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  • Omnifocus vs Apple Reminders

    For years I have used the Omnifocus apps on my Mac and iPhone. The learning curve was steep, but I became a master. Even though I was really good at using it, I always felt a certain unease with the complexity. I was intrigued when Apple came out with Reminders on iOS in 2011, especially the location based reminders. I played around with it, but still stuck to my investment in Omnifocus. I recently re-read the GTD book and Allen talks about having simple lists, a list of projects, a list of Errands etc. I then decided to give the Apple Reminders app a more serious try to see if it can be my trusted system. The key feature is that you can create different lists. I created 9, Projects, Calls, Home, Office, etc. After a couple of weeks of using this as my GTD system, I now realize how much friction is built into the Omnifocus apps. For every task you have to set two fields, the Project and the Context. There are different filters, Next Actions, Available, Remaining. There are nested folders, perspectives, etc. It is a really complex app that I think gets in the way of actually getting things done. It is really easy to hide tasks inadvertently because you are not looking in the right type of view. The Project view, Context view etc all show or hide tasks in different ways. In contrast, Reminders just shows all of your tasks all the time. I can quickly swipe through my 9 lists and see everything. I don't have to worry about things not appearing because I don't have the view setup properly. I review all of my lists every day, because it is so easy. In Omnifocus I only did that in my weekly review.

    Another useful feature of Apple Reminders is Siri integration. It is so easy to create a reminder now. When I'm out and about I ask Siri to tell me what is on my Errands list and she reads it back to me! I don't have to take the iPhone out of my pocket to see what Errands I have, it is a feature I use every day. The other feature I use a lot is the web interface of reminders on icloud.com. I have to use a PC at work and now I can add things to my reminders list via this web interface. This is of course impossible due to the fact that Omnifocus is only available for the Mac and iOS.

    After a few weeks with Reminders I've decided to permanently make the switch away from Omnifocus. I thought to do GTD right, I needed a power tool like Omnifocus, but in reality the simplicity of Reminders is making me more productive. I spend less time fiddling with the software and more time actually doing my tasks. I encourage everyone that has an iOS device or a Mac to give it a try.

  • #2
    This past weekend, I made exactly the same switch - for very similar reasons! I could pretty much have written this post .

    I was introduced to GTD when David's book first came out, and I've implemented his methodology using paper, Omnifocus, Things, and others... but my very first switch from paper to digital was using a Palm Treo and the Palm desktop, and Reminders reminds me of that simple little tool! I like the way you can click on today's date and have an instant list of things that must be done today.

    I'd be interested to hear from others what they think of Reminders. It's enabling me to keep my Next Actions and Project lists simple, and I'm using Evernote for Project Support, along with paper for collection and notes.

    Comment


    • #3
      I really like the simplicity of this setup, however I do have a few questions regarding your use of project tasks.

      You mentioned that you create a list for projects. So do you create a separate list for each project? As far as I can tell, Reminders doesn't support subfolders, so do you just have a list of project tasks for all your projects? If so, assuming the first part of the task name is the project its associated with?

      Thanks!

      Comment


      • #4
        Good feedback

        I've wondered much about doing this myself recently. The added benefit of using Siri to create reminders on the fly I think would be very valuable.

        Have you switched to the iPhone Calendar tool?

        How does synching with desktops work for you, if you do that?

        Comment


        • #5
          Can you describe your set up on Reminders or better yet post a pic?

          Comment


          • #6
            Paul - my iPhone and iPad sync immediately with my desktop and vice versa. Also - you can share lists - I share my grocery list with my husband and any changes are instantly seen.

            And Silvine, here's a screenshot of my setup - hope it helps! I'd love to see other examples too.
            Attached Files

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm glad you started this thread. Somebody else also had this idea too and started the thread below. Kelly Forrister was in on the thread and said they are working on a ' GTD best practices for Reminders'

              I'm really looking forward to that. Here's the link to the other thread.

              Anybody used iOS5 reminder app?
              http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthr...5-reminder-app

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by LynnC View Post
                Kelly Forrister was in on the thread and said they are working on a ' GTD best practices for Reminders'
                Yes! I'm still working on it. No release date yet, but hopefully Q1 2013.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Task sync with outlook?

