OmniFocused: A Look Back at The OmniFocus Setup

This past Thursday I was privileged to be a part of The OmniFocus Setup, an event presented by The Omni Group that served to not only introduce its latest iteration of OmniFocus – OmniFocus 2 for Mac – but also to help current OmniFocus users get more out of what they’re currently using (namely the current version of OmniFocus). I was honoured to set in on a panel of experts as we fielded questions from the moderator – who just may have taken me to task a bit on my history of switching task management apps – as well as questions from the packed house of enthusiastic OmniFocus users.1
I gave my own short talk (as all those on the panel did) and mine was on “How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List”, which included thoughts on how the structure of OmniFocus allows me to both easily connect and disconnect from my list of tasks and projects at any given time.

The evening event was designed to give The Omni Group a chance to give us a look at the forthcoming OmniFocus 2, and the lineup to get into the venue was extensive. Really extensive. There have been numerous posts from fellow OmniFocus users (and experts in their own right) posted already, including ones from Sven Fechner, Khourosh Dini, and my podcasting pal Michael Schechter, so I won’t go into too much detail about what is coming down the pipe here.

I’m going to focus on something a bit different.

Focus is key when trying to get more out of what you do, and OmniFocus is just one of the tools that allows myself and others to improve our overall focus. OmniFocus is the hub; it’s where everything that is truly important and needs to be tracked lives. Why I use OmniFocus is generally the same reason why others use it – it does the job far better than anything else I’ve used. That’s where the word “omni” comes into play. It’s defined at as follows:

“…a combining form meaning “all,” used in the formation of compound words…”

OmniFocus puts everything you have in front of you – if you want it to. It can also put in front of you only what you want it to (via different views or through the use of Perspectives and, on the iPad1, the Review process). The “all” is subjective in this case – it can be as vast or as miniscule as you want. The “focus” is also subjective in that the degree of focus you have can vary depending on a variety of factors (mood, connection to the task, energy level, time constraints, etc.). But by making the “all” manageable, the “focus” can be better harnessed. That’s why contexts are so important.

So when someone asks me why I use OmniFocus, I always say because it can be both small and big – it scales like no other task management app I’ve used. As life scales, you need something that can scale with it…and OmniFocus does that.

And by seeing all of those on hand at The OmniFocus Setup last Thursday, I can say that there are many others that feel the same way.

There are plenty of resources to help you along the way. Here are just a few:

  • Creating Flow with OmniFocus: This book, written by Khourosh Dini, is the “unofficial” manual for OmniFocus and has received praise from the likes of Merlin Mann and numerous others. Add me to that list. It is my go-to guide for all things OmniFocus. Make it yours too.
  • OmniFocus Premium Posts: If you’re looking to see how some of the most productive people out there have made their own OmniFocus setups work, then you can’t go wrong with Asian Efficiency’s product. It boasts a ton of written material (and an audio track to boot) that will get you well on your way to making your own OmniFocus setup more efficient and effective.
  • SimplicityBliss: Sven Fechner has a ton of knowledge to share at his blog…so much so that he has an entire category devoted to the product. If you want to get your dose of OmniFocus in blog form – and on a consistent basis – then check it out (and keep it a staple in your RSS feed reader while you’re at it.
  • Technically Simple: Tim Stringer uses “holistic productivity” to get things done. And he’s training others how to get more done as well – and how to use OmniFocus in the process. Check out his work at Technically Simple – and read his amazing story in the process.
  • OmniFocus Screencasts: If you’re into visual training, then David Sparks has produced a video series that will help you get into OmniFocus as well. It’s comprehensive and allows you to learn at your own pace – always a bonus when you’re trying to get what you’ve already got on your plate done and seeing fit to improve how you get stuff done better and faster in the future.

There are others out there, but using any of the above (either on their own or in tandem) will get you well on your way to becoming “OmniFocused”.

And that is the best kind of “focused” that a productivityist can be.

1 Disclosure: I was compensated for my talk and appearance at The Omni Group event, but that was the extent of remuneration. This post (and others that mention products created by The Omni Group are not part of such compensation.
2 Although that is coming to OmniFocus 2 for the Mac. Can’t wait.