Going from Things to Omnifocus

I have been a heavy Things users since the beginning, but there have always been certain features that I have found lacking, such as sub-projects and a distinction between areas of focus.

Omnifocus has had all necessary features since I can remember, so I finally decided to give it a go for real. All active projects and areas from Things have been migrated to Omnifocus, leaving the someday/maybe list for if/when I commit to using Omnifocus for a foreseeable future.

The one thing I will have to live without for a couple of days until I can commit, is buying the iPhone app. That means I will be using Evernote on the iPhone to capture actions and projects on the go.

I am really looking forward to be able to use sub-projects and see if that increases my productivity and peace of mind about large projects. Perspectives are also something I look forward too, since that means being able to focus on just work or personal, even though there are deadlines arising in both places. In Things, everything is meshed together and it is practically impossible to completely separate all focus areas. There is an option to disable an area of focus, but that is a too inconvenient workaround.

The Psychology of OmniFocus

The Psychology of OmniFocus (How to Wrap your Head Around the Finest (and Most Perplexing) GTD App on the Market) is an excellent article by Ryan Norbauer, describing how he uses OmniFocus, the GTD pitfalls, and his core thinking:

The main point of OmniFocus is to hide things from you that you can’t possibly be doing right now while still letting you track them.

This is a good read if you have been curious about OmniFocus and haven’t dived in and tried it yet.

Things vs The Hit List vs Omnifocus

I have been using Things for a long time, both on my Mac and iPhone. While being very good at what it does and being visually beautiful, I have lately been having lots of trouble finding a good solution for a “Waiting For” focus, planner, setting a starting date, subtasks and other minor things. Their support forum is full of these requests and many other too.

Both The Hit List and Omnifocus do not suffer from these shortcomings, and have other benefits too. THL has a very nice planner where you can see items due today, the next days, next week, month etc. It makes it very easy to get an overview on what and when things have to be done.

The one thing missing in THL at the moment is iPhone sync, which is where Omnifocus shines! It has a very competent syncing framework and a native iPhone client (a bit pricey though). Omnifocus follows the principles of Getting Things Done almost to the letter, which may be too rigid at times, and it does not have support for tags at the moment.

What to do? I have invested in Things for the Mac and for the iPhone, but I have considered the idea of moving to Omnifocus for the moment, and maybe returning to Things when it has matured somewhat. I like THL quite a lot, but without syncing with an iPhone application, it’s useless for me.