The Omni Group
These forums are now read-only. Please visit our new forums to participate in discussion. A new account will be required to post in the new forums. For more info on the switch, see this post. Thank you!

Go Back   The Omni Group Forums > OmniFocus > OmniFocus 1 for Mac
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

New User - first impressions Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hi Everyone,

I am a new user of OF.

I'm not really asking any specific questions here but just saying what I think about the software and seeing if other people have the same impression of its its just me.

While OF is very good, it is most definitely not the most GTD compliant software I have used. The main reason I am using it is due to it's sync capabilities and that is the best I have come across - I actually bought a 2nd hand iPod touch just for this, and also commandeered my girlfriends macbook (I bought her an air for xmas). I was a Windows user and OF has actually converted me to a mac and windows user.

I have been using GTD for about 4 years now and have tested a *lot* of software. A lot of other software has a better Android or iPhone app, or a better desktop app (not talking mac specific here), or a perfect web interface (check out gtd-php) that through my experience are much more flexible as well as gtd compliant than OF, and in a lot of cases more solid and less 'beta', but NOTHING has the great sync capabilities that OF has while allowing your data to be 'yours' on your own server or desktop, which is what I need.

Where I think OF needs to improve to become better suited to the real world are:

1. Multiple context for single actions (workarounds are really not acceptable here)
2. On hold or waiting on for actions (as opposed to projects),
3. Clean up the UI (e.g. When I have a full inbox, I have to start processing at the top rather than the bottom otherwise the 'project' and 'context' drop downs go off screen, this is obviously a 'beta' problem).

There are a few other things but these are the main ones that can easily be show stoppers for a lot of people.

I'm sure the OF team have spent considerable time analyzing what the market wants, but I think that for the price OF costs, as well as the price of the ipad and iphone clients, it would be extremely easy for a competitor to come in and do simple things like this to improve it and steal the market (as has happened in other niche markets, e.g. Trados). Luckily for OF this hasn't happened to them (yet) but with the popularity of GTD growing its only a matter of time before it does. OF is currently the best for a lot of people, but only by a hair length due to the flaws of other systems. My message is mainly that I think OF is great, but please *keep up* the good work and not relax.

Last edited by gazhayes; 2011-01-24 at 07:27 PM.. Reason: Incorrect name for gtd-php
OmniFocus is the only Mac GTD application listed on the Software page at the David Allen Company website, and Davidco has put out a white paper on using OmniFocus. Said white paper opens with this quotation:

“OmniFocus is a stellar tool for keeping track of outcomes and actions in the Mac environment. It supports simple but important practices for keeping your head clear, staying focused, and managing your commitments.”
– David Allen
It must have somehow escaped DA's attention that OmniFocus is not fully GTD compliant, as you assert :-)

As for the improvements you suggest,
1) multiple contexts is something that is a popular request, but when push comes to shove, just isn't needed for the vast majority
2) extension of the status model to allow individual actions on hold is slated for OF 2 (and like #1, really isn't mandatory for most GTD practice)
3) your inbox problem was fixed almost two months ago in the sneaky peek builds (and someone who espouses "proper" GTD should be processing the inbox in first-in, first-out order, as DA writes in the first of the processing guidelines on p. 122 of Getting Things Done!)

I think you greatly underestimate the amount of effort required to build a system that would be a strong competitor to OmniFocus, much less surpass it. The Omni staff have demonstrated time and again that they have a good feel for which features the buying public wants and needs and which features are of interest primarily to a noisy but small group of people. Just as importantly, they've built a very strong support organization, and they do listen, notably better than much of their competition, I think.
It must have somehow escaped DA's attention that OmniFocus is not fully GTD compliant, as you assert :-)
There are apps that are more GTD compliant, I have used them. OF does not appear to support 20,000ft and higher very well, while other software does this flawlessly. In the quote you posted it only mentions outcomes and actions (runway and 10,000ft), and that is my experience and it supports what I was saying. Just because it is compliant and helpful with these two levels does not mean it is a full implementation of GTD, or as useful as other tools for the overall GTD system. Honestly, I have used literally over 50 different GTD tools across iPhone, Android, Linux, Windows, web based, and now Mac. There are much better and more complete implementations of GTD out there that I have personally road tested (with the majority being open source and free), the problem is that not one of them combine their awesomeness on the desktop or mobile together which is what I am after. So it is not a case of developing an entirely new system, but developing a complementary desktop or mobile client to add to an existing system, and considering that OF is the most expensive (by a long way) GTD software I have come across there is a lot of room to move. I would be more surprised if someone *doesn't* develop something in the next year or so (as long as GTD itself does not lose traction).

