As I wrote last week, it was apparent to me that, my task cup overfloweth.
That’s a good thing. I would rather be busy than bored. However, things were getting out of hand. “Getting fined by the police” out of hand.
I have a long history with “the productivity racket”, as Merlin Mann memorably called it. The sacred quest to become organised. I use(d) multiple systems and tools.
Once, I downloaded Omnifocus and poked about. It took me back to my first reading of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”. There, I had eventually floundered in the folders. I had all the folders. Folders of folders. Folders that referred to folders of folders. Folders of contexts. Omnifocus had all this, and more. It made the impenetrable, even more opaque.
I backed away and bought a diary, which eventually grew into a hybrid bullet-journal system. Hybrid, in that I did not use the system properly. Eventually, I found myself sat beside the highway, getting fined for forgetting my road tax.
Last year, I had completed a course on Things, at The Sweet Setup. Great app, good course. But it just didn’t stick. I had the impression that it offered me no more than my manual system. (Except I wasn’t actually executing my manual system.) I started searching Things v Omnifocus, and came across Peter Akkies. He makes videos on this very subject, and even offers paid courses. Most appealing to me, is that Peter doesn’t offer a course on how to use Omnifocus. He offers a course introducing a workflow. One that includes using the software for sure, but not solely that.
I took the plunge and signed up for his “Get Stuff Done with Omnifocus 3.” (Affiliate alert - both links above generate a commission for me if you make a purchase.)
His setup got me going in an hour. I went from task overwhelm to taking back control, in an afternoon. The course aims to create an easy to use system from which the user can build. It succeeds.
I completed the course while using the free trial of the Pro version of Omnifocus, and on finishing the course, I signed up for a year. Quick warning - there are apps for MacOS and iOS and a web app. Nothing for PC and android.
The week-long Omnifocus trial is excellent. You get full functionality and therefore a chance to properly test it.
I don’t think for a moment that I will stick with Peter’s folder and project structure. Already, armed with an understanding of tags, flags and perspectives, I have begun tweaking the system to more closely match my needs.
My setup is split into five areas, each containing multiple projects. Some are actual projects in the classic sense, and some are simply lists. It was easy to start, and is a doddle to manage.
Starting simple and building up means that I am avoiding previous mistakes. Guiding principles from the workflow prevent me heading off down rabbit holes of multiple tags and automations.
It is, of course, early days, but thus far, I am impressed with Omnifocus. If you are looking to improve your task management system, I heartily recommend downloading the trial and having a play. If, like me, you learn best with some initial guidance, check out Peter’s course too.
Does this mean the end of my bullet journal / daily driver notebook? Not at all. It is still open on my desk, at my side. Once I have planned my day, the hour by hour running of it still happens in notebook, and I don’t see that changing.
Album of the week. Stop Making Sense (Live) - Talking Heads. Timeless.