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Hi all,

Ok, coming back to OF my main problem remains that of the reference material. I've been with reQall for an academic year now, and it's very, very nice to be able to separate actionable materials from "notes" (something the zombie Midnight Inbox seemed to do decently), and it's even better to have those notes a) portable (cloud-based) and b) within the same app as the actionable stuff. Now b) seems to cover a) to some extent: e.g., if notes were part of OF's database, they would get synced as well and be available across my 3 platforms of greatest interest (laptop, iPhone, iPad) [I was made a cloud convert over this year, but the iPad really changed the game and I'm now lugging it around most of the time]
The great advantage of reQall is that it also 'bugs you' with reminders, meaning that I review regularly and in a quite ingenious fashion the reference material; however if reference material [just talking notes here] were integrated to OF, I could see how it would be easy to assign review dates to get around this issue.

Now the reason I'm seriously annoyed by this is that I do my 'brain dumps' in OF, and that includes lots of non-actionable stuff. I've tried keeping it in dropped/on hold projects in OF, but that's pretty counter-intuitive. I'm also not a fan of exporting it to another software (script, etc.) as it breaks a bit the continuity of my workflow (it works for a while but not when you have massive amounts to process, one reason I moved away from the otherwise very interesting Ready-Set-Do). Also, the only export that I'd truly consider at this point would have to be towards either reQall or Evernote so that I could access the data on the go.

I've of course already voted for a notes feature in OF, but I'm wondering if in the great world of the forum there are any new solutions for this particular type of issue (Inbox=>Notes=>cloud-based reference) that I haven't considered. I know that a year or so ago a lot of people including myself were looking at apps like Bento, Together, Yojimbo, etc. (not to mention a lot of the 'black belts' here using OO) but I think things might have shifted a bit?

Looking forward to your ideas!
My notes go into Notational Velocity on the desktop and SimpleNote on the iPhone/iPad. All are synced through SimpleNote's web service. I'm looking forward to the iPad version of OmniOutliner, but it's going to have to have very nice syncing abilities to get me out of SimpleNote.

My workflow is probably a bit different than yours. I only throw actionable projects and tasks at OF. Brain dumps to me are a collecting activity; extracting actionable items from the brain dump is a clarifying activity (Allen called this "processing" in GTD, but renamed it "clarifying" in Making It All Work.) I brain dump to either paper or SimpleNote, then sort through the results to decide what actions need to be added to OF. I have steps in my weekly/monthly review checklists to review notes, so don't need the notes in OF to remember to review them.

For me, this firm division between collecting and clarifying is essential. Without it, I resist capturing everything when I don't yet know what I want to do with it. I can be more disciplined at separating collecting and clarifying by not using OF for brain dumps. I don't mean to imply that this is the "right" way to handle this, but thought I'd offer it in case you're interested in trying it. (And process change or not, take a look at SimpleNote—lightning fast, bare bones, does one thing and does it extremely well.)

Hi Curt,

Thanks for your thoughtful reply—you're spot on about the differences in our workflows, but your remarks are very useful nonetheless.
I only just found out about the DA OmniFocus whitepaper: I'm not so impressed by the way they describe their process. Collection happens entirely in OF, but then you move non-actionables to other systems. I just wish there'd be a way to save that step, and unfortunately I really can't do without the single brain-dump place for actionables and non-actionables alike...
Regarding the notes system itself: part of what made reQall very useful for me is that I've been using it to help me memorize/review the massive amounts of tidbits of info we have to learn in med school. Integration with Evernote means that it's very easy to tie those notes in with pictures if desired.
Personally, I make HEAVY use of OS X services to send things to the right inboxes. Using Evernote's clipper (well, actually the custom services I built to replace the clipper) and OmniFocus's clippings or send-to-inbox service, I can shunt information from any app into the right "inbox."

I use the same tools to move items between apps as well. Select text in Evernote, then "Send to Inbox" and I've got a task waiting for me. If I have a lengthy note I clipped from a website into OmniFocus, I can select it and send it to my default notebook in Evernote.

This does mean that I have an extra inbox to sort, because there's no automatic tagging or anything in there, but it sure does get the job done, quickly and painlessly.

ReQall would be easy enough to include in this workflow, by just selecting the text in your browser and sending it along with the right keyboard shortcut. Just another inbox.
Thanks Nik—this is just what I needed to convince me to finally upgrade to Snow Leopard! ;-)
My solution for this is probably too simple, which must mean that I haven't understood the question!

I have a context called Reference and a folder called Reference with a number of single action lists in called: Computers, Excel Advanced Book, Pens etc. etc. Anything I want to dump goes in there. I want to keep all of this stuff together hence why I have tried to stick to OF.

I have not converted to the cloud as yet. I am trying Evernote, more for it's PDF OCRing than anything. I am also playing with Notational Velocity (great app) especially as it nows play nicely with SimpleNote. I have MobileMe and use iDisk, but not often. If I do use any of these it will take me some way from keeping everything in OF, but I think that I can justify that to be able to search PDFs on Evernote or for files in MobileMe. Annoyingly I am going to struggle to justify my favourite apps Notational Velocity and SimpleNote.
Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
My notes go into Notational Velocity on the desktop and SimpleNote on the iPhone/iPad.
(And process change or not, take a look at SimpleNote—lightning fast, bare bones, does one thing and does it extremely well.)
By the way, Curt, I meant to thank you very much indeed for this suggestion–been using SimpleNote + NV across Mac/iPhone/iPad for over a week, and it seems to be quite flawless! Thanks again for the suggestion!
whpalmer thanks for your valuable info! I'm toying around with some more notes in OF now to see how I like it.
I'm also planning on re-working my iPad workflow tomorrow in prep for OF's arrival... Looking at the forum, it seems folks are really happy with the SimpleNote + Notational Velocity combo, and with the Notebooks iPad app. Are there any of you that have tried out both (SimpleNote and Notebooks) and would be willing to share their experiences/comparisons?


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