In the physical world, things have names for a few purposes:

  1. Common language
  2. Identity or brand
  3. Relative reference

And sure, you can change something’s name without changing what it is, but you do end up changing how that thing is perceived.

In the digital world, though, a name may be the only attribute a something has, so changing its name does change what it is.

The point of all this? I’ve adored the OmniFocus 3 Forecast Tag since its being introduced as a feature back in early beta. Having a prescribed list of things show up in the Today view of Forecast is incredibly powerful, in that it allows me to look at thing list of things I’m interested in seeing alongside calendar commitments and things I have to do because due.

I had a massive struggle, though, in determining the name for this tag. Because the name, it turns out, is everything.

Seemingly logically enough, I started with the tag name of Today. This was problematic, though, because since these things aren’t due, the don’t have to get done today; I just want to see them today. As such, if I got to the end of a day with three (or more, I’m being kind) of these “Today” tasks left, I’d feel guilty. Ending a day with a feeling of failure instead of accomplishment is the exact opposite of productivity.

Thinking I would solve the problem with the new tag name Next, I got back to work.

Except.

The word “next” means… next. So if I have ten of these, which is actually next? Or next after that? Like, next next, or next?

Awful.

After much soul searching and a tip from a friend, I renamed the tag , and haven’t looked back. Because it isn’t a word, it has no meaning, nor does it imply anything other than what I give it to mean. I interpret ☆ as “show on my Forecast perspective”, and nothing more. I have found this very liberating.

Maybe I overthought this. Or maybe words in some contexts mean more to me than they ought to, but I found my way through to feeling accomplished about what I do again, isn’t of bad for what I haven’t.

6 thoughts on “What’s In A Name? Everything.

  1. Interesting to read more about your thought process. One additional benefit to using ☆ is that it’s nice and compact. I’m curious if you’re currently using Flags and, if so, how they relate to your ☆ tag.

    • Great question, Tim! I had a bit of a time adapting in a post-OF 2 world. This is likely a topic for another post, but in short, I’d say that flags, for me, represent strategic importance, while ☆ (and available) represents something I want brought to my attention today.

      And yes, something could be ☆ and flagged, too.

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