Coming soon: the chronicles of a task management reject

by Linda Sharps on April 28, 2009

In my last post, I confessed my slackerdom when it comes to personal task management, and the subsequent dust that continually builds up on my poor neglected OmniFocus document. In the course of writing that article, I got a glimpse at some of my co-worker's documents, and … friends, I think I have finally seen the light. There is a life out there to be lived, one with order and efficiency and things that actually get accomplished on time.

Also, a near-complete absence of “notes” covered with illegible scribblings, mysterious phone numbers, and weird robot doodles.

I've decided to make a concerted effort to get myself organized with OmniFocus, and in the interest of accountability via public humiliation, I'll be posting updates on my progress. Every week, I'll document how I've been using OmniFocus, and what sorts of benefits and setbacks I experience along the way.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: this will not be a “Best Practice” series in any way shape or form. Instead, this will be the real-life process of someone trying to change their disorderly habits and become a dedicated OmniFocus user. I do hope to unearth some tips and tricks that may be useful to you, and I'll be asking for your input and ideas, but if you're looking for a good resource on how to use the app, I recommend starting with the manual or the basics video.

Can a person go from productivity zero to guru? Well, I hope to find out. Stay tuned for my next installment, which covers the thrilling activity of writing down my tasks, organizing them into folders and contexts, and figuring out what the heck to do from there.

But first! A getting-started workflow suggestion sent to me from Omni's CEO, Ken Case:

“If you haven't already, drag OmniFocus to your dock right next to Mail, then control-click on the dock icon and set it to “Open at Login”.  Now OmniFocus is always running, and adding items to its Inbox (via Quick Entry or Clippings) is just a keystroke away. Even if you're not yet making good (or any!) use of projects or contexts or due dates, you can at least start collecting things into your OmniFocus Inbox and checking them off there.”

DONE. Thanks, Ken!

Until next time, I have a question for you: how long would you say it took to make task management a routine in your life? Did you have to force yourself for a certain amount of time before it became something that felt like a natural part of your day?