I'm not talking mac specific, I don't think this is overly relevant in the grand scheme of things - if there is a perfect implementation of GTD on windows and iphone people will use windows and iphone to use it (just as I am using mac and ipod for the first time because I want to use omnifocus). Code portability and also virtualization are improving at an insane rate too.
I'd rather have different tools that are specialized in different things for the different Horizons or even for different lists.

I could theoretically do my shopping list in OF but I like the single-focus app on my iPod touch called "Grocery List".

I tend to do brainstorming better in PersonalBrain and OmniOutliner.

Of course we'd all love an all-in-one tool but sometimes it pays off better to have different single-focus programs.

PersonalBrain and OmniOutliner serves me better at the higher Horizons. I'm not sure if I want OF to be able to do mindmapping and outlining when there are already programs that are already out there for the higher Horizons. Why reinvent the wheel when Omni's time can be better spent on refining OF?
Hi Wilson,

I agree with you so much as the mindmapping etc go, I also use PersonalBrain and its perfect for that. I use Evernote as a reference system. There is no reason for OF to incorporate these things as its quite OK to have them in separate systems. What I'm talking about though are things like goals, vison, areas of responsibility, etc.

For example, in the software I was using before it was very simple to trace single actions all the way back through each of these levels all the way to 50,000ft. OF is not designed for this (stops at 10,000ft unless you use workarounds) and that's why most OF users seem to be using multiple systems. I know a lot of people are happy to use GTD as simply a task management system but I want to relate my tasks and projects to my goals, principles, etc and having this aspect 'taken away' from me when switching to OF is what is hurting the most. I would love to continue using the software I was previously using (for 3 years) but it is only web based with no apps. Other software comes close but only has either desktop or mobile apps but not both. I think for people that value 20,000ft and up as much as runway and 10,000ft, having this in the same system is extremely useful and is why a lot of GTD software does incorporate this.
I agree that OF still has a long way to go before it can go above 10K. I think I've seen some setups where some people create folders and label each folder as an Area of Responsibility in project mode. Then they create subfolders and projects that contribute to each Area:

AOR: Good spouse

Subfolder: Be a good parent
Subfolder: Parent Teacher associatin

AOR: Office Manager

Subfolder: Employee morale
Project: 10th Anniversary party

AOR: Spirituality

Subfolder: Organize Easter week activities for Sunday school

Maybe this would be a way to work in the Areas of Responsibilities?

Yes, working at the Higher Horizons is a little tougher in OF. But then again, OF is version 1.x. Hopefully v2.0 will take clues from some of the other GTD programs out there. Maybe you can e-mail the support ninjas and point them to some URLs and software packages. It should help provide them clues about what has worked in other programs and how they can improve OF.

I choose OF because it was just leaps and bounds over Things. But Things has its place in the world for folks who just want a simpler task manager.

If I recall the Omni Roadmap, they had been working furiously on OF for the iPad and OmniGraffle for the iPad over the last year. I believe they are still working on OmniOutliner for the iPad and OmniPlan 2.0 for the Mac. Maybe they'll get around to OF 2.0 pretty soon.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
OmniFocus - Second Impressions Shotster OmniFocus for iPad 4 2012-03-24 10:06 AM
OW 5.8 impressions philonous OmniWeb General 6 2008-06-30 07:29 PM
iPhone SDK impressions? switters OmniFocus 1 for Mac 4 2008-01-23 10:48 AM
SP r88432 impressions philonous OmniWeb General 6 2007-08-07 02:26 PM
My impressions so far Stormchild OmniPlan General 2 2006-07-27 10:51 PM

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:39 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.