This past weekend didn’t just mark the installation of my standing desk, or the moment I chose to wall-mount my life-size replica lightsaber; it also marked my return to using CulturedCode’s Things on the iPhone and Mac, and reminded me that sometimes less is perfect.
Since deciding that a move to the cloud was needed for my lifestyle, I have migrated much of my Mac life there. Here are a few of the key ways I made this happen.
Despite switching from Windows to OSX a year and a half ago, I’ve yet to find the perfect task management tool for my Mac. I need something that’ll exist on the web, my desktop environment and a mobile handset.
Sadly, Gmail’s recently introduced Tasks feature doesn’t offer offline or mobile sync, my iPhone’s default Notes app has no desktop or web equivalent and Apple Mail‘s To Do capability send my Gmail account’s IMAP sync into a tailspin.
I’ve experimented with OmniFocus (a little complex for my taste) and Things – supremely elegant, but quite expensive with iPhone and desktop editions priced separately. Now, my business partner swears by Hog Bay Software’s TaskPaper – a product we covered earlier this year, and has just rolled out a 2.0 update of its software.
As Mike alluded to in his May review of TaskPaper – ‘sometimes simple is best’. TaskPaper makes no allusions to competing with its GTD-infused brethren, such as OmniFocus or Things, but reinforces the notion that a plain text document, marked up coherently can be very powerful indeed.
TaskPaper 2.0 adds a search engine, quick entry window, keyboard shortcuts, themes, a projects sidebar, AppleScript support and some UI tweaks. Despite all these additions, the product still feels elegantly simple, powerful and lightweight, retaining its orientation around a text document. Indeed, despite the lack of web or phone editions, the plain text core is actually the foundation for a powerful ecosystem of third-party solutions, one of which – Taskphone – is looking to bring Taskpaper support to the iPhone.
Personally, I’m not fully won over by any solution yet – holding out for a good Google+Apple linkup – like the interoperability of Gmail+Apple Mail or Google Calendar + iCal. However, right now its a toss up between the versatile, but plain girlfriend (TaskPaper) or the glamourous and expensive mistress (Things).
If you’re like me, you have more to do than you could realistically get done in a month. How do you keep up with it all? There are dozens of productivity applications for your Mac, and a few for your iPhone. But there’s one application that’s available on both your Mac and your iPhone… OmniFocus.
I’m sure most of you have read, or at least heard of Getting Things Done by David Allen. He started a real productivity movement, and has millions of dedicated followers. He has excellent and practical advice for organizing your life and work, and there are a lot of tools available that you can use to take advantage of his recommendations… some specifically designed around his methodology. OmniFocus is one of them. At its core, OmniFocus IS “GTD” task management. Don’t worry if you don’t know what GTD is, fortunately you don’t have to know anything about it to become more productive using OmniFocus. For more information about Getting Things Done task management, check out David Allen’s website.
Read More about OmniFocus for Mac and iPhone – a Perfect Task Management Solution
For all TAB readers interested in getting access to the most cutting edge (dubbed “sneaky peek”) releases of OmniFocus (their task management app) you can sign up for advance notifications via their Sneaky Peak page.
The “Omni” apps are well-crafted products and their programmers do their part to make code available to the developer community so folks can use components that work well without having to reinvent the wheel. As a company, they also seem to care about the users of their products given that they went out of their way to cite a review on their blog which contained both praise and pummeling.
(D&D fans will also appreciate this entry which explains how to use OmniFocus to manage your 4th edition character sheet).
If you use OmniFocus for “getting things done”, drop a note in the comments with what works and what needs improvement.