Jul
27

I've been into this productivity thing for quite some time now. Implementing GTD in all aspects of my life has increased not only my productivity but my sanity as well. Add to that my affinity for gadgets and the iPhone and it's easy to see why I was thrilled to learn the fine folks at OmniGroup were releasing OmniFocus for the iPhone. I bought OmniFocus for the mac well over a year ago and found it easy to drop $19.99 on the full-featured iPhone version. Yea it would've been nice to get a returning customer discount; you can blame Apple's AppStore for not building this functionality into the store.

I've had some time to take the OmniFocus iPhone application for a test drive and here are my favorite features.

What I've grown to love: projects and contexts
Part of GTD and OmniFocus on the mac are the concepts of projects and contexts. Projects are groupings of 2 or more actions you need to accomplish. Contexts are where actions are expected to take place, while you are at home or on the phone for instance. Projects and contexts are just as at home on the iPhone as they are on the mac. You can quickly focus on a specific project and hammer away at completing available actions or you can drill into a context, like errands, and knock out the most relevant actions in the group.

Getting a handle on the big picture is easy with the OmniFocus iPhone home screen. You can quickly see what things you have available to work on, what is past due, and what is just around the corner.



Wireless Syncing via MobileMe
If you're like me and as much on the go as you are in one place it's critical you take your actions with you everywhere. But just as important as having that list of stuff while you are away, you have to be able to sync things back up when you are at your computer. With OmniFocus for the iPhone and a sneaky peek of OmniFocus for the mac this is super easy. Wireless syncing is supported via MobileMe (iDisk) and WebDAV. To set things up you must first sync your mac's data to MobileMe or a WebDAV server in OmniFocus' preferences.



Once your data is in the cloud, you can share your mac's OmniFocus info with your iPhone or iPod Touch via Apple's Bonjour. Just press the "Share Settings" button in preferences, and then the appropriate share info in OmniFocus on your iPhone or iPod Touch. All your OmniFocus info will immediately sync to your device over Wi-Fi. One minute after you make a change or add an action on your device, OmniFocus will sync those changes to the cloud ensuring they show up on your mac!

Voice notes
Sometimes it's just quicker to create a voice note than to completely notate a new action item. OmniFocus for the iPhone has built-in voice notes for all your actions allowing you to add a special message or further instructions to any action. When creating new actions this is especially nice as you can create an action title, record a voice note, and finish categorizing or adding action start and end dates later. Or if you prefer, you can fill everything out at once. You decide!



Location awareness
The whole point of a context in OmniFocus is to help you organize the best actions depending on where you are or what you are doing. Using the iPhone's location-based awareness and OmniFocus' ability to assign location info to actions, you can now be sure you are working on the most appropriate actions. You start by associating a location address (like your home address) or business search (CD store) with each action. Then, you press the location button in OmniFocus' home screen and OmniFocus will scan through your action items and list relevant actions based on your current location. If you have an action to pick up the latest NIN album, OmniFocus will look for CD stores near your current location and show the available action item.

I'm pretty impressed with OmniFocus for the iPhone. All the familiar robust (and incredibly useful) features of the mac version - plus a whole lot more - are present in the iPhone/iPod Touch application. Given how syncing works I'm guessing you might even be able to sync two different mac OmniFocus databases to one device. I'll have a chance to give this a try since I own two copies of OmniFocus, one for my work Macbook Pro and one for my personal Macbook Pro. If you want to see all the features above in action (except for voice notes) I recommend watching this screencast from the OmniFocus team.

Aaron West's Gravatar
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This entry was posted by Aaron West on July 27, 2008 at 1:40 PM. It was filed in the following categories: Productivity, OmniFocus, iPhone, GTD, MobileMe. It has been viewed 8944 times and has 0 comments.

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