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-   -   Things vs Omni Focus (http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=13929)

AntonEngblom 2009-09-20 03:18 PM

Things vs Omni Focus
 
Hi!
I am considering switching to OF from Things.
Do you guys have some nice ideas why I should switch to OF from Things? Are people happy with this app and why?
Why do you think I should invest in OF?

I am reading GTD for the moment and I want to really have a GTD-tool that I can "grow" in and of course is fun to work with.

Would be grateful for some thoughts on this from someone who is more experienced in the GTD system and maybe had tried some other GTD applications.

Best regards.

AntonEngblom

AntonEngblom 2009-09-20 03:20 PM

Things vs OmniFocus
 
Hi!
I am considering switching to OF from Things.
Do you guys have some nice ideas why I should switch to OF from Things? Are people happy with this app and why?
Why do you think I should invest in OF?

I am reading GTD for the moment and I want to really have a GTD-tool that I can "grow" in and of course is fun to work with.

Would be grateful for some thoughts on this from someone who is more experienced in the GTD system and maybe had tried some other GTD applications.

Best regards.

AntonEngblom

Mango Himself 2009-09-20 09:59 PM

AntonEngblom

hey Anton, it's Mango form the other forum. I also hang out here.

My opinion is that they are both equally strong if oyu know what you're doing. I would not consider other alternatives. I own both.

One great advantage with Omni is that if oyu don't want or don't need the desktop app you can backup your data through a free WebDav server. With the other manufacturer you must condition your itunes to create a real backup.

Which is better? I feel Omni is richer in features. The other one is minimalistc and more attractive. After using both for a while, I like them both.

AntonEngblom 2009-09-21 12:27 AM

[QUOTE=Mango Himself;67173]AntonEngblom

hey Anton, it's Mango form the other forum. I also hang out here.

My opinion is that they are both equally strong if oyu know what you're doing. I would not consider other alternatives. I own both.

One great advantage with Omni is that if oyu don't want or don't need the desktop app you can backup your data through a free WebDav server. With the other manufacturer you must condition your itunes to create a real backup.

Which is better? I feel Omni is richer in features. The other one is minimalistc and more attractive. After using both for a while, I like them both.[/QUOTE]

Thank you.

If you use both alternatives... When do you use each one of them? For example do you use one for personal projects and the other one for work?

I happen to make my woman pregnant recently(ooops how did that happened?!) and I want to make this to a life time party. I need an app to collect ALL things in life in a system for achieving my longterm, short-term, personal, financial, material, career goals. I need a system for my hole life.
I want it to be a good one! I would be grateful for some thoughts on this.
Objectively, professional.

Can you help me out with this one?

BevvyB 2009-09-21 01:03 AM

Things forces you to work a certain way. Omnifocus lets you specifically tailor your way of working.

To cut a long story short, Omnifocus has a steep learning curve as it does a lot of stuff and it takes a while to figure out how you want to use it for your own workflow. However, once you've done that, you won't want to leave Omnifocus and other applications will appear lacking.

Also, sync between OF and the iPhone app is brilliant, and both the mac and iPhone applications are continuously in development, UNLIKE pretty much every other to do list / GTD style app out there.

You may find OF frustrating to begin with. But I swear you won't regret it.

eurothespian 2009-09-21 05:06 AM

I strongly recommend:

A) First, download a trial copy of OF. Before you jump into using it, watch the ScreenCast videos of using OmniFocus ([url]http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omnifocus/[/url]). They are a great way to get a practical introduction in a short amount of time. Don't just "watch" the videos, follow along with your trial copy & try entering a few tasks the way he does in the video. It will really help you skip some of the learning curve most people struggle with when they try to just "jump in" to OF.

B) After you've watched at least the "Basics" screencast, take a small chunk of projects/tasks from Things & enter them into OF. Actually using the tool with your own tasks will give you the best experience of what it's like, much more than anybody else's advice. As you play with OF, try to avoid making it "work like Things". There are some significant differences in "how" these apps help you organize your stuff, and if you really want to figure out which is better for you, you should be sure to say "How does OF handle this?" instead of "Why doesn't OF do this the way Things does?!"

