Omnifocus for iPhone

I have spent sooooo much money on blinkin’ todo/list style applications for the iPhone and keep flitting aimlessly between them. You name it, I have tried/bought it. MyLists, Appigio ToDo, ToodleDo, Remember the Milk, Simple Task, UltraList, BetterList, Outliner, Taskmaster, Things…I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture. I don’t know what it is with these applications but none seem to hit the nail on the head, there is always something small just missing that puts me off them. With Things for example, I hate the way you can’t get back to the home screen with one tap from within the projects page. Grrrrr.

In desperation and as a last resort, well hopefully as a last resort bearing in mind the hefty £11.99 purchase price, I tried OmniFocus. Now, this is not going to be one of those “I have seen the light” reviews, far from it and in fact it’s not really going to be a review at all as others out there have already done reviews that are far better than anything I could cobble together. I just thought I would offer a few likes and dislikes about the application in the hope that it might help someone. Often I buy apps not knowing they lack a feature I consider important and wish I had checked it out or sometimes they have a way of doing something that I don’t like and would not have known about unless I had had access to the app before or unless a reviewer had mentioned it.

So, what about OmniFocus for the iPhone? Well, a week later and I ain’t using it any longer. I sat through various screencast type tutorials on both the OmniFocus site and other independant sites too but still struggled to grasp the concept of “contexts” and “tags”. I reckon I just don’t need em’. One great thing about the software is that you can access the homepage or inbox from any screen without having to backtrawl to the opening page. The “inbox” is a good idea which is well implemented, it is a repository for entering ideas/tasks quickly with the intention of adding more detail, if needed, when you have more time. This appeals to me greatly, the ability to add info quickly. What is not so appealing for me is that my lists, which I set up to categorise tasks in every other ToDo app that I have tried and which conveniently, in those other apps, appear on the homepage for easy access well….these are all stored in a project type folder on the home screen in OmniF which entails drilling down to find them quickly. Me no likee.

The whole app is designed around then adding contexts and tags to those quickly entered Inbox items in true GTD fashion and that is a way I don’t have any cause to need and as a result the software doesn’t suit my rather simple and basic task system. The idea of adding the GTD tags etc etc is that you can, for instance, add a task “call Joe Smith” and then tag/context it so that it shows up in your action list “make calls’. What’s that about? If I enter a task to call someone I don’t need to be reminded that I need to use a phone to do it. It is just overkill as far as my needs are concerned.

I’m sure that if you are super-busy, and I’m not, then this app will be a godsend but for me it is all a bit too much. I just need an app that if I enter a task “call Joe Smith Tuesday” then it will show up on the front page under my preferred List with a big star beside it to show that it is important and also shows the due date. Hence my subsequent return to Appigo’s ToDo which displays tasks in exactly the way I prefer.


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