Tag Archives: Kourosh Dini

Essential OmniFocus Scripts and Workflows

Who is this for? New or beginner OmniFocus users looking for best practices and basic tricks.

Note: This post is a running list and will continue to be updated with new options. There will also be another list for geeky workflows coming soon.

OmniFocus Walkthrough Videos — MacSparky

This video series from David Sparks is the single best place to get started with OmniFocus, even though it clocks in at four hours (spread across three videos) it is well worth the time and gets you started on the right the right foot. If you don’t think it’s worth the time to watch these videos, you probably don’t need OmniFocus.

OopsieFocus Script — Shawn Blanc

A task manager is only as good as it is reliable. If you close OmniFocus, it won’t react when you use the quick entry or clipper. Thankfully Shawn Blanc solved this problem with a single script. Once installed, OmniFocus will respond every single time you call it.

Templates.scpt — pxldot

There have been a few ways to create templates for frequently created projects in OmniFocus, but this is by far the best and most robust option.

How to get all of your crap into OmniFocus

This post and screencast from yours truly will give you an overview of just how easy it is to create tasks from text, websites, files, emails and Evernote notes.

My OmniFocus Setup

An in-depth look at how I use OmniFocus to get things done. There are several ways to make the most out of this application, this is mine.

OmniFocus Premium Posts by Asian Efficiency

This premium product is a great option for those looking for hand holding while getting started with OmniFocus. It’s ideal for those who want a better way to manage their tasks and projects, but perhaps aren’t entirely married to David Allen’s GTD.

Using OmniFocus by Kourosh Dini

Those who prefer the GTD framework would be better served by Kourosh Dini’s Creating Flow with OmniFocus. It’s well written, very in-depth and there’s also an audiobook option.

The OmniFocus Setup

There are several great videos from The OmniFocus setup that took place during Macworld. If you only plan to watch a few, start with Sven Fechner’s “A Fresh Take on Contexts” and David Sparks’ “Do Stuff!”.

Download OmniFocus for Mac, iPhone or iPad.

Great Resources

A Balance of Concepts and Tactics

When I look at my own attempts to improve, there are two things that have made all the difference in my ability to do better work: concepts that help me understand my work and tactics that help me do it.

For too long, I’d focus on one or the other and the impact on the way I work was insufficient. As I continue to improve, I’ve come to value the relationship between “how” and “why” we go about achieving our ambitions.

For those looking to get a better sense of both the concepts and the tactics that can help, today is a good day. Two very smart friends are introducing projects; one offers an in depth look at the concept of mastery over how we work and another shares actionable tactics in many of the key areas of productivity.

Workflow by Kourosh Dini

It’s rare that logic and beauty can occupy the same space, it’s especially rare that this would happen in a productivity book. Workflow is a unique book. It speaks to the concepts far more than the tactics (although there are plenty of useful takeaways that will improve the way you work). It looks to infuse meaning and offer a better understanding of ideas that have lost their very definitions in an age of quick fixes.

It’s very much a textbook of self-mastery. It is meant to be read slowly and carefully. It’s accessible for a novice audience, but is targeted for those who want to take a deep dive into the concepts of productivity, creativity, workflow and mastery.

Workflow is available throughout May for $30 and will double in price starting in June. This 500+ piece masterwork is well worth its full price, but you should seriously consider getting it now at the introductory pricing.

For more information, be on the lookout for a more comprehensive review of Workflow over at Workflowing.

The Productivityist Workbook by Mike Vardy

Just as Workflow is aimed at those looking to study the subject, The Productivityist Workbook focuses more on the immediate challenges that keep people from accomplishing their goals. In this easily accessible workbook, Mike Vardy offers tactics that will help you do a better job of dealing with email, task, time and idea management. This book is meant to be ready quickly and you can start implementing the tactics in it right away. It offers insights and methods that will benefit those looking for a 101 introduction to several key areas of personal productivity.

The Productivityist Workbook is available today for $5.

I’m a biased fan of both Kourosh Dini and Mike Vardy, but I believe their latest projects – especially the complementary balance of concepts and tactics between them – will prove helpful to anyone struggling to do a better job of approaching their work and life.

My OmniFocus Setup Talk on Contexts

Contexts. A group chat covering oddities and niceties from The Omni Group.

Contexts. A group chat covering oddities and niceties from The Omni Group.

Earlier this year at Macworld, I was invited by the OmniGroup to lead a group discussion on using Contexts in OmniFocus with a man who literally wrote the book on this (well, wrote a book on this), Thanh Phan of Asian Efficiency.

I’d recommend watching this if you find yourself struggling to use Contexts “the right way”. Thanh and I both use them in very different ways. While some of the talk discusses the pros and cons of our personal approach (you can learn more about how I use them here), what it really demonstrates is that there is no wrong way to use contexts. There’s just what works for you and what doesn’t. For those struggling to find their unique approach, I believe this video will prove useful or at it should at least give you a few new ideas to try.

In addition to our video, the OmniGroup has posted the first few of the talks from the day including Tim Stringer’s talk on “Holistic Productivity”, Dinah Sanders talk on “Engaged Productivity” and Sven’s “Fresh Take on Contexts” talk. I’d especially recommend Sven’s for yet another take on how to best implement contexts in OmniFocus.

Keep an eye out for more talks from the OmniGroup, including great ones from Koroush Dini, David Sparks, Merlin Mann and my parnter-in-geekery, Mike Vardy on The OmniFocus Setup page soon.

