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Looks like I'm done with Things. What next?

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  • Looks like I'm done with Things. What next?

    I have been using Things for a while, basically since the beta prior to the 2.0 release.
    It's worked well, with fast syncing, and I had found a simple implementation that
    was very vanilla and very fast. Last night I was having a problem with the clipping
    feature on my Mac Book Air, and decided to re-install and restore from the cloud.
    I know what to do, I've done it before, but this time... something is corrupted, and
    nothing will sync to the cloud database anymore. I guess I will turn in a trouble
    ticket, but I realize now I was playing with fire, and probably will not return to Things.
    I will have no trouble recreating my lists, but still it's very annoying.
    I know how backups work with Omnifocus and Toodledo, and I guess
    I will look into backups with Reminders too. Any other thoughts?
    .

  • #2
    I had a similar issue with Things and never went back. I think you should take the opportunity to again ask yourself:

    Paper or electronic
    On my computer or web based

    If you stick with on your computer and using the cloud for syncing, then as a MAC user Omnifocus is still the way to go, even though you have been there before.

    Comment


    • #3
      Question

      I'm curious as to why you stopped using Omnifocus. I'm a PC user and use OF on an iPad because I really like it. BUT

      If I had to go a different direction, I'd take a good hard look at Evernote, I think. Or maybe take a good break from technology altogether and go with paper. I've never been one to futz around much with my system. I just want it to work and not drive me crazy with syncing issues.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Barb View Post
        I'm curious as to why you stopped using Omnifocus.
        Several reasons, I guess, but fundamentally I think it kind of repels me. It has a lot of good features but the desktop UI is cluttered (2.0 might be better), and sync is slow. Project assignment is essentially mandatory and requires too much thought. I don't care for the matching algorithm when choosing projects. There's too much temptation to use the features it has to plan what shouldn't be planned. Too much friction overall. An example: I'm flying from home to another city for a wedding, and then on to a third city for work. Where does making airline reservations go? Context is clear, but project is not. I have a lot going on right now, so my feelings may reflect a need to go to a new level of sophisticated simplicity, or maybe just adolescent rebellion against authority.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm an OmniFocus user myself. It has a big of a learning, and especially setup curve. But after this is out of the way, working with it is pretty smooth.

          Project assignment is essentially mandatory and requires too much thought.
          You can set it up so that if only a context is assigned, the task gets auto-assigned to a special single-action group. It's usually called "Miscellaneous", which tends to clutter up the context-view. The OmniFocus setup guide on here recommends renaming this to "---". This is a small change, but it's probably one of the reasons why I now like working with OmniFocus much more.

          I also switched the ugly old font to Helvetica Neue and did some other optical tweaks to give it a fresher look. You can download themes for it, too.

          An example: I'm flying from home to another city for a wedding, and then on to a third city for work. Where does making airline reservations go? Context is clear, but project is not. I have a lot going on right now, so my feelings may reflect a need to go to a new level of sophisticated simplicity, or maybe just adolescent rebellion against authority.
          I'd use the quick entry for things like that and then only assign a context and then save. The tasks will get stuffed into the "---" single action project and appear on your context lists.

          Personally, I rarely assign projects to tasks even if I know they belong to a particular project. It's enough my brain makes the connection and that the tasks appear on my action lists.

          Maybe that helps you have a better time with OmniFocus, too!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
            the desktop UI is cluttered (2.0 might be better), and sync is slow. Project assignment is essentially mandatory and requires too much thought. I don't care for the matching algorithm when choosing projects..
            The nice thing about OF is you can rearrange it to make it as cluttered or uncluttered as you like. Remove columns you don't use, hide the sidebar... and save it as a perspective. Change the fonts to space things out if you like.

            You can have a look at OF2 here: http://www.omnigroup.com/thedebut/ Personally I'm not convinced about the new UI. I don't like the fact that the context/perspective is right under the task - makes it more difficult to read the whole task list IMHO.

            You don't have to assign projects - just create a single-task project as a dumping ground for things that don't need whole projects. I have 2 - one for Work and one for Home.

            Comment


            • #7
              Interesting

              Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
              Several reasons, I guess, but fundamentally I think it kind of repels me. It has a lot of good features but the desktop UI is cluttered (2.0 might be better), and sync is slow. Project assignment is essentially mandatory and requires too much thought. I don't care for the matching algorithm when choosing projects. There's too much temptation to use the features it has to plan what shouldn't be planned. Too much friction overall. An example: I'm flying from home to another city for a wedding, and then on to a third city for work. Where does making airline reservations go? Context is clear, but project is not. I have a lot going on right now, so my feelings may reflect a need to go to a new level of sophisticated simplicity, or maybe just adolescent rebellion against authority.
              I wonder if working through the new(ish) Omnifocus setup guide and watching the OF webinar might help. I've heard that OF has lots of features that you just need to ignore. My ipad version is so fast and easy and syncing is so fast. I think their coming update will incorporate much of the ipad version.

