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GTD: OmniFocus as Reference Library Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hello, develoceraptors
I'm using OmniFocus almost a year on all possible platforms. I collect everything (thoughts, actions, to-do and so on) to OmniFocus, but not all of the items I need to execute some items I use as reference. And I feel that it would be useful to have additional attribute in OmniFocus item's: type {Action, data, ...}. Or perhaps somebody have met such "issue" and have technique working for him/her I can borrow or adapt for my needs.
 
Canonical GTD distinguishes "actions" from "reference" material--those are two different types of "stuff", and really should have two different types of repositories. OmniFocus is for "actions", and there are a number of great tools available to house "reference" material. I use DEVONthink Pro Office, but a lot of people like Evernote. With either of those, you can copy a piece of reference material as a link, and paste that link into a specific action in OF, so all you have to do is click the link and the item opens in either DTPO or EN--no need to house that stuff in OF.
 
I use DevonThink Pro as my reference storage system. It is a document manager that allows you to organize your documents by folders, tags, or content.

It has a unique algorithm that allows me to find similar or related documents based on the text. For example, if I click on a a PDF that talks about Greek mythology, it will find similar documents in my database that talks about mythology (such as Egyptian mythology) or Greek history.

I have separate databases for different things. I have a database for each project or area of focus.

I can go to Safari and browse various articles that may be of interest to me. DevonThink puts a small icon on the toolbar. It quickly archives the current web page to my DevonThink database inbox for me to process later.

When I need to link a DevonThink item to OmniFocus, I can control-click or right-click on a document inside DevonThink Office and select "Copy Item Link". This copies the URL or path to the highlighted file(s). Then I can go to OmniFocus, expand the note and paste the item link. Whenever I look at OmniFocus, I know that I can just click on that link and it will launch DevonThink and open that particular file.

http://www.devontechnologies.com/pro.../overview.html


I try not to use OmniFocus as the catch-all for everything. My tasks go into OmniFocus. My brainstorming goes into my mind map program NovaMind. My shopping list goes to OmniOutliner. My calendar events goes into BusyCal. My contacts goes into Apple Address Book.
 
What they said! :-)

I also use DevonThink Pro Office for storing reference material. RobTrew has some helpful scripts for this. As you mention using OmniFocus on all possible platforms, I'll add that the iOS app DevonThink To Go understands the same links as the Mac version, so you can link to documents and have the links work on all of your devices (assuming of course that you've synced the DT content). This has allowed me to pare down the size of my OF database significantly with no loss of functionality.
 
Thanks for replyes and suggestions. You of course right, talking:
Quote:
Canonical GTD distinguishes "actions" from "reference" material--those are two different types of "stuff", and really should have two different types of repositories. OmniFocus is for "actions", and there are a number of great tools available to house "reference" material.
But I don't see objective obstacles to use Omni as reference library, because all "stuff" appeared in INBOX change it status to "actable" or "not actable" in time we review our INBOX, having "phisically" separation repository for actionable and non actionable items, require bidirectional channel between these two repositories. We need easily archive non-actionable items to define which action we may to do with it, perhaps while we weekly review or something trigger our reality making data or reference be actionable or it fire several action we may do with this reference.

All this actions on "action" item should be available across system we are using (e.g. I use ipad for review and iphone for following the lists mostly). From my understanding the data from the action differs in the set of attribute easy to program in one system keeping whole GTD module working. Note that we've already have several applications that fills our INBOX (mailers, browsers, IRC clients and so on) adding other application to our GTD stack for saving references (which should be accessible as easy as actions) undervaluate OmniFocus as GTD provider.

I've looked and DEVONs overviews, but it looks like other GTD provider then just reference library.


Additionally: When task executed... What is output of the executed item (do we need store as a reference? Should it go to the trash? Do we need it for self or our manager weekly report?) When we have two (or possible custom set of) types of item : Action and Data (at least), then we opportunity to manage behaviour of item on EXEC action on item and track our projects more effectively (progress will be more visible where it needed and results are easy to get in right place/time), we probably will see OmniFocus more close to GTD model than it's now.

