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Switch to OmniFocus?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by PeterW View Post
    Would you say that OF has been an obstacle to your productivity because of the UI and the big feature set?
    I know you didn't send the question to me but what I found its that the big feature set was helpful. I haven;t really found much I can't do in OF if I think about it a bit.

    I also will tweak but I've managed to avoid that with OF because there is no need to tweak the system to get it to display what I want. Tweak in my mind is coding or scripting or other ways to expand the ability of the program beyond what is built in. Perspectives are built in, I do't' consider them expanding the system at all. Perspectives are just different ways of slicing the data to give different views. I use them to hide things I don't want to bother with at the moment.

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    • #17
      Resources

      Some very good references to look into .
      MacSparky's [David Sparks ] omni focus screencasts .
      Kourush Dini's book " getting productive with omnifocus "
      David's screencasts are great and deal with basic OmniFocus use. Dini's book is also excellent but beware that it is very complex. He's a very smart guy doing cool things with OmniFocus. I wouldn't consider it a starter guide.

      I've been using OmniFocus since the beta back whenever it was and I would echo what others have said about keeping it very simple at first. OF makes it easy to dump a lot of information into the system and it can quickly become unwieldy.

      After getting settled with a simple project list, next actions and contexts, I would learn Perspectives (lots of articles out there on setting them up) and then explore project templates (great if you have projects that repeat or are similar. For me, that's creating a new video course; always the same steps but the topic changes).

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      • #18
        I've been a huge fan of OmniFocus since its release. It can be overwhelming because all of the features, but the way I learned how to use it was to just use it for basic GTD, and once I was comfortable with adding projects, next actions, shortcut keys, etc I started diving into the rest of the features.

        I cannot recommend the book "Creating Flow with OmniFocus" enough. It's more than a how-to manual, the author really spent a lot of time focusing on how OmniFocus can be adapted to your workflow. You can find it at http://www.usingomnifocus.com/

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        • #19
          My perception is that much of the complexity of OmniFocus is purely optional--that as your workload gets more complex, you start using the more complex features as you need them. On the other hand, I rather like complexity, so that could be affecting my point of view.

          But to walk through ascending levels of complexity:

          - If you have just a few To Dos, you could set up with one project, one context, and two perspectives--All and Available. Then it's just a single To Do list with items that disappear from the Available perspective as you check them off. You never have to think about projects or contexts again.

          - If you want to divide your tasks into projects, you could create many projects and stick with one context and the All and Available perspectives.

          - If you start to enter a lot of cool ideas that you won't be using yet, you could start using the On Hold and Start Date features.

          - If you want to divide your tasks between work and home, you could create two folders, or two contexts.

          - If you get tired of seeing "mow the lawn" while you're at the grocery, you can add an Errands context.

          And so on. I think that OmniFocus may feel too complex if you sit down and try to use all of its features from the beginning, but you don't have to do that.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by BRSaxon View Post
            I cannot recommend the book "Creating Flow with OmniFocus" enough. It's more than a how-to manual, the author really spent a lot of time focusing on how OmniFocus can be adapted to your workflow. You can find it at http://www.usingomnifocus.com/
            In the end, I was repulsed by the book and can't recommend it. Perhaps if you want or need the heavy structure it provides, then it may be a good book for you. I think it subverts the radical simplicity toward which GTD aims.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
              In the end, I was repulsed by the book and can't recommend it. Perhaps if you want or need the heavy structure it provides, then it may be a good book for you. I think it subverts the radical simplicity toward which GTD aims.
              I liked the structure because it helped me quickly pick up the parts of OmniFocus that weren't very intuitive for me. Plus, the way the books is written makes it a very easy reference guide when I need to refresh myself on a specific OmniFocus tool or shortcut key.

              I can appreciate your opinion, though. I never thought of it that way, but the structure of the book is heavier than GTD. Perhaps my field of IT & graphic design has made me used to heavy-handed manuals!

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              • #22
                Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                In the end, I was repulsed by the book and can't recommend it. Perhaps if you want or need the heavy structure it provides, then it may be a good book for you. I think it subverts the radical simplicity toward which GTD aims.
                Interesting, I found the book highly useful, but I'm also a computer software person at heart. I don't implement my GTD system in Omnifocus entirely as the book suggests but I too use it like a manual, for features and tips when I need them.

                For me structure is good, in general more structure makes me more comfortable. I don't handle loose ends well at all.

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                • #23
                  Apologies for dredging up this old thread, but I just wanted to say that I have now switched over to Omnifocus and wanted to thank everyone who contributed their comments and help.

                  The new job I started in December last year quickly swamped me in terms of time, so it was easier to stay with the GTD system I was using (Appigo Todo). I am now taking my first vacation so have had the time to look at OF again. And a few issues with Appigo have helped push me to look at changing systems.

                  I have all my projects and tasks entered, but still very much a newbie and learning my way around. I do appreciate the added power and features that I've not had before, and looking forward to mastering the system over time.

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