I’ve been a longtime user of OmniFocus. I still use it strategically while depending on plain text for large scale planning. The “Perspectives” in OmniFocus are what set it apart from almost every other competitor. That’s why I’m happy to see the Icons and Coffee Perspective series updated today to match OmniFocus 2. The collection comes with several color variants and multiple sizes for each icon so they look great on standard and “Retina” screens.
This post is about productivity masturbation. It’s an inevitable fact of life, but probably not something that I should have an audience for. You’ve been properly warned. I’ve broken this discussion into separate posts because apparently people don’t like long articles anymore. The subsequent article will be all about the tools for working with plain text tasks. An electronic system is only as good as the software used to interact with the data.
Rob Trew on Twitter: No plans to write/maintain Omni scripts for OG6 (inspectors big & locked), OO4 (prefer MD/FT outlines), OF2 (no model growth). Reaching a broad market is a wonderful goal. The difficult part is to do it without losing the technologically demanding and aggressively curious power users. I’ve seen a bit of this with OS X and iOS. In my view, power users serve two important functions.
Jeff Hunsberger describes his method for creating short-term location based tasks. I didn’t want to set up geofences for my main “Home” and “Work” contexts because I had dozens, maybe hundreds, of tasks nested under those contexts that would have popped up when I arrived. The location fences are clever in OmniFocus. Like Jeff, I rarely use them because they are inappropriate most of the time. If I walk past a hardware store on my way to a post office1 I don’t want to be nagged.
Chris Suave has a two part series critiquing OmniFocus and suggesting changes. I typically despise artist renderings and mock-ups. They are disconnected from the reality of a fully integrated piece of software. Chris acknowledges this position several times: I really believe that. It’s so easy to be an armchair design critic; when you have nothing at stake, don’t have to worry about implementation, can ignore things that don’t fit into your grand design vision, you can suggest anything with impunity.
I like when Patrick writes on RocketInk. This post was a nice bit of cleverness about using plain text based Taskpaper and UI-centric OmniFocus for different reasons. I guess a good part of my problem when opening OmniFocus is, that there’s a plethora of tasks which are paused and undone. This subconsciously affects my self-esteem, leaving me with a feeling that I haven’t accomplished that much. Since I use the app as a library and the amount of ‘unfinished work’ stands in no relation to the tasks I checked off, my mini TaskPaper projects are more rewarding to me.
I still use OmniFocus during the day on Windows. But there’s a trick. I use Spootnik as a rudimentary interface to my projects and tasks. What’s Spootnik? It’s a third-party WebDAV syncing service for OmniFocus that provides a basic web interface to the OmniFocus data. Spootnik is not a complete solution. It lacks the ability to set start and due dates, see or edit notes or choose assign projects. However, for a few dollars a month, it provides a very convenient way for me to add and process tasks while on Windows.
Sean Korzdorfer and Daniel Jalkut are working from either end of the OmniFocus/Reminders wiring problem. Sean built scripts that move OmniFocus tasks to Reminders.app. Daniel made scripts to move Reminders to OmniFocus. It seems natural that Reminders and OmniFocus should work together. I agree with Daniel on this one: When I come home and get to work on my Mac, I notice that OmniFocus doesn’t contain any of my recently added items, so I have to go through the cumbersome steps of opening my iPhone and launching OmniFocus just to get this theoretically time-saving trick to work right.
Michael Schechter’s OmniFocus setup is an interesting read even for non-OmniFocus users. It’s interesting because of the result. Michael states in clear and concise language how his system works. That’s hard to do. I’d suggest to anyone struggling to make their task management system work, sit down and write your system design specification like Michael. Write like you’re paying someone to build you your own personal solution. One way or another we all pay for our poorly defined systems.
Chris over at pxldot.com has a wonderful little script to build OmniFocus projects from a template. It’s built on top of other things that I’ve seen but I think Chris' implementation is clever. The OmniGroup should steal this. Don’t miss his other projects which are equally awesome.