My Twitter stream lately has had a lot of talk about people switching to OmniFocus from Things and as such I thought it might be helpful to share some of my favorite tips for new and old OmniFocus users.
Inside OmniFocus exists this preference pane called ‘style’ and this preference pane may just be the least productive part of OmniFocus – one could spend days in here. My advice is to not touch it unless you can’t stand the look and feel of things. If you really must change the look check out OFThemes.com first. If you still can’t find a theme you like then take a moment and make changes, go back and tweak a day later then leave it alone. Honestly don’t waste all of your time in this preference pane.
Set the default due time for your actions. I have mine set at 4:30pm because I work until 5pm and I know that the last half an hour of my day is reserved for getting ready for the next day and wrapping up loose ends. That means everything else needs to be done for the day by 4:30p. Make sure to adjust this to better suit the hours that you keep.
In the quick entry panel both the Project and Context fields will search as you type, you don’t need to know the exact name, just get close. Because of this and the fact that you can tab through the fields you should take the time to fill in all the fields helping to keep your ‘Inbox’ empty (and thus saving you from having to process it later). This of course is not a hard and fast rule, but something that I strongly believe in.
Another quick entry panel tip: the date field can take a lot of different things. Try the following:
Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri/Sat/Sun will all set the due date to the next time that day occurs. Note that for the life of me I cannot figure out a shorthand for Thursday so if anybody knows this please get in touch and let me know. [Updated: 10/7/10 at 10:31 AM] Thursday is abbreviated ‘Thu’ as pointed out by Omni Group’s CEO Ken Case – I have no clue why I never thought to try that.
- Tonight/Tomorrow both work as well, using the ‘tonight’ wording it sets the due date for today and the due time for 11p.
- Next: try adding ‘next’ in front of days and it will skip the upcoming day and take you to the next occurrence. Of course you can also just specify ‘next week’ or ‘next month’ or year if you so desire. This may be the most handy part of the quick entry panel.
- @ Time: You can also say Fri @ 10a for instance to set the due date and time in one line – which is very cool.
- Last hit the little gear in the bottom corner of the quick entry panel for more options, including the ability to capture a screen shot an attach it.
- Another tip from CEO Ken Case via Twitter that I had forgotten about:
BTW, you can also use relative intervals like “+2d” (two days from today) or “+3w 4pm” (three weeks from today, at 4pm).