I posted a week ago about finally finding a potential replacement for the Things app, for managing tasks on my iPad and Mac desktop. The potential replacement was OmniFocus and it’s not just potential anymore – I’ve made the switch.
I haven’t opened Things on the desktop or iDevices in 5 days. I am using OmniFocus on the iPad, on my MacBook Pro, and occasionally on my iPhone. I’ve bought the iPad and desktop versions, and had already purchased the iPhone app back in 2008 so just had to install it.
My switchover has only happened over the last few days, but I feel very happy with it, for a number of reasons. Here are some of the big ones:
— I LOVE the OmniFocus iPad app. I’ve always thought of OmniFocus as having a less than beautiful UI. No, scratch that. I’ve always thought OmniFocus had a very ugly UI. But the iPad app is really handsome. It’s a great looking UI, and a very effective one too of course. I can see all the different views and groupings of tasks that I want, including the superb Perspectives views. Entering new tasks is easy – whether I want to add them straight into a specific project or just dump them in my Inbox and work out the project and details later. It even lets me add photos and voice notes to new or existing task items. I do at least 50% of my task management on the iPad, so having a killer iPad app like this one is a big hook for me.
— I don’t like the UI on the Mac app as much as the iPad app, but it’s more than good enough to work with. Also, it can be customized a bit via settings in the app, and there are a number of themes online done by OmniFocus users. I’ve now got mine looking pretty much just as I want.
— I had always thought of OmniFocus as being just too complicated, too powerful, too feature-rich for me. Having now spent a bit of time getting to know it, I don’t feel that at all anymore. I’ve now got the app setup in a way that’s very easy for me to use. I don’t use all the features and capabilities of the app, but I’m able to take the parts that work best for me and use them to make myself more productive. I use Projects and Perspectives (customizable views) very heavily, for instance, while making only minimal use of contexts. Once I got myself organized with the app, I’ve found that I spend most of my time in the app managing things out of the Inbox and the Due Perspective / view.
— I am loving some of the features of OmniFocus as well – things like Clippings, which lets me use a keyboard shortcut to instantly pull an entire email or web page into the OmniFocus Inbox as a new task entry, a bookmarklet on the iPad to send Safari pages to the OF Inbox, and keyboard shortcuts for common actions within the app itself.
— The app has got me full of enthusiasm for finding better and more efficient ways of managing tasks – so I’ve spent time watching some screencasts and reading tips and tricks for OmniFocus. I highly recommend the series of three ‘OmniFocus Ninja Tricks’ by David Sparks at Mac Power Users. They helped me discover an excellent set of Apple Scripts for OmniFocus from bylr.net. I’m using four great ones that are a huge help to me: Today, Tomorrow, Defer, and Snooze.
— Oh, did I mention OTA sync, sync that ‘just works’? Oh yes. No more being tied to local WiFi sync by Things, watching even that sync get flakier and more error-prone, no more waiting forever to see when Cultured Code may decide to add cloud sync. And no charge for the feature either, something Cultured Code still haven’t ruled out for if and when they ever get cloud sync going.
Switching to OmniFocus has been expensive. The desktop app is $80 and the iPad app is $40. But for me this is money well spent. I use these apps every day. A lot. I’m a pretty minimal user of calendars, I run my life and work based on task lists – always have done even back in the days of personal organizers and such.
I honestly feel like OmniFocus has already made me a little more efficient in my daily handling of tasks and keeping on top of what I need to get done. One quick proof of that – my Due list is getting shorter all the time.