HOW I USE OMNIFOCUS
If you have followed me for a while you know I’m often moving my TO DO into different systems, it’s something that I strangely enjoy! It gives me a chance to review what I’ve got on my plate and reset. One of my favourite apps for managing my TO DO is OMNIFOCUS, I’ve been a PRO user for a while but not really gotten my head down and learned the best ways of using it.
Recently I thought I would spend some time getting to know it in a bit more detail and have found that it might actually take over as my TO DO app of choice, it’s become the quickest way for me to get anything in my INBOX and also keep track of my writing commitments.
I thought therefore I would write something up on how I actually use it as part of my daily routine, here goes…
EVERYTHING goes in there, yes I know it seems overkill for some things like shopping lists but I find that if I stick to one system I’m not tempted to jump ship to say REMINDERS, where I used to manage my TO DO. I should preface this article with the fact that I work alone in my TO DO bubble, if I share a list with someone else we tend to use a shared CALENDAR and a good old chalkboard to keep up to date on family commitments.
My SET UP
Here is my main view when I fire up OMNIFOCUS, here are my perspectives
- FREELANCE WORK
- TO WORK ON WHEN QUIET
I’ve been late to the game in customising my main screen but after playing around I’ve cracked it for the ones that I need. I stick with mostly the defaults but have created the following
- FREELANCE WORK: I have a CONTEXT called Freelance that I use when writing for print or another publication. This gives me quick access to all the commitments I have outside of my writing here
- TO WORK ON WHEN QUIET: Exactly what it says, these are items that I FLAG or set a CONTEXT as Top, it gives me a quick way to get at the items that I can work on when I have a bit of downtime
PROJECTS AS GOALS
If a task is more than one step then it’s a PROJECT, I take this approach to anything in the PROJECT view and also create projects for my goals E.g. Get to WWDC in 2017 etc…
I also keep track of my writing ideas in a PROJECT called WRITING (imaginative right?)…. These start with no DUE DATE but once I review them they will start to get them added.
I use the FORECAST view heavily, it’s the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing at night on my iOS device. I use it for seeing what I have on in both my calendar and to do list and then move as I need to or commit to what I have on. I love that I get to see everything in one place, it’s one of the most powerful reasons for me to stick with OMNIFOCUS.
One thing that's always frustrated me about MAIL.APP on iOS is the lack of a share-sheet, a lot of actions can be taken from a single mail and the ability to create an inbox item from one is important. Luckily in OMNIFOCUS we have the ability to forward a mail to a specific address and it results in a new item in your inbox.
We can create new inbox items via SIRI as we would using the native REMINDERS app, quite often I find myself wanting to create an item whilst I'm in the car or without my phone in hand. I've started to use SIRI on the Apple Watch to create a new Reminder, which get's sent through to the OMNIFOCUS inbox.
The Apple Watch experience is a mixed bag I find, when I saw there was a complication I jumped on it but I often find that it is out of date - especially when you use OMNIFOCUS on multiple devices (I use it across an iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch).
If you action items on your iPad I find that the resulting changes do not appear in my watch app.
I'm hopeful that with watchOS 3 we will see improvements in this area with the ability to leave the app running in memory as a docked (prioritised) app.
Sync is on the whole reliable, I do have the occasional stutter that can sometimes take several minutes to sort itself out but on the whole I'm happy with their sync service.
Overall I'm happy with OMNIFOCUS and anxious to see what they have in store with the new iOS 10 widgets and watchOS 3 features. I have swung between this app and REMINDERS (which has some nice improvements in iOS 10) but for now I'm sticking with OMNIFOCUS.