I read a lot of productivity books. My Good Reads list is growing by the week and reading is rapidly replacing Netflix and gaming as my source of relaxation. Maybe it's part of getting older - who knows, but reading is now a crucial part of my life.
One area that has recently needed improvement has been the attention (or lack of it) that I have paid to the technology books I have in my collection. Don't get me wrong, I read a lot of web articles on my favourite productivity apps, but actual books that I have purchased? I guess I never felt I had the time for them.
That was until I read Creating Flow with OmniFocus by Kourosh Dini. As regular readers here know, OmniFocus 2 is my task manager of choice and for the newcomer, it can be a beast. So much so that I know many people put off by the steep learning curve it presents. For this reason, I decided to read it and see if it was a product that I could recommend to clients and delegates of mine who were struggling with the bar to entry that OmniFocus has.
I have to say that I was surprised. Pleasantly surprised. Not just at the gentle pace that Kouroush uses to guide the reader through the initial stages of the book, but at the level of mastery that is clearly displayed by the time you get to the end. I have watched many videos and read a lot of articles on best practices for OmniFocus, many of which I highly recommend (Tim Stringer over at Learn OmniFocus is one such example of an OmniFocus master) however the workflows that are shared here for the advanced user are like nothing I have ever read before. It's as though he's been able to take a cross-section of the OmniFocus user base, examined their ways of working and devised options for nearly everyone on the best ways to implement this complex but rewarding tool.
As you start the book, you walk through the basics of OmniFocus, from contexts to perspectives, different types of project through to the theory behind how an action/task list should be constructed. The pace and detail here are great for the novice and professional alike. Then it picks up and the direction changes towards horizons of focus. I found this important, because as well as being a book that talks you through the buttons and levers within OmniFocus 2, it discusses the logical process behind the approach. This is one of the reasons I found this to be a slower read than normal - I was taking in the chapters and then immediately evaluating how it could be relevant to my own workflows.
There are lots of examples of best practices too - from how to create the perfect Review project, through to the effective use of templates. I particularly enjoyed the sections on third party applications and how theey can interface with OmniFocus 2. Tools such as OmniOutliner, Keyboard Maestro and TextExpander are all mentioned, with great detail applied.
Creating Flow with OmniFocus is, in my mind, an essential purchase for anyone who is serious about using OmniFocus as their second brain. It's streamlined my workflow and I have already re-read it once. I've scheduled in another read at the end of the year - it's THAT good.
Get it here