2020-07-15 – Manifesting Ideas with OmniFocus + DEVONthink (Kourosh Dini)

Kourosh Dini shares practical ways to use OmniFocus and DEVONthink together, drawing on the strengths of each app.

Kourosh Dini literally wrote the book on OmniFocus. His critically acclaimed book, Creating Flow with OmniFocus, was originally published in 2009 and offers a wealth of practical advice to support people in using OmniFocus effectively.

In previous Learn OmniFocus LIVE sessions, Kourosh shared details of his OmniFocus setup and workflows. During this session, Kourosh takes us even deeper into his system, sharing how he brings ideas to life, with some help from his carefully-chosen productivity apps.

Taking Smart Notes with DEVONthink

Kourosh’s latest book delves into another of his favourite apps, DEVONthink. It’s a guide for people who have an abundance of great ideas that tend to get lost in the shuffle.

Taking Smart Notes with DEVONthink guides you through the process of storing these ideas in DEVONthink in such a way that you’ll be able to easily retrieve them later. Having this rich information at your fingertips is especially useful when you’re starting a project from scratch and facing the challenges that come with a blank slate.

Using DEVONthink Alongside OmniFocus

DEVONthink is a natural complement to OmniFocus. DEVONthink excels at easily storing and retrieving information and OmniFocus can be used to help ensure that the great ideas that you’ve captured are revisited regularly and manifest into something useful.

Session Overview

Topics covered include:

  • The distinct purposes that OmniFocus and DEVONthink serve and how these two apps complement each other.
  • How to use DEVONthink as an informational hub.
  • How to link DEVONthink notes to OmniFocus actions and projects using DEVONthink’s robust support for linking.
  • How to manually and automatically link information stored in DEVONthink to surface relationships between notes in your DEVONthink databases.
  • How Keyboard Maestro can be used to accelerate the linking process.
  • The differences between the OmniFocus Inbox and DEVONthink Inboxes.
  • Practical ways to use OmniFocus to evolve the information that you’ve stored and linked in DEVONthink.
  • How to reference OmniFocus projects and actions from DEVONthink.
  • How to create OmniFocus actions that link to specific tags in DEVONthink.
  • The definition of organization and three key aspects to consider.
  • An overview of key differences between DEVONthink and Evernote.
  • Criteria for deciding how to make optimal use of DEVONthink’s support for multiple databases.
  • How to use other Markdown editors with DEVONthink.
  • Guidelines for determining if DEVONthink is a good fit for you.
  • Guidelines for referencing PDF documents stored in DEVONthink.
  • Strategies for using DEVONthink with MindNode.


Kourosh also referenced the following during his session:

  • Sönke Ahrens — Kourosh’s session included principles that are documented in Sönke Ahrens’ book, How to Take Smart Notes. Reading Ahrens’ book will give you a solid grounding in the Smart Notes approach that can be applied in both paper and app-based productivity systems.
  • Tiago Forte — Tiago Forte also provides guidance on How To Take Smart Notes on his Forte Labs website.
  • Hook — This clever app allows you to link things together on your Mac and has some support for DEVONthink. To learn more, check out Kourosh’s post, Make Creating References Easy in DEVONthink with Hook.
  • Markdown Editors – DEVONthink can be used with a wide variety of Markdown editors. iA Writer and Typora are two of Kourosh’s favourites. He has also spent some time with Obsidian.
  • MindNode — Files from this popular mind mapping app for Mac, iPhone, and iPad can easily be stored in DEVONthink.

About Kourosh Dini

Kourosh Dini, MD is a psychiatrist, productivity expert, author, and musician.

He works as a psychoanalyst in private practice in downtown Chicago. His award-winning productivity books include Creating Flow With OmniFocus, Being Productive, and Workflow Mastery.

Kourosh is featured on the Omni Group’s Inside OmniFocus site and was one of the speakers at the OmniFocus Setup event in 2013. He has also been a guest on the popular Mac Power Users and Focused podcasts.

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