                  Is anyone syncing Outlook tasks with the reminder app on iPhone?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kelstarrising View Post
                    Yes! I'm still working on it. No release date yet, but hopefully Q1 2013.
                    Kelly, I really look forward to this - it will be great to get your opinion!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yes!

                      I recently read GTD and I am a total MAC geek, have been since the 80's. I've been spending time over the holidays (with a little time off) scouring the internet for best practices on GTD, especially those involving OSX. After many hours and days of work, my inbox is ZERO thanks to Apple mail.

                      I've been looking at Evernote, Reminders, and the other systems that exist for GTD implementation.

                      For me, GTD will be in full swing beginning Jan 2. So far, I am leaning toward Apple Reminders since it is so simple.

                      Just agreeing! Good luck.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I find Reminders just a bit too simple. It cannot produce a date-sorted list, for example. I think it's also the ugliest app Apple makes, but that's not a functionality issue.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by silvine View Post
                          Can you describe your set up on Reminders or better yet post a pic?
                          I've integrated Reminders into my GTD system in a way similar to what is described here for Evernote: http://examinehealth.com/personal-productivity/69-gtd-and-evernote.html

                          I have separate lists for my inbox, single actions, and individual projects, with project lists beginning with a period to help identify them more easily. Because Reminders doesn't have tags like Evernote, I add context tags manually to the end of the entered item (e.g., "Call Jason re: conference @phone"). This allows me to use the search function w/in the app to find tasks appropriate for any given context.

                          It's certainly not a perfect set up, but I find the convenience of Siri along with the native apps in OS X and iCloud.com to outweigh any shortcomings.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A useful feature of the Reminders application for Mac OS I did not see mentioned is selecting multiple lists using the "command" and "shift" buttons. All applicable tasks are shown in the task list under the appropriate list heading. I have not found a similar feature on the iPhone application though.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Reminders list and gtd. This seems to fit gtd very well.

                              Originally posted by gnugrep View Post
                              For years I have used the Omnifocus apps on my Mac and iPhone. The learning curve was steep, but I became a master. Even though I was really good at using it, I always felt a certain unease with the complexity. I was intrigued when Apple came out with Reminders on iOS in 2011, especially the location based reminders. I played around with it, but still stuck to my investment in Omnifocus. I recently re-read the GTD book and Allen talks about having simple lists, a list of projects, a list of Errands etc. I then decided to give the Apple Reminders app a more serious try to see if it can be my trusted system. The key feature is that you can create different lists. I created 9, Projects, Calls, Home, Office, etc. After a couple of weeks of using this as my GTD system, I now realize how much friction is built into the Omnifocus apps. For every task you have to set two fields, the Project and the Context. There are different filters, Next Actions, Available, Remaining. There are nested folders, perspectives, etc. It is a really complex app that I think gets in the way of actually getting things done. It is really easy to hide tasks inadvertently because you are not looking in the right type of view. The Project view, Context view etc all show or hide tasks in different ways. In contrast, Reminders just shows all of your tasks all the time. I can quickly swipe through my 9 lists and see everything. I don't have to worry about things not appearing because I don't have the view setup properly. I review all of my lists every day, because it is so easy. In Omnifocus I only did that in my weekly review.

                              Another useful feature of Apple Reminders is Siri integration. It is so easy to create a reminder now. When I'm out and about I ask Siri to tell me what is on my Errands list and she reads it back to me! I don't have to take the iPhone out of my pocket to see what Errands I have, it is a feature I use every day. The other feature I use a lot is the web interface of reminders on icloud.com. I have to use a PC at work and now I can add things to my reminders list via this web interface. This is of course impossible due to the fact that Omnifocus is only available for the Mac and iOS.

                              After a few weeks with Reminders I've decided to permanently make the switch away from Omnifocus. I thought to do GTD right, I needed a power tool like Omnifocus, but in reality the simplicity of Reminders is making me more productive. I spend less time fiddling with the software and more time actually doing my tasks. I encourage everyone that has an iOS device or a Mac to give it a try.
                              This seems to fit GTD very well it's as though they had it in mind when they built iOS 6. It's even better with iCloud as it syncs between devices.

                              However, I can't get Siri to talk through my list as the previous contributor did, any ideas?

                              Comment

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