Briefly on OmniFocus

About a week ago I switched to OmniFocus. I don’t switch to, or tinker with, new software that much anymore. I’ve pretty much found and use all the tools that work for me so I can do my best work every day. But my iPhone and iPad are changing how I interact with my work, and so, alas, Things became a casualty of war. (Yes, work is war. Anyone who says differently is selling something.)

OmniFocus is an extremely robust app with a moderately steep learning curve. But two things are instantly clear about it: (a) it is built by guys who get it;1 and (b) there is a lot of horsepower under the hood.

To really get your mind and processes wrapped around this purple nugget takes some time, and I’ve only been using it for a about a week. They say it takes three weeks to develop a habit, so it’s still early for me to tell if the extra bells and whistles here will actually help me work better and smarter.

But I’m fairly certain I see light at the end of the tunnel here. For one, over-the-air sync! Also, what I’ve noticed so far in my brief but determined usage is that OmniFocus has a much more robust approach towards that final and all-important stage of getting things done: doing.

Getting actions in is easy. It’s in the processing of those actions where the most friction exists. However, that’s because the organization and output is what makes OmniFocus so mind-blowingly powerful. I’m not exaggerating when I say that OmniFocus pretty much organizes your lists for you. It will take your relevant tasks and intelligently order them for you so you only see what you need to see without worrying about other stuff. After years of keeping a to-do list, I just may now be finally understanding what people mean by a “trusted system”.

With Things, the scales seem to tip in the opposite direction. While it is easy to add and especially to process tasks, I felt like I was perpetually processing. Even when doing, I was processing. Except I never realized I was always processing until about a week ago when I began tinkering with OmniFocus’ perspectives. In Things I had to decipher what to do on a day-to-day basis and manually build that day’s task list. OmniFocus, however, seems to take care of that for me, provided that I can initially process my tasks with at least some semblance of intelligence.


  1. It is obvious the Omni Group actually uses OmniFocus and that they understand and work by the GTD mindset. OmniFocus is not a trendy app for the latest fad; it is an app built by people who take their work and their software seriously. This also happens to be their ideal user.
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