2020-04-02 – OmniFocus Workflows with Justin DiRose

Productivity expert, Justin DiRose takes us on a tour of his productivity system, which includes OmniFocus, Notion, MindNode, and his Bullet Journal.

Justin DiRose has been a productivity and Mac enthusiast since 2008 and is a seasoned OmniFocus user.

He was featured by The Omni Group on Inside OmniFocus, sharing best practices for Managing Startup and Shutdown Routines in OmniFocus. He also writes about OmniFocus and other productivity apps on his personal blog.

Session Overview

Justin took us on a tour of his OmniFocus setup and workflows, sharing details on the specific roles that OmniFocus plays in his overall productivity system.

Topics covered include:

  • The core elements of a productivity system: commitments, intentions, and habits.
  • The importance of developing mindsets and habits and not being too reliant on apps.
  • What drew him to OmniFocus, including support for defer dates and metadata (including tags) and OmniFocus’s ability to present data in a variety of different ways.
  • Strategies for ordering OmniFocus folders and projects.
  • How he manages ideas and projects that are not fully defined.
  • How a shift in perspective can spark productivity.
  • Why reviews are the “glue that keeps everything together”.
  • An overview of his daily Startup Routine, Weekly Review, Monthly Review, Seasonal Review, and Annual Review.
  • How he uses pen and paper, most notably his paper-based Bullet Journal, alongside his digital tools.
  • How he makes use of due date and flags.
  • How he successfully uses an array of apps alongside OmniFocus. Among other things, he identifies apps that are conducive to creative work (e.g. MindNode) and those that promote a structured approach (e.g. OmniFocus).
  • The roles that Notion plays in his productivity system and how he decides what goes in OmniFocus and what belongs in Notion.
  • How and when he uses OmniFocus on his iPhone.


Here are some resources that Justin referenced during his session:

  • Ultimate Guide to an Effective Weekly Review (eBook) — This eBook delves into practical advice for performing an effective weekly review, drawing upon years of experience. This eBook is free when you sign up for Justin’s mailing list and he welcomes any feedback that you have.
  • An OmniFocus Workflow for 2020 (Post) – Justin provides an overview of his current OmniFocus setup and workflow in a post entitled, An OmniFocus Workflow for 2020. This post also includes an audio recording, taking from his podcast, Process.
  • Planning in Notion (Video) — During the session, Justin shared an overview of how he uses Notion for planning. To learn more, check out his video, Gain Clarity by Planning in Notion – Effective Remote Work.
  • Personal Retreat Handbook (Course) — Justin found Mike Schmitz’s Personal Retreat Handbook very helpful for establishing effective long-term reviews.

About Justin DiRose

Justin works for Discourse, a fully distributed company that builds community software. Discourse is a highly-acclaimed and flexible platform that powers many popular forums, including The Omni Group’s Forums.

He also runs Effective Remote Work, a community for productivity nerds and remote workers alike, and hosts Process, a podcast about digging into the journey that is being effective and intentional.

Justin lives in Minnesota (USA) with his wife and three kids.

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