I tried, I liked, I bought… $79.95 later I am the new owner of the OminGroup’s Task Mgmt application OmniFocus and let me tell you, it is worth every penny.
My List Obsessive History
I’ll admit I haven’t tried 100 different task management tools, so this review will not be coming from that extreme point of view. However, I have been a “LIST” guy for as long as I can remember. I used the pen and paper approach for years, before going digital and building my own lists using MS Word and Excel. I then transitioned to MS Outlook for my task management needs until recently when I bought a Mac and once again needed a new system. I took the trial of Things for Mac, which I wrote about in an article last week [Things Task Mgmt Review: ‘Gets Thumbs Down’], before taking OmniFocus for a spin.
First Impressions: Mmm…That’s Nice.
After installing the trial, it didn’t take me more than ten minutes before I was comfortable with the system and was managing tasks efficiently. OmniFocus is extremely easy to use, intuitive and beautifully simple. It can handle personal tasks bagged and blindfolded with ease, but for me OmniFocus’ real value lies in its ability to handle heavy lifting. Currently, it smoothly manages the 100+ tasks and growing, that make up my life (personal, multiple businesses, and goals).
THE PROS & HIGHLIGHTS
- Get Things Done: OmniFocus is built on David Allen’s Get Things Done (GTD) system for task management. Not only will OmniFocus organize your stuff, it will also help you get stuff done (kind of the objective here right?).
- Inbox for Mental Relief: The application has an “inbox” for the first part of the GTD system, Collection. It’s quick, it’s dirty (in a good way), and makes it easy to process the inbox and sort them into action items and projects.
- Stay Organized: You can organize all action items into folders, single-action items, projects, and tasks. The final nail in the coffin for my unhappy trial with the Things App was the inability to create sub-items.
- Creating Sub-Items: With OmniFocus you can add in sub-folders and sub-tasks. This was a must-have for me. I have many irons in the fire and need the ability to break things done without having to make new projects for everything that requires more than one step (as with Things).
- Drag & Drop: All items in OmniFocus can be dragged and dropped into other folders, projects, or tasks (as subtasks).
- Color Coding: Uses in-line color-coding to differentiate between contexts and items due. Also, colored icons are used next to projects in the navigation panel, signifying what projects have pending tasks that are past-due, due today or due soon.
- Expand/Collapse: With the ability to expand or collapse any item with sub-items, OmniFocus handles navigating quantity with ease.
- Views for Quick Navigation:
- Projects: View shows everything broken down into folders, projects, tasks and sub-tasks.
- Contexts: Context view is extremely helpful. Context describes the means of getting a task done. For example “Pick up Groceries” would fall under the context of “Errands”, where “Write Saturday’s Blog Post” would fall under the context “Mac: Online”. Therefore when running out for errands you can view the just the errands list, print it out and take it with you.
- Due: View and print everything Past Due, Due Today, Due Tomorrow and Due Within the Next Week.
- Flag: Sort tasks by anything you’ve flagged for review.
- Shortcuts: One of my favorite features is the inbox shortcut. From anywhere on my Mac, say surfing online, I can hit [Control+Option+Space] and open a small entry window to enter a thought or task directly into the inbox without having to break my concentration.
- Price: I’ll admit I was a bit shy of the price at first. $80 seemed like a hefty price to pay for a list and for the first week, I was on the fence; “it’s awesome, but is it $80 awesome?” I think that if OmniFocus lowered their price a bit, to say the $50 range, it would beat the pants off of the Things Application.
- No Sorting in Nav. Panel: You cannot automatically sort projects within the navigation panel. If you sort them by name it will sort projects in the main view, but not in the navigation panel.
In summary, the task management application OmniFocus rocks, and is a superior tool for those of you that have a lot on your plates. I’ve personally got over a hundred tasks in my list so far and OmniFocus makes managing them cake.
If you have any questions, comments or your own thoughts on OmniFocus, leave a comment and I’d be happy to get your feedback.
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