Shawn Blanc’s Review of OmniFocus 2 for Mac

At least go to it just to check out his spectrum of GTD tools graphic. It’s spot on.

I try not to get too attached to OmniFocus, but I get a little defensive when I read things like “OmniFocus is TOO COMPLICATED.” What’s ironic about this is that I’ve also talked with people who want OmniFocus to do even MORE, like be a CRM system.

Yes, use the tool that’s right for you. For me, it’s been OmniFocus ever since the beta for Mac about…wow, 8 years ago.

The new design will take some getting used to. I miss the check boxes. I think if you’re going to call something a flag you should make it look like a flag. But the core functionality is still there, and it’s faster – namely in switching perspectives and the Quick Open feature which gets you to your projects quicker than ever.

David Sparks Reviews Omnifocus 2 For iPhone

I’ve been a big Omnifocus user for about five years now. I’ve got it on my Macs, my iPhone, and my iPad. I don’t know how I got by without it.

Actually…I do. I was a mess. In school I would float by and live under unorganized papers with obligations written on them. I would do things at the very last minute. I didn’t have one place I could go to for all the promises I made to myself and others. I didn’t move many things forward because I never full thought out “what needs to happen next?”

Omnifocus (and GTD) changed that.

Read this if you need to feel justified for dropping the $20 on the new version.

Hey Omnifocus, what’s “complete”?

On SimplicityBliss, Sven Fechner writes about how you should regularly Archive your Omnifocus database.

I have a 4.5 MB Omnifocus database and often get a little frustrated when it takes Omnifocus on iOS more than 10 seconds to load. Trimming that down would be very useful to me.

But I have used the Archive function once and haven’t since then. It’s scary to me.

Here’s what it says.

archiveomnifocus

I would do this regularly, every 6 months, if “complete” meant to OmniGroup what it means to me.

In my opinion, Archiving should only touch dropped projects, completed projects, and completed tasks that are part of singleton projects. The last time I attempted this Omnifocus included completed tasks inside of active projects.1

I think that’s dangerous.

I want completed items in active projects to remain after an archive. I want there to be a record that I completed tasks that are in active projects so that I don’t have to do it, or think about it, again. I want that history to be present, not archived. When I do a weekly review the last thing I want to have to do is scan my brain to remember if I completed a task that’s part of an active project. Archiving, as it was the last time I tried it, introduces doubt.

I shouldn’t have to do that. I shouldn’t have doubt. That’s why I use Omnifocus. And that’s also why I have a big database of my entire Omnifocus history.


  1. I’ve emailed OmniGroup about this before and haven’t tried it since 2010. I tried archiving now to confirm if it still behaves like this, but Omnifocus crashes. 

Get Nerdery Done

I’m glad I’m not the only one who uses Omnifocus for nerdy purposes.1

Related, i’d love to poke around in Merlin’s Omnifocus database. If you know what I mean.2


  1. I regularly use Omnifocus to keep track of upcoming albums to check out and the list of games I should play. 

  2. What I mean is that I think I’d learn a lot from seeing how other people use it. My brother has tried using Omnifocus, and since he doesn’t know anything about GTD it’s ALLL messed up. Projects where contexts should be! Stuff piling up in the inbox. Just a big cluster. 

Things was never really a GTD app

People like Shawn Blanc and Ben Brooks are abandoning the todo app Things because of its lack of over the air syncing.

Ben Brooks:

…I think you are throwing away good money if you buy Things at this point. The development has stalled and seems hell bent on only releasing bug fixes. OTA sync should have been done over a year ago — I just can’t recommend this app anymore.

Things is a beautifully designed application that was never really a good GTD app. That’s where Omnifocus really shines. Omnifocus isn’t as pretty as Things, but it has contexts, someday-maybes, all of these features that are essential for those that follow David Allen’s methods.

I don’t recall Things having any waiting contexts and someday/maybes, but it’s been a year or so since I last tried it. How do you do a weekly review in Things? Omnifocus has a whole mode dedicated to letting you sleep well at night having a better weekend.

What did Things have? Tags. Tags are ok for sites like Delicious and Last.fm, but for a todo app? It’s just another thing to manage.