Teacher, musician, and technologist, Robby Burns shares how he uses OmniFocus and complementary productivity apps to keep his active, multifaceted, and sometimes unpredictable life on track.
Robby Burns has been using OmniFocus since 2010. He has a long history with Apple technologies and was originally drawn to OmniFocus’ deep integration with Apple’s operating systems. He especially appreciates that the Omni Group is quick to add support for new Apple technologies.
His work as a music teacher, musician, and content creator keeps in on his toes. His thoughtfully-crafted OmniFocus setup and workflows allow him to capture commitments quickly and conveniently and gives him easy access to the most relevant tasks.
Robby shared details on how he’s using OmniFocus to manage his life and work. Topics covered include:
- How he quickly captures new actions into the OmniFocus Inbox.
- His approach to processing the OmniFocus Inbox.
- How he uses the built-in Forecast perspective alongside his custom Today, School, and Grades perspectives.
- How he uses Omni Automation to keep his Today list manageable and relevant.
- How he uses an “avoiding” tag to move past blocks and unleash his productivity.
- Strategies for keeping high-priority tasks front and centre.
- His many uses for Drafts, including as a repository for project templates.
- How he uses Shortcuts to prepare to host guests on his Music Ed Tech Talk podcast.
- How he uses Charty to see a dashboard view of his OmniFocus activity.
- What prompted him to switch from Things to OmniFocus.
- Glenn Gould — During his intro, Robby referenced Glenn Gould’s legendary recordings of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. You’ll find these recordings on Apple Music and Spotify.
- Snooze Deferred Plug-In — Robby Burns makes extensive use of an Omni Automation Plug-In called “Snooze Deferred” that was developed with some help from some kind folks on Omni’s Forums.
- Working OmniFocus with Widgets – Robby is a fan of the new widgets that were introduced in iOS/iPadOS 14. He shared a variation of the Charty widget that Scotty Jackson documented in his Working OmniFocus with Widgets post. On a side note, Scotty Jackson has also been a guest on Learn OmniFocus.
- Podcast Shortcut — Robby demonstrated the Shortcut that he uses when preparing for episodes of his Music Ed Tech Talk podcast.
- Drafts Actions for OmniFocus — During the session, Robby showcased the Drafts Action Group: OF Taskpaper that was written by Rosemary (Rose) Orchard. To learn, check out our video, Efficient iOS Capture into OmniFocus using Drafts 5 (Members).
- OmniFocus Blog Posts — To read more about Robby’s approach to OmniFocus, check out the articles on his blog, including Never Miss a Task, With Project Templates and Staying on Top of Teaching Responsibilities With Omnifocus Perspectives.
About Robby Burns
Robby Burns is a music educator and freelance percussionist based in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Robby has taught everything from elementary school classes to university ensembles and currently teaches band at music at a middle school in the Howard County Public School System. He also teaches private percussion lessons and is a called upon adjudicator, arranger, ensemble coach, and clinician.
Robby has taken deep dives into a variety of technologies and has presented sessions at conferences for music educators all over the country on the subject of music production software, cloud services, Apple products, and their connection to productivity and creativity in the music classroom.
Robby’s book, Digital Organization Tips for Music Teachers, was published by Oxford University Press and is available for purchase. He writes and speaks about music, education, and technology on his blog and podcast, Music Ed Tech Talk.