I'm going to take a brief amount of time now to talk about two of my favorite apps and how they can work together to help make your life just that little bit easier. These are Launch Centre Pro and OmniFocus.
I've been using Launch Centre Pro in fits and starts now for the last few months yet I am also an avid OmniFocus fan. OmniFocus fits in so nicely with the whole GTD methodology that I honestly do not know how I would function effectively without it!
As for Launch Centre Pro, it is a superb iOS app that is able to shortcut actions via the use of URL schemes in order to minimise the key presses that you need to make on your iOS device. For example, I use MoneyWiz to manage my personal bank accounts at home and when I need to register a new expense, rather than pull down Spotlight, search for MoneyWiz, open it, find the New Expense button, I can simply open Launch Centre Pro, click the shortcut action I have created called MoneyWiz New Expense and away I go.
OmniFocus is one of those applications that is used constantly if it used properly and so it is absolutely taylor made for some of these shortcuts to be created. Quite often you will find yourself inputting tasks that are similar in structure. Also, I quite like being able to go into Launch Centre Pro and being able to open a particular OmniFocus perspective at the click of a button. Therefore what I'm going to show you below is a list of the shortcuts that I currently have and iunstructions on how to create them.
Creating a Launch Centre Pro Action
Creating the action in Launch Centre Pro is reasonably easy.
First things first, when the app is open, click the Pencil icon in the top right hand corner. This allows you to edit the current screen you are on by adding either Groups or Actions. A Group is essentially another page which will contain actions of a similar theme or application. Here, we will create a Group that will contain only OmniFocus actions.
Once complete, you should see your OmniFocus Group appear.
Next, click on one of the '+' icons to enter the Action Composer. Note that is is NOT possible to create a Group within a Group. You will see that here you can enter the action name as it appears in the Launch Centre Pro app and the URL scheme. Don't worry if the creation of URL schemes is too much for you at the moment, that's fine, because you will see that there is an Action Composer option just below. This allows you to select from a number of pre-defined actions that have been added to the application by the Contrast team.
You can also change the Icon, schedule reminders for the action to occur as well as set up geolocation based triggers. These are awesome but I will cover examples of these in a separate post. Lastly you can change the default sound that plays when the notification goes off.
Type in the name you would like to appear on the tile and the following URL as it appears in the screenshot below. This action, when clicked, will present a prompt box for you to enter then name of the action you wish to enter in OmniFocus.
Click Done and you will be taken back to your Omnifocus Group.
This time, follow the steps above but instead of typing in the Name and URL straight away, click on Action Composer and we'll look at the various Default Actions we have to choose from.
Click on Action Composer, then Featured Apps and you will see a list of all of the applications which have Default Actions already configured in LCP. Scroll down until you see OmniFocus and then, when you click, you'll be presented with four different pre-defined actions. Launch OmniFocus, New Item, New Item with Name and Note and Open Perspective.
Launch Omnifocus will merely open the app. If, like me, you already have OmniFocus on your Home Screen then this is fairly pointless. I don't use the New Item one as I generally input new items with Drafts 4, same with New Item with Name & Note. Open Perspective on the other hand, I do use a lot on LCP so click that.
In a similar vein to the previous window, you will enter a name for the action that you would like to appear on your tile and the name of the perspective that you wish to open in OmniFocus. As you can see, I have a perspective called Reading in OmniFocus that will display a list of books or applications that I currently have available to read at the moment.
Once you click Done, you will be taken to a screen that shows you how the URL scheme looks in full. The productivity maestros out there will be automatically thinking of ways they can input that URL scheme into TextExpander Touch so that they don't need to go through the keypresses involved with scrolling through the Featured Apps and can simply use the built-in Text Expander keyboard to create the URL schemes.
That shows you how to create the actions, however please find below a list of actions that I currently use because they represent frequently entered items in OmniFocus. For any entries on the move that I need to make that do not fit into one of the below templates, I generally use Drafts 4 to input them, but that is a story for another post.
Set meeting with [name] – omnifocus:///add?name=Set%20meeting%20with%20[prompt]%20re%20
Buy [name] from supermarket - omnifocus:///add?name=Buy%20[prompt]%20from%20supermarket%20
Follow up on [task] with [name] - omnifocus:///add?name=Follow%20up%20on%20[prompt]%20with%20[prompt]
Email [name] about – omnifocus:///add?name=Email%20[prompt]%20about%20
Create Project Plan for – omnifocus:///add?name=Create%20Project%20Plan%20for%20
I have to emphasise that this really is just an intro into what can be done and I haven't dared try to see what can be achieved with the introduction of iOS 8. These were created a couple of months ago on iOS 7 so I daresay I will have an updated post in a few months - or at least I hope so!
I would also like to add that it is possible to create OmniFocus actions to show particular contexts, task lists and folders. Simply right click on the context, for example, that you would like to know the URL scheme for and select Copy As Link. Below is the URL scheme for my Errands context
By creating a LCP shortcut using that URL scheme, I will be presented with a list of Actions available for that Context. Pretty sweet don't you think?
If you have any other actions that you'd like me to post, feel free to comment below.
If you would like some more common URL schemes that you can create, please click on this awesome link to Michael Schechters site which also has a video showing how these links were created. I'll be putting my own up soon but won't expect it to be to this high standard Mike!
Thanks for reading. Stay productive.