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OmniFocus as notes/outline tool Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I am relatively new to OF, so I am exploring how to use it in the best and most efficient manner.

One of the criteria for effective use for me is the speed with which I can turn a note (or any piece of information I capture) into a properly assigned task. I work in corporate America - so my days are filled with meetings, phone conversations and a lot of note taking about what I do, and the interactions I have with people.

I hate doing anything twice when it can be done once. I found myself getting frustrated when I had to copy individual notes I took on a word processor and paste them into OmniFocus tasks. After playing around with documents (word processor, Google Docs, etc.,) and outlines (I purchased OmniOutliner), I discovered that OmniFocus has a very decent outlining/notes taking capabilities.

I created a Folder for daily notes, and have start a new project for any given day. Every time I have a meeting, conversation, brainstorm, etc., I create a new task - which quickly turns into a group, as there are inevitably child tasks that represent the equivalent of bullet points for what is being said, done, etc.

Some of the child tasks are not really tasks, but many are, and it is rather convenient to be able, right there and then, to assign dates and a context. In order for the task to fit in the right place in my world of to do items, I drag the task to the right folder/project and drop it there (unless the entire meeting represents a whole new project, in which case, all tasks remain together.

I find this, so far, to be a very good and convenient system. The one draw-back is that once I drag a tasks away, my notes for the meeting are no longer complete. This may turn out to be immaterial, but I like to be able to look at the minutes from a meeting and review them as a whole.

So, I am curious whether anyone else here is using OmniFocus in this fashion, and whether they found a way to keep all the notes/tasks together under, while at the same have them assigned to the various projects/folders where they end up belonging (for some reason often one meeting generates tasks that fall under different projects).

Of course, the ability to assign tasks to multiple contexts/projects would address the issue. Or better yet have the ability to define meta data, in which case I can keep the tasks together under the common definition of "meeting."

Thank you very much for your thoughts.

Daniel.
 
OmniFocus isn't really a note-taking tool: I suspect if you try and make that one of its primary functions then it will end up short. One of the things it does, if used properly, is hide info from you that you can't act on.

I personally use Yojimbo (you could use TextEdit, or DEVONthink, or OmniOutliner, or myriad other tools) to take the notes, and then I use the clipping service of OmniFocus to take all "to do" items from the notes and put them in OF. I then leave the notes in Yojimbo for reference. This works fairly well for me, with the benefit that once I'm through with a meeting, I have a read of all the notes and transfer the data over, which could help me catch things I originally forgot to mark as a task.
 
You can, in fact, take your notes in Omnioutliner and simply copy/paste into OF.
The only thing that will not be pasted is project and context (in a proper manner). If you make Oo columns like Start-Due-Time Estimate they will paste fine. You can save these columns as an Oo template. Try it out, although it involves some of the copy/paste you wanted to avoid.
There is also a script for exporting from Omnifocus to Omnioutliner that could be a solution for you. Check out the Omnifocus Extras forum for scripts.

Best regards,

Arild
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatOne View Post
OmniFocus isn't really a note-taking tool: I suspect if you try and make that one of its primary functions then it will end up short. One of the things it does, if used properly, is hide info from you that you can't act on.

I personally use Yojimbo (you could use TextEdit, or DEVONthink, or OmniOutliner, or myriad other tools) to take the notes, and then I use the clipping service of OmniFocus to take all "to do" items from the notes and put them in OF. I then leave the notes in Yojimbo for reference. This works fairly well for me, with the benefit that once I'm through with a meeting, I have a read of all the notes and transfer the data over, which could help me catch things I originally forgot to mark as a task.
Thanks, I will certainly try this. My goal is basically to have an immediate a path from text entered to turning that text into an action with the least amount of work beyond what it took to enter the initial text.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arild View Post
You can, in fact, take your notes in Omnioutliner and simply copy/paste into OF.
The only thing that will not be pasted is project and context (in a proper manner). If you make Oo columns like Start-Due-Time Estimate they will paste fine. You can save these columns as an Oo template. Try it out, although it involves some of the copy/paste you wanted to avoid.
There is also a script for exporting from Omnifocus to Omnioutliner that could be a solution for you. Check out the Omnifocus Extras forum for scripts.

Best regards,

Arild
Thank you very much, Arlid! I wonder if integration between OO and OF be made, such that, provided the right columns exist in OO, one could literally drag an OO row and drop it in the right location in OF (just like you can do with Actions within OF).

