OmniFocus 1.0

Getting Things Done. In the eighties and nineties we had Time/System agendas to make sure we got things done. They didn’t help much, though. Nowadays we have programs that help us get things done. Such as OmiFocus 1.0. OmniFocus 1.0 follows the rules of GTD gurus like David Allen. Unfortunately for me, I don’t believe much of what these gurus tell me anymore. The David Allens of this world get rich quick (GRQ) on themes like Getting Things Done (GTD) because their audience hasn’t yet seen through their message that usually is as thin as air.
So, if you think I’m going to tell you that OmniFocus 1.0 is going to solve your constant lack of time and focus, you’re wrong. Use a project manager for that. But if you insist on running a task management system, OmniFocus is one of the best you can buy.

My personal feeling is that all GTD “things”—be it paper agendas or systems, or software ones—take up too much of my time to really be useful. However, if you are one of the many people who can organise things better by first listing them, then OmniFocus may just be what you need.
MailTags IntegrationIn OmniFocus you can just dump all your thoughts by using either special e-mail messages you send to yourself, a pop-up window that is available system-wide, or even by using drag-and-drop. OmniFocus must be running all the time for it to be able to manage all your tasks. It synchronises with iCal, which is great, and with Mail, which is even greater. It will also integrate with MailTags, but on Leopard I couldn’t make that feature work.

The integration with iCal and MailTags are what I personally find the most important unique features of OmniFocus because these two allow me to dump my tasks in OmniFocus without having to duplicate any efforts with regards to organisation. For example, in MailTags I have projects already set up, with contexts also available.
OmniFocus’ integration enables me to use MailTags as a sort of front-end to OmniFocus. I can use OmniFocus’ own quite powerful organisation and management features after the tasks have been entered in MailTags already. I could also use OmniFocus’ system-wide entry dialogue for that purpose, but that requires me to think before I act, and that always makes me lose my focus—on the task that I’m doing right then and there.

OmniFocus has projects, contexts and perspectives, which are three different ways to look at tasks. Its interface is clean and supports task management in an exemplary way, but at the end of the day I want to be able to print my task lists and then include them with my agenda. And I found OmniFocus’ printing capabilities a bit skinny.

Tasks print well, but the layout could be better in my opinion. It would also be a good thing if I could set up the layout and print settings myself, but that’s not available in OmniFocus 1.0. Good features are SmartMatch, a sort of intelligent system that guesses that when you enter “tomorrow” you’ll probably mean the day after today. SmartMatch works well, but it didn’t guess that when I enter a start date of January 30 and an end date of “7”, I didn’t mean “7 January”—in other words, it doesn’t “know” that time never travels backwards.

Lacking is some sort of integration with Omni Group’s own project manager, OmniPlan. That’s a pity, because if that had been the case, I think OmniFocus would have been a killer-app. Right now, it’s just a powerful, good task manager.


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