I Can’t Quit You, OmniFocus

It’s like the folks at The Omni Group know they have so many of us over a barrel. A tremendously organized barrel.
As someone who has dabbled on a ton of productivity-type apps, I just can’t seem to shake OmniFocus. And that’s not a bad thing, but it is a thing. It’s a thing in the sense that it shows how on top of their game the folks behind this solid app are. No matter the competition they face, they seemm to have another trick up their sleeve time and time again that keeps users in the flock rather than stray to a shinier, newer app.

Here are just some of the notable apps that I have been wooed by, but ultimately stuck with my trusty OmniFocus when the dust settled.

1. Things

Cultured Code had the most promising contender to OmniFocus in the early days of this most recent era of productivity apps with Things. But its lackluster efforts to bring a proper syncing solution between its different platforms ultimately killed it for me.

2. The Hit List

Another promising app with an elegant user interface. The Hit List’s slow (to almost non-existent) development after its initial release kept me at bay for fear of it being only one step above vaporware: abandonware.

3. Nozbe

I like the folks behind Nozbe a lot, but this is an example of me finding out about an app well after investing ta lot of time and energy into OmniFocus.

4. Flow

I started to make a “great productivity shift” when I took on Flow1. I love the UI, the execution and the consistent support, but it’s another case of arriving late in the game. The pricing wouldn’t be an issue for me if I already hadn’t ponied up all kinds of dough for OmniFocus. Because I did, it does.

5. Asana

This one may draw me away from the “purple-foldered one” if it keeps moving in the right direction. The price is right, the team behind it is as solid as they come and they “get” productivity. I’m using Asana for portions of my project management – especially with team-based stuff – so it does have a place in my productivity arsenal right now.

6. Mindbloom/Bloom

This is a different kind of productivity app in that it tends to focus more on mindfulness than simply getting things done. There’s a gamification element to it, but that is secondary in my mind to what the app does. Mindbloom (and its iOS counterpart – although it can stand alone) doesn’t just remind you; it “re-minds” you. For people who are as busy as I am2, that’s a killer feature. This team is not just building a productivity app; they’re building a mindfulness app.

7. Sandglaz

Again, I like the idea behind Sandglaz and I like the premise of the app as it stands. For those not wanting to dive too deeply into task and priority management, Sandglaz is a great option. But for me, it can’t do everything that OmniFocus can do – and its arrival date is another thing that keeps me firmly in Camp Omnifocus.

What OmniFocus Keeps Doing

With all of the productivity apps that hit the market, OmniFocus still remains my trusted app of choice. But since i have so much in the way of choice, how does it manage to have such a hold on me?

  • The Omni Group keeps making it better. Their recent integration with Siri is a prime example of that. Just when I was ready to step away a little further, they brought me back in with that feature. It works amazingly well, mainly because they didn’t just build it on top of what already existed in their iPhone app; they built it into their iPhone app. Siri is fully integrated. Unreal.
  • They get that a task manager needs to have access to a calendar but is not a calendar. There’s a big distinction there. So, like with Siri, they integrate a pre-existing calendar into itself. Very smart.
  • The team appears to be as focused as the app itself is. They don’t just get what a productivity app should be, but they look beyond what it is and make it more than just that. They make it almost indispensable. As I’ve said before, OmniFocus is powerful enough to be as simple as you want or as complex as you need. Not many apps can say that – and deliver results to back it up.
  • I’ve spent the money. It was money well spent, but it was quite a bit of it, too. The fact that they keep moving the app forward means that they understand that and value that I’ve invested so much in them. Lesser companies would take the money and run. The Omni Group took my money and still helps me find more efficient and effective ways to get things done. That means I’ve made a wise investment.

I’m OmniFocused

The prefix “omni” is defined as “all” in the universal sense. While I do incorporate some other elements into my productivity regimen (Evernote, the aforementioned Asana and Mindbloom products), OmniFocus is where everything lives. In fact, it tells me to check these other elements. It’s my trusted system. I can’t quit it, no matter how compelling other suitors may be.

OmniFocus, I’m OmniYours.

1. I dropped the ball on that series. Not in trying to quit OmniFocus, but in not following through. Sorry, Metalab.
2. How busy am I? Well, Michael Schechter knows. He asked me to be the next “victim” in his 2×4 series. I had no idea how busy I was until I responded to his questions – and I thank him for asking them and including me with such great company.