There are many ways to automate and extend OmniFocus…and make it an even more convenient and efficient solution.
By automating things that you commonly do in OmniFocus you’ll squeeze even more productivity out of this app. Fortunately there are many ways in which you can fine-tune your OmniFocus workflows to make them even more efficient. In addition to taking full advantage of the features that OmniFocus supports “out of the box”, there is growing number of apps and services that either offer direct integration with OmniFocus or can be integrated into workflows using technologies such as AppleScript.
Getting Up to Speed with OmniFocus 2 for Mac
With a bit of practice, you can create, update and navigate OmniFocus 2 for Mac very quickly. It’s worth taking the time to learn keyboard shortcuts for common actions. And if your favourite commands don’t already have shortcuts you can add them through System Preferences. The Omni Group have thoughtfully included a list of Essential Keyboard Shortcut keys that can be accessed through the help menu. Look for more tips on Learn OmniFocus to help you maximize the use of OmniFocus.
Power User Tips for iOS
There are numerous apps that integrate with OmniFocus 2 for iOS on iPhone and iPad. One of our favourites is Drafts, that can be configured to add actions to OmniFocus, either sending text directly to the OmniFocus app or by adding it to the inbox using the Mail Drop service that is part of the Omni Group’s free Omni Sync service. Launch Center Pro can also be used to conveniently and quickly create tasks and OmniFocus integration in MindNode can be useful as you go from idea to implementation. Look for tutorials on these and other solutions.
Automating OmniFocus 2 Pro for Mac Using AppleScript
OmniFocus 2 Pro for Mac has built-in support for Apple’s native AppleScript technology. While you can certainly write your own scripts, you can derive plenty of benefit from this technology by using pre-existing scripts, even if you haven’t written a line of code in your life. For example, you can use existing AppleScripts to mark an action complete and create a waiting action in one fell swoop (see Complete & Await Reply with OmniFocus (Pro) video) and to create a project based on a template (see Project Templates in OmniFocus 2 for Mac video). Check out our OmniFocus AppleScript Directory for more picks and watch a recording of our Automating OmniFocus webinar to learn more.
Complementary Mac Apps
Beyond the apps that offer direct integration with OmniFocus, there are many apps that are complementary. For example, it’s useful to create TextExpander snippets for things that you type into OmniFocus regularly. For example, “Email: <participant> to schedule a meeting” could be shortened to “xema”, with TextExpander even prompting you to enter the participant name when you key in this string of characters (see Creating Actions with TextExpander on Mac & iOS video). Another popular app, Keyboard Maestro allows you to, for example, launch OmniFocus (if necessary) when the Quick Open shortcut is pressed, ensuring you always have this feature at your fingertips and, in combination with AppleScript, the amazing Hazel makes it possible to automatically create OmniFocus actions based when files are dropped in designated folders. Watch a recording of our Automating OmniFocus webinar to see these apps in action.
Avoid Too Much Fiddling
Unless, of course, you play the violin. With so many ways to fine-tune and automate OmniFocus, it’s easy to get into the habit of spending a lot of time optimizing your OmniFocus workflows and, ironically, not getting much done. It’s recommended that put some bounds on the time you spend fiddling with OmniFocus and be mindful of the problem you’re trying to solve. Spending an hour to save five minutes doesn’t make much sense, but spending five minutes to add something to your system that will save you an hour a week and minimize the chance of things slipping through the cracks is time well spent.