Creating Flow with OmniFocus 3

I’ll be honest, I enjoy reading productivity books about as much as I enjoy reading about riding a bicycle. I just don’t find the advice very useful in my own life. “Productivity” books can feel a lot like a pyramid scheme where each subsequent author retells ideas from other books. I’ve rarely found a “self help” book that provided more value than David Allen’s Getting Things Done. I do, however, enjoy a good technical manual which is what brought me to Kourosh Dini’s “Creating Flow with OmniFocus” many years ago.

Clipboard Shortcuts with Siri

While I’m frustrated by some of Shortcuts gaps, it has solved some long standing problems. I use apps like Drafts less because I can do basic clipboard transformations with Shortcuts, triggered by Siri. Here are a few the clipboard Shortcuts I use the most. Paste to Drafts This is one that saves me from opening Drafts and tapping one key. Don’t judge me. The trigger is a simple Siri phrase. While Drafts provides its own Siri action (added through the Siri preference) I prefer this Shortcut because it first test if the clipboard is an image before trying to save it to Drafts.

OmniFocus and Siri Shortcuts Field Guides

I like pretty much everything David Sparks makes. He has good insight and generally soothing style. But, like many folks I’ve mostly given up on Apple’s iBooks platform. I’m happy to see David transition to an all new learning platform for his wonderful field guides. Siri Shortcuts is a terrific new automation tool in iOS 12 but it comes with a fairly steep learning curve. The least of that curve is just understanding what value there is in even using Siri Shortcuts.

Student Discounts on DEVONthink

As a college student in the 90’s I was relieved to get a computer. When I finished college all of my documents fit on about three floppy disks. I think school today requires a bit more knowledge management and I can’t recommend the Devontech products enough. Get 40% off during their back-to-school sale. There’s a lot of software you may still need but DEVONthink is the glue that keeps all of my information organized and easily found.

OmniFocus 3

I’ve had a frustrated love affair with OmniFocus for many years. My bonafides with GTD, task managers, and OmniFocus is easily discovered here on Macdrifter. This article is concerned with the latest version of OmniFocus for iOS. I dedicated myself to running my home and work projects with nothing but OmniFocus 3 for the past month. It’s been mostly successful. TL;DR: Tags and new Perspective options are highlights of a dated user experience.

Notability Improvements and a Replacement for GoodNotes

GoodNotes is a terrific app for handwritten notes. I often need a combination of diagrams, text, and plain old doodles for meeting notes. The advantage of GoodNotes has always been its excellent handwriting recognition and export. But, I’ve switched to Notability since a recent update that adds handwriting recognition on top of Notability’s other more refined features. Handwriting The ink system in GoodNotes is subtly better than Notability. It feels a bit smoother and more realistic to me.

iCloud Sync for DEVONthink

As of last week the single largest use I had for Dropbox was DEVONthink syncing. I have 10 active databases all syncing thousands of documents between my Mac version and the iOS version. With DEVONthink’s encrypted sync, I rest pretty comfortably knowing that my data is guarded against Dropbox. I’d still like to stop paying for Dropbox if I can. I’m getting closer to that goal. This week DEVONthink added iCloud syncing and I immediately moved off of Dropbox.

Automation Orchard

Just when it feels like interest in workflow automation is dying, I discover a terrific new site: Automation Orchard. The new site has a terrific navigation and crosses over between iOS and Mac through a single portal. I also like that the site aggregates links from other sites to avoid a single perspective. Automation Orchard goes way beyond a few apps on iOS. The collections are broken down between hardware, software, and web services.

Designing Better Tags

An excellent thought-piece by “Nayuki”: Some tags are naturally or inherently related to other tags. For example, any file associated with the tag core for Madrid (under the complex tagging model) should also be associated with Spain. In a sense, the tag Madrid implies the tag Spain. This can be enforced in an HFS by putting the folder Madrid inside of Spain, although this is not without its problems. On Danbooru, adding some tags automatically adds others – like green hat implies hat.

Use Paper (Or Not)

I’m skeptical of any proscriptive system that claims to solve the problem of information capture and recall. At one time the Franklin Covey system was the “fix” for a busy schedule. Then there was the miracle of the PDA that attempted to replicate the function of paper with the power of search. Today’s reinventions on new hardware, like the laptop and the mobile device make some additional improvements. After years of working with all of these things I accept that there is no single best way to do any of it.