Do I need tags In omnifocus?

Hey everyone,

So as you can probably tell by the title…it’s a weird one.

I have what I believe to be a pretty good system for me in OmniFocus.

It works. I’ve done the numerous OmniFocus courses, including Joes, Learn OmniFocus, and I am half way through Kourosh Dini’s book.

I’ve been using OmniFocus for around three years now, and with the implementation of Tags in 3, I’m yet to see a compelling workflow for them. To me, it seems like extra time and categorisation for no reason…or am I wrong?

Could any of you share, how the tags fit into your workflow? Do you use tags and custom perspectives, do you have a review system for tags? Or is there something else entirely with tags I’m missing out on?

The reason I ask is I use custom perspectives and repeating tasks to show up for projects but would like to see if there is a better workflow that I am missing out on.

I appreciate your time on this.

Hey Martin! Great question.

I know not everyone has been the biggest fan of tags, and that’s alright. There’s no pressure or obligation to use them in a software like OmniFocus. Use what works for you. That being said, there are a number of use cases for tags. I’m working on putting together some videos for our Pro members on the topic of OmniFocus 3, and tagging will be a part of it.

@timstringer has a great page listing out lots of options.

My #1 use for tags is delineating between daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual habits/routines/tasks inside perspectives. It really helps me break items down! In a lot of other instances, I use them like contexts, where I maybe have one tag there just to help me find a task if I need it.

I, however, used OmniFocus 2 for years without really touching contexts extensively. If they don’t make sense in your workflow, don’t use them :slight_smile:


To add to what @justindirose, you can think of tags as meta data. The more information OmniFocus has about a task the more customized the lists it generates can be.

For example, if you had add a tag of “Admin” to all of your tasks that represent administrative work, you could easily pull up a list of admin tasks, regardless of where they live in your system. If you also used a tag of “Home” for tasks that can only be performed at home, you could ask OmniFocus to generate a list of all of the administrative tasks that require that you be at home.

A good exercise is to write down the lists of things you want to get out of OmniFocus (e.g. all of my important work tasks, phone calls I need to make today, things I need to talk with John about). Then configure OmniFocus in such a way that it has all of the information it needs to generate these lists. Practically speaking, this translates into choosing the folders, projects/single action lists, tags, defer/due dates, etc. that fully define the work that needs to be accomplished.


I’ve used tags for the traditional GTD context - the tool, location, or person required to get something done.

I’ve been using just one tag for a task. As Tim said, it’s metadata tp help you sort tasks as needed.

I sometimes use modifiers as a second tag but that’s not often.

Use single tags (contexts) as a starter. You may find certain situations that require two or more tags. I wouldn’t add more than three tags.

I’ve found that I’ve added a bunch of tags. At the end of every week, I look at my tags and see which ones I rarely used. Then I just removed them. I can always add them back in later when it makes sense. Tags can come and go in our lives. Some are temporary and others will still around for a long time. Keep your tags list nice and tidy by eliminating when no longer required.


I’m a very light tagger.

I’ve set OF so it doesn’t require tags and the vast majority of my tasks are untagged.

The ones I find most useful are people, errands, waiting, and my “avoiding” tag, which also appears in the forecast view.

I’ve tried custom perspectives, but have a hard time trusting them to reliably show me everything. It’s entirely probable I’ll find some clever use for them some day, but for now I don’t have the patience or discipline to tag everything holistically.


Haha this is genius! And all thanks to the Mann.

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I’ve called my “avoiding” tag the ⚔️Victory! tag. I’ll consider the day a victory if I can just conquer the frog/MIT or the task that I least want to do.


Conquer and vanquish!


Hi Justin, thanks for clearing that up. I have a few tags in place for similar things, like what is my Frog for the Day, Week, Month, what is a task that is related to health and the likes. You can see it in the screenshot. Other than that, I haven’t really found another useful way for me to implement them. I’ve attached a couple of screenshots so you can see what I mean.

I’ll try this @timstringer thank you.

This is genius! I use a Frog Tag, but sometimes I avoid them. Which defeats the purpose, however having a system in place where you actively have to tag something when you’ve avoided it would probably be a good incentive to get the task done, as the shame of tagging it would likely outweigh the pain of actually doing the task.