              I only suggest this possibility because another Connect friend (who shall be nameless) was telling me something similar and really seems to love OF after reading the setup guide. Her system was kind of floundering and she was about to change before she read the guide. I'm sure no expert in the OF desktop version, but it might be worth a look at the guide and/or webinar--since you already have the software.
              Last edited by Barb; 05-04-2013, 05:17 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Sound like you want simple but attractive...

                Maybe Reminders is worth looking at but if you look at reminders you may also want to give Wunderlist a shot. If you think OF is slow at syncing then don't try Evernote as it is the slowest at syncing.

                Regarding web based apps I have always found I tinkered too much with Toodledo. If you liked Things except for the recent problem then try Nirvana, which is basically a web-based Things clone. I believe MarkDillon uses that.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by oliver_r View Post
                  Personally, I rarely assign projects to tasks even if I know they belong to a particular project. It's enough my brain makes the connection and that the tasks appear on my action lists.
                  Thanks for your suggestions. I'm actually very familiar with OmniFocus and it's features. One thing I tried recently was to configure it so that contexts are projects. There's a desk project and a desk context, and actions assigned to the desk project also pick up a desk context. Why do this? Two reasons: you can then sort manually within a context by sorting within the corresponding project, and you can duplicate entire actions within project view, but not in context view. "Projects work" is an OF project but it's just a list of projects. Et cetera. It's sort of like turning a table saw into a screwdriver. Or turning an iPad into a Palm. It works, but it's kind of a disgusting hack.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Clarifying

                    Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                    Thanks for your suggestions. I'm actually very familiar with OmniFocus and it's features. One thing I tried recently was to configure it so that contexts are projects. There's a desk project and a desk context, and actions assigned to the desk project also pick up a desk context. Why do this? Two reasons: you can then sort manually within a context by sorting within the corresponding project, and you can duplicate entire actions within project view, but not in context view. "Projects work" is an OF project but it's just a list of projects. Et cetera. It's sort of like turning a table saw into a screwdriver. Or turning an iPad into a Palm. It works, but it's kind of a disgusting hack.
                    I didn't mean to imply that you were not familiar with OF. I've heard it has too MANY features! The GTD Implementation Guide seems to provide a seamless, useful, and more streamlined approach.

                    But maybe you know all that already as well.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                      Too much friction overall. An example: I'm flying from home to another city for a wedding, and then on to a third city for work. Where does making airline reservations go?
                      When I did that recently (travel for work and fun) I just had a project for the trip. But I don't care whether I have work or home stuff as I work from home and use only one system.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                        Any other thoughts?
                        How about Appigo Todo? I think we may have discussed this before on the forums but I can't remember if you've tried it out. There are versions for iPhone, iPad, Mac and web-browser.

                        In my view the iPhone & iPad versions are fantastic, simple yet powerful and well designed. The Mac and web-browser versions share a similar looking UI which is functional although I feel could do with some improvement, and I understand Appigo are working on this at the moment.

                        I can vouch that the system syncs reliably and fast, and support at Appigo is good.

                        I checked out the latest Toodledo iOS versions recently - definite improvements there although the website hasn't changed and I still have niggling issues such as lack of an inbox, inability to manually sort, etc.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Wunderlist looks interesting...

                          Originally posted by OF user View Post
                          Maybe Reminders is worth looking at but if you look at reminders you may also want to give Wunderlist a shot. If you think OF is slow at syncing then don't try Evernote as it is the slowest at syncing.

                          Regarding web based apps I have always found I tinkered too much with Toodledo. If you liked Things except for the recent problem then try Nirvana, which is basically a web-based Things clone. I believe MarkDillon uses that.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Wunderlist vs. Reminders

                            An issue I've run into with Wunderlist is that you can't uncheck multiple items like in Reminders (Mountain Lion) so any checklists that you reuse will have to be unchecked manually.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Barb View Post
                              I didn't mean to imply that you were not familiar with OF. I've heard it has too MANY features! The GTD Implementation Guide seems to provide a seamless, useful, and more streamlined approach.

                              But maybe you know all that already as well.
                              I didn't mean to imply to anyone that I was not happy to receive advice.
                              I am generally very good at exploring the dark corners of software, tough.
                              Like my natural ability to write bland, bureaucratic prose,
                              it's not necessarily a good talent to have.
                              I do think it's interesting that so much has been written
                              about OmniFocus. Dini's book, for example, set a high water mark
                              for appalling levels of organization with me.

                              I am playing around with a radically simplified OmniFocus,
                              as well as Reminders and Wunderlist. No clear favorite yet.
                              Last edited by mcogilvie; 05-09-2013, 07:04 PM.

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