Another application that comes out on Apple and again the publishers have chosen a task manager. Yes, when thinking about which application to choose this time, I’ve tried to convince myself not to talk about OmniFocus , but it’s complicated when you’re dealing with such a powerful tool. It’s not just about how it helps you in your day-to-day work to complete tasks like a robot, but how it does it by putting the tasks in context to show you at the right time so that it’s not a problem to complete them.
The importance of putting things in context
OmniFocus has everything you’d expect from a task manager, and when I say everything it really is everything. But on top of that, it has a couple of extra features that we’ll see later on. The most important of these is of course the context, so this needs to be explained first.
How does OmniFocus put tasks into context? Very simply, imagine you’re working in the office with a Mac, at home you only have an iPhone, and you’re on the bus to work. Your next tasks include managing customer bills, reading mail every morning, and fixing the storage room at home. A task manager would show you all of these tasks in one list at a time and separate them into different projects at most.
OmniFocus does things a little differently, it can show you things as a normal manager, but also you can tell it when to see each of them . This way, you know you have to manage customer bills only when you open OmniFocus on your office Mac. On the way to work on the bus, the iPhone app will tell you to read your emails and when you get home, you’ll see the storage room in order on your iPhone. What if you also tell it to show you only the tasks that will take you less than 10 minutes to complete?
What do you get out of all this? If your task list is limited to three or four tasks, it’s certainly not much, but if your task list includes 50, 100 or 300 tasks, things change. Because each time shows you only the tasks that you can do at that time and that place, you manage to lighten the amount of work and not collapse. This will depend on how well you set up each task yourself when you create it, but it will also depend on what context you put each task in.
A professional tool in every sense
OmniFocus has professional features, all the features you’d expect from a task manager and some extras like the contexts we mentioned earlier. To understand OmniFocus, you must understand it as a program that adapts and customizes to the way you work . And it does this not only with a simple interface that you can modify as you like, but also with plugins and complex integrations with the system and other apps. It’s up to you how much you want to squeeze out of the program.
In general, these are the main features of the app :
- Inbox: In the inbox will arrive all the tasks that we created and do not have a project, a date or the parameter that you want to define so that a task stays in the inbox. Thanks to Siri or the quick task button, we can quickly add tasks that will arrive here and later we will be classifying and giving context.
- Perspectives: Perspectives are like the windows that we can see from the app. Each one is configurable to your liking, and we can create for example a perspective that shows the House project with the tasks that have an upcoming due date. That is, we can filter each perspective so that it shows only what we are interested in. My recommendation is to have the following perspectives: Inbox, projects, due today or important tasks, forecast for the next few days.
- Project review: One feature that I’ve really liked about OmniFocus is the ability to review the projects we have. Yes, it’s true that in any service we can do that and give them a review to update dates, check what state we have them in and everything we want. However, OmniFocus has a special feature that allows us to define how often a project should be reviewed. For example, the House project is reviewed every week on Sunday afternoon. This way, every Sunday afternoon the app lets you know what tasks you still have to do at Home, reorganize them and plan the next ones.
- Encrypted and synchronized data: Data between your iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac, and any device you use is encrypted in an OmniFocus cloud account You can also use iCloud synchronization if you prefer.
- Integration with the calendar: In iOS and macOS the app can be synchronized with our calendar if we want. This way, in the Forecast perspective we can see the calendar to know what events we have during the day and at the same time see the pending tasks.
- Dates, repetitions, postponements…: To each task you can add a due date and time, a date and time from which the task should start to be done, repetition every certain time, date of completion, notes…
- Organization by folders and projects: As you may have noticed, this is a very powerful application, and therefore, an application where we can organize practically our whole life, from day-to-day tasks to life’s objectives and goals. That’s why the app allows us to organize everything by folders, by projects and by sublists. In addition, projects can be linear (you have to complete one task to do the next), parallel and contextual. The app will not put limits on you.
- Integration with devices: In iOS for example we have Peek&Pop, Widget, share menu, integration with Apple Maps, 3D Touch… In macOS integration with the notification center, in Sharing Services., fast data entry through universal shortcuts in the system… And of course, the different complications of Apple Watch could not be missed.
Plugins and automations:The app for macOS allows us to add different plugins that automate our tasks. They are available at the app’s official website and allow us to add a task directly from Alfred 3 or convert a task into an email for AirMail and vice versa. By controlling AppleScript a little, anyone can create a plugin.
On the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch
OmniFocus can be downloaded for macOS, iOS or watchOS . So if you have Apple devices you can have OmniFocus with you anywhere. The integration between the devices is seamless and won’t give you any problems. But you’ll have to buy each app separately. OmniFocus for iOS is $43.99 and the Pro upgrade is $21.99. For MacOS, the app also costs ?43.99 with the Pro upgrade for ?43.99 more, but you get a 14-day trial.
Is the app worth paying that much? Depends on how manic you are about tasks and organization. But I assure you that if you have the routine of writing down everything you have to do and you are minimally organized, you can get a system that will make things much easier for you. It is a professional and complex tool, even with a difficult learning curve, but once you master it, you will not want to change it for any other .