A modern approach to contexts and perspectives in OmniFocus

Ever since the book Getting Things Done was released and the notion of separating actions in projects into contexts was first introduced, people have been trying to customize, and improve the effectiveness of their definition ever since. Being an OmniFocus user for quite a while, I naturally started out with the classic contexts that David Allen himself outlined in the book, such as “at office” and “at computer”. Times have however changed considerably since the beginning of 2000 when the book was first published, and certain context stopped making sense as the years went by.

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Optimizing Trello for the 10-person Opbeat team

I am a big fan of Trello and I like the way it lets you design your own workflow in any way you want. It’s strengths also have a dark side to them — it can be hard to nail down a specific workflow and sticking to it, since there are no enforcements of any kind.

Opbeat seem to have nailed a pretty good development workflow using Trello and is well worth a read.

The true nature of “busy”

A great article about why we feel the constant need to be busy.

The situation arises: you enjoy the highs, but you are unable to create enough new to support these highs, so you trick your brain into rewarding you for doing far less – you convince your brain of the dubious value of being busy.

OmniFocus 2 for Mac: Available Now

The time has finally come to unveil the newest incarnation of the productivity powerhouse called OmniFocus. The user interface has been remade from the ground up, getting inspiration from the iOS counterparts, most notably the forecast view.

I’m looking forward to see whether anything has changed from the recent line of betas. I’m in particular looking for a faster perspective change, and a small nitpick regarding the highlighted flag perspective1.


  1. The flagged highlight should in my opinion follow the view options and not highlight the flagged perspective if the flagged actions are not available. 

Inside OmniFocus

Just hours before the official release of OmniFocus 2, The Omni Group launched a new website focusing on OmniFocus and its may workflows. I’m looking forward to reading how people use OmniFocus 2, and what the new version will mean with regards to my own workflow.

I have already written about my initial thoughts of the beta, and it will be interesting to see whether the final version will differ in any way in regards to performance and polish.

OmniFocus 2 beta – initial impressions

I have been fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to try out the new OmniFocus 2 beta which was released a few days ago. I have been using it intimately since the release, and it has of course given me some impressions as to where the software is going in terms of functionality and appearance.

The initial impressions have been mostly positive with a clean user interface and finally a persistent inspector on the right side, which can be hidden with the click of a button. What I would have liked to see was an even more prominent notes view like in The Hit List, where one can expand an action to take the entire space of the application, providing a large notes field while still retaining the additional action metadata in view.

One of the initial thoughts I had when opening the new OmniFocus was the exact same though I had when opening iCal in Mavericks for the first time. While being beautiful, clean and well laid out, the interface has become overly flat and gray. I do like the subtle color distinctions separating projects, contexts and perspectives though, and the uncrowded list view.

It is easy to see that the developers used OmniFocus for iPhone as an inspiration when designing the new user interface, with the prominent new forecast view and the concept of starring perspectives.

While the user interface has been given a substantial rework, it is easy to tell that the underlying foundation still remains the same – which is usually a good thing. There are really no surprises in terms of functionality, except for the Forecast view which has been available in the iOS versions of OmniFocus for some time now.

I do like where The Omni Group are taking OmniFocus, bringing together the family of iOS apps with the desktop version. Having the Forecast view readily at hand will make the product easier to approach for anyone without having to deal with creating custom perspectives to access the same functionality.

Quick GTD introduction video by Epipheo

Comparing the todo list with something familiar, such as the calendar, makes it exceptionally easy to comprehend the core of GTD.

This video illustrates an interview with David Allen where he talks about how to get things out of your head and into a trusted system, making the mind free to focus and be creative.

Focused distractions

In a world where more than a handful of devices1 constantly demand your attention, there is no question that distractions play a vital part of everyday life. Not only do all devices want to inform you of something potentially mundane, most of the time they want to bother you with the exact same message on every single device you own. Since notifications rarely sync their read state, you would have to clear the exact same message on all devices separately. This madness has to stop.

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  1. I use and receive notifications in my MacBook Air, iPad Mini Retina and iPhone, and I think I’m far from alone with that particular device configuration. 

Early morning productivity tips from Forbes

Great tips on an early-bird morning routine from Forbes. It’s easier than you think getting up just a bit earlier in the morning to either exercise, plan out your day or just have a relaxing breakfast.

I have started waking up at 6:30 to do a bit of exercise, have a look through OmniFocus and read the morning paper while eating breakfast. By the time I step into the office, I am already on top on what needs to be done.

Maximize your potential by mapping out your schedule for the day, as well as your goals and to dos. The morning is a good time for this as it is often one of the only quiet times a person gets throughout the day. The early hours foster easier reflection that helps when prioritizing your activities. They also allow for uninterrupted problem solving when trying to fit everything into your timetable.

There is something special about morning time and productivity. The stillness and the lack if interruptions make it a perfect time to to get some focused efforts in terms of important next actions.

We all have that one item on our to do list that we dread. It looms over you all day (or week) until you finally suck it up and do it after much procrastination. Here’s an easy tip to save yourself the stress – do that least desirable task on your list first. Instead of anticipating the unpleasantness of it from first coffee through your lunch break, get it out of the way.

Since you have to do the boring parts any way, why don’t just get them out of the way? I find the best time to do them is in the morning when I still have that energy and focus.