OmniFocus is a GTD application by the Omni Group. It is available in two variants: a desktop version and an iPhone version. It’s basically a to-do app on steroids. Aside from the usual ability to jot down tasks, you’re able to do more such as attach pictures and audio to each tasks, categorize tasks into contexts, see what is due soon (“soon” is relative, and customizable), set deadlines and flag tasks. Plus, OmniFocus is location aware.
I’m not really a list junkie, but being someone with the memory of a goldfish, I really need apps like this. OmniFocus promotes planning ahead and makes you more productive. Jot down tasks the night before and then when you go to work the next day, you already have list of things you need to accomplish.
Here’s the main screen. It gives a quick view of the sub menus of the application.
At first, the Inbox puzzled me. What is this for if you can already categorize tasks into Projects of Contexts? So, I asked a fellow OmniFocus user. He said he puts uncategorized tasks in his Inbox. Your wild ideas. Having this kinda squeezes out your creative juices.
The Projects section doesn’t quite work for me. At work, I only have one project, which is IT. There’s really not a point it creating a project under here if it always will default to that. For some reason, OmniFocus automatically creates a Miscellaneous project if you create a task without a project.
You can attach pictures and voice recordings to your tasks. This comes in handy when additional text notes are just not enough.
Tasks can also be flagged for easy reference.
Core Location at work. It’s been said that the first generation iPhone’s location service could be off by as much as 5 kilometers. Not really a ‘must-have’, it’s very cool to have location services on your GTD application. I think this is the only location aware GTD app in the AppStore. The next fully-featured GTD app would have to be Things. Things also has synchronization, but only to the desktop application. Not on the “cloud”, as they would say.
All in all, OmniFocus is a great application. Mobility is very important for GTD application. On the average, you’re in front of the computer 8 hours a day, but you have your mobile phone with you all the time. If you’re in a taxi cab you remember a task that you’re supposed to to tomorrow, you’re not going to whip out your laptop and start writing notes. Might as well write it on a piece of paper. While OmniFocus is already a great app, I have a few wishes:
- Alarm – It would be nice to have iCal-like alerts when you reach your deadline. And, no. If I want notifications, iCal is not a place to put your tasks. It’s a calendar FFS.
- Faster loading time – It takes about 7s on my phone for OmniFocus to load, and I only have about less than 50 tasks in it.
- Faster sync – Even on (wireless)LAN, it takes quite a while for synchronization to finish.
- Address book integration – With a single tap, you can call a person or send an email while inside OmniFocus. I have People and Phone contexts in OmniFocus. I use it to remind me when I have to call or talk to somebody.