2017-01-12 – Practical Focus with OmniFocus

Learn how to effectively use OmniFocus and complementary apps as you engage in highly productive, focused work.

This is legacy content created for OmniFocus 2. You’ll find new and updated content in our Content Library.
Practical Focus with OmniFocus

Many have referred to the times we live in as the “age of distraction.” Media, communications and notifications inundate us. At any given moment, we may face a dizzying array of projects and tasks to focus on. Without a strategy to deal with the deluge, our default tendency is to procrastinate and to venture off on unproductive paths.

This session emphasizes the value of developing skills around focused work and provides practical guidance for using OmniFocus to identify a specific project or action to focus on. We’ll look at how to stay on task during focused sessions with some help from OmniFocus and complementary apps and services for Mac, iOS and Apple Watch.

Session Overview

Watch this session and learn:

  • Why it’s important to become skilled at focused work and clarify areas of life and work that are worthy of your time and attention.
  • How to structure OmniFocus in a way conducive to focused work.
  • How to use contexts to quickly distinguish between actions that require focused attention and those that can be accomplished in a less focused environment.
  • How to quickly hone in on different types of focused activities (e.g. research and brainstorming) by adopting a specific naming convention for actions.
  • How to use perspectives on Mac and iOS (Pro Edition) to take full advantage of focused time.
  • How to effectively use OmniFocus for Mac’s built-in Focus feature (Pro Edition) during focused work sessions and tap into similar functionality on iOS.
  • Strategies for scheduling time for focused work and how OmniFocus actions, groups and projects can conveniently be linked to your calendar.
  • How to use Brad Jasper’s Focus app for Mac to conveniently block distracting apps and websites during focused work sessions.
  • How Masterbuilder’s Focus app for Mac, iOS and Apple Watch can be integrated with OmniFocus and used as a timer for focused sessions and breaks.
  • How to monitor your progress using RescueTime for Mac and Moment for iOS
  • And more…

Referenced Books

  • Deep Work by Cal Newport — Cal Newport describes deep work as “the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.” This excellent book emphasizes the importance of creating habits around deep work (especially given the distracted, hyper-connected world we live in) and provides practical advice for honing this highly productive skill.
  • BrainChains by Theo Compernolle — A treasure chest of relevant and well-researched data that exposes unproductive habits that we’ve developed in our modern times. The author makes convincing arguments in support of changing our ways, backed by a vast amount of research.
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown — Essentialism is a thoughtful, practical book that dispels the myth that we can have everything. Instead, it recommends that we put our time and energy into pursuits that are essential and cultivate a practice of saying “no” to the rest.

Referenced Apps

  • Focus by Brad Jasper (Mac) — During focused sessions, it may be tempting to check apps like Mail and Slack. Similarly, you maybe drawn to check your Twitter feed or to see what’s happening on Facebook. Focus by Brad Jasper provides a convenient way to block distracting apps and websites. Save 25% on your purchase using the coupon code LearnOmniFocus.
  • Focus by Masterbuilders (Mac, iOS, Apple Watch) — Having a convenient way to track your focused sessions and breaks helps encourage the practice of Focus. Focus by Masterbuilders is a best-of-class app available for both Mac (App Store) and iOS/Apple Watch (App Store). Details on focus sessions are synced between all your devices using iCloud.

Recommended Prerequisites

It’s recommended that you watch the recording of the Start Smart with OmniFocus session, whether you’re new to OmniFocus or an experienced user. In addition to showcasing OmniFocus’ features on Mac, iOS and Apple Watch, this session provides a review of best practices and recommended conventions.

Also, check out OmniFocus: Beyond the Basics to delve further into OmniFocus’ feature set. Among other things, you’ll learn how to create and edit perspectives on both Mac and iOS (Pro Edition).

Share this:

Previous Tutorial
2016-11-17 – OmniFocus Workflows with Fraser Speirs
Next Tutorial
2017-03-07 – OmniFocus Workflows with Jeffrey Taekman