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Omnifocus (OF) is developed by the Omnigroup and is available for the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. It is by far my most used application on my iPhone. OF is built from the ground up to be a GTD (Getting Things Done) application. GTD is a methodology written by David Allen. If you aren’t familiar with it, then I recommend you purchase the book or the audiobook.
In short, GTD is all about knowing what the next step is in any given project, setting locations for those steps, and starting/finishing at the appropriate time. My favorite aspect of GTD is not having to think about an action step until it’s available to me (ie: I don’t worry about starting my taxes until all the forms I need are in my possession). I highly encourage you to check out the books on GTD as my few sentences on it certainly do not do it justice.
I want to spend the remainder of the article discussing how I actually use OF in my daily business life:
One of the ideas of GTD is that everything gets put into a system that you trust. For me, OF is that system. Anything I need to remember gets thrown into the inbox (either on my iPhone or on the mac). I do not try to process on the iPhone (more on processing later), but simply just try to get enough information down for me to remember what I’m talking about. An example of this is that someone mentions their mouse is broken (I’m in IT) in the breakroom. Instead of hoping that I remember that, I simply throw joan (person who told me) mouse into my inbox on my iPhone. When I return to my desk, the mac app has joan mouse in its inbox. I then further define that task and rename it ‘replace Joan’s mouse’ and set a due time of 4:30 and a start time of now. Let’s say for example that Joan told me about her broken mouse, but said not to worry about it until tomorrow because she was leaving early. I would set the start and due time to the next day and it would be off my radar until then. It would not sit idle on a ‘to do’ list and constantly be on my mind. If I am not able to taken action on an item at that time, I do not want to even know about it. Expand this to a project and you only focus on each step at a time.
The iPhone app also has a ‘Due’ section that shows you the order the tasks are due in order they are due. This allows me to always know exactly what I have to get done on a given day (but not all that is available to me, though). It also has a contexts section to see the locations of due items (I might not want to due due items that have a context of ‘home’ when I am at work)
One of the best aspects of OF is that is does over the air (OTA) syncing between all the devices for free through the Omnigroup Sync Server. I highly encourage you to check out these applications.
Bradley Chambers is the IT Director at Brainerd Baptist School. He is married to Leah and they have one son (Sawyer). Find him on Twitter