REVIEW: OmniFocus 2 for the iPad

New OmniFocus 2 for the iPad

I took the plunge, I invested in the new OmniFocus 2 for the iPad. I’ve written extensively about how I’m using Trello for my personal task manager and at work for project management. And I have also written extensively about how I’ve used OmniFocus as well. I originally stopped using OmniFocus mostly because I didn’t have the desktop version and therefore was not able to purge my database. With the new upgraded OmniFocus 2, I was very curious to see if improvements had been made with the purging issue and I was curious to check out some of the new functionality.

There are a lot of changes with the new OmniFocus 2 for the iPad. The first and most obvious change is that the new version has the same look and feel as Omnifocus 2 for the iPhone. The other big change is OmniFocus 2 for the iPad added the ability to edit and create Perspectives. This is one of the killer features of OmniFocus which allows you to set up customized lists that can further slice and dice your work. Here is a view of the Perspectives configuration screen accessible from the pro version of OmniFocus 2.

perspectivesetup

As you can see Perspectives is a way create custom lists that include one or multiple projects as well as one or multiple contexts. Perspectives can be as powerful or as simple depending on your particular needs as well as the complexity of your tasks.

In addition to Perspectives, Omnifocus 2 adds many other improvements. Here is an overview of the changes described in Omni’s free eBook.

changes

First impressions, I was disappointed to see that OmniFocus to did not have the ability to purge the database on the iPad. I did plenty of research before making the purchase and I found nothing about the ability to purge, but I did hold out some hope. However, the functionality wasn’t there so I started my test with a manual purging of my old completed tasks. Once done, I wanted to see how easy it is to upgrade to the pro version. The problem I discovered is that the old version must be installed for Omni to verify the original purchase. So, after reinstalling version 1.x, Omni immediately recognized that I was a verified user and enabled pro functionality, i.e. the ability to create and edit perspectives. As I mentioned above the look and feel of the new iPad version is extremely similar to the 2.0 version on the iPhone released earlier this year. Overall usability is very easy and the developers have done a good job masking the complexity and flexibility of the app with its well thought-out user-interface. You still control your lists using the GTD concepts of context and project and the center of operations is still the inbox. And the ability to review and track projects is also the same if not little better in this version.

The big thing I missed when I moved to Trello was OmniFocus’ Forecast View. This view shows you the tasks that are due or must start today according to task setup. Another key feature I missed in Trello is the defer-until date which is the date when a task must start vs. when the task is actually due. Omnifocus hides tasks not scheduled to start from the Forecast view and other views so that you are only presented with the tasks you have available to start or are due. This is a great way to limit the size of your lists.

defer

Setup for OmniFocus is easy,

just like it is on OmniFocus 2 for the iPhone. One way OmniFocus hides complexity is through it’s hidden menus. From the main screen simply swipe down on the left side of the screen and the Settings menu is shown. From here you can define specific setup options.

Default View

nosettings

View after a swipe down

showsettings

Available settings

thesettings

Given I’m still using Trello for my projects, you may be wondering how I;m using both systems without getting confused. The answer to that is a product/service called Zapier. Using this service has allowed me a sync information between OmniFocus and Trello automatically. I will describe the setup and process in a future post.

Overall I am pleased with OmniFocus 2. For setup and workflow, most of the changes are cosmetic, but cosmetic is important on the iPad. I find apps that are fun to use and intuitive generally make me more productive. I find OmniFocus 2 very easy and very pleasing to use. I’m still happy with how Omni provides excellent control over my tasks including what I see and don’t see on my lists. OmniFocus definitely makes me more productive and gives me a greater sense of comfort that things are not falling through the cracks. Stay tuned for future posts on how I’m connecting OmniFocus andTrello together, as well as how my workflow evolves and changes over time.

Have you tried OmniFocus to put it iPad? If so what do you think?

DISCLOSURE: The links above are affiliate links. This means that I earn a few cents if you click the link and purchase the app. This costs you nothing but it helps me keep this site running.

 

About the author

    Chris Lee

    I am a healthcare administrator interested in being productive. I believe that the combination of a tablet (iPad Air 32GB) and a smartphone (iPhone 5 in my case) can drastically improve how we do work without adding too much complexity. The “how” of accomplishing this productivity is the focus of this blog. Here are just a few of the topics I hope to cover.Even though I use iOS devices currently I am in no way totally tied to Apple. I have used a Surface 2 for an extended time and am currently considering replacing my HP laptop with a Surface at some point, so keep reading to find out when this happens. Heck, I may even write a post some day on getting efficient with a Kindle Fire HD given that my daughter just got one for her birthday awhile back.

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