A Look At OmniFocus

Feeling unsatisfied with iGTD, I took the plunge for OmniFocus.

For a long time I loved iGTD. I’d still recommend iGTD for those looking to get comfortable with GTD on the Mac. But with it’s instability on Leopard and the upcoming bloat of iGTD2 I was forced with either dealing with software I couldn’t trust or jumping ship.

I jumped.

OmniFocus

What’s great about OmniFocus?

Focus On Planning

With iGTD, tasks and contexts feel like the star performers. In OmniFocus there’s much more emphasis on projects.

At best, iGTD’s project implementation was functional but clunky. In OmniFocus it feels more natural to plan your next actions for your project goal. OmniFocus borrows heavily from the Omni Group’s excellent OmniOutliner. OmniOutliner is a wonderful outlining app that I often use to plan projects anyway. Creating Projects and next actions for those projects in OmniFocus is faster and easier than any OSX GTD app I’ve used before If you’re comfortable with OmniOutliner then OmniFocus will likely be your favorite GTD app.

OmniFocus also has Single Action Lists. These are for tasks without a dedicated project, but may be loosely related. You might create one for a reading list, new music you want to check out, videogames, etc.

Tasks are great, but in the long-run I’m much more interested in completing “Fix Up House” than “Trash useless things in basement.” Plus, OmniFocus goes one stop further and lets you mark projects as completed or dropped. iGTD only lets you mark projects as inactive. OmniFocus helps you see the big picture better.

Perspectives

iGTD has Smart Folders for viewing tasks, but they are limited to tags and due dates. OmniFocus has perspectives. Perspectives are simply stored filter settings. Users can create their own perspectives. I’ve stored perspectives for each step of the weekly review (I wish these would be included by default).

Stability

iGTD often crashes when I need it to the least – during the weekly review. Changing a due date or context of a task sometimes makes iGTD panic and crash. When this happens I usually start my weekly review over because iGTD didn’t save my progress. When it started to get really bad I’d save iGTD every time I added a tasks, deleted a task, etc. I couldn’t trust iGTD.

OmniFocus hasn’t crashed yet.

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h3>So what sucks about OmniFocus?

It’s Fuggin’ Expensive

Try out OmniFocus now, before this Tuesday. If you like it, buy it! On Tuesday, when version 1.0 is released, it will (supposedly) double in price.

$80 seems like a whole lot to pay for a task management app, especially when competing products like Midnight Inbox iGTD and Things are about 1/2 as expensive, if not free.

Still, $80 may be a fine amount to reap the benefits of GTD. But you could get that for $40 before Tuesday.

It’s Slow Sometimes

Even on my 2ghz Dual G5. Maybe it’s much slicker on Intel machines?

Depending on how many tasks and projects you have, switching filters and perspectives can take 5-10 seconds. With iGTD, these kinds of things are nearly instant.

Next Actions

Check out OmniFocus.

OmniFocus will automatically create a project to help you get started. Just follow those steps and you should be well on your way.

If you want to move from iGTD to OmniFocus, simply use this Applescript. It should move everything over, including projects and notes, to OmniFocus. No guarantees though. You’ll want to confirm things like start dates and due dates.

While OmniFocus is barely at 1.0, I have a lot of expectations for its future (iPhone/iPod touch support, syncing between machines, delegation…). OmniGroup has a proven record of great OSX apps and I wouldn’t doubt that OmniFocus is going to be one of it’s most popular ones.

Alternatives

1 thought on “A Look At OmniFocus”

  1. I recently tried all of the Apps you mentioned and bought Omnifocus 2 days ago. I am happy with my choice. iGTD was very buggy on Leopard (smart folders did not work). Midnight Inbox was a nightmare. I did not care for the interface on things.<br/><br/>Another app I would recommend to be used concurrent with OF is Journler. This is a very good app for brainstorming and storing general information.

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