Configure Your OmniFocus Setup

Get clear on why you’re using OmniFocus and configure it in a way that accurately reflects what you’re up to in life.

Whether you’re using OmniFocus for the first time or are revamping your current setup, it’s worth taking some time to clarify what purpose OmniFocus serves and to create a convenient and consistent structure. Don’t worry about creating the perfect OmniFocus setup right from the get-go. You can always tweak it as you go along.


Here’s some Learn OmniFocus content to help you structure OmniFocus 3 in a way that complements your life and work.


⦿ Mind Mapping Your Responsibilities (FREE)
⦿ Creating Structure in OmniFocus (Members)
⦿ Best Practices for Naming OmniFocus Projects (Members)
⦿ Making Productive Use of Tags in OmniFocus 3 (Members)


⦿ Start Smart with OmniFocus 3 (Members)
⦿ Creating Structure in OmniFocus 3 (Members)


⦿ Getting Things Done® (GTD®) Resources (FREE)
⦿ Tags for OmniFocus 3 (FREE)

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Why use OmniFocus?

OmniFocus is a personal task manager for Mac, iOS, and Apple Watch that offers a unique combination of features to support you in living a fulfilling and productive life. Designed with David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) principles in mind, OmniFocus is a tool to support you in strategically engaging with all of the things you have going on in your life.

When used appropriately, OmniFocus is a trusted place to go to answer the question “what’s next?”. Rather than spending time pondering what you could be doing, OmniFocus has the potential to instantly connect you with the actions that are most appropriate based on factors such as due dates, your physical location, who you’re with, and your energy level.

Make OmniFocus a Sacred Space

It’s important to give some thought to what you’ll be using OmniFocus for, and what belongs elsewhere. We recommend that you make OmniFocus a sacred space. In a nutshell, this means only using OmniFocus for things that you intend to act on and not as a repository for everything under the sun. By keeping OmniFocus clean and relevant it becomes a useful and trusted sidekick that enhances productivity while freeing you from having to remember your commitments.

Creating Structure

As the name implies, OmniFocus allows you to create a system that encompasses all aspects of your life, while also giving you the ability to focus in on the projects and actions that are most relevant.

OmniFocus supports folders that can contain projects and other folders. As a starting point, we recommend creating a mind map of your “areas of responsibility”, in GTD speak. Essentially a map of everything that you’re responsible for across all areas of your life. The Mind Mapping Your Responsibilities (FREE) article walks you through the process of creating the mind map and the Creating Structure in OmniFocus (Members) article illustrates the process of configuring OmniFocus based on this mind map.

Contexts and Tags

Another key concept in David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology is “contexts”. In practice, contexts allow you to filter your lists of OmniFocus actions to show those that are most relevant based on your current circumstances.

OmniFocus allows you to add one or more tags to actions, action groups, or even entire projects. These tags can represent contexts (e.g. Home or Phone) but aren’t limited to contexts. For example, you might choose to add a tag of “Today” to everything you’d like to get done today and a tag of “Vacation” to everything you’d like to accomplish before leaving on your vacation.

Creating a mind map of your tags can be a helpful way of determining what tags make the most sense for you. Read the Mind Mapping Your Tags (Members) article to learn more.

You’ll likely find that you need to tweak your use of tags as you go along. Give yourself permission to experiment with your use of tags. Check out our Tags for OmniFocus 3 page (FREE) for some inspiration.

Cultivating New Habits

Using OmniFocus effectively requires that you get into the habit of using and reviewing OmniFocus on a regular basis. We’re here to support you as you cultivate new habits.