces link from the single daily task, I would access the project with all its individual tasks laid out. Meanwhile, the Engaged task would guide the overall work:

For a detailed look at setting up either system to work in your day to day, consider reading the following sections in Creating Flow with OmniFocus 3 (page numbers refer to PDF):

  • Adjunctive programs – Workspaces (p139)
  • Navigation – A Central System (p565)
  • Managing School and Other Clear Scale Work (p962)
  • Managing Creative and Other Unclear Scale Work (p979)