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Ottawa, Ontario

Just a little corner of the interwebz where I occasionally jot down a thought or two. Why do I do it? Partly to communicate in some way with you, the reader, and partly because it's some sad way of leaving a legacy of some kind I guess.


focus young padawan

Jonathan Tom

Those of you who know me are familiar with my obsession over sometimes silly things like stationary or, in this case, productivity tools. Over the last month of so I've been trying a new angle on the productivity angle; a GTD system by the Omni Group called OmniFocus.

The learning curve is a little steep if you want to use the application properly but it does give you quite granular control over projects. Even now, after almost a month and a couple of large projects later, I'm still not positive that I'm using it correctly.

Essentially, there are two ways to file tasks; projects and contexts. Each task can have both a project and a context. If i understand the premise accurately you can group tasks into projects and then add context for other items that affect the task. For example, I could have a project called Setup New Office with tasks such as Buy Desks and Connect Phone Lines. While these two tasks would live under the Setup New Office project, the Connect Phone Lines tasks could have the context Phone Call while the task for Buy Desks could be assigned to Shopping.

Here's where things get a little more interesting - if you use the iPhone and/or the iPad version of the application then you can implement locations to tasks so you can see what you can accomplish while you're out. Jumping back to our previous example, you could have OmniFocus remind you to buy the desks while you're at lunch accross the street from the desk store. The fact that i mentioned that Omni Group have released iPhone and iPad applications to work in conjunction with the desktop application should tip you off that they synchronize. You can sync via Dropbox, a mounted network disk, bonjour or your own WebDAV service.

This is all well and good but what will this suite of applications run you? Here's the bad news, it isn't cheap. The Mac application will run you $79.99, the iPad version will run you $39.99 and the iPhone version costs $19.00. Does it seem extensive to charge for all three? Why not have a universal application? Maybe a little but the applications are well designed and they have developpers to pay as well. If that cost is a deterrent to you then perhaps another GTD system is better suited for you. There's a lot of them out there and some are also quite good; the ones that come to mind are Wunderlist, 30/30 and Things.