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My apologies if this topic is a rerun.

I use OF right now to track tasks for 25 people, creating a context for each person or role. It's probably a perversion of the GTD concept, but it's working for me. I've gotten over the hump of learning OF and have been "just using it."

I am looking for a way to go beyond organizing physical activities; I'd like to organize and track my thinking. When I have an idea I like to jot it down even if it's just rudimentary and then build on it either by editing the original note or creating a "cluster" of notes on a topic. In the past I've used Stickies, text files with Spotlight tags and saved searches, folder hierarchies, and some other things and haven't like any of those methods.

I'm experimenting now with Evernote, but really don't like the tediousness of redefining my search to focus on tagged notes or individual notebooks. Evernote has a lot going for it though, the server sync is nice, the clipping is nice, the content of the note is the focus, there's a lot in there I haven't discovered yet I think.

Why not Omnifocus? It has the organizational capabilities I think I'm looking for, it syncs, it exists on my notebook and my phone, etc. Some downsides might be that the text of the notes aren't the focus of a task so it would be painful to view each note in turn, and it's kind of a "heavy" app on the phone and might inhibit me. Kind of like swatting a fly with a hammer - the tool might not fit the task in this case.

Has anyone found a way to use OF for what I'm describing?

I appreciate your comments and ideas!

I've toyed with the idea of using OF for notes as well. Here are some of the reasons why I don't use it for notes:

Notes for me are learning that I have done that I don't want to redo. Precious time is spent on finding the information. The more I can retain that information, the more time I save in the future. What has scared me off of OF is I don't want to complete a task that is a note, and have it lost to me.

I also don't like the idea of having checkboxes next to notes... as if they could be completed. I know this is a small thing, but psychologically I don't like the idea of it.

On the other hand, it could be very useful to take notes while I work on a project, and what better place than within the task. I think a best world scenario would be the ability to copy off the notes when I have completed a project. Any applescripters want to take this on? ;) Maybe it's something I'll write in the future. Currently I use Evernote, which doesn't have Applescript support.

There is no way to search on the iPhone app. This is crucial to me. My note taking style has evolved to more of a gmail mindset, where I take more notes than I need and rely on searching to find them again.

I've used Yojimbo in the past, but there is no iPhone app for it. So now I'm on Evernote. The searching is nice, although I don't like the fact that all my notes are on a server somewhere else. And if my internet connection goes down and I need to reference my notes... I'm hosed.

I like tagging notes. It offers the most flexibility.
The tagging in Evernote is great, it repeats the Spotlight functionality I'm used to and makes perfect sense.

Every time I watch the progress indicator in Evernote I think about what would happen with no network, or worse.

And I retract my comment about the tediousness of redefining my search. I've learned about the power of saved searches and the big, red "Reset" button.

Your points about OF as a note-taker are spot-on, thanks for pointing them out. The more I think about it the more I think it's just not the right tool for the job, although it could be made to do so with some effort.
First of all while I find typing on the iPhone OK, its not good enough for me for full blown note taking/brainstorming.

Rather than take notes directly in OF, I think its appropriate to create an action in OF that is basically "Flush out idea on X" with some initial notes in OF.

Then back on the Mac, I can move this to my preferred note taking tool, Journler. Journler is very scriptable, and I already have a toolbar script that creates a Journler entry from a OF task.

Now Journler doesn't have an iPhone app, but I keep way more in Journler than I would want synced on my iPhone. I'm toying with getting one of the iPhone document apps (leaning toward "Files") and then, since Journler's repository is just in the filesystem, I could script a select set of stuff (based on tag or what have you) from Journler/local FS via webDAV to iPhone app. The "Files" app knows RTF and has search.

I agree with the consensus here: OmniFocus is not designed as a general-purpose note-taking app. However, similar to ptone, I've gotten into the habit of creating OmniFocus actions for things I want to think about or flesh-out in more detail when time permits. I try to start them with a verb to make them actionable: Think about ..., Decide on ..., Consider doing ..., etc.

I even went so far as to create a "Thinking" context, which I usually keep on hold to keep those items out of my day-to-day work. Whenever I have some free time (e.g. sitting on the train or heading out on my daily run), I quickly check my Thinking context for things to occupy my brain.

I usually have no more than a couple sentences in the notes field of my Thinking actions. If I want to flesh-out the idea more (I often find writing/typing out ideas helps me think them through), my preferred app is OmniOutliner. It offers an interface similar in feel to OmniFocus and I love being able to collapse and hoist portions of the document for clarity. I usually link the OmniOutliner file to my action in OmniFocus. The OmniOutliner file isn't readable from my iPhone (one advantage of RTF, I guess), but I haven't really missed that yet. At least I can see the original OmniFocus action and its notes.

When I've resolved the Thinking action (made a decision or thoroughly thought it through), I usually delete it from OmniFocus. But if it's something I might want to revisit in the future, I mark it complete and let it get archived eventually.

Thanks everyone for your comments and ideas. It's definitely a work in progress for me at this point! ( No due date... ) :D

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