Thank you for your purchase of: OmniFocus Subscription

Life without a task manager became unbearable, so I’ve purchased OmniFocus1.

Not having a task manager didn’t relieve me from any tasks. Instead, it forced me to keep all of them in my head which isn’t a particularly sustainable system if you care about more than a handful of things2. I’m exaggerating (only ever so slightly) because scattered notes and email inboxes have fulfilled this role.

Therefore, it should come to no surprise that my Inbox has been growing rapidly within the first few days of my OmniFocus trial. Everything from short-term errands to long-term ideas, including this very blog post, found itself in my Inbox. I’m not yet sure which actions should then rather be kept outside of OmniFocus but this is something I’ll learn along the way. Right now, having a cognitive dumping ground is liberating.

My choice didn’t land on OmniFocus by accident. I’m indifferent to its design but OmniFocus is still the only major player with end-to-end encryption—a fact I’ve lamented over earlier this year.

If OmniFocus is one thing, it’s powerful. There’s a spectrum between to-do apps and task managers and OmniFocus definitely falls into the latter category. That category poses danger, though. Your task manager is a means to an end; it is all too easy to spend more time managing your tasks than actually doing them.

Things strikes a better balance. It’s certainly less powerful than OmniFocus but constraints help to focus. The built-in Today list makes it easy to set priorities while focusing on getting things done. Granted, custom perspectives allow you to set up all kinds of views in OmniFocus. It’s like being the architect of your own task manager. Even so, you can only get so close to replicating the Today list from Things.

  1. Technically, I didn’t purchase OmniFocus but subscribed to it. And with a monthly subscription, you may well argue I’m not committing to OmniFocus at all. Rest assured, there’s already a deferred OmniFocus action to evaluate a traditional license down the road. 

  2. Some people would argue you shouldn’t care about more than three things