Omnifocus 2 for iPhone Review

Thank you, Omnigroup, for thinking outside of the box.

I tried quite unsuccessfully to use Omnifocus v1 for iPhone in my workflow, but found it to be too clunky and cumbersome.  If I don’t enjoy using an app, it creates friction and resistance.  Once that psychological barrier is up, it’s just not going to be part of my trusted system.

Now there’s a new kid on the block, and I purchased it with my hard-earned money the moment it hit the app store.  Let’s be honest, Omnifocus 2 doesn’t even remotely resemble version one.  Everything can be accessed with fewer taps, and can be done in a more intuitive way.  It’s not at all bad to look at, either!

I have a very in-depth review in the works, so this is more or less a teaser.  In the meantime, I’m curious what questions you all have about the app?  I’ll be sure to include your answers in the full review when it hits the web!

Short Version

The Good: Omnifocus 2 for iPhone takes an incredibly powerful and comprehensive GTD app and manages to package it into a simple, and rather delightful user experience. It’s fast enough that I can use it as a quick capture tool for thoughts and ideas. The forecast mode is immediately visible on the main screen. All the powerful controls of the full desktop app are present, but cleverly hidden from view until you need them. The iOS 7 design is clean and crisp, but avoids feeling sterile like so many other iOS 7 redesigns we’ve seen.

The Bad: This new version does have a number of interface quirks that I’ve already become accustomed to. One annoyance that I keep running into is with the forecast view button on the main page. It shows the next several days and the number of tasks due on those dates, yet if I tap on a future date from the main screen, it always takes me to today’s forecast. This requires a second tap to get to the day I want to look at that seems completely unneccesary. I know, first world problems, right?

Honestly, the worst thing about Omnifocus 2 for iPhone? Omnifocus for iPad becomes a struggle it look at. My longing for the iPad update grows daily.

The Conclusion: If you are a regular user of Omnifocus for Mac or iPad, I can’t recommend Omnifocus 2 for iPhone enough. If they manage to apply this same combination of power, flexibility, simplicity and design to the iPad and Mac versions, I have to believe you’ll see former Things loyalists migrating in droves. Right now, the worst part about Omnifocus 2 for iPhone is that the iPad version feels far behind, and the desktop version seems outright archaic. For people new to GTD, it may be difficult to leverage the full capabilities of Omnifocus 2 for iPhone, as so many of the power features are hidden from view normally. It may be easier to acclimate yourself with Omnifocus for iPad to dial in your workflow, and then bring that into the iPhone from there.

For all you Omnifocus guys who have been holding out, stop reading and buy it already.

GTD Apps for Mac OS X – A Mega-Update

As we continue to work hard on the GTD Reviews redesign, we feel it’s important to keep our information current and relevant.  Today we’d like to review the apps listed in our Mac App Comparisons page, explain the changes we have indexed, and review what’s new in the world of Mac for GTDers.

The following is a list of all of the apps that are (or were) indexed in the Mac App Comparisons page, and a description of what’s new, and what we’ve changed!

Actiontastic

Actiontastic hasn’t been updated in over three years, so we’re considering it stale and obsolete, and removing it from our index.

Chandler

Chandler was updated as recently as April of 2009, so while it’s been over a year, it still lies within our 2-year standard.  No changes since the introduction of our app comparison pages, however.

EasyTask Manager

Another app that hasn’t seen any new changes on the desktop version, but its most recent update was October of 2009, so it’s far from stale.  In addition, they now have an iPhone app that is at version 1.9, updated as recently as April 23, 2010. Update:  They also have a new iPad app that is at version 1.1.

Midnight Inbox

Now at 1.4.4, updated Feb 22, 2010, though curiously they are very cryptic about what features this update brings, stating: “This update brings bug fixes, speed improvements, and feature enhancements.”  Profound, really.

What is new, however, is an iPad version, which in my opinion looks gorgeous.  We’ll have a functionality report with the new site redesign in the coming weeks.

OmniFocus

While the desktop app hasn’t been updated again since October of last year, we’ve seen several updates to the iPhone app.  This includes the recent major update to version 1.7, specifically for the new iPhone 4 and its “retina display.”

We’re also excited to see the impending release of the OmniFocus for iPad app.  Omnigroup has been very open about the ongoing development of the app, including today’s update on their company’s blog.

TaskPaper

Desktop version is now at 2.2.2, bringing several minor bug fixes and subtle usability updates to the minimalistic app.  In addition, they have released an app compatible with both iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad in recent months that sync nicely with the desktop version.

Things

Now at 1.3.4 as of an update on June 24th, and while the changes are minor, they are many.  Head over to the Cultured Code website for the full release notes.  They also have a well-established iPhone app, and they were one of the first to release an app for the iPad as well.  Here’s a neat introduction video they’ve put together for the new iPad app.