As for my own thoughts, I downloaded both OF & Things trials, and used them both for a couple weeks. They have a lot of similarities, and share many of the same benefits/features. You can do a Google search on "Things vs OmniFocus" to find dozens of different opinions about them. Largely, I'd say the choice really adds up to personal differences in the way people like to organize their work -- this makes the choice as much about each program's philosophy as its features. As for me....

I like Things' "tags" feature because it lets you assign multiple keywords/contexts to any given task, which is really useful, and something OF lacks. *However*, it also can let you get carried away with tagging, and I immediately found that tags seemed to clutter up the UI and distract me from my real goal: actually *doing* stuff. (you can hide the tags, but then I found instead of seeing too "much" information, I saw too little).

Unlike Things, OF imposes a little more structure on how you organize your work -- it follows the GTD principles much more closely than Things. People who want to organize work "their way" will usually prefer Things, for this reason. It just kind of lets you do what you want, without providing much structure. People who really found they like the GTD approach often like OF better, because it is structured around the GTD principles. Having read the GTD book, I really liked the structure it provided, and so I have found OF to be very natural to pick up & start using.

The *biggest* reason I chose OF over Things was the same one BevvyB mentioned: the iPhone syncing. Earlier this year, I started using MobileMe syncing for my contacts & calendars from my Mac to my iPhone (and back). It was so fluid & easy, I never had to think about it again. Currently, OF supports MobileMe syncing (along with a bunch of other sync methods), and Things doesn't. For someone who can practically no longer *survive* without his MobileMe calendar/contacts syncing, that was a big difference for me. Ultimately, this was the clincher.

Cost: a lot of people note that OF is more expensive to buy than Things. While this is true, having a system that really works for you and helps you be more productive is a very valuable thing, and at the risk of sounding like a salesman, a difference of $30 (or whatever it is) is really insignificant if you find the right tool for you. Compared to a Franklin Covey paper planner, these software tools are less than half the cost and are ten times as useful (not to mention a lot easier to carry around!).

Try out both tools & see which one feels right to you.

Mango Himself 2009-09-21 07:12 AM

Based on what you mention, use Omnifocus. You can take pictures in the
tasks and record the voice of your baby in the tasks. Then, you can use the completed tasks as a record.

I use Omnifocus for business and the other one for personal. I like to keep them separate because many times I let my secretary use my Omnifocus to enter tasks and I want privacy.

Toadling 2009-09-22 09:10 AM

[QUOTE=AntonEngblom;67178]I happen to make my woman pregnant recently(ooops how did that happened?!)[/QUOTE]

OmniFocus has a lot of features and is very flexible, but this might be one area where it can't help much. ;-)

-Dennis

AntonEngblom 2009-09-24 03:19 PM

Thanx for good reply. I will soon try it out.

AntonEngblom 2009-09-24 03:21 PM

[QUOTE=Toadling;67259]OmniFocus has a lot of features and is very flexible, but this might be one area where it can't help much. ;-)

-Dennis[/QUOTE]

hehehe. Do U think it will show up something helpful in next upgrade for this pregnancy business?

AntonEngblom 2009-09-24 03:25 PM

[QUOTE=BevvyB;67179]Things forces you to work a certain way. Omnifocus lets you specifically tailor your way of working.

To cut a long story short, Omnifocus has a steep learning curve as it does a lot of stuff and it takes a while to figure out how you want to use it for your own workflow. However, once you've done that, you won't want to leave Omnifocus and other applications will appear lacking.

Also, sync between OF and the iPhone app is brilliant, and both the mac and iPhone applications are continuously in development, UNLIKE pretty much every other to do list / GTD style app out there.

You may find OF frustrating to begin with. But I swear you won't regret it.[/QUOTE]

Really nice reply. Very helpful. I will give it a shot as soon as I have finished the David Allan book.

Greetings from Sweden.

