OmniFocus 3 for Mac : Keep it Simple. Or don't.


OmniFocus 3 for Mac has been released!

OmniFocus 3 has been released today, and with it comes greater flexibility in its Perspective function, as well as ways to really make it your own.


I have been an OmniFocus user since OmniFocus 1, and truth be told, I was absolutely baffled at version 1 when I first laid eyes upon it. At the time, my first impressions were that the layout was very complex, the design was less than handsome, and it felt very intimidating. So if you feel like OmniFocus may be overkill, I hav been there. But OmniFocus 3 feels very user-friendly, as did OmniFocus 2 before it. I feel that this release of the venerable task management suite from the amazing folks at The Omni Group offers to its end user a nice amount of customization and flexibility. More so than ever! One has many options with OmniFocus. You can create a simple "grocery-list" style application out of it, or run an entire business with it, as I do. The trick is finding out through some trial and error what type of person you are and what type of list manager you really need.

You can keep it simple, or really let the complexity rip with OmniFocus 3. I wanted to include a quick perspective example, in case you have never dove into OmniFocus.

Keep it Simple

First, I currently have the following Perspectives (which, as the name implies, are simply a filter which enables you to look at your task and list data in different ways). I use a Perspective which I call, "Today". With it, I can use Siri Shortcuts and simply say, "Hey, Siri - what's going on Today?", and at that point on my iPhone or iPad Siri launches into my custom "Today" Perspective.

You will invariable learn OmniFocus at your own pace, but this settings pane for the Today Perspective gives you a bit of insight into what type of filtration you can achieve :

Today perspective.png

This perspective allows me to see all of my tasks that are due Today, as sorted by each tag that I have. I am a GTD practitioner, and as such I "Tag" every single task with the context in which I can perform that task, and some examples are "@Home", "@Office PC", "@Errands", etc. I should note that to get a simplified Today list like this, you need to visit the OmniFocus settings and tell the application what, "Due Soon" means. In my example, "Due Soon" means Today. I also do not want to see tasks that are deferred out to another date, so I have only included tasks in this filter that are available to me now. Please note that I customized my Perspective using a Gold color, and an icon which can be found on Josh Hughes' OmniFocus 3 perspective icons page.

Using this simple template, you can play around in some of the features of the Pro edition of OmniFocus 3 to create your own Perspectives. Don't want to pay the extra fee for the Pro edition? The app has amazingly useful features in the Standard edition as well. You can compare the two editions right here.

Turn it up to 11

There are so many great resources on OmniFocus out there, which is why it has grown in popularity. I plan to write a book on it called, "An OmniFocus for Everyone", which should be delivered later this year. I am in the middle of writing a novel and running a business so it is going to wait until some of the other promised features are introduced, like the ability to share tasks with others, OmniFocus for the Web, etc (as shared in Omni Group CEO Ken Case's post [here]. However, to immediately take advantage of some of the more advanced features of OmniFocus, you can check out some of my favorite OmniFocus-enthusiastic folks out there, most notably :

  • The inimitable Tim Stringer and his Learn OmniFocus platform. I am a member to this day. Tim explains things very well using live chat, recorded videos, featured guests, and a calm walk-through that will empower you to use OmniFocus in some new and exciting ways.
  • The hardest-working man in Omni-fan land, David Sparks has offered a wonderful new course titled, OmniFocus Field Guide, which boasts about 5 hours of screen time. A value! He is also co-host of one of my favorite podcasts, Mac Power Users.
  • Rosemary Orchard knows automation, and it shows. She co-hosts the great podcast Automators with David Sparks, and even has a great site dedicated to automation called Automation Orchard. If you wish you had a personal assistant and want to dive into the wonderful world of automation, look no further.

Take OmniFocus for Mac for a free 14-day trial - it just might change the way you get things done!