The Hit List

A beautiful, award-winning app that has sparked quite a bit of controversy over its lack of update activity, The Hit List updated to version 0.9.3.19 on April 30th, 2010.  Oddly the only thing updated was the beta expiration date to July 1st of 2010.  While the developer, PotionFactory has been otherwise silent about the development of the app, this at least shows that it hasn’t completely fallen off their radar.

Note also that the much-desired iPhone app was claimed to be under development last December through their twitter account (@thehitlist).  Note in the latest tweet, they linked to a screen cap of the supposed iPhone app, though with no discussion of it since then, many are wondering if this magnificent Mac App is truly dead, or just hibernating?

What’s Next

(link) Hasn’t been updated in over two years, so we’re considering it stale and obsolete as well, and removing it from our comparison pages.

What are we missing?

Okay, I know some of you use a GTD app for mac that we didn’t list here, or in our index.  If that’s the case, please, please, pretty please – comment below or even email me.  We want this to be the one-stop-shop for newbie GTDers looking for the right app for them, and we can’t be that if we’re missing apps!  Thanks, all!

OmniFocus for iPhone Updates to v1.7

OmniFocus 1.7 for iPhoneToday I opened up the App Store on my iPhone 3GS, and was pleased to find a major update for OmniFocus!  The popular GTD app for iPhone and Mac has updated for the new iPhone 4 that is released tomorrow, and for the multitasking abilities of the new iOS 4 from Apple.

All of the artwork for the app has been updated to look great on the new high-resolution “retina display” of the iPhone 4.  A user on the DavidCo.com forums posted a full-resolution screenshot for your viewing pleasure.  The main app icon is also brand new – a nice, fun diversion from its predecessor.

In addition, the new version 1.7 allows OmniFocus to continue some of its core operations in the background, and will suspend the app at any time when switching between apps with iOS 4.

For a full change log, head over to the OmniFocus for iPhone forums, or find the update in the iPhone’s App Store.

Have you updated?  What do you like or dislike about new version 1.7?  Are you running it on the iPhone 4 or an older version?  Comment below!

Give Up Control to Maintain Control

ControlCan you relate to this?

“This GTD thing is pretty awesome. I really enjoy getting all my thoughts out, being able to visualize them, and seeing where my priorities are. But dang, I still have a lot going on… and when I get off track for a couple of days it’s really hard to get back into the swing of things. Maybe I don’t need to implement all of what the book teaches…”

If you can relate, then I feel your pain. When introduced to the GTD methodology about seven months ago, I was really excited about the prospect of getting my brain feeling a bit less cluttered with the barrage of information that was constantly flowing (speeding really) through it. Seriously. It was like I had an eight-lane interstate going through my head.

I still have an active mind, but the rush hour has calmed to a smooth flowing traffic – and I do a decent job of making sense of most of it. I attribute that to 1) understanding goal setting based on priorities (see pg. 51 of the book for details), and 2) an understanding of how to capture my thoughts and get them out of my head. One of my recent struggles with the whole thing is that I no longer have an iPhone (I’m using a Motorola Droid). That has caused some necessary adjusting, because OmniFocus isn’t available for the Android platform.

Now let’s not get into the debate of why an OmniFocus user on a MacBook Pro is using an Android handset now (if you really must know DM on Twitter). All-in-all, as someone that has done his best to immerse himself in the methodology, here is what I have found so far:

Capturing is key. Be it on a notebook, notepad app, scratch paper, sticky note, your hand, or whatever, make sure you get the stuff out of your head – all of it – and into your system for future processing. If you don’t, things will slip through the cracks.

Trust your system. I used to really like to know how everything in my life is working. While you can’t control everything (that job belongs to someone much higher up than you), you can have total control of your thoughts by developing a system that works for you (based on the book), and trusting that if you follow it your going to be okay. Try it out. See if I’m wrong.

Get high. Allow yourself to dream a little bit. Get up to that higher elevation of thinking – that 50,000 foot point of view – and make sure your basing your actions of today on where you want your dreams to take you. You’re still allowed to dream in this world, and act on those dreams – don’t let anyone tell you differently.

There is always a lot to learn when you’re completely revamping how you stay productive with the important things in life. Start with the basics and build up.

Question: What have you found to be the biggest part of adopting GTD into your way of life?

Omnifocus v1.6.1 for iPhone Released

Omnifocus for iPhoneOmnigroup released version 1.6.1 for the iPhone variant of their popular GTD application yesterday.  This update comes exactly 1 month from the release of version 1.6, and brings many bug fixes, as well as improvements of the Perspectives implementation.

For a detailed list of updates, visit the Omnifocus for iPhone forum on the Omnigroup website, specifically this thread, or you can download this update here.

To see how Omnifocus for iPhone compares to all other GTD apps, keep an eye on the App Comparisons page for developments coming very, very soon!