Learn OmniFocus Celebrates Its Fifth Anniversary


Five years ago today, very soon after OmniFocus 2 for Mac was released into the wild, Learn OmniFocus opened its virtual doors. I’m taking some time today to celebrate this milestone, to reflect on the past five years, and to look forward to the future.

Before Learn OmniFocus

Prior to launching Learn OmniFocus, I spent several years providing private OmniFocus coaching, consulting, and training services to people all over the world. This very fulfilling work, that continues to be an important part of my livelihood, has blessed me with fascinating insights into the worlds of some wonderful people spanning a wide range of lifestyles, cultures, and professions.

Learn OmniFocus’ Inception

With a growing demand for my private services, I soon began to realise that I’d only be able to scratch the surface if I continued to work solely with individuals.

Learn OmniFocus was born out of a motivation to share timeless productivity principles alongside practical ways of applying this wisdom using OmniFocus (and complementary productivity apps) to a global audience, drawing on insights that came from working with clients combined with my own experiences.

When in the ideation stage, I wasn’t sure if there was enough interest to sustain an online community that centres around a specific app built for Mac and iOS. But, I was determined to test the waters, buoyed by the success of my private sessions and encouraged by a growing network of enthusiastic supporters.

The Omni Group Connection

The support and enthusiasm that the Omni Group has shown me from the beginning was instrumental in bringing Learn OmniFocus to fruition.

After contacting the Omni Group in 2012 to let them know that I was leading OmniFocus courses here in Vancouver, a couple of Omni folks ventured up from Seattle to film my course and to interview me for their first ever OmniFocus Customer Stories video. I appreciated having the opportunity to tell my story, that highlighted the positive life-changing impact that David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) and OmniFocus has had on my life and work.

The Omni Group also invited me to speak at the OmniFocus Setup event in San Francisco, that took place in January of 2013. In addition to sharing my story, I introduced the audience (and the many people who later watched the recording of this session) to Holistic Productivity, an approach to productivity that grew out of major health challenges that I faced in 2008.

I formally shared my plans for Learn OmniFocus during my first visit to Omni Group HQ in October of 2013. I was warmly greeted, treated to a tasty meal prepared by their in-house chef, and, later that day, found myself in a boardroom packed with Omni folks who were curious to hear about my plans for Learn OmniFocus and eager to offer feedback.

I continue to stay in close contact with the Omni Group and have been back to Omni HQ on several occasions, enjoying good food (even potato chips that bear my name), stimulating conversations, and plenty of laughs. During meetings at Omni, I make a point of sharing requests, praise, and challenges that I’ve heard from people in the Learn OmniFocus community, in support of OmniFocus’ continued evolution.

The First Five Years

Learn OmniFocus was successful from day one, thanks in part to the exposure I received through an interview on the highly-acclaimed Mac Power Users podcast that aired a week after the launch of the Learn OmniFocus site. I also received some very generous support from other OmniFocus aficionados, most notably Kourosh Dini, Sven Fechner, and David Sparks.

OmniFocus Setup in San Francisco (2013). From left to right: Tim Stringer, Kourosh Dini, Sven Fechner, David Sparks, and Merlin Mann.

Over the years, I’ve introduced new components to Learn OmniFocus, including interactive Learn OmniFocus LIVE sessions, that give OmniFocus experts the opportunity to share their wisdom and provide a platform for taking a deep dive on specific OmniFocus-related topics.

More recently, I introduced Learn OmniFocus Office Hours to give members the opportunity to connect with me and other people in the community in small, video-conferenced groups. These sessions emphasise the vital role that human connection plays in living a fulfilling and productive life and provide an excellent opportunity to meet other people with a passion for OmniFocus and productivity.

Learn OmniFocus has also become a hub for a variety of things that are of interest to OmniFocus users. There’s an OmniFocus App Directory that lists apps that support or complement OmniFocus, and AppleScript and Siri Shortcut directories that encourage everyone to embrace OmniFocus’ extensive automation abilities.

With the release of OmniFocus 3, pages dedicated to OmniFocus 3 Perspectives and OmniFocus 3 Tags were introduced on the site. These directories were added to help both new and advanced users make productive use of tags and advanced perspectives.

Focusing on the Present

Five years later, Learn OmniFocus’ future looks brighter than ever.

People from over 75 countries have joined over the years. And I continue to receive thoughtful messages from members about the many ways that Learn OmniFocus has positively impacted their life and work. These communications always warm the cockles of my heart (to borrow one of David Sparks’ favourite expressions) and are a great source of inspiration.

Learn OmniFocus Members - Countries

Learn OmniFocus’ membership and, by extension, its annual revenue continues to grow. A significant percentage of this revenue is being used to fuel Learn OmniFocus’ growth.

For example, I was able to bring Rose Orchard on board to share her OmniFocus expertise, with a focus on automation. And plans are currently underway to launch a brand new version of the website that will make it easier to locate relevant content and pave the way for new membership offerings.

Back to the Future

There’s much more in the pipeline, including new content, more workflow guests, and new and updated themed sessions. I’m also exploring ways to continue to foster connections within the community, making effective use of the ever-evolving group-networking tools, perhaps supplemented with some in-person meetups.

Given that Learn OmniFocus has such an international audience, I’m also exploring the possibility of providing at least some of the content, and maybe even some of the online sessions, in other languages.

Feedback from people in the Learn OmniFocus community is a key driver of this innovation. Whether you’re a member or are enjoying our growing library of free content, you’re welcome and encouraged to reach out to me with any ideas you have for OmniFocus-related content and services.

The Best Is Yet to Come

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who’s contributed to Learn OmniFocus over the years, whether it’s been through moral support, becoming a member, or contributing content or ideas. There’s plenty to celebrate from the past five years…and I believe that the best is still yet to come.

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