OmniFocus is generally considered the most powerful personal task manager on the Mac and iOS. Despite its bulky capture process and confusing projects types I want to give this venerable app the time it requires before passing judgment. I’m approaching OmniFocus as I would the new version of Avid Media Composer; writing it off too soon would say more about me as a user than the software itself.
I’m still struggling to create meaningful tags. Adding items without tags makes it difficult to use OmniFocus’s standout feature: Custom Perspectives. This block convinced me that I needed to expand my learning beyond the app developer’s resources.
I came across the recently published Build Your OmniFocus Workflow. This excellent book does a good job of explaining the software’s plethora of settings in the context of real world productivity workflows. But it’s also filled with advice that can be applied to any productivity methodology such as:
- Write [titles] as though you were leaving instructions for someone else.
- A good rule of thumb for creating actions is to remember that it’s an action. This implies that something is going to be done and as such the action title should begin with a verb (write, download, buy, make).
- There’s also a category of task we all have: the one we will never complete. … With the last group of tasks I often try to make myself do two minutes of work on it, if after those two minutes I decide this task is still not important enough for me to complete it then it gets removed.
That last bit of advice “if after those two minutes I decide this task is still not important enough for me to complete it then it gets removed” has been a game changer for me. As I previously mentioned, I have about 2 – 4 projects that I can’t decide whether to quit or not. Instead of giving them up entirely I’ve broken them down into the smallest very next step I could complete and decided that if any of these zombie projects staled I would ok to finally give them up. Instead the opposite has happened, and like Lazarus these projects are newly revitalized!
Anyway, our journey into productivity will continue soon as we dig into Contexts and knowing which tasks to work on next.