I’ve not been using my iPhone to anywhere near it’s potential recently. I don’t know why this is - it’s certainly been a hectic twelve months in my life personally with lots of changes taking place - however, sometimes it’s important to step back and look at some of the barriers that you are facing with getting stuff done. One of mine was the efficient use of OmniFocus on the go.
Looking back, a reason for this was the friction involved in getting to the perspectives or contexts that I needed. There were a lot of screen presses needed and as my OmniFocus setup is fairly detailed, I looked for other ways to record important tasks on iOS. This CAN work for some people, however, my mindset is slightly different. If I’m not focusing on one application, or system, I’m not focusing on any and I lose trust. Once the trust in the system goes, then the whole system goes and this has been an issue for me.
Upon looking into ways to reduce this friction, I thought of Launch Centre Pro as a means to grant me easy access to frequently accessed lists within OmniFocus. It has made a huge difference.
My set-up is by no means extensive as I like to start simple and then build up as the need for more complex actions arises. I’d still like to present you my simplistic LCP and OF configuration and show you how it was created.
I’m going to assume a working knowledge of Launch Centre Pro for the purposes of this post!
As you can see, I have four LCP actions for OmniFocus configured. These are all accessible from the OmniFocus Group that I have setup on my Home Page for Launch Centre Pro. Creating the group is easy. Click the pencil icon in the top right-hand corner. Any spare grid spaces are converted into plus signs. Select one of the grid spaces and choose Group from the resulting pop-up. I’ve placed my OmniFocus group button directly above the Home Button of my iPhone, as this is easiest for my thumb to get to and I fully expect this to be my most used LCP button.
The Dashboard view is a list of Flagged and Due tasks that I have for today. It’s in the top left hand corner as I don’t use this view that often on my iPhone. My iPhone is rarely used for critical, must do tasks - that’s my MacBook Pro or iPad.
Dashboard is a Perspective within OmniFocus and being able to view this from a button press is super handy.
To setup any Perspective:
1) Click the pencil icon once more, select your group and you’ll have a second grid of icons to select.
2) Choose where you would like this Perspective to go and select Action from the pop-up.
3) Select Action Composer
4) Select Apps with Actions
5) Scroll down to OmniFocus 2 and select
6) Press Open Perspective
7) In the Name field, type the Name you wish to see in the LCP icon. In the Perspective field, type the name of the Perspective you wish to open (I imagine you will want both of these fields to be the same)
8) Click Done.
9) (Optional) Change the icon by clicking the Icon option and configuring the background, style and icon contents.
10) Done! You have a new Perspective accessible from the touch of an LCP button.
I have a context called iPhone which is for those tasks that I can only complete when I’ve got my phone to hand. It’s not often that I’m not in front of my MacBook or iPad so if I ever have a task I can complete on any device, I usually go for the larger devices as it invariably makes the task quicker and easier. However in my quest to make more use of my iPhone, I’ve created a context (and Perspective) for tasks that are phone dependant. These could be calls, researching iPhone apps, checking App Store updates for iPhone. This list will grow I’m sure, but for now this works.
Setting the icon is the same as the steps above, merely substituting the Dashboard in the Perspective field for iPhone.
This is a perspective that contains the tasks that need to be completed around the house. At the weekend, the MacBook is either away or performing backups/maintenance so I want to be reliant on my phone for keeping me up to date with what I can be doing around the house or with the family, so I’ve created a perspective for just this purpose.
This one speaks for itself. This perspective contains a list of all available items with the context of Errands and is great for when I’m out in the car and need to pick up groceries or other items for the family.
As said, this is a rudimentary setup. I’m planning on adding new buttons in the near future. I’ve just watched a great video over at Learn OmniFocus that shows how to create a button for entering a range of New Items. There are workflows for adding in clipboard content and setting up templates for recurring tasks. I’m also planning on leveraging a one-button search in the near future.
I’m hoping to present a version 2.0 of this post in six months time to see how my setup has progressed (I’ve just put it into OmniFocus now so no excuse for forgetting!).
I’m opening the comments on this one so any hints and tips that you would like to share, feel free to pass them on!