Managing Startup and Shutdown Routines in OmniFocus

I had the pleasure of writing a post for Inside OmniFocus about how I use the tool to manage my startup and shutdown routines. We’ve talked about them here before, and I find OmniFocus an indispensable tool to manage the task related aspects of my life.


Routines can help us stabilize our daily lives as well as automate a list of tasks to ensure that we never miss something. I’m grateful for my morning and and evening routines.

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Hmm… I tried managing routines/habits in Todoist, but that really messed up my Today list and racked up my Karma a lot. For the past 6 months or so, I’ve been using an app called Habitify.
It’s really nice, I especially like the “habit timer” feature which allows you to complete a habit only after a timer finishes.

Other than morning and evening routines, I also have a “lunch routine” - a few things I do during the main break of the day


Yeah I tried this in Todoist when I was a user and didn’t really like it. Found the same issues.

Ohh interesting! Mind sharing what that is?

I consider lunchtime a very important time of the day, a break from work. When I’m working from home, I usually set aside an hour or so for this, in school we have a 30minute lunch break.

Other than preparing & eating lunch, I purposefully stay outside my “office” - whatever room I’m working in, leaving all my tools there. I try to reflect on what I’ve already done, how the day is going so far etc.

In terms of “routinely” things, I take a few different medications around lunchtime, so that’s why I have that section in Habitify. Tried to incorporate language learning into that (currently Chinese) but there wasn’t enough time in the lunch break.


I like this. My only caveat is that I’ve shifted my “routine” checklists (eg daily review) to a Bear note, so that my “completed” perspective isn’t clogged with 8+ routine items every day (quite hard to see the wood for the trees in that setup) - I have a single “Daily Review” task that links out to a Bear note which has my routine in it.

That’s a good way to do it. I tried that previously, and found I more consistently completed it when it was in my task manager. These tasks only show up in the Habits perspective, so they don’t clutter anything for me, but I’m glad you have something that works for you too.

I found the exact same thing. After never really having any routines apart from shower, breakfast and read the news, I have been playing around with routines the last few years, and have now structured my morning (Mon-Sat), Midday, Afternoon and Evening (Weekday) Routines. Works quite well for me, takes less time than I wrote them up for, it keeps me on track. few screenshots attached.


Welcome @flobach! I really appreciate you sharing your four routines. When do you usually complete these routines? Sounds like you have a nice setup that’s working for you.

Thanks Justin! I’ve been a silent reader for a good couple of weeks now.

Morning: after getting up.
Midday: The midday slump, either half an hour before lunch, or after a big lunch
Afternoon: Shutting down work (anywhere between 4 & 7pm)
Evening: Anytime from 6pm onwards.

It sounds super structured, but there is enough flexibility in there (repeating lists). Today I actually ticked off my Midday and Afternoon lists one after the other, as I got tied up with something else at work.

We’re glad to have you here!

That’s the thing I like about having these routines managed (whether in part or as a whole) in OmniFocus – the tool allows for this kind of flexibility.

What kind of work do you do?

OmniFocus is where my life is stored!

I‘m a project manager in an ambulance service in Germany. Used to be a paramedic on the road for nearly ten years (shift work ruined any hopes of productivity I had), but for the past year, having a structured day and week (and sleep!) has made me so happy. Mind you, wouldn’t change much, really enjoyed my time on the road, you get to experience some weird things…but that’s off topic here :wink:

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Nice! Sounds like a very interesting gig.

My wife is an RN here in the States, so I can guess a bit of what you’ve seen… :smiley:

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