AntonEngblom 2009-09-24 03:46 PM

Thank you!

Very helpful reply. I really like that you speak for both sides. Very often prestige gets in the way for fact and reasonable thinking.
I was quite fast to buy Things when I got my new 3GS. It really looks beautifully "Mac". OF feels more "PC" at the first impression and thats i little lack but I will come over it...

I will try out OF with your words in mind and be open for a whole new structure. It is obvious that OF is more solid. I either hope OF pimp up their design a little or that Things pimp up its functionality quite a bit...

OmniFocus seems to have easier to win this race...

Thank you once again!

eurothespian 2009-09-25 01:51 PM

I agree that Things did seem to be a little more intuitive & "Mac-like" than OmniFocus. If you're familiar with OmniOutliner, OF will feel very familiar (it actually was born from the marriage of OmniOutliner & Kinkless GTD scripts). I really love OF as a product so far, and I would hate for the UI to scare new users away -- hopefully OF will take that into account in future versions & see if there are ways to simplify it without taking away the wonderful functionality, as thus feel easier to new users. That said, the power of perspectives make it soooo easy to customize the UI the way *you* want it, and be able to pull up any "view" of that UI at any time, with a single click or keystroke. I don't know if Things has a similar feature, but in my opinion, it's one of the most powerful features in OF.

Side note: If you haven't started using the "Clippings" feature to create new tasks from your e-mails, you should try it out -- its REALLY useful!

Toadling 2009-09-25 04:18 PM

[QUOTE=eurothespian;67429]I agree that Things did seem to be a little more intuitive & "Mac-like" than OmniFocus.[/QUOTE]

I'm often puzzled by the "more Mac-like" claims. As a avid Mac-user since 1986, I don't agree with you in this case, but it's clearly a subjective judgment.

Out of curiosity, what is it about Things that you think makes it seem more Mac-like?

-Dennis

labete 2009-09-26 04:17 PM

I've used both, and I came back to Omnifocus. I outlined my thoughts in a blog post at the time [url]http://www.safeism.com/blog/index.php/2009/04/omnifocus-vs-things/[/url]

In short I didn't like the tagging feature of Things, and I found the lack of flexibility to hamper my ability to manage a whole-life to do list. It is simple and attractive but just not powerful enough for me.

denrael 2009-09-26 08:46 PM

Life Balance, the unknown competitor
 
I've played with both Omnifocus and Things, because I tend to be a tech junkie. I keep coming back to Life Balance however. It's been around since the days of the Apple Newton, and runs on Palm, iPhone, Mac, Windows. Even though it is older than GTD itself, it follows the GTD principles quite well. It also has a few features that OF doesn't have such as being able to continue to break tasks down into smaller chunks, and to set open and close times for locations (contexts).

whpalmer4 2009-09-26 11:11 PM

[QUOTE=denrael;67465]It also has a few features that OF doesn't have such as being able to continue to break tasks down into smaller chunks[/QUOTE]
Could you describe in a bit more detail what you mean by this? You can turn an action into an action group to "break tasks down into smaller chunks" in OF, and you can turn one of the actions in that action group into an action group, and one of the actions in that action group into an action group, etc. Either you didn't realize that, or I'm not understanding what you mean, or maybe both :-)

chinarut 2009-09-30 12:21 PM

[QUOTE=labete;67463]I've used both, and I came back to Omnifocus. I outlined my thoughts in a blog post at the time [url]http://www.safeism.com/blog/index.php/2009/04/omnifocus-vs-things/[/url]

In short I didn't like the tagging feature of Things, and I found the lack of flexibility to hamper my ability to manage a whole-life to do list. It is simple and attractive but just not powerful enough for me.[/QUOTE]

hey thanks for sharing that blog post - I'm wondering if you could share a bit more about the "Areas of Responsibility" bit you like about Things.

I've an avid user of OF and don't intend to switch anytime soon and this kind of functionality is really missing for me.

What do you do about projects that are on the critical path in your life and co-exist in multiple areas of life in OF?

