Creating Flow with OmniFocus

I’m about two-thirds of the way through Kourosh Dini’s book, Creating Flow with Omnifocus and am learning bucket-loads from it.

However, there are some things that I’m finding overwhelming.

This is partly to do with the fact that I’m trying to use the application in the real world at the same time as I’m learning to use it with fake projects. So, although I now have some knowledge about the app, I’m still feeling bewildered when I open it up. I know, I know, it’ll all come with experience, right? But for now, the perspectives in particular are baffling me. I’ve created a Start Date perspective, a Flagged, a Today and others and I don’t’ know which to use when I switch it on.

Once I’m done with the book, I may revisit D. Sparks’ excellent screencasts to compare.

[OmniFocus screencasts]

To that end, I reckon Kourosh’s book is more of a reference book than an end-to-end solution. Once I get to the end of it, I’ll remember the concepts that were mentioned and then be able to refer back to them. For example, I’ve forgotten already the keyboard shortcut to move the selected focus from the right-hand column to the main body window and that’s rather frustrating.

There are so many shortcut commands that it’s going to take a lot of use before they become ingrained. But one of the apps strengths is that it’s so wide open to be used in so many different ways. All KD’s book is giving me is instructions on how to mimic his use of it. Once I get that, I will be able to start moving things along.

Preparing for easier life

I’m slowly preparing myself for what feels like a transition. But is it really?

My consumption of content is increasing; I’m reading more and more RSS feeds and listening to more podcasts. A lot of that is cross pollination, for example:

  1. I listen to a bunch of podcasts
  2. Those podcast hosts talk about Web sites…
  3. and apps
  4. I like what I hear and want to use said apps, whether I have a real need for them or not
  5. I learn about apps, for example the nvALT and Simplenote marriage, OmniFocus or Pinboard

So I go through those phases, learning a little about each app and not enough for them to be useful. So this next fortnight I

  • really will get through Kourosh Dini’s OmniFocus book.
  • I will learn how to use nvALT and Simplenote for synchronised note-taking.
  • Finish Deadly Harvest
  • Figure out where to put ‘marked’ things to read (Instapaper? nvALT/Simplenote? Evernote? Pinboard?)
  • Tell my wife I love her every day

So it’s all rather overwhelming to be honest. Where does work and family fit in? It’s a tough thing to figure out. Imagine where I’d be if I were drinking though? Then I guess I’d be having different problems.

And how about achievements?

  • I’ve learned the basics of Markdown
  • I’ve tagged and consolidated my music library
  • I’ve consolidated my photo library and am watching it go into the cloud before I get the syncing figured out
  • I’ve moved the blog and have made progress on moving the CGT Web site as well;
  • I’ve redesigned Sunbane and am now pleased to visit it; I’m also enjoying very much the use of MarsEdit for posting

I think getting into the OmniFocus routine as I have with the banking-every-day routine will help me to get a bunch of stuff out of my head and into the system. I so understand where all this is meant to get me, but I can’t help feeling that most of my productive time is being spent learning how to be more productive, rather than actually being productive. You see?

Meta stuff: overwhelmed

I’m so caught up meta stuff right now. Big projects are getting finished though:

  • Shifting and converting my music from FLAC to Apple Lossless is finished, and it’s all backed up to my external drive
  • My photos are all consolidated and I’m now just waiting on SpiderOak uploading the full directory do I can start syncing
  • I’ve watched D. Sparks’ OmniFocus screencasts for the second time and am ready to start using the darned thing
  • I’ve moved the Website from SquareSpace to WordPress. I just have a few pages to move from the old old site at Celtic Guitar Talk, something I never did when moving to SquareSpace
  • I finally learned Markdown!

Smaller tasks though, there are just so many of them!


It’s been a big season for upgrades:

  • Text Expander 4
  • Lightroom 4
  • Hazel 3

And for new software:

  • Reeder for iPad
  • MarsEdit
  • Launch Center Pro
  • Marked
  • Found
  • Fantastical


I’m getting through the paleo stuff too. The weight is coming off, but I’m getting in danger of getting into a rut again with the same food all the time. What makes it super hard is the kids. Hamish’s diet is extremely limited, and Freya won’t eat spicy food at all.


So OmniFocus is starting to seem more and more necessary for me to manage my life, but it is such an overwhelming app. I’m learning a lot from Merlin on his podcasts, and from D. Sparks too. I’m about to buy Kourosh Dini’s Creating Flow with OmniFocus book to delve a little deeper, but at some point I’m going to have to stop learning the system and actually do some stuff.

And speaking of doing stuff, I’ve had the idea of writing for the local paper on tech stuff. I want to practice writing more and, since I’m pretty up-to-date on what’s going on in the world of mobile tech and stuff, it could be a good move. But it will involve tweaking the system. NVAlt? A new iPad?


Does it work now?

I’ve changed the editor from Rich Text to HTML. Let’s see if Markdown will render now.


We had thunder and lightning today.


Will I get through my OmniFocus tutorials tonight I wonder. I’ve got to stop at the supermarket on the way home, cook the dinner then visit a friend with a book as a leaving gift. Oh, and write her card as well. Perhaps I should do that now instead of fucking about on the Internet.

Here’s another blog I enjoy: Daring Fireball

PS. Should Markdown be capitalised?