PS. I'm not native English speaker, so sorry for bad quality of my English (and yes I have project in Omni to improving it ;))

Last edited by vvlevchenko; 2012-04-15 at 06:53 AM..
 
I think it would be very difficult to be everything. Its specialty is a project and task manager for a single user.

For different parts of your GTD workflow, you'll need different tools. I'll use BusyCal for my calendar because I understand that OmniFocus is not great as a calendar program. The forecast view in the iPad and iPhone version is adequate but it won't be replacing a complete calendar program.

As a reference system, I don't think OmniFocus would really work. It is possible. I can imagine that I would have a folder with projects set to "On Hold" status. Then each project would have tasks that notes and such.

But I prefer DevonThink because it is better at document management.

Think of all these programs as a tool in a toolbox. You'll have different tools for different things. The toolbox can have a hammer, screwdrivers, drill, saw, wrench, and other tools. It would be hard to hammer a nail with a screwdriver.

Omnigroup will have to spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel if they want to do a calendar program or a document management program. I would rather let Omnigroup keep working on OmniFocus and then integrate with BusyCal and DevonThink to make a complete system.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsonng View Post
But I prefer DevonThink because it is better at document management.

Think of all these programs as a tool in a toolbox. You'll have different tools for different things. The toolbox can have a hammer, screwdrivers, drill, saw, wrench, and other tools. It would be hard to hammer a nail with a screwdriver.

Omnigroup will have to spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel if they want to do a calendar program or a document management program. I would rather let Omnigroup keep working on OmniFocus and then integrate with BusyCal and DevonThink to make a complete system.
I'm pretty happy with iCal personally and perhaps more annoyed by lack reference library. Could you share your experience?
  1. At what point of GTD your stuff become part of Omni action or Devon document?
  2. What is absolute inbox bucket for your stuff? Omni's one or Devon's?
 
I used to use OmniFocus as my reference library, but no longer do so. While it is easy to get things in, I found that it was not always easy to do something useful with all of it. I still use OmniFocus as my main inbox, unless I am at the Mac and have an item which will be reference material. In that case, I may put it directly in DevonThink and add the item link to OmniFocus rather than making yet another task to be done later (one could think of this as a variation of the 2 minute rule it takes less than 2 minutes, even if I have to launch all the software, but if I have a big pile of these in the inbox to deal with, I'll have to stop and devote a chunk of time to processing/filing).

I prefer to attach reference material to either the project or the action which needs it; having "actions" which do nothing but carry reference material makes for a messy project.

DevonThink is better thought of as a smart filing cabinet than as a GTD task manager. No doubt there are some features that have been added that might tempt someone determined to have one tool that "does it all" but while it makes a much better place to store reference material, I've never felt the slightest desire to move the projects out of OmniFocus! If a natural workflow would be to print out task lists and store them in a physical filing cabinet, then perhaps such a person would be happy using DevonThink for the whole job. I'm not that guy :-)
 
Other thing perhaps, weekly review...
I do it on Ipad, first issue, I can't open mails if they attached to "action", that solved somehow if quote meaning part. But I feel that review not effective If I don't see the resources for the project...

Is Devon's links handled right or you have to switch applications?

And other question I use MTags on my mac, so doing review on iPad, I can't use ordered by tag mails to see material related to the project because of lack Mail.app functionality on iPad and iPhone or missed Mtag support of these platforms. IIUC Devon provides good some archiving functionality for mail, is it functionality accessible on iPhone/iPad versions of Devon?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsonng View Post
... My brainstorming goes into my mind map program NovaMind ...
Thanks for the note about NovaMind.

FWIW, I find Curio (zengobi.com) offers a more expansive way of brainstorming (mindmapping) and further development because it allows a wider set of objects to be placed on a page and it can function with-in itself as a complete project dossier. My short tests with NovaMind were a bit frustrating in this regard. From this, I would class NovaMind as definitely having a more expansive mind-mapping tool set but by comparison having a weaker overall idea development paradigm and a somewhat less-friendly UI (IMO) than Curio.

Curio also has task-tracking (aka project management) tools built in, making it a nice supplement to OF (certainly, so does NovaMind but at a higher price).

Just a happy user of Curio adding his 2c.

--
JJW
 
 


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