Getting Started or Just Getting Better With OmniFocus

Of all of the applications on my Mac, there are few I use and depend on more than OmniFocus. It sits at the core of my workflow and has helped me significantly improve the way I approach my work and life.

OmniFocus has been a game-changing application for me, but it comes with two costs: a fairly hefty price tag and a steep learning curve. Having spent my money and my time, I can tell you that both expenses have paid significant dividends for me. More than any application that I’ve tried (and I tried quite a few along the way), OmniFocus has proven to be a powerful and flexible tool that best suits the way I like to work. It has allowed me to adapt it to my workflow rather than trying to force me into the application’s point of view. As the way I work has evolved, so has the tool.

For those who have been looking for a better approach to task management, there’s never been a better time to give OmniFocus a shot. As they prepare to release OmniFocus 2.0, they’ve decided to make the current version of available at no cost until the new version is available. You can find all of the details here. This extended free option should provide more than ample time to see if OmniFocus is for you.

OmniFocus Resources

If you’re looking to make the most of this trial, here are a few free and paid resources you should consider to help you get acquainted or get more out of OmniFocus.

David Sparks’ OmniFocus Screencasts

This three video series spans nearly four hours and is the resource I used to get familiar with the essential features of OmniFocus. David provides an over-the-shoulder look at how he uses OmniFocus, while showing off several of his favorite power user features. These videos are a great way to get familiar with OmniFocus, especially if you’re struggling to get your head around the essential functionality of the application. You can watch the entire series of videos for free here.

OmniFocus Premium Posts from Asian Efficiency

This newly released paid product from the team at Asian Efficiency is ideal for those looking to up their OmniFocus game. Thanh and Aaron offer up tactics and philosophies that aim to save you time and offer peace of mind while helping you get more done. It’s a comprehensive product that comes loaded with additional audio bonus material. Where David’s videos are meant to give you a thorough overview, OmniFocus Premium Posts looks to provide you with a cohesive workflow. There will also be free updates to this guide when OmniFocus 2.0 is released. You can purchase OmniFocus Premium Posts here.

Creating Flow with OmniFocus by Kourosh Dini

An alternative premium product geared towards new and existing users alike. Kourosh’s Creating Flow ebook (and audiobook) is one of the most commonly cited resources for improving at OmniFocus. While the Asian Efficiency borrows from GTD, it does not adhere to it. Creating Flow, on the other hand, is the perfect resource for those looking to align David Allen’s popular Getting Things Done methodology with OmniFocus. You can purchase Creating Flow with OmniFocus here.

The OmniFocus Setup

For those who plan to attend Macworld, the OmniGroup (the team behind OmniFocus) are offering a day of 1-on–1 setup appointments on January 31st. In addition to the hands-on help, the day will included several speakers including Merlin Mann, David Sparks, Mike Vardy, Thanh Pham, Kourosh Dini, Sven Fechner and yours truly in order to help you make the most out of OmniFocus. For more on The OmniFocus Setup, click here.

If you’ve been considering checking out OmniFocus, there’s never been a better time or a better group of resources to help you get more done.

Adding Context(s) To The OmniFocus Setup Event

Sometimes it pays to ask a question. Oftentimes questions lead to answers and, occasionally, opportunities (more on this in a second). Recently I’ve found myself questioning Contexts and the way that they can best be used in a personal productivity system. I questioned them when sharing my own approach in a recent post and questioned them in recent Mikes on Mic’s episodes with David Allen, the creator of GTD, and Ken Case, the CEO of OmniFocus (my task manager of choice).

No idea what Contexts are? As Thanh Pham shared in his Getting Started With OmniFocus series:

A context is a “label” you can give a task that allows you to group tasks based on a tool, location, or people.

This is a valuable bit of information when creating tasks as it allows you to logically group actions. Over the years however, the importance of individual tools and locations have diminished as our technology has become more powerful. We can do more work in more places and there is tremendous overlap in the various devices we use to accomplish our work (for more on this, I suggest you read this post).

While I’ve found what works for me, I still do not believe that the dust has settled on the best way to move forward with Contexts. Our tools and our best practices are yet to fully adjust to modern technology. As someone who is always looking for a better way to make things happen, I was thrilled that the OmniGroup decided to start “The OmniFocus Setup” event with a group discussion on “Contexts: A group chat covering oddities and niceties” and was honored to be asked to help lead the conversation along with the aforementioned Thanh Pham.

I’m a strong believer that there’s no wrong way to use Contexts and OmniFocus has always excelled at allowing for various uses. My suggested best practice is to start with something that seems logical and fine tune from there until you find what works (even if that means using no contexts at all). In my case, this began with the straightforward approach from David Spark’s OmniFocus Screencasts and led to a far more boiled-down approach. This is what worked for me, but as you’ll often see, there are various effective approaches to Contexts.

I’m really looking forward to being a part of The OmniFocus Setup on January 31st. Our discussion helps kick off the day at 10:10am (the one-on-ones start at 9:30am). I hope to see you there and look forward to learning as much from the conversation (and the entire day, for that matter) as I can. With fellow guest speakers like David Sparks, Merlin Mann, Sven Fechner, Kourosh Dini Tim Stringer, Dinah Sanders, Thanh Pham and even Mike Vardy, I expect it to be an educational day for anyone looking to up their OmniFocus and personal productivity games.