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-   -   Cheatsheet: moving from Things to Omnifocus (http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=19941)

stevenjohn 2011-01-30 12:31 PM

Cheatsheet: moving from Things to Omnifocus
 
3 Attachment(s)
I've just spent the last week researching and finally doing the move from Things to Omnifocus - and now find myself using a system that has the niceties of Things such as a Today list, but with lots more power under the hood and a setup that lends itself to GTD much better.

As I have to post before being able to add url, here's my first post

stevenjohn 2011-01-30 12:35 PM

Cheatsheet: moving from Things to Omnifocus
 
3 Attachment(s)
Second time lucky now if i can add urls:

I've just spent the last week researching and finally doing the move from Things to Omnifocus - and now find myself using a system that has the niceties of Things such as a Today list, but with lots more power under the hood and a setup that lends itself to GTD much better.

So here is my cheatsheet to make the move to end up with something that looks like this:

[ATTACH]1772[/ATTACH]

Here we go:

1. In Things first go through your tasks and project and delete anything thats hanging around, no need to transfer more than you need (Take a backup before you start doing any of this of course!)

2. Use the script here [url]http://snipplr.com/view/40156[/url] to import your data into OF. First run it as it is, the change the line:

from: repeat with aToDo in to dos of list "Scheduled"

to: repeat with aToDo in to dos of list "Next"

so you get both lists in from Things.

3. Now go and read the 5 advanced topics found here [url]http://kouroshdini.com/2009/04/23/how-to-use-omnifocus-a-guide-for-the-advanced-user/[/url] - it'll get your head in the right space before you do any organisation and will save you lots of time.

While your at it, read this [url]http://simplicityisbliss.com/2011/01/02/making-sense-of-single-action-lists-in-omnifocus/[/url] - it'll really complete your training - remember, OF lets you organise the system as you want - I found doing the extra research made it really rewarding when I went onto the next stage..

4. Now begin to organise the Library area in Omnifocus - typically this will have some relationship to Areas in Things, but its much more flexible - so take the time to read [url]http://www.omnigroup.com/ftp/pub/software/MacOSX/Extras/OmniFocus/GTDandOmniFocus.pdf[/url] . I left all my projects and areas imported from Things at the bottom and started building my Folder/SAL/Projects/Tasks at the top - as I brought items up into my new system I then went and deleted the equivalent in Things so I could double check everything was brought across

Move your Scheduled tasks over manually.

5. Now organise your contexts - list all your tasks and go through each one assigning a context.

NOTE: My contexts look like this:
[ATTACH]1773[/ATTACH]

Some people complain that you cant have multiple contexts, i.e. as you could using tagging in Things. IMO it can be useful having less here. For good GTD any tasks should be boiled down to a pretty simple context - an email, research, a phone call. Any task that doesnt fit into a simple context like this is put into my 'Omni Focus' context which is a context I go into to further plan/split that task/project so it does fit into normal contexts.

For me I'm normally online and near a machine - so I tend to split mental or software modes - for example, I have to boot up a windows box for our Quickbooks software, so I'll make sure thats given a context.

6. So now add your Someday/Maybe and your Housekeeping folders if you want to. Also think about checking all your projects have review dates defined, its a OF feature you'll want to take advantage of.

7. Now we get onto the really important stuff :) The 'Today' list. Just follow the video tutorial found here:

[url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIu8JI4rKQM[/url]

Most of the important stuff is in the second part, but its worth watching it all first time round. Also, once you have created your new perspective, if you want to give it that familiar Star icon, here's the one I used - its easy to upload that in the 'Show Perspectives' dialogue box:

[ATTACH]1774[/ATTACH]

[I]UPDATE: After using this for a few days I found I preferred to have it so that it does not pop up a fresh window. So I resaved my Today perspective with the icon bar showing - and also saved the other perspectives so that when they are reloaded they maintain their apearance (i.e. the side bar re-appears when you come back from the Today view). Personally I prefer one window where you flick between modes at the top as you do in Things, I dont like lots of windows floating around that can become out of date)...[/I]

8. Now you have a Today list. Right click on the icon bar at the top, and add your today list. Changing the icons to 'use small size' makes the UI look a bit sleeker in my opinion.

You'll see I've also added a perspective called 'Planning' - that just shows a context view of the items I've put into the 'Omni Planning' context, and are items I need to review and develop to plan how I'm going to do those tasks effectively.

9. Last but not least - go into preferences > style - and click a couple of times on the "Change all font sizes" button to make the fonts a bit smaller - puts it slightly more in line with Things UI sleekness. I adjusted the headings slightly too. There's quite a few themes about, but after playing with them found that making a few minor adjustments myself to the default theme gaves the best results.

And there you have it. For me its a system that lets me organise projects and tasks more effectively - the custom perspectives are fantastic, and it was particularly nice seeing my custom Today icon appearing in my iPad app - which was all done via a quick and painless cloud sync.

OF can put you off as the learning curve is steeper, and out the box doesnt look nearly as nice as Things - but once you delve in you'll find your dealing with a different beast that - if you're truly into the business of improving your productivity - will make a big difference.

Hope this is of help.

Steve

wilsonng 2011-01-31 07:28 PM

Thanks for a great tip..... Wished I knew this a long time ago......

stevenjohn 2011-02-01 01:33 AM

Good news - am pleased to say OF is getting better and better for me as I peel off and get into the additional features it has over Things.

wilsonng 2011-02-03 02:38 PM

That's what I've found too. Having multiple contexts sounds nice but it just layers on more layers of complexity. I try to keep my contexts to a minimum. It expands and shrinks dynamically from week to week. So I'll be adding some new contexts as needed and then deleting contexts when they are no longer relevant.

Adding multiple contexts seems to just muddy the waters for me and forces me to keep track of more things that I really need to.

i always believe in applying the relevant context to each task. Sure there are other subcontexts but in the small windows of free time during my day, I can look at the most relevant context and then make a snap decision about whether I want to do a task based on my current conditions.



[QUOTE=stevenjohn;92495]
Some people complain that you cant have multiple contexts, i.e. as you could using tagging in Things. IMO it can be useful having less here. For good GTD any tasks should be boiled down to a pretty simple context - an email, research, a phone call. Any task that doesnt fit into a simple context like this is put into my 'Omni Focus' context which is a context I go into to further plan/split that task/project so it does fit into normal contexts.

[/QUOTE]

Brian 2011-02-03 06:18 PM

Woah, this is an amazing resource. Thanks, Stevenjohn!

Kourosh 2011-02-06 08:07 AM

Nice!
 
That's a nice listing, stevenjohn!

Bryan 2011-02-08 03:21 AM

You Tube video has no sound....?
 
I really got a lot out of this. I wanted to construct the today view, but the YouTube video had no sound and so I couldn't understand any of it.

Does anyone know a place that the video has sound or would be so kind as to post how to construct this Perspective?

Thanks,

Bryan

Brian 2011-02-08 04:36 PM

Bryan, when I watch the video it seems to include sound. Maybe sound got muted in the YouTube player? (The second button from the left in the bar below the video.)

Bryan 2011-02-08 06:33 PM

Weird....
 
OK that is really weird. I get no sound from this video in Safari on my Mac, but I do get sound in Firefox on the Mac and Firefox on Windows. The sound isn't muted (good thought though) and other videos have sound.

I noticed someone else posted a comment below the video saying something like "what no sound?"....


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