I found the copying and pasting a bit awkward, but that is a personal preference/issue on my part :-)

The concept of the export is very interesting, and I will certainly take a look (did you mean to say from OmniFocus to OmniOutliner or the other way around?).

Interestingly enough, so far, taking notes directly in OF and then moving the appropriate ones to where they should be presents the most straight forwards and convenient approach. The only caveat, as I said in the original post to this thread, is the loss of parts (or the entirety) of the original note. I am curious, though, whether it actually matters, if the right actions are created and are in the right places.

Regards,

Daniel.
 
I am very interested in this thread. I am a Macbook Pro user, now switching to OF from Franklin Planner because I want the GTD functionality. However, one feature I use all the time in FP is the daily notes page. I record phone calls, meeting notes, contact numbers and emails, any info that is useful and worth keeping as reference during my day.

The greatest part of that is that it is searchable. If I need to know what I gave my family members for birthdays last year (so I won't repeat) I just do a search and boom - it's there.

Can I get this functionality from OF? Maybe there's a way in iCAL? I'll be switching calendars now too since I won't be using FP any longer (the last vestige of PC software running on my Mac).

Thanks All
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacYogi View Post
I am very interested in this thread. I am a Macbook Pro user, now switching to OF from Franklin Planner because I want the GTD functionality. However, one feature I use all the time in FP is the daily notes page. I record phone calls, meeting notes, contact numbers and emails, any info that is useful and worth keeping as reference during my day.

The greatest part of that is that it is searchable. If I need to know what I gave my family members for birthdays last year (so I won't repeat) I just do a search and boom - it's there.

Can I get this functionality from OF? Maybe there's a way in iCAL? I'll be switching calendars now too since I won't be using FP any longer (the last vestige of PC software running on my Mac).

Thanks All
MacYogi, if you want to, you can certainly use OF for these types of notes taking. You can probably create a folder where you would have one or a number of projects which you would use for the notes, and whenever you write something down that is actually a task, you would assign it to an actual, rather than note taking project.

The problem here is that you would lose that particular text from your ongoing note (it will end up as a task somewhere else). The solution I arrived at is using another note taking tool, and whenever there is a task, I apply the notation used to send tasks to OF through email.

The reason it works well for me is that during the day I often do not use Mac OS, but rather Linux - hence I do not have a direct access to OF on the Mac. By using the Mail integration format: --TaskName>ProjectName@Context#DueDate, I can easily send the task to be processed by OF once I open my Mac, AND I do not lose any portion of my note. On top of that, it is very clear, when I look at the text of my notes, when something is a task (due to the funky notation).

You might want to just paste the task into OF, if you use your Mac throughout the day. I'd venture to say that you will spend more time doing that, since you will need to set up the project, context, etc. (the exception to that would be if you were to use OmniOutliner for your task taking, as you could actually drag an OO row to OF - but you need to have OO for that).

Hope this makes sense and helps. Let me know if anything is unclear.
 
Thanks, Imlad. I got a reply from the OF support line that I can just use the expand notes feature for any task. Those will be searchable by going to Perspective>All Items, then enter a term into the Search field.

I like your idea for general notes, not attached to a task - just create a daily notes task.

Thanks again!

Macyogi
 
I've been reading this thread and am very interested about using OmniFocus (instead of Yojimbo - or another one) to store reference materials, such as little notes I would take on a notebook.

I currently just have a project for those, and search when I need something, but it is not perfect as those appear as task just like anything else in OF. What's the best way to work with those?

Thanks a lot
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by themonkeyjohn View Post
I've been reading this thread and am very interested about using OmniFocus (instead of Yojimbo - or another one) to store reference materials, such as little notes I would take on a notebook.

I currently just have a project for those, and search when I need something, but it is not perfect as those appear as task just like anything else in OF. What's the best way to work with those?

Thanks a lot
Unless you are using the notes section of a task, then any note you take will, indeed, be a task. The way I do it is to have a special folder for the notes. I have a project very every day, with every discrete meeting or brainstorming session (or whatever event would trigger the writing of a note) as a task. I try to break down my writing into a list form - making individual thoughts/ideas into child tasks of the main task (and children of children, etc.). This way, if any of them turn to be an actual task, I can move it to the appropriate project.

Hope this helps.
 
 


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