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Cheatsheet: moving from Things to Omnifocus Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
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
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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:

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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 http://snipplr.com/view/40156 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 http://kouroshdini.com/2009/04/23/ho...advanced-user/ - 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 http://simplicityisbliss.com/2011/01...-in-omnifocus/ - 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 http://www.omnigroup.com/ftp/pub/sof...dOmniFocus.pdf . 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:
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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:

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

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:

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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)...

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

Last edited by stevenjohn; 2011-02-01 at 01:32 AM.. Reason: a couple of updates to add to the text
 
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:
Originally Posted by stevenjohn View Post
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.
 
Woah, this is an amazing resource. Thanks, Stevenjohn!
 
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
 
Thanks so much for this stevenjohn! Awesome work. I've got a couple points to add.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenjohn View Post
2. Use the script here 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"
I would add that you can also use this to move your Someday todos over by changing it
to: repeat with aToDo in to dos of list "Someday".
Also, the current Applescript originally has Next, not Scheduled. So it should read:
First run it as it is, the change the line:

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

to: repeat with aToDo in to dos of list "Scheduled"
That means the below quote should read
Move your Repeating tasks over manually.
instead of Scheduled tasks

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenjohn View Post
... 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.
 
Thanks to stevenjohn for the original post and script link , but when I run the script, I get:

error "OmniFocus got an error: AppleEvent handler failed." number -10000

Any idea what this means specifically? Are there any other scripts I could try that bring items from Things into OF?
Thank you.

Okay Johnny Google pointed me to : https://gist.github.com/hvolkmer/4020468 and I will try that out and report back
 
Thanks for a great tip..... Wished I knew this a long time ago......
 
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.

Last edited by stevenjohn; 2011-02-01 at 01:33 AM.. Reason: typo
 
 


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