Goodbye OmniFocus, hello Things

No surprise there. It was obvious as soon as I downloaded Things that it was just what I was looking for. Here’s why it beat OmniFocus.

OmniFocus was the first GTD app I tried. I found it by chance after seeing its beta release mentioned on MacUser in November. At this point I’d barely even heard of Getting Things Done. I’d seen it mentioned in a couple of other blogs but didn’t really know what it was. Anyway, I thought OmniFocus looked interesting, watched the screencast and immediately downloaded it.

I was really impressed straight away. Having watched the screencast and using the sample project as a template, it was pretty easy to add projects and tasks. I was hooked – I bought David Allen’s Getting Things Done and started reading as much as I could find online about GTD. I discovered there were quite a few other GTD apps out there and felt it owed it to myself to try them all! (How ironic. I discover GTD, decide to organise my whole life, and end up spending an enormous number of hours trying different ways to implement it.) Meanwhile I was continuing to use OmniFocus every day. And it was doing a very good job too. I was no longer forgetting to pay bills. I booked my children’s swimming lessons well in advance (before all the places disppeared). And I was having a lot of fun ticking all those boxes as I completed tasks.

Trying out other applications made me realise OmniFocus isn’t perfect though. The interface was a little boring and a little dated, I thought. The more tasks I added the more difficult I was finding it to filter them. I found the different views and perspectives confusing and unintuitive. I certainly felt I wasn’t making the most of it – but at the time the help files were lacking – and I wasn’t finding all the features as obvious as they could be. It’s always nice to find an application that is so intuitive that it barely needs instructions but I didn’t find OmniFocus to be one of them.

Unfortunately I hadn’t found an alternative that suited me better. Midnight Inbox looked lovely but I just couldn’t get it work – too buggy. I thought iGTD was ugly. I rather liked EasyTask Manager but I had a couple of problems entering tasks, and the demo was limited to only 15 tasks and that wasn’t going to be enough for me to evaluate it fully. I really wanted Bento to be the one as it was so like an Apple app but I just couldn’t get it to do what I needed. OmniFocus did exactly what I needed – organised my tasks and reminded me when they were due. I figured once it was fully released and more detailed help files became available, I could really get my teeth into it.

Then, on the very day I was going to buy OmniFocus the Things beta became available. I had already watched the screencast and had been keen to try it. Once I had downloaded it I was really excited. Things looked fantastic and was easy to use. I loved using tags instead of contexts and filters. I immediately moved all my projects and tasks into it and haven’t looked back since.

There are still missing features. No recurring tasks yet which is a problem for me. The developers say they’re working on it. I hope so because that will be the ultimate deal breaker for me. There isn’t a proper “waiting for” feature yet but I can kind of work around that using the postponed list. Cultured Code say they will release Things in the spring and I really hope these features will be dealt with by then. If recurring tasks hasn’t been added I will be forced to look elsewhere.

OmniFocus is still a great application. It’s just not ideally suited to the way I think. Things really works for me. I just hope it lives up to its promise.

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3 Responses to “Goodbye OmniFocus, hello Things”

  1. Lior Cohen Says:

    Thank you for this post (got here from Google).

    Just made the switch from OmniFocus to Things myself and it’s been great so far.

  2. Rachel Murphy Says:

    Hi Lior. I’ve never regretted giving up OmniFocus. Things is continually improving. The option to make tasks recurring was added in March. Still no proper waiting for feature but the improved scheduled/postponed list covers it reasonably well..

    The only feature I’d really like now is the ability to postpone a task within a project, but I gather they’re working on it.

    And of course, the iPhone version, which looks lovely. Hopefully that’ll just be a few more weeks.

  3. Hammy Havoc Says:

    Semi-tempted to jump ship if Things introduces a decent collaboration system as well as cloud sync via your own servers or theirs (For free). OmniFocus is great, but I find the GUI kills my productivity. I love the iPad application, but the Mac application is pretty dated.


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