My Sweet Setup: OmniFocus

screenshot of OmniFocus appThe largest benefit to using a to-do/task manager like OmniFocus isn’t the satisfaction of staying on top of tasks, or even the reward of getting those tasks done. It’s the feeling of relief you get to feel when you know you have a lot of tasks on your mind, and you dump all of those tasks out of your mind and into OmniFocus and get them nice and categorized.

That feeling is incredible because you can then replace that nagging feeling of “is there something I’m forgetting?” that’s been keeping you awake at night with a calm assured feeling that everything is taken care of because you know it’s in OmniFocus and you can trust that you’ll be told to deal with it right when you need to.

I happened upon OmniFocus in college shortly after it first was released, and it was just what the doctor ordered. I was just overwhelmed with tasks. I had schoolwork from multiple classes, I had music lessons and musical ensembles I participated in, and I had two jobs. I was in desperate need of something to keep track of all of my commitments, and OmniFocus was the right tool for the job.

Since college, my need for OmniFocus waxes and wanes, but I always like to keep coming back to it because every time I start using it again, I am reminded of that feeling of serenity I get when I start using it again.

OmniFocus in particular is a heavyweight system for tasks. If you just have a handful of to-do items and maybe a few different lists, it might not make sense for you, and you might be better served just by the built-in Reminders app or one of the many other simpler to-do list apps out there. But if you are a GTD practitioner, you might enjoy OmniFocus, as it was originally purpose-made for GTD (its newest version replaces contexts with tags, which is kind of cool because you can pick more than one tag now).

I’m especially fond of OmniFocus’s Forecast view; it provides me with a unified view of my due tasks and my calendar, which can be a great way to get a plan for what my day is going to look like.

If you do decide you want to try OmniFocus, spend some time with it, and I also recommend checking out The Omni Show podcast, which regularly interviews OmniFocus users (and users of other Omni apps). You can get to learn how they fit OmniFocus into their lives and get a good sense of how to effectively get the most out of it.

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