Switching back to 2Do from OmniFocus 2

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 Returning to 2Do  

I can’t help but feel this is a bit of a “me too” move, but I’ve transferred my tasks from OmniFocus 2 back to 2Do. Federico Viticci of MacStories and Ben Brooks of The Brooks Review recently wrote about their reasons for switching over as newcomers to 2Do, but, to me, it feels like coming home. I’ve long enjoyed using 2Do for task management, but went back to OF2 for a while because of a months-long obsession with night mode.

However, with the advent of Night Shift in 9.3 (which warms the colour temperature of iOS screens in the evening), night mode is no longer paramount in the apps that I use. I’m finding that the warmer tones are making night reading more comfortable, and so I don’t really feel the harshness of the light as much.

My ideal is still to have both Night Shift and a night mode function in an app, but in the absence of the latter in 2Do, I take comfort in knowing that Night Shift will be baked into iOS from 9.3 onwards. Because it’s an OS level feature, I won’t have to worry about 2Do requiring a future update to support it.

As awesome as OmniFocus 2 is, I returned to 2Do for 2Major—er, two major reasons:

  1. The treatment of “Today”
  2. Feature parity across all apps

I’m picky about how I define “Today”. I want a Today view to show tasks that are due (or overdue), but also tasks that are starred or flagged as important. I like the flexibility of this workflow because I can plan specific tasks ahead of time by assigning due dates, but I can also add tasks to my Today view just by flagging them.

I spend the majority of my time in the Today view because it represents what I think can realistically be accomplished in a day. I don’t like seeing everything that’s coming up in the next few days because the list becomes too long to scroll, and I don’t tend to act as quickly. If a major deadline is coming up in five days, it will already be flagged or starred. Everything else on my list can wait.

2Do can do this Today triage beautifully right out of the gate with its Focus mode filters (tapping on the sun icon near the status bar). OmniFocus 2 can accomplish a similar thing with Perspectives, which are an additional purchase. My Today Perspective in OF2 is set to filter by status (Due or Flagged), so that it can capture due, overdue, and flagged tasks in one area.

I don’t mind buying OF2 Perspectives as a $30 in-app purchase on iOS because they’re an important feature to me, but it does rattle me to have to buy the feature once more on OS X for another $40. That’s $70 of in-app purchases to pay for features that are already present in all base versions of 2Do. I am happy to pay to make app development sustainable (I think 2Do charges too little for the app), but the value proposition in OF2 Pro isn’t there for me when I know the feature is built right into the core 2Do feature set.

However, this isn’t just a price issue. 2Do is also faster at letting me add new tasks to the Today view. Assuming both OF2 and 2Do have the “Today” list (or Perspective in OF2) loaded, if I want to add a new task to my Personal List (or Project in OF2), it takes me two taps in 2Do vs. five taps in OF2.

Adding a task due today in 2Do’s Today view (defaults to Personal list)

  1. Tap + button
  2. Type task name
  3. Tap Done

Adding a task due today in my OmniFocus 2

  1. Tap New Inbox Item
  2. Type task name
  3. Tap Project
  4. Tap Personal
  5. Tap Due field (defaults to current day at 10:30am)
  6. Tap Save

You could call this an unfair comparison because Perspectives aren’t given their own “new task” button, but it’s a realistic comparison for how I work.

What this comparison doesn’t show is the animations that play in OF2 as you select projects and due dates. These animations slide different panels in and out, which causes a slight delay before you’re able to tap the screen again. 2Do’s task creation dialog is more dense and offers more shortcuts without switching modal views, which aids in making its task creation dialog faster by comparison.

This is ultimately what bogs me down in OF2: it just feels too slow. Each step has to be considered.

This consideration is built right into the app, like a set of speed bumps built into the interface. It’s not that the animations are too slow, but rather that the focus on iOS is about adding single tasks and reviewing entire lists. Batch task creation and management is still left to the Mac version of the app.

I’ll miss the clean and crisp appearance of OmniFocus 2, but I feel so much more at home within 2Do. I like the feature parity across all versions of the app, and the way it treats the Today view just makes sense to me. Most of all, however, I love the speed. It’s wonderful to load 2Do,

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