Omni Focus embraces Getting Things Done (GTD)

Posted on by Mike Evans

By Michael Evans

Welcome news last week that my favourite "to do" application, Omni Focus, has teamed up with GTD-guru David Allen. I've been using OF for a couple of years now and am a student of Allen's GTD methodology for tackling scheduling of tasks and project management. OF, which can be as simple or as complex as you wish, is ideally suited to the GTD system. This isn't the place to go into the detail of GTD, but a common feature of all such systems is the concept of contexts. Contexts group tasks into logical workplaces. For instance you can create contexts such as @home, @phone, @mac and so forth. Thus you can easily filter the tasks that you can or cannot do at a particular time or in a particular location.

When you find yourself with a few minutes to spare and have a phone handy, you can instantly find those little tasks that can be completed by means of a quick call. Or if you are at home, you group the tasks that can be done only at home. @errands is also an important part of the system. I group all my errands under this heading but also have sub-contexts for specific places such as @tech stores, @supermarket, @pharmacy, @bank. This is just a flavour of GTD and how OF can integrate.

To mark the new association between OmniFocus and David Allen, OF have produced an excellent "white paper" which takes you through the main tenets of Getting Things Done and its implementation within OF. I would strongly recommend downloading the document from the Omni site.

OF, incidentally, is a prime example of the current trend to universal availability via cloud computing. Your Omni database can be synchronised via a cloud such as MobileMe or Dropbox. Although I'm an avid Dropboxer, I do use MobileMe for OF and it works well. The excellent OF iPhone application also sychronises via the cloud so you can work on your projects while away from the computer. And, of course, you can call up your shopping list when in the supermarket. What more could you wish for?

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