I've tried folders and perspectives but it's become a bit of a headache to maintain!

that said, I'm not familiar enough with Things to know if Things lets you assign a project to multiple areas!

JKT 2009-10-03 06:58 AM

Things for iPhone [I]still[/I] doesn't have recurring tasks or OTA synching nearly a year after Cultured Code promised that they would be adding them. There have been a lot of point updates to the app in that time and each one brings disappointment for its users.

This is the major difference between the two apps: one set of developers deliver, the other doesn't.

Also, the tagging UI in Things on the iPhone is absolutely abysmal. It makes what should be a good feature to have utterly worthless.

Things on the iPhone has been a terrible waste of money for me. I keep dabbling with it in the hope that it will one day improve, but I always end up frustrated with its severe limitations.

P.S. I don't use the desktop app - the lack of improvement in the iPhone app for several months put me off paying for it.

eurothespian 2009-10-04 09:12 PM

[QUOTE=JKT;67796]Things for iPhone [I]still[/I] doesn't have recurring tasks or OTA synching nearly a year after Cultured Code promised that they would be adding them. There have been a lot of point updates to the app in that time and each one brings disappointment for its users.

This is the major difference between the two apps: one set of developers deliver, the other doesn't.

Also, the tagging UI in Things on the iPhone is absolutely abysmal. It makes what should be a good feature to have utterly worthless.

Things on the iPhone has been a terrible waste of money for me. I keep dabbling with it in the hope that it will one day improve, but I always end up frustrated with its severe limitations.

P.S. I don't use the desktop app - the lack of improvement in the iPhone app for several months put me off paying for it.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the info, JKT -- all of that makes me feel very good about my investment in the desktop & iPhone versions of OF! =)

denrael 2009-10-05 07:16 AM

What I meant was I can enjoy an unlimited level of subtasks in Life Balance. In OmniFocus, at least from what I've seen, I can do that, but only by converting a project to a folder. So, to me, OmniFocus provides a great tool when initially planning, but not so much when in the middle of things.

Here is an example. I may be doing a review, and find something that I keep "pushing off" (yes, I've been known to procrastinate). More often than not, it's because I haven't broken it down to the smallest element. In Life Balance, I can add a sub-task or series of them indicating what I need to accomplish to get to that hanging task. In OmniFocus accomplishing that same thing is more challenging.

All that being said, I love the Review Date concept of OmniFocus and it's the one element which has me constantly coming back to play with it.

JKT 2009-10-05 10:28 AM

[QUOTE=denrael;67856]Here is an example. I may be doing a review, and find something that I keep "pushing off" (yes, I've been known to procrastinate). More often than not, it's because I haven't broken it down to the smallest element. In Life Balance, I can add a sub-task or series of them indicating what I need to accomplish to get to that hanging task. In OmniFocus accomplishing that same thing is more challenging.
[/QUOTE]
On the iPhone or on the Desktop? On the desktop it is very easy to nest actions below a top level. Just hit enter then command-] to indent the new action as a child of the one above it. Any new ones subsequently added will be at the same level as the child. Command-[ will outdent if you want to get back to the parent level.

On the iPhone, this is obviously a lot trickier ;)

JKT 2009-10-05 10:52 AM

[QUOTE=eurothespian;67834]Thanks for the info, JKT -- all of that makes me feel very good about my investment in the desktop & iPhone versions of OF! =)[/QUOTE]

Looking back at my post, I should clarify what I mean by OTA synching - Things does Wi-Fi synching with the Desktop client over your LAN, but there is no way to do OTA synching to a server to backup your content in the absence of the desktop app, or to synch with the desktop app via EDGE, 3G or Wi-Fi to a server.

gerben 2009-10-06 04:42 PM

Ok, a blunt remark, statement, or maybe just semi off topic bullocks: my things license is for sale! Have it cheap! I have the desktop and the iphone license, but i guess you can only sell your desktop license.. I don't know, but check the CC dudes for that. It is doing nothing for me anymore, and i'm more then willing to let go of it.


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