Omnifocus and I

In the last post I promised that I will explain how I use OmniFocus. Hopefully you get some interesting new ideas after reading this.

The most important thing for me: if I want to remember something as a to do, I will put it into OmniFocus. No matter what it is. To make things easier I have several projects to sort them into.

Most of the time I just quickly add it and sort it later using the Inbox of OmniFocus. Every other day I will open the inbox and check the things in there. Sometimes it is not needed anymore and I delete it but most of the time I sort it into the correct projects/tags and assign due and defer dates to it.

Let's start with the projects I have.

Projects

I create a project for everything that has more than 2 to dos attached to it. Yes, that means I have a lot of projects, but it makes filtering for things way easier if you store it correctly.

Additionally, I have projects that are containers for more general things like:

  • Things I lent to other people (books, money, ...)
  • Things I have preordered and wait for them to be shipped (Kickstarter and other similar platforms)
  • Packaging lists for vacations, festivals and other occasions. I use them as a template and create new ones based on them for specific vacations. That way I won't forget important things. If I do, I put them into the master list to remember them the next time.
  • Reoccurring to dos. I have a separate list for to dos that I have to do regularly. Swapping filters, tires, cleaning items that only need cleaning twice a year
  • Birthdays. This is a really nice one. I have a project for buying presents. Those to dos are scheduled once a year two weeks before the actual birthday. That way I will never forget to buy something. Saved me a lot of headaches already 🤣.
  • My project to try out things again later. More details about that here.

Tags

I don't have tons of tags. I am trying to limit them to just the minimum that I need. Somehow I cannot work with too many at the same time.

  • People. I have tags for people to signal me that either that person has to do something or I have to do something for her/him.
  • Some places like the hardware store. OmniFocus notifies me if I am close to it and that makes me remember to buy certain things there.
  • Next. This tag is for things that are important and need to be done soonish.

Defer / Due

Lots of my items have defer dates attached to them. That signals me that these are not important for now and I delay the action on them days or weeks into the future. Future me has to deal with them.

Due dates are only assigned to items that really have a due date (see here why). I will not add fake dates to make things important. I am using the next tag for that.

Views

For a long time I thought I don't need custom views. After reading how a couple of people are using them, for example here, I realized that custom views are the last missing piece to make OmniFocus really great for me.

This is the view I am using 90% of the time I am in OmniFocus:

My OmniFocus today view

It is called my "today" view and shows everything that is due soon, flagged or has the tag "next" attached to it. This will filter out all items I don't need today. I only see what is important for the day.

And this concludes how I use OmniFocus. If you have other suggestions, feel free to ping me! I always love to improve my workflow.