Omnifocus Is Not a TODO App, It’s a CAN DO App

Technology

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jotham.lim

I made the switch from Things (my main app for 3 years) to OF4 after learning about David Sparks and CGP Grey’s approach to task management.

My issue with most to-do apps is that they are time-based, whether it’s assigning a date or using time-blocking/calendar hybrids. This method is poor at task recovery.

My workdays are unpredictable and get disrupted all the time. Unfinished tasks today get rolled over to tomorrow, and tomorrow to the day after tomorrow, and so on. The only time-based app that does task recovery well is Skedpal, but it’s expensive, ugly and requires a lot of configuring to use effectively.

OF4 Helps Me Take a “scrying” Approach to Task Management

Tasks are like an infinite deck of cards, and it’s impossible for us to finish them within our lifetime. The best we can do is to organise the pile and work through it card by card.

Time-based systems are arbitrary ways to cut this deck of cards. “I’ll work on these top 10 today, and the next 9 tomorrow”. I find myself re-cutting the deck every time there’s something unexpected in my schedule.

OF4 works by scrying — “Here are the top 3 cards you can work on at any given time. Oh, you can’t work on them today? It’s okay. These 3 cards will be waiting for you tomorrow, and I’ll ping you if there’s something more urgent that comes your way”. The combination of features like Review, first available, available, sequential projects, custom perspectives are hard to find elsewhere.

I’ve only adopted this system over the past 2 weeks, and it works well with me so far. We’ll see how it goes.

Worst case scenario, I’ll just go back to Things.

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