How to build habits using OmniFocus

I’ve used a few different apps over the years to try to build good habits but in the end they all fall by the wayside. The main reason for this is I’m not seeing or being reminded of them. When switching over to OmniFocus I thought I’d use their tagging system to help me with this.

On discovering I could add a tag to my forecast view I had an idea. If I want to build up habits why don’t I make sure I’m seeing them everyday.

So to this end I created new tasks such as ‘complete exercise rings’ and marked them with my ‘urgent ‘ tag. This means that when I see my forecast I’ll always see them. The only downside is that these don’t appear on the Apple Watch app, unless I’ve missed something of course – please let me know if I have.

The task itself is never actually marked as complete so I don’t have it repeating or anything. It’s just a visual reminder to be better.

How to view tags in your forecast view (OmniFocus)

A useful feature in OmniFocus 3 is the ability to add tags to your tasks. Whilst looking at the forecast view I realised I could customise and show 1 tag along with my calendar and scheduled tasks.

I find this useful when I have something I’d like to get done but don’t necessarily want to add a hard due date and time. I created an urgent tag that I use for this.

So the image above shows what tasks have been flagged as urgent for me, basically anything I want to be reminded of daily.

To do this simply go to the forecast view, tap on the eye symbol.

You’ll then see an option for tag, simply tap this and chose your tag.

How I use folders in OmniFocus

I’ve had an on/off relationship with OmniFocus over the years but with a period of overwhelm I’ve decided to stick with it and learn how to actually use it effectively.

When plotting out my overwhelm I used a mind map and split everything into areas of focus. I did this is an earlier post but redid it as my mind has changed on a few passion projects.

When looking at the whole folder vs projects debate it hit me. Folders can be a way to group my projects into these areas of focus.

I then created a folder per area of focus.

My next step is to create my projects, such as my blog and DIY projects into their relevant folders.

Seems very formal to me but I need to create my buddy brain to keep me in check.

How I do a brain dump (GTD, capture, Apple Notes and TickTick)

I was feeling overwhelmed and my TO DO apps weren’t serving me well so I did a brain dump to get everything out of my head and into a system to bring some calm and planning into my life, something I really need right now.

  1. I took my iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil and created a grided note within Apple notes to give me something to line up my text
  2. I then wrote down areas of focus (health, family, social, recreation, money, house)
  3. Next I created an ‘inbox’ line and proceeded to write everything down that I had in my head
  4. Then I went through the list and put an * next to all of the important ones
  5. Once I had read them all I then had all of my thoughts on ‘paper’

I’ve been playing around with a few apps but settled on TickTick as an app to try out this month, who knows it might stick.

I created tags for my areas of focus and then proceeded to copy my list I made above and  get it all in order. I only have 2 projects (blog and podcasting), everything else is categorised using the tags.

I then went back through and set reminders and repeats E.g. put bins out every Thursday at 3pm.

I also created a smart list to show me anything that I ‘Must do!’ that I mark as High Priority in the app.

That’s everything out of my head, now to get on and do it!

Setting up GoodTask

Now I’m firmly in the using iCloud camp both Calendar and Reminders have become very important to me. Whilst Calendar is fine Reminders hasn’t seen an update in years. I’ve been raising radars to Apple for years and all my suggestions for improvements have been ignored. I think Reminders is now only updated for compatibility rather than giving us an overhaul.

This series of Tweets has me looking back at GoodTask.

I’ve created lists based on my areas of focus and thanks to GoodTask I can see everything that I’ve flagged as high priority with their smart list feature.

Creating tasks is pretty straight forward and I’ve started to brain dump into the app.

I’ll post a review in the coming weeks.

How I organise Apple Reminders

I’ve started to only use Apple apps these days, maybe I’m getting old or maybe I restore too many devices. I just can’t be bothered to remember all the log in information for the many to do apps I’ve tried or don’t trust them with my data.

Here’s how I’ve organised into Apple Reminders.

You’ll notice I have a today/urgent list, which satisfies my need to be able to add a to do with just a date and no time. I use this in conjunction with the Scheduled view to plan my day.

Do you use Reminders?