Longtime readers of my various blogs will have realised by now: I’m terrible at keeping myself organised. I’ve got no ability to keep things in my head – it doesn’t matter how hard I try to remember all the stuff I have to recall during the day, I’ll forget at least one important task or appointment a week, along with a bunch of less important things.
So over the last year, I’ve been slowly implementing David Allen’s Getting Things Done system to my workflow, with really good results. I’ve had an Evernote subscription for a while now, and it seemed like an obvious move to use Evernote as my task management system.
However, after falling off the GTD wagon a few months back, I’ve been able to reflect on what worked, and what didn’t. I’d always heard people talking about Omnifocus, this great Mac app based around GTD, but had never thought to try it. Well, I did. And I’m not going back to my old system.
1. Omnifocus is intuitive. Instead of keeping my tasks organised in notebooks with tags to indicate where they sit in my workflow, along with setting up new projects that have no solid connection to their tasks, everything in Omnifocus is clearly laid out. Every task gets a context and a project, even if that project is simply “Home Stuff”.
2. Omnifocus is purely task based. One of the problems I identified with my system was that everything that I scanned or emailed into Evernote had to be separated from my tasks. Then I had to work out whether or not there was a next action on any of the things that I’d already scanned in, and how I was going to file it away. Do I file it with the name of the action, or create a separate note with the action?
Now, I create a task, and file away absolutely everything in Evernote into my Cabinet notebook (appropriately tagged, of course. I’m not a barbarian). No more multiple notebooks.
3. Omnifocus keeps me reviewing. One of the areas that I fell down in constantly was my review system. There was nothing automated in my system that required me to review my projects.
In Omnifocus, you can set every project to be reviewed on a particular day (I do all mine on a Friday morning), and it’ll highlight the “Review” tab when things need to be reviewed. I can’t escape it. That little tab lights up and I must click it!
These are just three of the reasons I’ve worked out so far. I’m sure there will be more, and that my system will keep evolving over time.
Question: How do you manage your tasks? Do you have a system? How has it helped you?